On 71st Great March of Return, 149 civilians injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 66 children, 7 paramedics, including a female paramedic, were among those injured this Friday, 23 August 2019. This week’s protest marked a spike in the number of civilian injuries especially ones caused by live bullets and shrapnel; as well as, targeting medical crews in an indication to the Israeli military’s escalated use of excessive force against protesters. Seventy-seven civilians were shot with live bullets and shrapnel, and 6 civilians were deemed in a critical medical condition.
This escalation came despite that the Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking issued instructions for civilians to maintain the peaceful nature of the protests and stay away from any areas open to soldiers and snipers and avoid friction in today’s protest, titled “Protests for al-Aqsa Mosque.” This week also witnessed an increase in number of participants compared to last weeks, knowing that the organizers widely mobilized for the protests.
The protests lasted from 15:00 to 19:00, and involved activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances. Dozens of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip. The protestors threw stones, fireworks and balloons at Israeli forces while the latter used excessive force in response.
To this date, PCHR documented 208 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, 13,629 were wounded, including 2,801 children, 419 women, 230 paramedics and 210 journalists, noting that many had sustained multiple wounds on multiple occasions.
The following is a summary of today’s events along the Gaza Strip border:
Northern Gaza Strip: 3000 protesters participated in Abu Safiyah area protests, northeast of Jabalia. Speeches, theatrical performances and other segments were performed at the protest central encampment. Hundreds of protestors approached the border fence and threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 37 civilians injured, including 17 children and a paramedic; two of them had serious injuries: 27, including 12 children, were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 4 were hit with tear gas canisters, including 3 children; and 6, including 2 children, were hit with rubber bullets. The wounded paramedic, Na’im Bashir Mohammed Khader (32) was hit with a rubber bullet to the right arm. The civilians, deemed critically wounded, are: Khaled Abed Rabboh (35), hit with a live bullet to the chest causing fracture in the chest and internal bleeding; and Ibrahim Farid Ibrahim Dawas (27) hit with a rubber bullet that penetrated the right shoulder and settled in the chest.
Gaza City: Around 8 -10 thousand of protestors took part in eastern Malakah area. Speeches, theatrical performances and other segments were performed at the protest central encampment. Dozens of protestors approached the fence at a 100 meters distance and raised the Palestinian flags, fired balloons, set tires on fire and threw stones with slingshots at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 17 were injured, including 3 children and a paramedic: 8 with live bullets, 8 with rubber bullets and 1 with a tear gas canister. The wounded paramedic, Mohammed Ismail Sa’ed Abu Qadous (32) was hit with a rubber bullet to his right foot.
Central Gaza: Hundreds of civilians, including women, children and families, took part in the eastern Bureij refugee camp protests; hundreds, including women and children, gathered adjacent to the border fence at a range varying between 2 – 70 meters. At approximately 17:10, some protestors fired balloons containing letters written in Hebrew in addition to Palestinian flags, others threw stones and sound bombs at Israeli soldiers with slingshots. The Israeli soldiers, reinforced with 9 military SUVs, responded with live and rubber bullets in addition to teargas canisters at the protesters, wounding 28 civilians, including 11 children, 2 of whom were seriously injured. Among those injured, 14 were shot with live bullets, 7 were hit with shot with rubber bullets and 7 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded paramedic, Mohammed Abdul Qader Abu ‘Abdah (23), sustained minor wounds after being hit with a rubber bullet to the hand. Those, who sustained serious injuries were identified as: Mohsen Sa’ed Mo’awaqd al-Jarbah (23) was hit with a live bullet to the jaw, and Mohammed Fathi Mohammed Abu Jari (15) was hit with a rubber bullet to the head.
Khan Younis: thousands participated in Khuza’ah protests. Tens approached the border fence and attempted to throw stones, and fireworks and raised Palestinian flags in addition to chanting national songs; few numbers of them approached the border fence and raised the Palestinian flags there. Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protesters, wounding 45 civilians, including 20 children and 2 paramedics:10 with live bullet and their shrapnel; 25 with rubber bullets; and 10 with tear gas canisters. The wounded paramedics were identified as: Mustafa ‘Emad Yusuf al-Senwar (22), hit with a rubber bullet to the neck; and Sami Mousa Abu Mustafa (27) hit with a rubber bullet to the lower extremities.
Rafah: 2500 participated in the eastern Shokah protests, where folklore shows, and speeches were held. Dozens approached the border fence and threw stones. The Israeli soldiers used live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters against the protestors. As a result, 24 civilians were injured, including 5 children and 2 paramedics including a female; 2 of the wounded civilians sustained serious wounds. It was documented that18 were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, 2 were hit with rubber bullets and 2 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded paramedics were identified as: Ibrahim Mazen Suleiman Abu Khatlah (19), was shot with a live bullet to the left leg, and Islam Sobhi Yusuf Abu Shawish (29) was hit with a rubber bullet to the head.