On 29 June 2018, during the fourteenth Friday of mass demonstrations, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian protesters along the fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing two protesters and injuring 146 more. 25 children, one woman, and two paramedics were among the injured and one child was killed. At least 57 of the injured were hit by live fire.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from 4pm on Friday, 29 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. The attacks continued until 8pm. Al Mezan documented the two fatal injuries as follow:
As part of an ongoing practice, Israeli forces targeted journalists and paramedics. Mohammed Abu Foul, a 26-year-old paramedic working for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, was hit with a tear gas canister in the chest. Rabab Halaween, a 22-year-old paramedic volunteering with the Ministry of Health, was hit with a tear gas canister in her right knee. Both were injured while providing medical care to casualties in North Gaza.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March on 30 March 2018, 143 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, of them 110 in protests, including 17 children, two journalists, two paramedics, and three persons with disability. Another 7,820 people were injured, including 1,380 children, 282 women, 71 paramedics, and 64 journalists—of them 3,986 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 all 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 urges the Human Rights Council to swiftly form the commission 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 peacefully assemble; 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 the 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.