The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have used excessive and lethal force against Palestinian protestors, including children, who were near the border fence in the east of the Gaza Strip. The protestors had marched to the border area to express solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, who are subject to daily attacks by the Israeli forces and settlers. Seven civilians were killed and 147 people were injured in the incidents in Gaza. One of the injured was Anadolu Agency photographer Metin Kaya, who sustained shrapnel wounds in his left hand when IOF opened fire at his camera. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the excessive and lethal use of force against civilian protestors and calls for immediate international protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
According to Al Mezan’s monitoring, it was at approximately 2:00 pm on Friday, 9 October 2015, when the IOF opened fire at the hundreds of Palestinian protestors who had marched to several areas near the border of Gaza and Israel in solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank. As a result, seven people were killed, including one child, and 147 people were injured, most of whom from live bullets.
Al Mezan identifies the people killed, with the cause of death, as follows:
Al Mezan's field investigations revealed that the demonstrators were civilians and that no armed men were present nearby. The demonstrators did not pose a threat to the lives of the [fortified] Israeli soldiers. The heavy, direct shooting at the peaceful protestors reflects an intent to injure and kill. The seven persons who were killed died from the use of live ammunition to the upper parts of their bodies. The shootings represent a blatant violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The shootings failed to observe the basic principles of distinction, proportionality and the protection of life and children.
Al Mezan strongly condemns the Israeli escalation against Palestinians in the oPt and the extremely violent suppression of Palestinian protestors acting against Israel's occupation and oppression. Al Mezan asserts that the direct IOF shooting at unarmed protestors reflects instructions given by the Israeli government which has relaxed the regulations regarding the use of live fire at demonstrators and stone throwers. The practice is also part of the continuous and systematic violations committed by the IOF against civilians in the Gaza Strip, especially in the access restricted areas.
Al Mezan, therefore, calls on the international community to promptly intervene and provide protection for civilians in the oPt; to bring to an end the Israeli violations of international law; and take concrete steps towards ensuring the Palestinian peoples’ rights, including the right to self-determination.