Time: 10pm (GMT +2)
Gaza City—During the thirty-first week of the Great Return March demonstrations in Gaza the Israeli military continued to use lethal and other excessive force on Palestinian protesters, paramedics and journalists. The documentation by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that on Friday, 26 October 2018, Israeli forces used live ammunition, plastic-coated bullets and tear gas, killing four protesters and wounding 297 others, including 60 children, nine women, six paramedics, and four journalists. Of the wounded, 214 sustained injuries from live ammunition, including 34 children and eight women; 20 of them are in critical condition according to medical sources. Al Mezan’s documentation indicates a trend of snipers shooting protesters in the upper part of the bodies, which has led to the following fatalities on Friday:
Al Mezan documented the continued wounding of members of the medical teams and press present:
At 4:16 pm the same day, a Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulance was damaged when Israeli forces fired a live bullet at the left door in eastern Jabalia.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from the start of the Great Return March protests on 30 March 2018, 222 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip. Of the total fatalities, 168 were killed at the demonstrations—including 33 children, one woman, two journalists, three paramedics, and four persons with disability. Another 11,968 persons have been injured, including 2,329 children, 500 women, 128 paramedics, and 132 journalists. Of those injured, 6,819 were hit by live fire, including 1,206 children and 140 women. The Israeli forces continue to keep the bodies of ten fatalities, including two minors.
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 expresses deep concern at the continued attacks on children, as well as on journalists and paramedics, who are visibly marked as such. Al Mezan stresses that the right to peaceful assembly and 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 shot.
Al Mezan urges the international community to take prompt and effective action to ensure respect for international law and provide meaningful protection for unarmed protesters throughout Gaza. The duty to protect protected persons is a principal legal requirement 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.
The failure to hold to account perpetrators of human rights abuses encourages the advancement of harmful policies and practices. Al Mezan therefore calls on the international community to support accountability mechanisms and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice in accordance with international law. In this vein, the international community is called upon to support the UN Commission of Inquiry’s impartial and independent investigation into the apparent unlawful deployment of force against the unarmed protesters, journalists and paramedics.