The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

On the 69th Great March of Return

66 Civilians Injured by Israeli Forces: 28 Children, 2 Journalists, and 4 Women, Including a Paramedic

Palestinian Center for Human Rights – Gaza, August 2, 2019

On the 69th Great March of Return, 66 Palestinian civilians were injured due to the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border. At least 28 children, 4 women and a paramedic were among those injured this Friday, 02 August 2019. Twenty-seven civilians were shot with live bullets and 2 children were deemed in a critical medical condition.

While this week’s protests saw a decline in the number of civilian injuries, PCHR fieldworkers documented many cases of live bullets targeting civilians’ upper bodies. Despite the absence of a real threat to Israeli soldiers’ lives; the occupation forces continued the systematic use of excessive force against protestors.

For the first time since the Great March of Return started in March 2018, there were no injuries reported in eastern Gaza City. The deployment of Palestinian security forces in official apparel along “Jakar” street, who denied civilians from approaching the border fence, contributed to the decline in injuries.

Today’s protest, which lasted from 16:00 to 19:00, was titled “Solidarity with Crimes against Wadi al-Humus,” and involved activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances. Dozens of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip.

To this date, PCHR documented 208 killings by Israel since the outbreak of the protests on 30 March 2018, including 44 children, 2 women, 9 persons with disabilities, 4 paramedics, and 2 journalists. Additionally, 13,391 were wounded, including 2,775 children, 413 women, 222 paramedics and 209 journalists, noting that many had sustained multiple wounds on multiple occasions.  Among those wounded, PCHR documented cases where 196 persons have become with disabilities, including 28 children and 5 women, and were as follows: 149 amputees; 21 paralyzed, 26 blind or deaf and 9 sexually disabled.

The following is a summary of today’s incidents along the Gaza Strip border:

Northern Gaza Strip: 1500 protesters participated in Abu Safiyah area protests, northeast of Jabalia; only tens approached the border fence and threw stones. Israeli forces, stationed along the fence, fired live and rubber bullets as well as teargas canisters at the protesters. As a result, 20 of them were injured, including 10 children and 2 women: 11 were shot with live bullets; and 5, all children, with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.  Yasser Salah Mohammed al-Tanneh (16) sustained a bullet wound to his upper thighs severely damaging a main blood vessel. Also in norther Gaza, paramedic Wafaa Omar Khamis Jaber (24) was shot with a rubber bullet in her left ankle. At approximately 18:30, Israeli forces \ arrested a civilian who crossed the border fence; his identity has not been confirmed yet.

Gaza City: Protests set off Malakah area, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood in eastern Gaza City. Speeches, theatrical performances and other segments were performed at the protest central encampment. Palestinian security forces spread along Jakar street and denied civilians access to the border fence; nonetheless, a handful managed to approach the fence at a 100 meters distance, threw stones at the border and Israeli soldiers responded with live ammunition. No injuries were reported for the first time since the outbreak of the protests.

Central Gaza Strip: hundreds of civilians, including women, children and families, took part in the eastern Bureij refugee camp protests; tens approached the border fence at a range varying between 2 – 70 meters, and some of them attempted to throw stones at Israeli soldiers with slingshots. The Israeli soldiers, reinforced with 9 military SUVs, responded with live and rubber bullets in addition to teargas canisters at the protesters, wounding 16 civilians, including 4 children, a woman and a journalist: 8 were shot with live bullets and shrapnel, 5 were directly hit with teargas canisters and 3 were shot with rubber bullets. Most of the injuries were documented in the upper body. Israeli forces deployed a sewage water pump against the protestors. At approximately 17:50, while present 200 meters away from the fence, journalist Usama Sharif Mohammed al-Kahlout (35), from Deir al-Balah, received a call from a number starting with 04. As soon as he took the call, he was shot in his left leg and was transferred to the hospital for treatment.

Khan Younis: protests took place in Khuza’a, where Ahmed al-Qarra and Hany Abu-Selmy, who were killed by Israeli forces this week were commemorated. Dozens approached the border fence and threw stones at it, Israeli soldiers shot back; as a result, 17 civilians were injured, including 10 children and a journalist: 4 were shot with live bullets and shrapnel and 4 were directly hit with a tear gas canister and 9 were shot with rubber bullets. The injured journalist is Hatem Saadi Saleh Omar (39), from Rafah, and he was wearing a flak jacket with “PRESS” clearly imprinted on it. Mr. Omar is a reporter for Xinhua News Agency and he sustained two rubber bullet wounds in his legs while videotaping the events at least 130 meters away from the fence. Furthermore, dozens of civilians, suffocated due to teargas inhalation.

Rafah: Hundred participated in the eastern Shokah protests, where folklore shows, and speeches were held. Dozens approached the border fence and threw stones. The Israeli soldiers used live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters against the protestors. As a result, 13 civilians were injured, including 4 children: 3 were shot with live bullets and shrapnel, 3 shot with rubber bullets and 7 were hit with tear gas canisters. Mohammed Zaher Wassel Abu-Zaid (15) sustained serious wounds after being hit with a tear gas canister directly to the head.