On Friday 4 October 2019, the 77th week of the Great March of Return (GMR) protests, Israeli forces continued to use live fire and other violent means in policing unarmed protests. A 28-year-old man was killed, and 57 people were injured, including 23 children, one woman, and one paramedic. Of the injured, 29 sustained wounds from live fire, while 16 were hit directly by tear gas canisters.
Field documentation conducted by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that on Friday:
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that since 30 March 2018, Israeli forces have killed 326 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Of the total fatalities, 213 were killed at the GMR protests, including 46 children, two women, four paramedics, two journalists, and nine persons with disability. Another 18,460 persons have been wounded, including 4,649 children and 826 women. 9,243 of the wounded were injured by live fire, including 2,000 children and 184 women. In 267 documented targeting of medical personnel, 222 paramedics were wounded, 43 of them more than once. Also, in 246 documented targeting of journalists, 173 journalists were injured, 42 of them more than once. The Israeli forces continue to keep the bodies of 16 fatalities, including three minors.
Al Mezan condemns the continued use of excessive and lethal force by Israeli forces to police demonstrations. Al Mezan also expresses concern by the continued deliberate attacks on unarmed protesters, including children, paramedics and journalists— the last two categories being visible as such to Israeli forces. Al Mezan stresses that the rights to peaceful assembly and to 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 harmed.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to condemn all violations of international law and to promptly intervene to ensure the protection of civilians from unlawful attack in the context of the protests. The international community must end its silence on the aggravating human rights situation and condemn all violations of international law. Al Mezan also calls on the international community to take firm action to ensure accountability and justice for serious violations of international law.