On Friday 23 August 2019, the 71th week of the Great March of Return (GMR) protests, Israeli forces continued to use live fire and other violent means in policing unarmed protests. 161 people were injured, including 56 children, one woman and six paramedics. Of the injured, 77 sustained wounds from live fire, while 25 were hit directly by tear gas canisters. Medical sources reported that three of the wounded are in serious condition.
The documentation by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that on Friday:
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from 30 March 2018, Israeli forces have killed 321 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Of the total fatalities, 208 were killed at the protests, including 44 children, two women, four paramedics, two journalists, and nine persons with disability. Another 17,902 persons have been wounded, including 4,400 children and 806 women. 8,964 of the wounded were injured by live fire, including 1,885 children and 176 women. In 261 shootings, 210 paramedics were wounded, 42 of them more than once. Also, in 245 shootings, 172 journalists were injured, 41 of them more than once. The Israeli forces continue to keep the bodies of 16 fatalities, including three minors.
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 concern by the continued deliberate attacks on unarmed protesters, including children, persons with disability, paramedics and journalists— the last two categories being visible as such to Israeli forces. Al Mezan stresses that the rights to peaceful assembly and to 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 harmed.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to condemn all violations of international law and to promptly intervene to ensure the protection of civilians from unlawful attack in the context of the protests. The international community must end its silence on the aggravating human rights situation and condemn all violations of international law. Al Mezan also calls on the international community to take firm action to ensure accountability and justice for serious violations of international law.