During the 44th week of the demonstrations in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces used lethal and other forms of excessive force on Palestinian protesters, paramedics, and journalists. The documentation by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that on Friday, 25 January 2019, Israeli forces killed one man and injured 153 other protesters, including 34 children, six women, five paramedics, and one journalist.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that Israeli forces escalated their use of tear gas canisters directly on protesters, with 63 protesters injured from gas canisters during the day. Al Mezan has documented the following casualties on the 44th Friday of demonstrations:
All these paramedics were injured while evacuating and providing medical treatment to casualties at the demonstrations.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows since the start of the protests on 30 March 2018, 261 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip. Of the total fatalities, 184 were killed at the protests, including 36 children, two women, two journalists, three paramedics, and eight persons with disability, including one child. Another 14,075 persons have been wounded, including 2,928 children, 616 women, 168 paramedics, and 147 journalists. Of those wounded, 7,530 were hit by live fire, including 1,380 children and 150 women. The Israeli forces continue to keep the bodies of 11 fatalities, including three 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 firing at unarmed protesters, paramedics and journalists, 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.