Time: 8:30pm (GMT +3)
On 8 June 2018, the eleventh Friday of the mass demonstrations, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian protesters along the fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Four protesters, one of them a child, were killed, and at least 280 were injured, including 49 children, 16 women, two journalists, and two paramedics. 133 of the injured were hit by live fire, and four are reported to be in critical condition.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from 2pm on Friday, 8 June 2018, Israeli forces located at the eastern fence between Gaza and Israel used live ammunition, plastic-coated bullets, and tear gas on unarmed protesters as well as on journalists and paramedics. Al Mezan has documented the four fatal injuries on the day as follow:
- At 3pm in Rafah district, Al-Haytham Al-Jamal, 14-year old resident of Rafah, was shot with a live bullet in the stomach, and he succumbed to his wounds at 6:15pm on the same day while in the European Gaza Hospital.
As part of an ongoing policy, Israeli forces further continued to target journalists and paramedics. Mohammed Al-Baba, 49-year old photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, was shot with a live bullet in the right leg while he was covering the Great Return March demonstration in North Gaza. In the same district, Khaled Al-Yazji, 24-year old volunteer paramedic, was injured by a teargas canister that hit his right hand as he was evacuating casualties. Rami Ali, 42-year old paramedic, was shot with a live bullet in his right hand. In Khan Younis district, Manar Al-Najjar, 22-year old female paramedic was hit by shrapnel of a live bullet in her left hand while she was providing medical services. In the same district, an ambulance was damaged when it was hit with a teargas canister.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March on 30 March 2018, 135 Palestinians have been killed, of them 104 in protests, including 15 children, two journalists, two paramedics, and three persons with disability. Another 7,410 people were injured, including 1,313 children, 271 women, 47 paramedics, and 64 journalists—of them 3,835 were hit by live fire.
Al Mezan reiterates its strong condemnation of the use of lethal and other excessive force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations and to target journalists and paramedics. Al Mezan stresses its strongest condemnation of continuous Israeli attacks on paramedics whose service adheres to the standards of impartiality and neutrality. Further, Palestinians in Gaza have the right to peacefully assemble to demand their fundamental and inalienable human rights. The case of protesters, who pose no serious threat to the Israeli forces, being shot lethally indicates a bold continuation of unlawful targeting practices, despite its legal consequences and international condemnation.
Al Mezan welcomes resolution (A/HRC/S-28/L.1), adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, which condemns Israeli violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws during the demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and mandates an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations committed in the context of the large-scale civilian protests. Al Mezan expresses its hope that the commission will be formed swiftly for the benefit of justice and accountability.
In recognition of the dramatic humanitarian and legal implications of the recent escalation, Al Mezan is urging the international community to take prompt steps to protect protesters and their right to peaceful assembly, to pressure Israeli forces to abstain from using unlawful force, to hold to account perpetrators and to ensure Palestinians’ access to their indispensable and inalienable human rights. Given strangulating impacts of Israel’s 11-year closure of Gaza and the unprecedented surge in rates of unemployment, poverty, electricity and water shortage, and rampant environmental pollution, Al Mezan is requesting that the international community increase its support to Palestinian institutions and organizations mandated to address living conditions in the Gaza Strip, and to insist on the immediate, full lifting of the unlawful closure policy.