Three Protesters Killed, One of Them a Child, and 211 Injured at Friday Demonstrations in Gaza
Three Palestinian protesters were killed, including one child, and around 211 persons were injured by the Israeli military during the Great Return March demonstrations on Friday, 5 October 2018, in the Gaza Strip. Among those injured were 32 children, five women, five journalists, and four paramedics. Of the injured, 134 were shot with live fire, including 15 children and one woman.
The documentation by Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights shows that from 4:10pm on Friday, 5 October 2018, Israeli forces fired live ammunition, plastic-coated bullets, tear gas, and a sound bomb at unarmed protesters, journalists and paramedics at the demonstrations. Al Mezan’s documentation shows that on Friday:
At around 5:45pm, Mahmoud Akram Abu Sam’an, a 23-year-old resident of An-Nusairat refugee camp in the Middle Area district, was lethally shot with a live bullet in the chest while at the demonstration in the east of Gaza City. At around the same time, Fares Hafez Al-Sirsawi, a 13-year-old resident of Shujayya neighborhood, was shot with a live bullet in the chest while at the demonstration in the east of Gaza City. At 6:25pm, he died from his wounds.
At 5:40pm, Mohammed Fathi Al-Riqib, an 18-year-old resident of Bani Suhaila town in Khan Younis, was shot with a live bullet in the stomach at the demonstration in eastern Khan Younis. At 8:45pm, doctors at Nasser Hospital in the district pronounced his death as a result of his wounds.
Members of medical teams and the press continued to be targeted:
- Mohammed Abu ‘Aasi, a 27-year-old volunteering paramedic, was shot with a live bullet in the chest at the demonstration in eastern Khan Younis. He was rushed to the Gaza European Hospital, where doctors stated his injury was critical.
- Tasnim Hammad, a 20-year-old volunteer paramedic, was hit by a tear gas canister in the right foot at the demonstration in Jabalia refugee camp.
- Mohammed Al-Za’anin, a 30-year-old volunteer paramedic, was hit by a tear gas canister in the head at the demonstration in Jabalia refugee camp.
- Hani Al-Khaldi, a 27-year-old paramedic, was hit by a tear gas canister in the foot at the demonstration in the Gaza City district.
The window of a Palestinian Medical Services ambulance was shattered by Israeli forces’ shooting in eastern Gaza City.
Five journalists were also injured. They are:
- Do’aa Zorob, a 20-year-old freelance photojournalist. She was shot with live fire in the foot while covering the demonstration in eastern Khan Younis.
- Mohammed-Issa Al-Aswad, a 21-year-old journalist with Al-Hadath Palestine Agency. He was shot with a live bullet in the left foot at the demonstration in eastern Jabalia.
- Mohammed Al-Masri, a 20-year-old photojournalist with Shehab Agency. He was hit with a tear gas canister that hit him in the head at the demonstration in eastern Jabalia.
- Mousa Elian, a 24-year-old photojournalist with the Palestinian Media Center. He was hit by shrapnel of live fire in the arm at the demonstration in eastern Jabalia.
- Mohammed Al-Za’anoun, a 32-year-old freelance photojournalist. He was shot with a plastic-coated steel bullet in the right leg at the demonstration in east Gaza City.
The Israeli forces also fired a sound bomb at demonstrators in the east of Gaza City at 5:45pm. No casualties were reported after the bombing.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March protests on 30 March 2018, 207 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip. Of the total number of fatalities, 154 were killed at the demonstrations—including 32 children, one woman, two journalists, three paramedics, and four persons with disability. Another 10,521 persons were injured, including 1,899 children, 429 women, 119 paramedics, and 118 journalists. Of those injured, 5,971 were hit by live fire, including 956 children and 115 women.
Al Mezan reiterates its condemnation of the use of lethal and other excessive force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations. Al Mezan stresses its condemnation of the continued attacks on children as well as on journalists and paramedics who are visibly marked as such by their clothing and gear. Al Mezan stresses that the right to peaceful assembly and free expression are fundamental rights and must be respected. Unarmed protesters not posing any serious or imminent threat to the Israeli forces must not be shot.
The excessive use of force indicates a continuation of unlawful targeting practices on the part of the Israeli forces despite its legal consequences and international condemnation. Al Mezan urges the international community, led by the Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to take prompt and effective steps to ensure respect for international law and provide meaningful protection for unarmed protesters and civilians throughout Gaza. The duty to protect civilians is a principal legal requirement and is, at this point in the conflict, a test of the authenticity of the international community’s commitment to their legal obligations, moral standards and humanitarian objectives vis-à-vis the Palestinian population.
Al Mezan stresses its position that the failure to hold to account perpetrators of human rights and international humanitarian law violations encourages the advancement of harmful policies and practices. Al Mezan therefore calls on the international community to activate accountability mechanisms to ensure that violators are brought to justice in accordance with international law, including international criminal law. In this vein, the international community is called upon to support the UN Commission of Inquiry’s impartial and independent investigation into the apparent unlawful deployment of force against unarmed demonstrators, journalists and paramedics.