Time: 10pm (GMT +2)
Seven Palestinian protesters, including one child, were killed and around 257 persons were injured by the Israeli military during the Great Return March demonstrations on Friday, 12 October 2018, in the Gaza Strip. Among those injured were 49 children, nine women, four journalists, and one paramedic. Of the injured, about 180 were shot with live fire, including 25 children and three women.
The initial documentation by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that at 4pm on Friday, 12 October 2018, Israeli forces fired live ammunition, plastic-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and a sound bomb at unarmed protesters. Many journalists and paramedics were also present at the demonstrations. Al Mezan’s documentation shows that:
Members of medical teams and the press continued to be harmed by Israeli forces’ fire. Al Mezan investigated the following incidents:
Bilal Al-Sabbagh, a 27-year-old freelance journalist, was shot with a live bullet in the right leg at the demonstration in east Gaza district.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March protests on 30 March 2018, 215 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip. Of the total number of fatalities, 162 were killed at the demonstrations—including 33 children, one woman, two journalists, three paramedics, four persons with disability. Another 10,778 persons were injured, including 1,948 children, 438 women, 120 paramedics, and 124 journalists. Of those injured, 6,151 were hit by live fire, including 981 children and 118 women. The Israeli forces continue to keep the dead bodies of 10 fatalities, including two minors.
Al Mezan reiterates its condemnation of the use of lethal and other excessive force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations. Al Mezan voices the deep concern about the continued attacks that hurt children as well as attacks on journalists and paramedics who are visibly marked as such by their clothing and gear. 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.
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 and civilians throughout Gaza. The duty to protect civilians is a principal legal requirement 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.
The failure to hold to account perpetrators of human rights and international humanitarian law violations encourages the advancement of harmful policies and practices. Al Mezan therefore calls on the international community to support accountability mechanisms to ensure that violators are brought to justice in accordance with international law, including international criminal law. In this vein, the international community is called upon to support the UN Commission of Inquiry’s impartial and independent investigation into the apparent unlawful deployment of force against unarmed demonstrators, journalists and paramedics.