Last week: According to Al Mezan’s field reporting, on Wednesday evening, 25 August 2021, hundreds of Palestinians resumed protests near the perimeter fence in Khan Younis to call for an end to the unlawful Israeli closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip. While most of the protesters remained around 300 meters from the fence on Palestinian territory, some reportedly approached it. The Israeli soldiers, who were behind and on top of sand dunes overlooking the crowd, fired both live and rubber-coated bullets, as well as tear gas canisters at protesters.
Fourteen Palestinians, including a child, were wounded, with five of them suffering gunshot wounds and another seven being directly hit with tear gas canisters, as in the case of photojournalist Taha Rafaat Baker, 32, who was covering the demonstration. Some who inhaled the tear gas also suffered from suffocation and fainting and were treated by medics on-site.
Earlier on Saturday, a similar demonstration at the fence left at least 41 Palestinians wounded. One of the injured, Usama Khaled Deij, 31, died of his wounds on Wednesday, according to a statement by Gaza’s Ministry of Health.
Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s use of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force against Palestinian protesters who did not pose an imminent threat. This conduct constitutes a serious violation of international law, in particular of Israel’s human rights obligations within law enforcement.
The international community must urgently intervene to protect civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory who are demonstrating against the routine violation of their rights and must pressure Israel to immediately lift its unlawful closure of Gaza. The individuals suspected of committing the most serious crimes of concern must be investigated and prosecuted to ensure full accountability for the unlawful conduct of the Israeli military.