Gaza: Fears of further bloodshed as Israel adopts ‘zero tolerance’ policy

Amnesty International, 19 October 2018

Fears of escalating bloodshed are rising ahead of planned protests in Gaza later today after Israeli authorities announced a “zero tolerance” policy towards demonstrations along the Israel/Gaza fence, said Amnesty International.

The organization is calling on the Israeli government to rein in its armed forces, which have routinely used unnecessary or excessive force during Gaza’s weekly “Great March of Return” demonstrations.

“Given Israeli forces’ horrific track record of using deadly force against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, as well as journalists, medics and others, the announcement of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy is deeply alarming,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

The exact details of what “zero tolerance” means have not been disclosed, but there are fears it will lead to more Palestinian deaths along the Gaza/Israel border.

“There are serious fears that this policy will further sanction the use of deadly force against unarmed protesters during today’s demonstrations, and that Israeli forces will be given carte blanche authorization to carry out large-scale, unlawful killings escalating the bloodshed. Israel has repeatedly used lethal force unnecessarily and excessively against unarmed protesters in shameless violation of international law,” said Saleh Higazi.

There are serious fears that this policy will further sanction the use of deadly force against unarmed protesters during today’s demonstrations, and that Israeli forces will be given carte blanche authorization to carry out large-scale, unlawful killings escalating the bloodshed.
Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International

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Serious Escalation of Lethal Force in Eastern Gaza Strip

Israeli Forces Kill 7 Civilians, Including a Child

224 Others, Including 42 Children, 3 Women, 3 Journalists and a Paramedic, Are Wounded

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Ref: 111/2018, October 12, 2018

On Friday afternoon, 12 October 2018, using excessive force against the peaceful protesters in the eastern Gaza Strip for the 29th Friday in a row, Israeli forces Killed 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and and wounded 224 others, including 42 children, 3 women, 3 journalists, and a paramedic with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters. Ten of those wounded sustained serious wounds. Sixteen of those wounded sustained serious wounds.

According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed heavy deployment of the Israeli forces this week as the latter heavily fired live bullets, increasing the number of causalities.

According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed heavy deployment of the Israeli forces this week as the latter heavily fired live bullets, increasing the number of causalities .

The Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators who posed no threat or danger to the life of Israeli soldiers in the areas of demonstrations.

Investigations and observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers emphasize that the demonstrations in all areas were as always fully peaceful, and neither weapons nor armed persons were seen. However, the Israeli forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the sand berms and in military jeeps along the border fence.

The incidents today, 12 October 2018, were as follows:

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Gaza’s economy is not ‘falling.’ It was pushed.


Palestinian laborers protest against the continued Israeli siege and the spread of unemployment in Gaza City on May 1, 2018. (Photo: Ashram Amra/APA Images)

Marilyn Garson, Mondoweiss, September 27, 2018

The economic and social situation in Gaza that has been declining for over a decade, has deteriorated exponentially in recent months. . . The situation has reached a critical point.
— Economic Monitoring Report to the World Bank Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Sept 27, 2018 (PDF)

The latest Economic Monitoring Report to the World Bank Ad Hoc Liaison Committee [AHLC] quantifies the collective punishment and mounting hardship of the Gaza Strip:

  • – 6% growth in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same months of 2017.
  • 53.7% unemployment, over 70% for youth and 78% for women in Q1, 2018. The first figures from Q2 suggest that unemployment has risen a further 5%.
  • 53% of Gazans – every second person – lives below the poverty line.
  • 2% of Gazans receive an uninterrupted supply of water. 98% do not.

The cause is not in doubt: the government of Israel imposes “restrictions that are the main impediment” to normal economic activity. “The blockade has caused Gaza’s economy to deindustrialize”. As proportions of GDP, manufacturing and agriculture have declined by more than half since 1994. The blockade and repeated wars have caused Gaza’s economy to grow more slowly than all of its comparator economies (including the West Bank).

And try doing business in an economy this volatile:

(Source: Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, September 27, 2018)

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24th Friday of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege of the Gaza Strip

Israeli Forces Kill 1 Child and Wound 137 Civilians, including 26 Children, 4 Paramedics and 1 Journalist

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), September 7, 2018, Ref: 97/2018

On Friday afternoon, 07 September 2018, using excessive force against the peaceful protesters in the eastern Gaza Strip for the 24th Friday in a row, Israeli forces Killed a child and wounded 137 civilians, including 26 children, 4 paramedics and 1 journalist with live bullets and directly hit tear gas canisters. Nine of those wounded sustained serious wounds in addition to dozens of civilians suffering tear gas inhalation. Moreover, Today early morning, a young man succumbed to serious wounds he sustained during his participation in the Return Demonstration in the northern Gaza Strip on 13 July 2018.

According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed heavy deployment of the Israeli forces this week as the latter heavily fired live bullets and tear gas canisters, increasing the number of causalities comparing with the previous weeks, despite the peaceful nature prevailing the demonstrations.

The Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators who posed no threat or danger to the life of Israeli soldiers in the areas of demonstrations.

Table of Civilian Casualties due to the Israeli Suppression since the Beginning of the Great March of Return on 30 March

Casualties Medical Crews Journalists Women Children Total Notes
Killed 3 2 1 24 132 [1]
Wounded 109 80 206 1208 7042 [2]

[1] Among those killed there are 3 persons with disabilities, while among the children killed there is a girl.
[2] Among those wounded, 433 are in serious condition and 69 had their lower or upper limbs amputated. The number of wounded includes those from live bullets and directly hit with tear gas canisters, as there have been a thousand others who suffered tear gas inhalation.


Investigations and observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers emphasize that the demonstrations in all areas were as always fully peaceful, and neither weapons nor armed persons were seen. However, the Israeli forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the sand berms and in military jeeps along the border fence.

The incidents today, 07 September 2018, were as follows:

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UNRWA Crisis: Beyond Dollars and Cents

Zaha Hassan, Palestine Square | Institute for Palestine Studies, August 3, 2018

“Continuing services to refugees is a right, not a handout.”

This was the message last week of one of the thousands in Gaza who came out to protest the UN Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) decision to not renew 154 employment contracts in the occupied Palestinian territory. Despite UNRWA’s best efforts, it has not been able to make up its current $250 million budget shortfall resulting from the U.S. decision to slash its contributions to the refugee agency.

Almost 12,500 Palestinians in Gaza are dependent on an UNRWA paycheck, which in many cases helps sustain more than just the nuclear family in the enclave where the unemployment rate is over 40%. It is unclear whether there will be enough funding for the 262,000 children in Gaza’s UNRWA schools to return to their classrooms this academic year.

The existential threat facing UNRWA is deliberate, and so are the dire consequences for the 5.3 million registered refugees it serves. President Donald Trump and his Middle East Team headed by advisor, Jared Kushner, have latched onto the idea that humanitarian relief may be used as leverage to force the Palestinian leadership back to a negotiating table set by Israel. Leaked details of the Kushner-crafted peace plan indicate that it is nothing more than a souped up, donor-infused version of the status quo that Israel seeks to have legitimated with the signature of President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian leader has infuriated the Administration by refusing to engage with it on these terms and so the Administration—along with the Republican-controlled Congress—has been tightening the financial noose around Palestinians.

[From the Journal of Palestine Studies | UNRWA and the Refugees: A Difficult but Lasting Marriage]

The idea of weaponizing humanitarian assistance provided to Palestinians is not new but it has never before found the currency it now has in the White House. Of late, right-wing think tanks, pro-“Greater Israel” Washington lobby groups and the “no daylight between Israel and the U.S.” politicians have been peddling the fiction that humanitarian relief to Palestinian refugees has been growing by leaps and bonds. They argue that aid money that maintains the camp infrastructure and enables the provision of essential services and work opportunities perpetuates refugeehood.

Of course, no Palestinian, or any other person for that matter, chooses to live as a stateless person in the squalor of a refugee camp dependent on food aid. The plight of Palestinian refugees is a result of a concerted effort by pre-state Zionist leaders and successive Israeli governments to avoid reaching a political solution based on international law and precedent. One need only look back on the remarks of Abba Eban, Israel’s representative to the UN, during the debate over whether the UN ought to accept Israel’s twice-rejected application for UN membership. Eban, though loathe to definitively state that Israel would permit the return of the 750,000 Palestinian refugees to their homes, promised that Israel would take no action “inconsistent with the resolutions of the [UN General] Assembly and the Security Council.” Furthermore, he stated that the refugee issue could only be solved within the United Nations and that acceptance of Israel as a member would make it easier to reach the desired political solution. He argued, however, that the timing for refugee return was premature; a peace agreement between Israel and the Arab states was required first so that borders could be established and repatriation could be implemented.

Seventy years and two peace agreements between Israel and two of its Arab neighbors later, Israel has neither defined its borders nor allowed a single Palestinian refugee to return home. Palestinian refugeehood started with Israel’s depopulation of 418 Palestinian villages, expelling approximately 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, and it will only end when Israel is compelled to implement repatriation and reparations. This is what the international community required of Israel in 1949 as a condition for its admittance as a member of the UN.

[From the Journal of Palestine Studies | Between Occupier and Occupied: UNRWA in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip]

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Medical Personnel Under Fire

3 paramedics killed and 103 medical staff injured

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has launched a video titled: “Medical Personnel Under Fire”. The video sheds lights on the serious violations committed against Palestinian medical personnel while rescuing the casualties of the peaceful March of Return. The video shows that Israeli forces used excessive force which resulted in the killing of 3 paramedics and the injury of about 103 medical staffers.