Time: 9pm (local time)
On Friday, 10 August 2018, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians at the weekly demonstration in the Gaza Strip. One of the victims was a volunteer paramedic. Another 140 people were injured, including 22 children, two women, four paramedics, and two journalists, at the demonstrations. At least 103 of the injured were hit by live fire and five were in critical condition according to medical sources at the time indicated on the top of this press release.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from 4:30pm on Friday, 10 August 2018, Israeli forces located at the fence along the eastern areas of Gaza used live ammunition, plastic-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and artillery sound shells on unarmed protesters. The shooting continued until 7pm. Al Mezan documented the two fatal casualties as follows:
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that Israeli forces have demonstrated a pattern of directing fire at unarmed protesters, including medics and journalists. Both live ammunition and tear-gas canisters have been repeatedly fired directly at medics and journalists by Israeli forces. In this context, Al Mezan has also documented the cases of the following attacks on medics and journalists on Friday, 10 August 2018:
The later three are paramedics working with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, and were injured while working in the east of the Khan Younis district.
Both journalists were injured while working in east Rafah. In some instances, protesters at the demonstrations in Rafah, Middle Gaza, and Gaza City were also attacked with artillery stun shells.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March on 30 March 2018, 174 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. Of them, 126 were killed in the demonstrations—including 23 children, two journalists, three paramedics, and three persons with disability. Another 8,998 people were injured, including 1,637 children, 403 women, 95 paramedics, and 84 journalists—of them 5,048 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. Al Mezan stresses its strongest condemnation of Israel’s continuous attacks on medics and journalists, whose service adheres to the standards of impartiality and neutrality. Palestinians in Gaza have the right to peacefully assemble to demand their fundamental and inalienable human rights. The case of protesters, medics, and journalists, 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 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 obligation 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 perpetuators of human rights and international humanitarian law violations encourages the advancement of impunity. Al Mezan therefore calls on the international community to activate accountability mechanisms to ensure that violators are brought to justice in accordance with international humanitarian and criminal law.