On Friday evening, 7th December 2018, Israeli forces wounded 72 Palestinian civilians, including 11 children, 1 woman and 2 paramedics in the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip. Every Friday since the rallies began in March, demonstrations have taken place demanding the right of Palestinians to return to the homes and land their families were expelled from 70 years ago.
The Israelis continue to respond with lethal force despite the decreasing intensity of the demonstrations there and the absence of the more violent means used in previous weeks of demonstrations. For the fifth week since the beginning of the marches, demonstrators abstained from burning tires, throwing stones or incendiary balloons throw stones or incendiary balloons, and from attempting to cross the border fence.
Though the demonstrators were tens of meters away from the border fence, the Israeli forces who were stationed in sniper positions and military jeeps along the fence continued to use excessive force against the demonstrators by opening fire and firing teargas canisters at them, while demonstrators did not presented no imminent threat or danger to the lives of soldiers.
On 7th December 2018, the incidents were as follows:
At approximately 14:30, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, gathered at the five encampments established by the Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege adjacent to the border fence with Israel in eastern Gaza Strip cities. Hundreds, including children and women, approached the border fence with Israel in front of each encampment and gathered tens of meters away from the main border fence. The demonstrators gathered in areas open to the Israeli snipers stationed on the top of the sand berms and military watchtowers and inside and behind the military jeeps.
Despite the prevailing calmness, the Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets in addition to hundreds of teargas canisters, particularly in eastern Jabalia, Gaza and al-Bureij refugee camp. The Israeli shooting, which continued at around 17:00, resulted in the injury of 72 Palestinian civilians, including 11 child, 1 woman and 2 paramedics. The injury of 3 civilians, including a child, was reported to be serious. In addition, hundreds suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures due to the firing of tear gas canisters.
Since its beginning on 30th March 2018, the Israeli response to the march has resulted in a deplorableg human cost. In total, 175 civillians have been killed, including 33 children, and an appalling 9,733 people have been injured.
The Israeli forces continue to target civilians, who are exercising their right to peaceful assembly. as well as those civilians who are merely carrying out their humanitarian duty, such as medical crew personnel. This is in serious violation of the rules of international law, international humanitarian law, the ICC Rome Statute and Fourth Geneva Convention. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has called upon the international community, including the ICC Prosecutor and the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and to open an official investigation in these crimes and to prosecute and hold accountable all those involved in directing these unlawful attacks. It is imperative that the enjoyment of impunity by the Israeli forces before the international community comes to a decisive end and the acts of the Israeli state in Gaza and elsewhere are recognised as war crimes and they are brought to account.