Since 30 March 2018, at protests near the Gaza fence, over 3,600 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli live gunfire, and dozens – incl. at least 12 minors – have been killed. Gaza’s healthcare system, already failing after a decade under Israeli blockade, cannot provide them the care they need. Rehabilitation options are also few and too expensive for most. Israel is responsible for this situation: it ordered the unlawful shooting, brought the Gazan healthcare system to the verge of collapse and is denying rehabilitation, in or out of Gaza. These are the stories of three boys who were injured. Two have lost a leg. Their lives will never be the same.
The demonstrations held in Gaza today came as no surprise. Israel had plenty of time to come up with alternate approaches for dealing with the protests, apart from firing live ammunition. The fact that live gunfire is once again the sole measure that the Israeli military is using in the field evinces appalling indifference towards human life on the part of senior Israeli government and military officials. B’Tselem calls for an immediate halt to the killing of Palestinian demonstrators. If the relevant officials do not issue an order to stop the lethal fire, the soldiers in the field must refuse to comply with these manifestly unlawful open-fire orders.
Since 30 March 2018, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli live fire at protests near the Gaza fence. Doctors there report unusually severe injuries and the healthcare system, already failing after a decade of Israeli blockade, cannot provide proper care. Rehabilitation options are also few and too expensive for most. Israel is responsible for this state of affairs: it ordered the unlawful shooting, brought the Gazan healthcare system to the verge of collapse and is denying the wounded rehabilitation – in or out of Gaza.
On 6 March 2018, some 30 settlers coming from the direction of Yitzhar attacked two Palestinian men working on ‘Einabus village land. After the two escaped, the settlers retreated and returned with soldiers, entering into mutual stone-throwing with residents rallied on the village loudspeaker. The soldiers joined the assault with live fire, “rubber” bullets and teargas. Six residents were injured. Such attacks, which keep Palestinians away from their land, are part of the occupation routine, which Israel exploits to grab more land.
Al-Jalazun R.C., north of Ramallah, has some 14,000 residents, 5,000 of them minors. The settlement of Beit El, built nearby in 1977, has expanded toward the camp and the schools at its entrance, resulting in a constant military presence on the roads leading to the school, which, in turn, leads to recurrent clashes with the local Palestinian residents. The Israeli military’s conduct during these clashes disrupts classes and puts students in danger as they walk to and from school and even inside the school, as the teargas the soldiers so often fire penetrates the classrooms.
Ahead of today’s UN Security Council's open debate at 5:00 P.M. (Israel time), and as the demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel fence are expected to continue, B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad sent UN Secretary-General António Guterres a letter listing the names of the 35 Palestinians protestors shot to death by Israeli forces in Gaza in recent weeks, four of whom were minors. El-Ad called upon the UN to do “all that is in its power – and its responsibility – in order to protect Palestinian lives and uphold international norms”, with the goal of immediately ending the illegal shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza.
B’Tselem’s investigation has found that soldiers fired teargas at men, women and children engaged in peaceful activities in tents pitched hundreds of meters from the fence during the recent Gaza protests. This is neither lawful nor justified: Israel has no right to disperse demonstrations inside Gaza or tell Gazans where they can be. It certainly may not fire teargas at demonstrators hundreds of meters from the fence who pose no threat to a soul.
In Feb. 2018 B’Tselem documented two cases in the Ramallah area in which soldiers, in contravention of the military’s own open-fire regulations, fired crowd control weapons at the heads of children. In both cases, neither the soldiers nor anyone else was in mortal danger. Muhammad Nubani, 14, was injured in the eye by a rubber-coated metal bullet; Saleh Yihya, 10, was hit in the head by a teargas canister fired directly at him. These children, like hundreds of others in the West Bank, will bear the lifelong consequences of a reality in which soldiers can fire unlawfully without anyone being held to account.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.