Ref: 40/2012

 

The Palestinian
Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the use of excessive force by the Israeli
Occupation Forces (IOF) against peaceful demonstrations organized by
Palestinian civilians on Friday, 30 March 2012, to commemorate the Land
Day.  The use of excessive force resulted
in killing a Palestinian civilian and wounding 38 others, including 16
children, in the Gaza Strip, while 25 civilians, including two children, were
wounded in the West Bank.  Besides,
dozens of Palestinians suffered from gas inhalation or sustained bruises.  PCHR stresses that IOF use excessive force
against peaceful demonstrations organized by the Palestinians to completely
prevent such demonstrations.  PCHR also
calls upon the international community to immediately act to stop those crimes.

 

In the Gaza
Strip, following the Friday prayer, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the
vicinity of the Customs Checkpoint, west of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza
Strip, 1,700 meters to the south of Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, to mark Land
Day.  A number of Palestinians could
reach areas close to the cement wall and into the road connecting Beit Hanoun
crossing with the Palestinian Liaison Office (55), and some of them entered the
industrial zone.  IOF then fired bullets
and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. 
As a result, Mahmoud Mohammed Zaqqout, 19, from Beit Lahia Project was
killed by a bullet to the neck.  Additionally,
33 others, including 15 children, were wounded; the wounds of two of them were
serious.

 

Also following
the Friday prayer, approximately 100 Palestinians headed to the border fence
between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of ‘Abasan village, east of Khan
Yunis.  They raised the Palestinian flag
and chanted national slogans commemorating Land Day.  When they reached an area approximately 100
meters away from the said fence, a number of demonstrators got closer and tried
to put the Palestinian flag on it, and the flag was actually put on the
fence.  IOF patrolling behind the fence
fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them.  As a result, five civilians, including a
child, were wounded and their wounds were described as moderate.

 

In the West
Bank, on the same day, hundreds of Palestinians gathered around Bilal Bin Rabah
Mosque (Rachel’s Tomb) at the northern entrance of Bethlehem.  IOF used noisy loudspeakers and then fired
sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators.  As a result, 12 Palestinians, including two
children, were wounded.  The wounds of
two of them were described as serious:


1- Yusef al-Sharqawi, 63, hit by a tear gas canister to the back,
which caused burns and a fracture in the rib cage.


2- Ali Arafah, 20, hit by a tear gas canister in the head, due to
which he sustained a fracture in the skull.

 

In al-Nabi
Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, six demonstrators were wounded in the
weekly demonstration, which was dedicated this week to the Land Day.  At least 4 demonstrators were wounded in the
main demonstration that was organized at Qalandia checkpoint at the northern
entrance of Jerusalem, while 3 others were wounded in a demonstration organized
by dozens of Palestinians in front of Ofer prison, southwest of Ramallah.

 

PCHR condemns
these crimes, is gravely concerned over them, and:

1- Stresses that the use excessive force against peaceful
demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians has become a systematic
policy adopted by IOF, which reflects blatant disregard for the lives of
Palestinians;


2- Holds Israel responsible for the deterioration of the situation
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip;


3- Believes that it is time, under the ongoing challenge of the
state of Israel and IOF to the Fourth Geneva Convention, for the High
Contracting Parties to hold a conference to take immediate action to ensure
protection for Palestinian civilians and their property in the occupied
Palestinian territory.