Time: 8pm (local time)
During the Great Return March demonstrations on Friday in the Gaza Strip, on 31 August 2018, Israeli forces injured 78 Palestinians, including 16 children, two women, one journalist, and two paramedics. A child and a female paramedic are reportedly in a critical condition at hospital.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from 4pm on Friday, 31 August 2018, Israeli forces located at the fence in the east of Gaza used live ammunition, plastic-coated steel bullets, and tear gas on unarmed protesters, journalists and paramedics. Al Mezan’s documentation shows that:
The Israeli forces’ shooting continued until 7:30pm on the same day.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March on 30 March 2018, 179 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. Of them, 130 were killed in the demonstrations—including 23 children, one woman, two journalists, three paramedics, and three persons with disability. Another 9,251 people were injured, including 1,705 children, 410 women, 103 paramedics, and 85 journalists. Of those injured 5,225 were hit by live fire, including 859 children and 112 women.
Al Mezan reiterates its condemnation of the use of lethal and other excessive force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations. Al Mezan stresses its condemnation of the continued attacks on medics and journalists. Palestinians in Gaza have the right to peacefully assemble to demand their rights. The case of protesters, who pose no serious or imminent threat to the Israeli forces, being shot lethally indicates a continuation of unlawful targeting practices, despite its legal consequences and international condemnation.
Al Mezan urges the international community, led by the Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to take prompt and effective steps to ensure respect for international law and provide meaningful protection for unarmed protesters and civilians throughout Gaza. The duty to protect civilians is a principal legal obligation and is, at this point in the conflict, a test of the authenticity of the international community’s commitment to their legal obligations, moral standards and humanitarian objectives vis-à-vis the Palestinian population.
Al Mezan stresses its position that the failure to hold to account perpetuators of human rights and international humanitarian law violations encourages the advancement of impunity. Al Mezan therefore calls on the international community to activate accountability mechanisms to ensure that violators are brought to justice in accordance with international humanitarian and criminal law.