Time: 8pm (+2 GMT)
On 15 May 2019, the Israeli military continued its use of live fire to police protests in the Gaza Strip that commemorated 71 years of ongoing Nakba. Using excessive force, the Israeli forces employed live ammunition, plastic-coated bullets, and tear-gas, injuring 153 protesters, including 50 children, three women, and one paramedic. 32 were wounded by live fire and 62 by tear gas canisters.
Documentation by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that Adel Al-Masharawi, 47, a paramedic with the Palestinian Medical Service, was wounded by a plastic-coated steel bullet in the head while he was evacuating casualties at the demonstration in the east of Gaza City.
Al Mezan condemns the continued use of excessive and other unlawful force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations. Al Mezan also expresses deep concern at the systematic and deliberate attacks on unarmed protesters, including children, as well as on paramedics—who are visible as such to Israeli forces. 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 calls on the international community to condemn all violations of international law and make a prompt intervention to ensure the protection of civilians from unlawful attacks in the context of the protests. Al Mezan stresses that any meaningful protection of Palestinians should include an end to the occupation, to the blockade on Gaza, and to the plight of Palestinian refugees, as well as facilitation of Palestinians’ exercise of their right to self-determination in a viable and independent state of their own.
The international community, led by the United Nations, must end its inaction on the longstanding suffering of Palestinians, perpetuated on a collective basis and through a broad range of systematic practices and policies, such as blockade and closure, indiscriminate and structural violence, forced displacement and transfer, and house demolitions and expropriation of land.