On Friday, 24 August 2018, using excessive lethal force against the peaceful protesters in eastern Gaza Strip for the 22nd Friday in a row, Israeli forces wounded 189 civilians, including 17 children, 2 women and 3 paramedics, after hitting them with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters. Five of those wounded sustained serious wounds.
Moreover, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation, despite the decrease in the number of participants in the demonstrations on the fourth day of Eid al-Adha. Durng this week, the Israeli forces continued to target medical personnel working in the field, wounding 3 of them.
Also an ambulance sustained damage in eastern Jabalia, indicating that there is a systematic Israeli policy to target medical personnel and obstruct their humanitarian work, which is protected under the rules of international humanitarian law.
The Israeli Occoupation Forces used upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators who posed no threat to the life of Israeli soldiers.
Investigations and observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers emphasize that the demonstrations were as always fully peaceful and PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness weapons or armed persons whereas Israeli forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the sand barriers and in military jeeps along the border fence.
impunity thanks to the U.S. and so encouraging the Israeli forces to commit further crimes upon an official decision by the highest military and political echelons.
PCHR emphasizes that continuously inflicting casualties, either killed or wounded, is unjustified and targeting and killing civilians, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly or while carrying out their humanitarian duty, using lethal force is a serious violation of the rules of intentional law and international humanitarian law.
PCHR also stresses that this ongoing policy by Israel violates the Rome STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC) and Fourth Geneva Convention, and its practices qualify to war crimes. Thus, PCHR calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation into these crimes in addition to prosecuting and holding accountable all of those involved in issuing decisions and orders in the Israeli forces at the political and security level and those applying the orders.
PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
PCHR calls upon Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depository State for the Convention, to demand the High Contracting Parties to convene a meeting and ensure Israel’s respect for this Convention, noting that these grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied territories.