On Friday, 25 October 2019, the 80th week of the ‘Great March of Return’ protests, Israeli forces continued to use live fire and other violent means in policing the unarmed protests. Eighty-seven people were injured, including 34 children, two women, and one paramedic. Of the injured, 37 sustained wounds from live fire, while 13 were hit directly with tear gas canisters.
The field documentation conducted by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights on Friday shows that Mohamed Abdelhamid Tawfiq Deib, 24, a volunteer paramedic with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, was injured by a direct blow from a tear gas canister to his right leg at the demonstrations in the North Gaza district.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that since 30 March 2018, Israeli forces have killed 327 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Of the total fatalities, 214 were killed at the ‘Great March of Return’ protests, including 46 children, two women, four paramedics, two journalists, and nine persons with disability. Another 18,764 persons have been wounded, including 4,778 children and 845 women. Of the wounded, 9,355 were injured by live fire, including 2,039 children and 186 women. In 277 documented cases of attacks on medical personnel, 223 paramedics were wounded—43 of them more than once. In 246 documented cases of attacks on journalists, 173 journalists were injured—42 of them more than once. The Israeli forces continue to keep the bodies of 15 persons killed, including three minors.
Al Mezan is concerned at the continued, deliberate attacks on unarmed persons at the protests, including children, paramedics and journalists—the last two categories being visible as such to the Israeli forces—and condemns the use of excessive and lethal force by the military in a law enforcement context. Unarmed protesters and personnel that do not pose a serious and imminent threat to the Israeli forces must not be harmed. Al Mezan stresses that the rights to peaceful assembly and to free expression are fundamental rights and must be respected.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to condemn all violations of international law and to promptly intervene to ensure the protection of protesters and health and media personnel from unlawful attack in the context of the protests. The international community must end its silence on the aggravating human rights situation in the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan calls on the international community to take firm action to ensure accountability and justice for serious violations of international law.