Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) attacked unarmed civilians who marched in peaceful demonstrations to the borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel, particularly opposite Erez crossing and Khan Younis. As a result, at least 106 persons were injured. At least 31 were children. Another 51 were treated from inhaling teargas; including nine children. The IOF attacks against unarmed civilians in the North Gaza district were still ongoing at the time of drafting this press release at 3pm on Sunday 15 May 2011. News about injured protestors being taken to hospitals also continued.
At approximately 11:40am on Sunday 15 May 2011, the IOF opened fire at protestors as they were marching to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakb, which marks the mass, forced displacement of Palestinians in 1948 when the State of Israel was created.
According to field investigations conducted by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the IOF fired four artillery shells at the protestors. The shells fell in a place near the protestors. Then IOF snipers who were stationed inside concrete watchtowers on the border fence opened direct fire at Palestinian children and youths who were close to the border fence. After that, Israeli helicopters opened fire in places near the protestors. As a result, 104 persons were injured, including 31 children and two journalists. Al Mezan identified the journalists’ names as follows:
· Mohammed Ibrahim Othman, 20, freelance journalist, and
· Hussein Abdel Jawad Karsou', 28, journalist at the Al Shorouq Association for Media.
Al Mezan's field investigations also show that the IOF opened fire and tear gas bombs at protestors in another location in the east of Khan Younis district, south of the Gaza Strip, injuring another two adults.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reiterates its calls on peoples and states to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and its struggle for freedom, self-determination, and statehood. Governments must take effective steps to prevent the Israeli violations of international law.
Al Mezan strongly condemns the Israeli attacks against unarmed civilians marking the Nakba anniversary in Gaza. Al Mezan reiterates its call on the international community to swiftly intervene to provide protection for civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory and bring to an end the Israeli violations of international humanitarian law and the international human rights law.