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Eight Months On: 173 Palestinian Protesters Killed and Thousands Injured by the IOF during Gaza’s Great Return March

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 08:03 Date: 13 November 2018
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Great Return March protests on Friday, 12 October 2018, East of Khuza’a, East of Khan Younis.

For the past eight months (33 consecutive weeks), Al-Haq has documented the Israeli Occupying Forces’ (IOF) use of unnecessary and excessive force, including lethal force, to suppress peaceful Palestinian assemblies along the Gaza fence. Since the start of the Great Return March protests in the Gaza Strip on 30 March 2018, the IOF have killed 173 protesters and injured thousands of others. The information provided below is based on Al-Haq’s field documentation throughout the Great Return March protests between 12 October and 9 November 2018.

29th Great Return March protests on Friday, 12 October 2018

On Friday, 12 October 2018, at around 4:00 pm, thousands of Palestinians arrived at the return camps and gathered by the fence in the five governorates of the Gaza Strip, participating in the 29th consecutive week of the Great Return March. From a distance of up to 300 metres from the fence, the protesters chanted national slogans and raised Palestinian flags, while hundreds approached the fence, set fire to tires and threw stones at the IOF soldiers deployed behind the fence. Some of the protesters threw incendiary bottles at the IOF, while others attempted to cut some parts of the fence to reach the other side. The IOF responded with excessive force, killing seven Palestinians, including one child, and injuring 224 by live ammunition and direct gas canister hits. Amongst the injured were 42 children, three journalists, and one paramedic.

Seven Palestinians killed by the IOF on Friday, 12 October 2018:

At around 4:00 pm, Afifi Mahmoud Al-Afifi, 18, a resident of Al Shati’ Refugee Camp, was injured by a bullet in the abdomen while participating the Great Return March protests in the Malka area, east of Gaza city. Afifi was transferred to Al-Shifa Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

At around 5:00 pm, the IOF killed four Palestinian youths, including a child, as they participated in the Great Return March east of Al-Breij Refugee Camp in Gaza’s Central Governorate. Israeli soldiers deployed behind the fence fired live ammunition towards a group of Palestinian youths who had crossed the fence to the other side, killing four Palestinians, including: 17-year-old Ahmad Ahmad Abu Na’eem, a resident of Al-Nusseirat Refugee Camp, who was shot in the chest and in his left arm; Ahmad Ibrahim Al-Taweel, 26, also a resident of Al-Nusseirat Refugee Camp, who was shot in the chest; Muhammad Abd Al-Hafeeth Ismail, 29, a resident of Deir Al-Balah, who was also shot in the chest; and Abdallah Barham Al-Daghmeh, 25, a resident of Abasan in Khan Younis, who was injured by a bullet that entered the right side of his abdomen and exited from the left. Protesters carried them to the ambulances located on Jakar Street at a distance of about 300 metres from the fence. The four youths were transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital in Deir Al-Balah where they were pronounced dead upon arrival.

At around 5:45 pm, Tamer Iyad Abu Ermanah, 21, a resident of Rafah, was injured by a bullet in the head at a distance of some 100 metres from the fence, during the protests in east of Rafah. Tamer was transferred to Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, where he was pronounced dead about half an hour following his arrival.

At about 6:20 pm, Muhammad Isam Abbas, 21, a resident of Al-Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood in Gaza city, was injured by a bullet in the head while protesting at a distance of about 100 metres from the fence in the Malka area, east of Gaza city. He was transferred to Al-Shifa Hospital, where he underwent surgery. Muhammad died at around 9:50 pm that evening.

224 Palestinians injured by the IOF on Friday, 12 October 2018:

In the Gaza Governorate, hundreds of Palestinians participated in the Great Return March protests, gathering in the Malka area, east of Gaza city. The IOF fired live ammunition and tear gas canisters directly at crowds of protesters, injuring 117 Palestinians, including 11 children and a journalist. Amongst the injured, 73 were wounded by live ammunition, including the journalist. Another 24 were directly hit with tear gas canisters, one protester was shot by a rubber bullet, while 14 others suffered tear gas inhalation.

In the Central Governorate, protests were concentrated to the east of Al-Breij Refugee Camp, where 42 Palestinians were injured by the IOF, including 12 children. Of the 42 injured, 30 were wounded by live ammunition, two by gas canisters, five by gas inhalation, and five with minor infractions.

In the Rafah Governorate, the IOF targeted protesters with live ammunition and gas canisters, injuring 27 Palestinians, including two children. Amongst the wounded, 19 were by live ammunition and eight by gas canister hits.

In the North Gaza Governorate, the IOF wounded 44 protesters, including 15 children, and a journalist. Amongst the injured, 36 were wounded by live ammunition, including 12 children, while another eight, including three children, were wounded by gas canisters.

In the Khan Younis Governorate, the IOF injured 24 protesters, including five children, a journalist, and a paramedic. Amongst the 24 injuries, 16 were wounded by live ammunition and eight by gas canister hits.

30th Great Return March protests on Friday, 19 October 2018

On Friday, 19 October2018, between 3:00 pm and 6:30 pm, hundreds of peaceful protesters from different age groups continued to participate in the 30th Great Return March protests across the occupied Gaza Strip. The protesters raised Palestinian flags, chanted national slogans, and set tires on fire near the fence, while others threw stones at IOF soldiers behind the fence. As in the previous protests, the IOF targeted the peaceful protesters, paramedics, and journalists, by resorting to excessive and lethal force to suppress the protests. The IOF fired live ammunition and tear gas canisters, injuring 304 Palestinians, including 42 children, three paramedics and four journalists.

One Palestinian protester fatally shot by the IOF on Friday, 19 October 2018:

Ghanem Ibrahim Sharab, 44, a resident of Khan Younis, was shot with a live bullet in his left ankle while participating in the Great Return March protests, east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, around 5:30 pm on Friday, 19 October 2018. Ghanem, a person with disability who suffered mental health issues, was then transferred to the European Gaza Hospital, where he was treated for ten days until he was pronounced dead on Monday, 5 November 2018, at around 10:00 am.

304 Palestinians injured by the IOF on Friday, 19 October 2018:

In the North Gaza Governorate, the IOF injured 62 protesters, including 19 children during the 30th Great Return March protests on Friday, 19 October 2018. Amongst the 62 injuries, 56 Palestinians were injured by live ammunition, including 15 children, while nine others were hit by gas canisters.

In the Gaza Governorate, at Malka area, 119 Palestinians were injured by the IOF, including ten children, two journalists, and two paramedics. Amongst the 119 injuries, 49 were wounded by live ammunition, 43 by gas canisters, 11 by rubber bullets, while the rest suffered gas inhalation.

In the Central Governorate, the IOF injured 39 protesters, including five children. Amongst the injured, 33 were shot by live bullets and six were hit by gas canisters. Two journalists were amongst the wounded.

Meanwhile, in the Khan Yunis Governorate, 54 Palestinians were injured, including five children and a paramedic. Amongst the injured, 52 were as a result of live bullets and two by direct gas canister hits.

In the Rafah Governorate, the IOF fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protesters, injuring 24 Palestinians, including three children. Amongst the 24 injuries, 16 were wounded by live bullets and eight by gas canister hits.

31st Great Return March protests on Friday, 26 October 2018

On Friday, 26 October 2018, during the 31st Great Return March protests, the IOF continued to use lethal and excessive force against the peaceful protesters of the Great Return March in the Gaza Strip. As a result, four Palestinian protesters were killed by the IOF and 297 others were injured, including 60 children, four journalists, and six paramedics. Amongst the injured, 16 were seriously wounded while hundreds of others suffered from gas inhalation.

Four Palestinians killed by the IOF on Friday, 26 October 2018:

At about 3:20 pm, Muhammad Khaled Abd Al-Nabi, 29, a resident of Jabaliya, was shot with a bullet in the head while protesting in the area of Abu Safiya hill, east of Jabaliya. Muhammad was first transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia for treatment, then to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival at about 4:30 pm that same day.

At about 4:00 pm, Ahmad Khaled Al-Najar, 21, a resident of Khuza’a in Khan Younis, was shot by a live bullet in his abdomen while participating in the Great Return March protests near Al-Awda Refugee Camp, east of Khuza’a, on 26 October 2018. Ahmad was transferred to the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis for treatment. Due to his critical injury, Ahmad was transferred and hospitalized in Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday, 7 November 2018, at around 9:00 am.

Between 4:45 pm and 5:00 pm, the IOF killed three Palestinians participating in protests east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis. The protesters gathered in a different place this Friday, at a distance of about 1,500 metres from the return camp in Khuza’a, and about 100 to 300 metres from the fence. The protesters set fire to tires, threw stones at the IOF, and tried to come close to the fence. The IOF shot live ammunition at them, killing three Palestinians: Ahmad Sa’ed Abu Libdeh, 24, a resident of Bani Suheila in Khan Younis, who was shot by a bullet in the chest; Nassar Eyad Abu Taym, 19, a resident of Bani Suheila in Khan Younis, who was shot by a bullet in the head; and Ayesh Ghassan Shaath, 22, a resident of Al-Fakhari in Khan Younis, who was shot by a bullet in the head.

297 Palestinians injured by the IOF on Friday, 26 October 2018:

In the North Gaza Governorate, 55 Palestinian protesters were injured by IOF fire, including 14 children and a paramedic. Amongst the injuries, 42 were wounded by live ammunition, including 13 children and the paramedic. Three others were wounded by gas canister hits. The IOF also targeted a Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulance.

In the Gaza Governorate, the IOF injured 107 protesters, including 17 children. Amongst the 107 injured, 52 were wounded by live bullets. In addition, 33 others were wounded by gas canisters and seven by rubber bullets.

In the Central Governorate, 56 protesters were injured by the IOF, 50 of whom by live ammunition, including 17 children and four paramedics.

In the Khan Younis Governorate, 55 protesters were wounded in Khuza’a, including ten children and a journalist.

In the Rafah Governorate, 24 Palestinians were injured, including two children, a volunteer paramedic, and a journalist. Amongst the 24 injuries, 15 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition.

32nd Great Return March protests on Friday, 2 November 2018

On Friday, 2 November 2018, during the 32nd Great Return March protests, the IOF continued to use lethal and excessive force against the peaceful protesters of the Great Return March protests across the Gaza Strip. As a result, 48 Palestinians were injured, including nine children. Amongst the injuries, 23 were as a result of live ammunition and 18 through direct gas canister hits.

48 Palestinians injured by the IOF on Friday, 2 November 2018:

In the North Gaza Governorate, hundreds of peaceful protesters, including women and children, gathered in Abu Safiya hill, east of Jabaliya, and in the south-east of Beit Hanoun. The IOF targeted the protesters leading to the injury of ten, including two children, four of whom with live ammunition. Amongst the wounded, one Palestinian sustained a serious injury with a bullet in the head.

Meanwhile, in the Malka area, east of Gaza, the IOF injured 11 Palestinian protesters, including three children. Amongst the 11 injuries, five were injured with live ammunition, one with a rubber bullet, and five others were injured by gas canisters.

In the Central Governorate, in protests east of Al-Breij Refugee Camp, three Palestinian protesters were wounded by the IOF, including two as a result of bullet shrapnel, and one with a gas canister.

In Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, 12 Palestinian protesters were wounded by the IOF, including two children. Five were injured with live bullets, one with a rubber bullet, and six others with gas canisters.

In the Rafah Governorate, the IOF targeted Palestinian protesters with live ammunition and gas canisters injuring 12 Palestinians, including two children. Seven were wounded with live bullets, amongst them two who were seriously injured, four with gas canisters, and one with a rubber bullet.

33rd Great Return March protests on Friday, 9 November 2018

On Friday, 9 November 2018, during the 33rd Great Return March protests, the IOF killed one Palestinian east of Rafah and injured 146 others, including 21 children and four paramedics. It should be noted that during the protests on 2 November and 9 November, the protesters did not attempt to reach the fence, set fire to tires, or throw stones. Nonetheless, the IOF soldiers deployed behind the fence continued to resort to unnecessary, excessive, and lethal force against to suppress the protests.

One Palestinian protester killed by the IOF on Friday, 9 November 2018:

At about 4:00 pm, on Friday, 9 November 2018, Rami Wael Qahman, 29, was injured by the IOF with a bullet in the neck, east of Rafah, while he was protesting some 100 metres from the fence. Rami was transferred to the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis, where he was pronounced dead at around 8:30 pm that same day.

146 Palestinians injured by the IOF on Friday, 9 November 2018:

In the North Gaza Governorate, particularly in the Abu Safiya area, east of Jabaliya, the IOF injured 34 Palestinians, including 11 children and three paramedics. Amongst the 34 injured, 21 were shot with live ammunition, including five children and a paramedic. In addition, one Palestinian was wounded with a rubber bullet, while nine others were injured with gas canisters, including six children and two paramedics.

In the Gaza Governorate, the IOF injured 49 Palestinian protesters, including three children. Amongst the 49 injuries, 11 were wounded with live ammunition, 34 with rubber bullets, and four with gas canisters.

In the Central Governorate, the IOF wounded 20 protesters in Al-Breij Refugee Camp protests, 15 of whom with live ammunition.

In the Khan Younis Governorate, 43 protesters were injured, 21 of whom with live ammunition, five with rubber bullets, and 17 with tear gas canisters. Amongst the 43 injuries, four children and one paramedic were wounded.

In the Rafah Governorate, one Palestinian protester was wounded with an IOF bullet shot in the foot, while two others were injured by gas canisters.

After 33 weeks of protests, Al-Haq reaffirms Palestinian protesters’ legitimate demands for Israel to lift its unlawful 11-year closure of the Gaza Strip, amounting to collective punishment, and to realise the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return, as mandated by international law, 70 years since their mass expulsion. Finally, Al-Haq reiterates its calls on the international community to take action by imposing sanctions on Israel until it brings its violations to an end and to ensure effective and meaningful accountability for Israel’s systematic suppression of the Great Return March protests in the Gaza Strip, including the commission of suspected crimes, since 30 March 2018.