Two Protesters Killed and 189 Injured in Israeli Forces Fire at Protesters

In the 51st week of the Great Return March demonstrations in Gaza, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal and other forms of excessive force on Palestinian protesters, including live ammunition. The documentation by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that on Friday, 22 March 2019, Israeli forces killed two protesters and injured 189, including 51 children, seven women, four journalists, and a paramedic. 100 of the wounded were hit by live fire and 63 were hit directly by tear gas canisters.

According to the documentation conducted by Al Mezan, since the start of the protests on 30 March 2018, 273 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip. Of the total fatalities, 196 were killed at the protests, including 41 children, two women, three paramedics, two journalists, and eight persons with disability. Another 15,234 persons have been wounded, including 3,318 children, 675 women, 177 paramedics, and 154 journalists. Of the wounded, 7,971 were wounded from live fire, including 1,476 children and 158 women.

At approximately 3:30pm on Friday, 22 March 2019, Israeli forces shot Nedal Shatat, 29, and a resident of the Al-Moghraqa village, with a live bullet in the chest at the demonstration in east Al Bureij camp in the the Middle Gaza district. He was reportedly about 50 meters far from the separation fence when he was shot. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

At 05:35pm, Medical sources in Al Shifa Hospital pronounced the death of Jehad Harara, 23, who is a resident of the Al Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City. Harara was shot with a bullet in the head at the demonstration in east Gaza City at approximately 04:40pm.

A volunteer paramedic with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Raed Abu Beyd, 22, was hit with a tear gas canister in his right hand while evacuating and providing first aid to casualties at the demonstration in the North Gaza district. Israeli forces also fired tear gas at an ambulance in east Gaza City and the vicinity of a field clinic in east Al Bureij camp with tear gas.

Four journalists were injured in the demonstrations: Ismail Abu Omar, 35, from a tear gas canister in his left leg while covering the demonstration in east Khan Younis; freelance photographer Mohammed Al Athamna, 20, from a bullet in his left leg while covering the demonstration in ease Gaza City; Ali Jadallah, 29, from shrapnel in his left hand while covering the demonstration in the east of North Gaza district; and Hashem Hesham Al Saudi, 29, from bullets in both of his legs while covering the demonstration in the east of North Gaza district.

Al Mezan condemns the use of lethal and other excessive force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations. Al Mezan also expresses deep concern at the continued attacks on unarmed protesters, medics and journalists. 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.

In line with the recent findings and recommendations of the UN Commission Inquiry,[1] Al Mezan urges the international community to take prompt and effective action to ensure respect for international law and provide meaningful protection for unarmed protesters throughout Gaza. The duty to protect protected persons is a principal legal requirement and is paramount to the international community’s commitment to their legal obligations.


[1] Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, 2019: “In Almost All Cases UN Commission of Inquiry Finds the Use of Live Ammunition by Israeli Forces Against Demonstrators Unlawful and Recommends Accountability Measures”, available at http://mezan.org/en/post/23469