Press Releases

85th Friday of the Great Return March Demonstrations: 44 Wounded, Including 18 Children, One Woman and One Journalist

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20 December 2019 |Reference 108/2019

19:00 Jerusalem


For the 85th Friday, Israeli forces continue to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians, including children and women, participating in the peaceful marches along the separation fence in the eastern Gaza Strip, as well as against medical personnel and journalists present at the demonstrations’ gathering sites.

Field documentation conducted by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights show that on Friday, 20 December 2019, at about 15:30pm, the Israeli forces positioned at the eastern separation fence shot live bullets, plastic-coated steel bullets, and teargas canisters towards the protesters and journalists. Israeli force wounded 44 of the participants in the marches, including 18 children, one woman and one journalist—among whom 11 were shot with live bullets, and 5 were injured by gas canisters. The Palestinian Ministry of Health described the injury of three individuals, including one child, as severe.

Thaer Khaled Fahmy Abu Rayash, 24, photographer for Shamal Online Network was wounded in his left leg by a plastic-coated steel bullet while covering the demonstrations in the north-eastern part of the Gaza Strip.


Al Mezan’s documentation shows that since 30 March 2018, Israeli forces have killed 364 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Of the total fatalities, 215 were killed at the ‘Great March of Return’ protests, including 47 children, two women, four paramedics, two journalists, and nine persons with disability. The Israeli forces continue to hold the bodies of 15 fatalities, including two minors. Another 19,173 persons have been wounded, including 4,987 children and 864 women. 9,506 of the wounded were injured by live fire, including 2,127 children and 190 women. In 281 shootings, 225 paramedics were wounded, 44 of whom more than once. Also, in 249 shootings, 174 journalists were injured, 43 of whom more than once.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the Israeli forces continued targeting of defenseless civilians participating in peaceful marches, and the use of excessive force, especially against children and women, to police the demonstrations. The Center also condemns the repeated targeting of medical personnel and journalists—who are clearly visible as such to Israeli soldiers—in complete disregards to the rules of international law.

Al Mezan reiterates its call on the international community to actively intervene to stop Israeli violations, protect civilians and achieve justice in the occupied Palestinian territory. The international community must ensure the respect of international law, put an end to the blockade,  and enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inherent right to self-determination.