Time: 8pm (GMT +3)
Date: 1 June 2018
On 1 June 2018, the tenth Friday of the mass demonstrations, Israeli forces employed lethal and other excessive force and opened fire at Palestinian protesters along the fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. A 21-year-old volunteer paramedic was shot and killed, and 97 were injured, including 13 children. Of those injured, 33 were hit by live fire.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from 4pm on Friday, 1 June 2018, Israeli forces located at the eastern fence between Gaza and Israel used live ammunition, plastic-coated bullets, and tear gas on unarmed protesters. The shooting continued until 7:30pm.
At 6:45pm, Israeli forces located to the east of Khan Younis opened fire at Razan Al-Najjar, a 21-year-old volunteer paramedic in the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. Al-Najjar was shot with a live bullet that pierced through her chest and went out of her back. She was rushed to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, where half an hour later doctors pronounced her dead. The eye witnesses to the incident reported that when Al-Najjar was shot, she was helping to evacuate and provide medical care to casualties, at a distance of 100 meters west of the fence. She was wearing a visibility vest identifying her as a medic. At no point did she pose any threat to Israeli forces.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March on 30 March 2018, 98 Palestinians have been killed in protests, including 14 children, two journalists, two paramedics, and three persons with disability. Another 7,130 people were injured, including 1,264 children, 255 women, 45 paramedics, and 63 journalists—of them 3,702 were hit by live fire. During the same period, the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces has reached 129.
Al Mezan reiterates its strong condemnation of the use of lethal and other excessive force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations. Al Mezan stresses its strongest condemnation of continuous Israeli attacks on paramedics whose service adheres to the standards of impartiality and neutrality. Further, Palestinians in Gaza have the right to peacefully assemble to demand their fundamental and inalienable human rights. The case of protesters, who pose no serious threat to the Israeli forces, being shot lethally indicates a bold continuation of unlawful targeting practices, despite its legal consequences and international condemnation.
Al Mezan welcomes resolution (A/HRC/S-28/L.1), adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, which condemns Israeli violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws during the demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and mandates an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations committed in the context of the large-scale civilian protests. Al Mezan expresses its hope that the commission will be formed swiftly for the benefit of justice and accountability.
In recognition of the dramatic humanitarian and legal implications of the recent escalation, Al Mezan is urging the international community to take prompt steps to protect protesters and their right to peaceful assembly, to pressure Israeli forces to abstain from using unlawful force, to hold to account perpetrators, notably commanders, and to ensure Palestinians’ access to their indispensable and inalienable human rights. Given the unprecedented surge in rates of unemployment, poverty, electricity and water shortage, and rampant environmental pollution, Al Mezan is requesting that the international community increase its support to Palestinian institutions and organizations mandated to address living conditions in the Gaza Strip.