On 28 June 2019, the sixty-fourth Friday of the Great March of Return (GMR), Israeli forces continued to use live fire, amounting to excessive force, in policing unarmed protests. 126 people were injured, including 39 children, two women, four paramedics, and two journalists. Of the injured, 41 sustained wounds from live fire, while 46 were hit directly by tear gas canisters. According to medical sources, eight of the injured are in critical condition.
The documentation by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that on Friday:
• Ikhlas Al-Qirnawi, 23, and Ahmed Matar, 29, both paramedics volunteering with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), were injured with shrapnel in the right leg and with a tear gas canister in the left leg, respectively, while evacuating and providing aid to casualties at the demonstration in the Middle Gaza district.
• Mohammed Al-Shrafi, 25, a paramedic volunteering with PRCS, was injured in the stomach with a plastic-coated steel bullet at the demonstration in North Gaza district.
• Mohammed Abu Daqqa, 24, a volunteering paramedic with Rowwad Al-Salam Medical Team, was injured in the head with a tear gas canister.
• Ali Al-Aloul, 22, a volunteering paramedic with Nabd Al-Hayah Medical Team, was injured in the pelvis with a plastic-coated steel bullet at the demonstration in Rafah district.
• A PRCS ambulance was targeted with live fire and was partially damaged in east Rafah.
• Ra’ed Abu Mathkour, 29, a freelance photojournalist, was injured in the left leg with a live bullet while covering the demonstration in Rafah.
• Mohammed Kassab, 27, a freelance photojournalist, was injured in the neck with shrapnel of live fire while covering the demonstration in the Middle Gaza district.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that from 30 March 2018, Israeli forces have killed 310 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Of the total fatalities, 207 were killed at the protests, including 44 children, two women, four paramedics, two journalists, and nine persons with disability. Another 17,106 persons have been wounded, including 4,015 children, 764 women, 203 paramedics, and 171 journalists. Of the wounded, 8,598 were wounded from live fire, including 1,717 children and 168 women. The Israeli forces continue to keep the bodies of 12 fatalities, including four minors.
Al Mezan condemns the continued use of excessive and other unlawful force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations. Al Mezan also expresses concern at the continued deliberate attacks on unarmed protesters, including children, persons with disability, paramedics and journalists—the last two categories being visible as such to Israeli forces. Al Mezan stresses that the rights to peaceful assembly and to free expression are fundamental rights and must be respected. Unarmed protesters not posing any serious or imminent threat to the Israeli forces must not be shot.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to condemn all violations of international law and to promptly intervene to ensure the protection of civilians from unlawful attack in the context of the protests. The international community must end its silence on the aggravating human rights situation and condemn all violations of international law. Al Mezan also calls on the international community to take firm action to ensure accountability and justice for serious violations of international law.