Israeli Incursions into Gaza Are the Rule, Not the Exception

Israeli troops have crossed into Gaza over 70 times this year alone, according to the UN. And those are only the incursions we know about.

File photo of Israeli troops deployed along the Gaza border. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
File photo of Israeli troops deployed along the Gaza border. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Henriette Chacar, +972 Magazine, November 14, 2018

[Editor’s note: In accordance with our legal obligation, this article was sent to the IDF Censor for review prior to publication. We are not allowed to indicate if and where the article was censored.]

Since Israeli special forces troops got into a deadly firefight with Hamas commandos deep inside the Gaza Strip Sunday night, Israel has dropped dozens of bombs and missiles into Gaza and Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

The New York Times described the special forces raid as “the first known Israeli ground incursion into Gaza since Operation Protective Edge, in July 2014.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Since the start of 2015 through the end of October 2018, the Israeli army made 262 known ground incursions and operations to level land inside the Gaza Strip, including over 70 this year alone. This does not include the unknown number of covert operations like the one that went awry on Sunday.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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.


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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.

Israeli Authorities Ban Fuel and Gas into the Gaza Strip

Tightening Closure For 3rd Time in Less Than Month

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), August 2, 2018

Ref: 80/2018

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli authorities decisions to tighten the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, completely close the sole commercial crossing “Karm Abu Salem” and ban the entry of fuel, gas, goods and basic needs for the Gaza Strip population. PCHR warns of the catastrophic consequences of these decisions on the lives of 2 million Palestinians suffering from serious deterioration of humanitarian, economic and social conditions resulted from these measures. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and all humanitarian organizations to immediately intervene in order to stop these decisions, lift the closure, and open all crossings to ensure the entry of all the Gaza Strip population’s needs, especially basic goods. Moreover, PCHR affirms that these decisions were the culmination of several previous decisions that the Israeli authorities have implemented since June 2007 in the context of a plan to tighten the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, on 01 August 2018, the Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, issued a decision to ban the entry of fuel and gas into the Gaza Strip through Karm Abu Salem crossing starting from Thursday until further notice. According to the Israeli statement, this decision was taken in response to the continued firing of incendiary balloons and the ongoing Return demonstrations’ activities near the Gaza Strip borders. The Israeli authorities previously issued a decision on 16 July 2018, to completely close Karm Abu Salem crossing, except for the entry of food, medical supplies, fuel and gas only when needed. Upon the same decision, the Israeli authorities reduced the fishing area in the Gaza Strip to 3 nautical miles instead of 6. The Israeli authorities also claimed that this decision was taken in response to flying incendiary kites and balloons by Hamas towards the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli authorities have tightened the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, which entered its 12th consecutive year in mid-June since Tuesday, 10 July 2018, and decided to close Karm Abu Salem crossing and prevent the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip, except for the entry of some humanitarian goods, including food, medicine, fuel, and gas. Furthermore, the Israeli authorities imposed a complete ban on exporting and marketing goods from Gaza Strip. Upon the same decision, the Israeli authorities reduced the fishing area in the Gaza Strip to six nautical miles instead of nine.

The closure measures threaten all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip, and PCHR is concerned over the collapse of all basic services needed by the Gaza Strip population. These services already suffer from a serious deterioration for years due to the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Concerning the health sector, and taking into account the dependence of hospitals and medical facilities on fuel to operate generators in light of the power outage for more than 20 hours a day, the Ministry of Health has taken austerity measures as it reduced providing services for civilians. This reduce included providing diagnostic services and conducting surgical operations. The number of delayed operations during the past 3 months was about 7000 surgeries. Furthermore, the lives of about 2000 patients staying in the Gaza Strip hospitals are in real danger. Patients, particularly cancer, cardiac, and dialysis patients and preterm infants in the nursery sections and Intensive Care Units (ICU), are mostly exposed to danger, in light of the deterioration of the health services.

Moneer al-Bursh, Director General of Pharmacy in the Health Ministry, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Ministry of Health suffers from a severe shortage in medicine and medical consumables. The current deficit rate is 48% of the lists of medicines and medical consumables that are needed for patients and health facilities, including 42 types of the cancer medicines i.e. 65% of the total medicines needed for cancer patients. This led to obstructing a large number of treatment protocols for this disease. Al-Bursh pointed out that one type of these medicines could stop a full therapeutic service.

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