Ref: 104/2019

On 75th Friday of Great March of Return, 109 civilians were injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 39 children, a woman, 2 paramedics, and a journalist, were among those injured this Friday, 20 September 2019.

This week witnessed an increase in the number of injuries among protestors, in comparison to the last 3 weeks, indicating that Israeli forces escalated their use of excessive force against the protesters with the use of live ammunition and targeting protestors’ bodies. As a result, 52 protestors were shot with live bullets; 2 of them sustained serious wounds.

The Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege called for today’s protests under the slogan “Refugee Camps of Lebanon”, coinciding with the 37th anniversary of Sabra and Shatila massacre that targeted Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The protests lasted from 15:00 to 19:00 and involved activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances. Hundreds of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip. The protestors threw stones, Molotov Cocktails and firecrackers at the Israeli forces, who responded with excessive force.  As a result, dozens of civilians sustained bullet injuries while other suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.

PCHR documented 211 killings by Israel since the outbreak of the protests on 30 March 2018, including 46 children, 2 women, 9 persons with disabilities, 4 paramedics and 2 journalists. Additionally, 13,967 were wounded, including 2,998 children, 424 women, 235 paramedics and 215 journalists, noting that many of those injured had sustained multiple injuries on separate occasions.

The following is a summary of today’s events along the Gaza Strip border:

  • Northern Gaza Strip:

Approximately 1,000 civilians participated in Abu Safiyah area protests, northeast of Jabalia. Speeches, theatrical performances and other segments were performed at the protest central encampment. Dozens of protestors approached the border fence, set fire to tires and threw stones as well as firecrackers at Israeli soldiers, who responded with live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. As a result, 24 civilians injured, including 12 children; one child deemed in extremely critical condition: 16 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 6 were hit with tear gas canisters; and 2 were shot with rubber bullets.  Hamada Suhail Mohamed Sa’d Ghabayin (21) sustained serious live bullet wounds in his abdomen.

  • Gaza City:

Hundreds 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 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, 24 civilians were injured, including 2 children, a woman and a journalist: 6 with live bullets and their shrapnel as well as 18 with rubber bullets. The wounded freelance journalist, ‘Abed al-Rahman Hani ‘Abed al-Qader al-Kahlout (23), was shot with a live bullet in his feet.

  • Central Gaza Strip:

At approximately 15:00, hundreds of civilians, including women and children, took part in the eastern Bureij refugee camp protests; dozens gathered adjacent to the border fence at a range varying between 3 – 300 meters and raised flags. The Israeli soldiers launched a drone to photograph protestors who had set tires on fire and thrown stones and sound bombs near the borders; also, they shot them with live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters. The Israeli attacks, which continued until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 14 civilians, including 8 children: 4 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 2 with rubber bullets and 8 with tear gas canisters.

  • Khan Yuonis:

Hundreds participated in Khuza’ah protests. Tens approached the border fence and attempted to throw stones and firecrackers. Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protesters, wounding 10 civilians, including 3 children and 2 paramedics; one civilian deemed in extremely critical condition: 3 with live bullets and their shrapnel; 3 with rubber bullets and 4 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Moreover, many civilians sustained minor wounds after being hit with rubber bullets and they received medical treatment on the spot. The wounded volunteer paramedics were identified as: Rabah al-Bayyouk (25), who was hit with a rubber bullet in his right arm; and Ghanem Mostafa al-Najjar (45), who was hit with a rubber bullet in his right arm as well, Al-Najjar is a volunteer with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.  Furthermore, ‘Ali Mostafa Ferwanah (28) sustained serious live bullet wound in his thigh.

Rafah: Hundreds participated in the eastern Shokah protests, where folklore songs and speeches were held. Dozens approached the border fence and threw stones at the shielded Israeli soldiers, who responded with live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters. As a result, 37 civilians were injured, including 14 children: 23 were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 10 were shot with rubber bullets and 4 were directly hit with tear gas canisters.