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11 May 2018: IOF Commit Wilful Killings of Two Palestinians, including a Child, and Injure Hundreds as Gaza Protests continue into Seventh Week

Sunday, 13 May 2018 08:55
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Palestinians participate in seventh Great Return March protests, east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, 11 May 2018 – Al-Haq (c) 2018. Friday, 11 May 2018 marked the seventh consecutive week of the Great Return March,[1] launched on 30 March 2018, and demonstrated against Israel’s unlawful closure of the Gaza Strip and its persistent denial to fulfil Palestinian refugees’ right of return, ahead of the seventieth commemoration of the Nakba this coming Tuesday, 15 May. Last Friday, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) once again resorted to excessive force, including lethal force, to suppress hundreds of peaceful protesters across the Gaza Strip. Al-Haq documented the killing of two Palestinians by live ammunition, and the injury of 340 others, including 44 children, seven women, six journalists, and one paramedic on 11 May 2018.[2] Al-Haq’s field researchers reported that medical field staff treated hundreds of other cases of exposure to gas as a result of the IOF’s widespread and excessive firing of gas causing fainting and seizures amongst those targeted, which included paramedics, journalists,[3] women, and children.[4]

According to preliminary documentation by Al-Haq, thousands of protesters from various age groups, including children, women, and the elderly gathered once again on Friday to take part in the seventh Great Return March protests across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip. As in the past seven weeks, protesters gathered at distances varying between 50 to 500 metres near the fence running along the Gaza Strip from the morning hours, and proceeded to peacefully protest until around 8:00 pm, posing no immediate threat to the heavily armed IOF snipers and soldiers positioned behind the fence. Again, hundreds of Israeli occupying soldiers, including snipers, were positioned on sand hills and bunkers elevated above ground level at distances varying between 30 to 60 metres beyond the fence. Soldiers and snipers proceeded to deliberately target peaceful protesters with live ammunition, rubber bullets, and gas grenades.

Wilful Killings of Two Palestinians, including a Child

At around 4:15 pm on Friday, 11 May 2018, the IOF shot 15-year-old child Jamal Abd Al-Hadi Muhammad Afana, a resident of Rafah, during his participation in peaceful protests east of Al-Shawka, east of Rafah. Jamal was shot by a live bullet in the head by the IOF. His death was pronounced at around 8:25 pm on Saturday, 12 May 2018, as a result of his critical injury. At around 4:30 pm on Friday, Israeli occupying soldiers stationed behind the fence intentionally shot and killed Palestinian civilian, Jaber Abdullah Abu Mustafa, 39, a resident of Khan Younis. Jaber was shot with a live bullet in the chest while peacefully protesting around 100 metres away from the fence. He was transported to the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. The killings of Jamal and Jaber, who posed no immediate threat to heavily armed Israeli soldiers, as well as the killings of all other Palestinian protesters by the IOF in the Gaza Strip since 30 March 2018 may amount to wilful killings, a grave breach of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a war crime,[5] prosecutable at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Hundreds of Injuries amongst Peaceful Palestinian Protesters

In the North Gaza Governorate, the IOF suppressed peaceful protests east of Jabaliya, injuring 65 Palestinians, including 13 children, four women, and two journalists. Amongst the injured, 46 were shot by live ammunition, and 14 remain in critical condition, including 17-year-old Hisham Fayez Diab Okal.

In the Gaza Governorate, protests were concentrated east of Al-Zaitoun neighbourhood, east of Gaza. The IOF injured 85 protesters, including nine children, and two women. Amongst the injured, 61 were shot by live bullets, of which three remain in critical condition. Two journalists were also injured by the IOF, including journalist Mu’tasem Ahmad Ibrahim Dalloul, 40, who was shot with a live bullet in the right side of his lower back, and journalist Diya’ Fayez Shukri Abu ‘Oun, 27, who sustained injuries in the knee, hand, and left shoulder from the shrapnel of a live bullet.

Palestinians participate in seventh Great Return March protests, east of Gaza, 11 May 2018 – Al-Haq (c) 2018.

In the Central Governorate, the IOF further suppressed protests east of Al-Breij refugee camp, injuring 31 protesters, including six children. Amongst the injured, 29 were shot by live bullets, two of whom are in critical condition. In addition, several gas canisters landed near ambulances operated by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) located on Jakar Street, around 300 metres away from the fence, exposing a number of paramedics to gas inhalation.

In the Khan Younis Governorate, protests were concentrated east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, where the IOF heavily suppressed protests and injured 106 Palestinians, including 11 children, and two women. Amongst the injured, 31 were shot by live ammunition, and 75 injuries were sustained as a result of direct hits from gas canisters, excessively fired of by the IOF. Mu’min Abd Al-Qader Khalil Madi, 27, a volunteer paramedic with the PRCS, was injured as a result of a direct hit in the back by a gas canister. Three journalists were also injured by direct gas canister hits. Photojournalist Mohammed Nahro Abd Al-Karim Al-Thalathini, 26, journalist Mohammed Bassam Al-Jamal, 25, and journalist Yasser Fathi Qudeih, 34, all sustained injuries in the right foot due to direct hits by gas canisters.

In the Rafah Governorate, protests were concentrated east of Al-Shawka town, east of Rafah. The IOF injured 49 protesters, including eight children. Amongst the injured, 43 were shot by live ammunition and shrapnel, while six were directly hit by gas canisters. Amongst the wounded was journalist Hisham Muhammad Fakhri Al-Nawajha, 21, who was injured by a gas canister in his right leg. The IOF also directly targeted two ambulances, one of which is operated by the Palestinian Directorate of Medical Services, which was targeted by live ammunition, and the other operated by the Palestinian Civil Defense, which was targeted by a gas canister that broke through the window and landed inside the ambulance, exposing three medical personnel to gas inhalation.

Al-Haq’s field researcher documents the seventh Great Return March protests, east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, 11 May 2018 – Al-Haq (c) 2018.

Since 30 March 2018, the IOF have killed 52 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including 42 during the Great Return March protests, which are expected to continue until 15 May, when Palestinians commemorate 70 years since the Nakba. Al-Haq reaffirms its call upon the Israeli occupying authorities and international bodies, including the United Nations, to urgently conduct transparent and open investigations into the killings and injuries resulting from the use of excessive force, including lethal force, by the IOF in suppression of Palestinians’ legitimate calls and their rights to life and to peaceful assembly.[6]


[1] For previous Al-Haq documentation of the Great Return March, see: Al-Haq, “30 March: 15 Palestinians Killed, More than a Thousand Injured, as IOF Violently Suppress Palestinian Protestors in the Gaza Strip” (31 March 2018), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1206-30-march-15-palestinians-killed-more-than-a-thousand-injured-as-iof-violently-suppress-palestinian-protestors-in-the-gaza-strip. Al-Haq, “6 April 2018: 9 Palestinian Protestors Killed, Another by an Israeli Airstrike, Hundreds Injured in the Gaza Strip” (9 April 2018), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1212-6-april-2018-9-palestinian-protestors-killed-another-by-an-israeli-airstrike-hundreds-injured-in-the-gaza-strip-. Al-Haq, “13 April: Palestinian Determination to Peaceful Protest Continues to be met with Excessive Use of Force by the IOF” (19 April 2018), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1216-13-april-palestinian-determination-to-peaceful-protest-continues-to-be-met-with-excessive-use-of-force-by-the-iof. Al-Haq, “20 April 2018: Wilful Killing of Four Palestinians, including a Child, and Injury of 252 Protesters in Fourth Great Return March Week” (21 April 2018), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1218-20-april-2018-wilful-killing-of-four-palestinians-including-a-child-and-injury-of-252-protesters-in-fourth-great-return-march-week. Al-Haq, “27 April 2018: Wilful Killings Continue in the Gaza Strip as Impunity Prevails” (30 April 2018), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1224-27-april-2018-wilful-killings-continue-in-the-gaza-strip-as-impunity-prevails. Al-Haq, “4 May 2018: IOF Continue to Deliberately Injure Palestinians, Expose Peaceful Protesters, Paramedics, and Journalists to Tear Gas Causing Fainting and Seizures” (6 May 2018), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1227-4-may-2018-iof-continue-to-deliberately-injure-palestinians-expose-peaceful-protesters-paramedics-and-journalists-to-tear-gas-causing-fainting-and-seizures.

[2] Al-Haq Field Report, 11 May 2018.

[3] Al-Haq has provided a legal analysis of the targeting of journalists and civilians during the Great Return March protests. See Al-Haq “Great Return March Continues: Person with Disability and Journalist Killed in the Line of IOF Fire” (5 May 2016), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/documentation/weekly-focuses/1226-great-return-march-continues-person-with-disability-and-journalist-killed-in-the-line-of-iof-fire.

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[4] Al-Haq has documented other incidents of excessive firing of gas during previous Great Return March protests. See Al-Haq “4 May 2018: IOF Continue to Deliberately Injure Palestinians, Expose Peaceful Protesters, Paramedics, and Journalists to Tear Gas Causing Fainting and Seizures” (6 May 2018), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1227-4-may-2018-iof-continue-to-deliberately-injure-palestinians-expose-peaceful-protesters-paramedics-and-journalists-to-tear-gas-causing-fainting-and-seizures.

[5] Article 8(2)(a)(i), Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

[6] See Al-Haq, “Joint Open Letter to the United Nations on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine” (10 May 2018), available at: http://www.alhaq.org/images/thumbnails/images/stories/Images/Joint%20Open%20Letter%20on%20the%20United%20Nations%20on%20the%20Human%20Rights%20Situation%20in%20Palestine_10%20May%202018.pdf.