Time: 11:00am (local time)
On Friday 20 July 2018, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian protesters along the fence in the Gaza Strip. One person was killed at the demonstrations, and at least 102 were injured, including 21 children, seven women, and one journalist. At least 70 of the injured were hit by live fire, and one is in critical condition. Israeli air force and artillery launched intense attacks on various targets during the day, killing three other persons and injuring 18 more, including seven children and three women.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from 4pm on Friday, 20 July 2018, Israeli forces located at the eastern fence in Gaza used live ammunition, plastic-coated bullets, and tear gas on unarmed protesters. The shooting continued until 8pm. Al Mezan documented the fatal injury of Mohammed Badwan, a 24-year old resident of Al Zaitoun neighborhood in east Gaza City, who was wounded with live fire in the left side of his chest at around 7:05pm. Badwan was shot during his participation in the demonstration in east Gaza City. He was rushed to Al Shifa Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead upon arrival.
Between 5:30pm and 10:30pm on the same day, Israeli warplanes launched at least 23 air raids using 42 missiles against various locations in the Gaza Strip, including security sites and populated areas, and empty fields. In the meantime, Israeli artillery attacked several sites in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip, killing three men and injuring 15 persons.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March protests on 30 March 2018, 156 Palestinians have been killed, of them 116 in protests, including 19 children, two journalists, two paramedics, and three persons with disability. Another 8,507 people were injured, including 1,538 children, 385 women, 81 paramedics, and 79 journalists—of them 4,732 were hit by live fire.
Al Mezan condemns the military escalation and the targeting of any civilian property and killing or hurting civilians. Alarmed by the spread of panic and trauma among people in Gaza, and by the shocking recent restrictions on the movement of goods and reducing of fishing zone, Al Mezan warns against any further escalation in hostilities that may turn into a new large-scale attack on Gaza. Given the previous record of such attacks and the obvious disregard of the rules of international law, such a scenario would only compound humanitarian suffering in Gaza and involve a devastating toll on human lives.
Al Mezan urges the international community, led by parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to take steps as prompt and effective as possible to seek de-escalation in Gaza. Protection of civilians is a prime legal obligation and is, now, a test to the authenticity of how committed international community to their legal obligations, moral standards and humanitarian objectives, which strictly require that in times of hostilities that civilians and civilian objects be evaded attack and harm.
Al Mezan stresses its position that failure to hold to account perpetuators of human rights and international humanitarian law violations has only advanced impunity. Al Mezan therefore calls on the international community to activate tools of accountability to ensure that violators are brought to justice, in accordance with the provisions of the international humanitarian law.