During 67th Great March of Return, 118 Palestinian civilians were injured due to the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border. At least 45 children, 2 women, 3journalists and 4 paramedics were among those injured this Friday 19 July 2019. Five civilians, including a journalist and 4 children, sustained serious wounds.
This week witnessed an increase in the number of injuries compared to last week’s, asserting a systematic policy by Israeli forces to target protestors, especially journalists and paramedics.
Today’s protest was titled “Burn the Zionist Flag”, and involved many activities such as speeches by political leaders, national songs, theatrical performances and celebrations of graduating high school seniors. Dozens of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip, this included burning of Israeli flags.
The protests lasted from 16:30 to 19:30, as Israeli forces used excessive force against the peaceful protestors while no threat was posed on Israeli soldiers’ lives.
To this date, PCHR documented 207 killings by Israel since the outbreak of the protests on 30 March 2018, including 44 children, 2 women, 9 persons with disabilities, 4 paramedics, and 2 journalists. Additionally, 13,245 were wounded, including 2,407 children, 405 women, 220 paramedics and 207 journalists.
The following is a summary of today’s incidents along the Gaza Strip border:
Northern Gaza Strip: the Israeli attacks against protestors in Abu Safiya area, northeast of Jabalia, resulted in the injury 20 civilians, including 9 children, a paramedic and a person with mental illness: 5 were shot with live bullets and shrapnel, including 2 children, 14 with rubber bullets, and 1 directly hit with a teargas canister. The wounded paramedic, Khalid Suhail ‘Ali ‘Abed (27), was hit with a rubber bullet to the foot.
Gaza City: hundreds of protestors participated in eastern Malakah area protests. A few groups approached the border while others threw stones at soldiers using slingshots. Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition and teargas canisters at the protesters, wounding 15, including 6 children: 10 were shot with live bullets; 4 were directly hit with teargas canisters and 1 was shot with a rubber bullet. Eyad Ahmed ‘Essa Zeyadah (14) sustained serious wounds after being hit with a live bullet to the head while present tens of meters away from the border fence.
Central Gaza Strip: protests in eastern al-Buraij refugee camp witnessed setting fire to tires, burning Israeli flags and flying paper kites in the sky. Dozens approached the border fence at a range varying between 2 – 70 meters, and some of them attempted to throw stones at Israeli soldiers. The Israeli attacks against protestors resulted in the injury of 32 civilians, including 16 children, 3 women, 2 journalists and a paramedic; 4 were seriously injured: 25 were shot with live ammunition and 7 shot with rubber bullets. The volunteer paramedic, Ahmed Ibrahim Jamil Weshah (26) was hit with a rubber bullet to the left foot. The wounded journalists: Sami Jamal Taleb Masran (34), a photojournalist from al-Nuseirat, sustained serious wounds after being hit with a rubber bullet to the face and was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital; and photojournalist Safenaz Baker Mahmoud al-Louh (28), from Gaza City, was hit with a rubber bullet to the back.
Khan Younis: hundreds participated in the protests, yet the crowd was noticeably smaller than weeks before. A number of protestors set tires on fire. In Khan Younis, 17 civilians were injured, including 4 children and a paramedic: 7 were shot with live bullets and shrapnel and 10 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The volunteer paramedic, Fatmah Walid al-Najjar (29), was hit with a tear gas canister to the left hand.
Rafah: Around 1600 civilians participated in the protests east of Shoka village, east of Rafah. Dozens approached the border fence, threw stones and set fire to Israeli flags. Israeli soldiers pumped wastewater and hot water and used live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters against the protestors. As a result, 34 civilians injured, including 10 children, a volunteer paramedic and a journalist; a child sustained serious wounds: 11 were shot with live bullet and shrapnel, 21 shot with rubber bullets and 2 were hit with tear gas canisters. Abdul Rahman Khalil Khalil Syam (16) sustained serious wounds after being hit with a live bullet to the abdomen. The wounded paramedic, Saqer Jihad Mustafa al-Jammal (25), sustained moderate wounds after being hit with a facial live bullet to the head and a rubber bullet to the left shoulder. The wounded journalist, Mo’ath Fathi Yusuf al-Hams (23), a freelance journalist, sustained minor wounds after being hit with a rubber bullet to the right hand.
PCHR strongly condemns the continued Israeli attacks and excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations in the oPt. PCHR also stresses the need to stop the excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations by the Israeli forces, and calls for adherence for their legitimate demands, particularly with regard to ending the closure. PCHR believes that the latter is key in preventing a humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip.