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Israel resumed the deliberate use of excessive and lethal force against Palestinian protesters in Gaza, killing one and injuring eight

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20 September 2023 |Reference 59/2023

On Tuesday, 19 September 2023, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian protesters in Gaza, killing 25-year-old Yousef Salem Yousef Radwan and wounding another eight, including three children. Israeli forces shot Yousef in the head from behind, while another shot in the back pierced his chest.

For days, dozens of Palestinians gathered at the separation barrier between Gaza and Israel in the North Gaza, Gaza and Khan Younis districts to protest Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners and recurrent attacks on al-Aqsa mosque.

As reported by Al Mezan, a few days earlier, Israeli forces had injured four journalists who were covering the demonstrations, even though they were visibly wearing their PRESS vests and were standing at a distance from the fence.

On the events of 19 September 2023:

According to information gathered by Al Mezan field workers, dozens of youths and children gathered near the separation fence east of Khuza'a village in the Khan Yunis District at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, 19 September. Israeli soldiers stationed inside the separation fence started firing live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them.

At around 6:25 p.m. on the same day, Israeli soldiers opened fire at two young men who were trying to leave and get away from the separation barrier. When they reached a distance of about 150 meters west of the fence, one of them—Yousef Radwan—was hit by Israeli fire and collapsed to the ground. Immediately, several youths and paramedics rushed to him in an attempt to rescue him, as he was bleeding from his face and chest. Yousef was taken by ambulance to the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis, where he was announced dead after about 15 minutes. Another Palestinian was also injured during the demonstration in Khuza'a.

Meanwhile, on the same day, seven more Palestinians, including three children, were injured by Israeli forces stationed on the fence during demonstrations in the Malka area, east of the al-Zeitoun neighborhood, in the Gaza District, and in the Abu Safiya area, east of Jabalia, in the North Gaza District.

Al Mezan expresses its staunch condemnation of the renewed use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters in Gaza. It should be noted that during the Great March of Return demonstrations between 2018 and 2020, the Israeli army's systematic use of excessive force against unarmed protesters killed 217 Palestinians and injured and traumatized thousands more.

The conduct of the Israeli forces constitutes a serious violation of international law, particularly the deliberate killing and wounding of protected persons exercising their human rights to peaceful assembly and to express their opinions, with no danger to the lives of the members of those forces.

Accordingly, Al Mezan reiterates its repeated calls for urgent and effective action by the international community to put an end to the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people. For these ongoing violations to end, it is necessary for the international community to work to ensure that the occupying power complies with its legal obligations under international law and that those suspected of violating it are held accountable.