In December 2017, Israeli soldiers shot and killed eight unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, none of whom posed mortal danger, who were participating in protests near the Gaza perimeter fence:
On 8 December, a soldier shot Mahmoud ‘Abd al-Majid Salem al-Masri (29) in the thigh. Al-Masri was 20 to 30 meters from the fence, throwing stones at soldiers on the other side.
Also on 8 December, a soldier shot Muhammad Sami Hashem a-Dahdouh (19) in the neck during a demonstration near Nahal Oz Checkpoint. A-Dahdouh was 10 to 15 meters from the fence when he was shot, trying to throw stones at soldiers on the other side. He died of his wounds on 24 December.
On 15 December, a soldier fatally shot Ibrahim Nayef Ibrahim Abu Thuraya (29) in the head during a demonstration near Nahal Oz Checkpoint. Abu Thuraya was some 15 to 20 meters from the fence when he was shot.
During the same demonstration in which Abu Thuraya was killed, a soldier fatally shot Yasser Naji Ibrahim Sukar (23) in the head.
On 17 December, a soldier shot Sharif al-‘Abed Muhammad Shalash (28) in the abdomen during a demonstration east of Jabalya Refugee Camp. Shalash died of his wounds on 23 December.
On 22 December, a soldier shot Zakaria Adham Hussein al-Kafarneh (20) in the chest during a demonstration near Erez Checkpoint. Al-Kafarneh was trying to cut barbed wire that was laid across the ground some 50 meters from the fence. Soldiers then fired teargas at the young men who were carrying him to an ambulance waiting some 300 meters from the fence.
That day, a soldier shot Muhammad Nabil Muhammad Muheissen (29) in the thigh during a demonstration near Nahal Oz Checkpoint. At that protest, demonstrators threw stones at soldiers on the other side of the fence.
On 29 December, a soldier shot Jamal Muhammad Jamal Muslah (20) in the back during a demonstration. Muslah had thrown stones at soldiers on the other side of the fence during the protest. He was shot after he hung a Palestinian flag on the fence and was moving away from the fence. He died of his wounds on 30 December.
Video: Israeli soldiers fire live ammunition and teargas at Palestinian protesters near Gaza perimeter fence, 29 December 2017
In the West Bank, soldiers fatally shot Basel Mustafa Muhammad Ibrahim (29) in the abdomen during clashes at ‘Anata, and Border Police fatally shot Muhammad Amin Mahmoud Shehadeh ‘Aqel (19) during clashes at City Square in al-Birah, after he stabbed a Border Police officer. According to media reports, the officer sustained moderate injuries. ‘Aqel was wearing a mock explosive device, and in footage aired by the media, officers are seen firing at him as he lay on the ground.
In addition, hundreds of Palestinians were injured by live ammunition fired during the demonstrations since the declaration. According to Red Crescent figures, from 7 to 31 December, Israeli security forces fired live ammunition that injured 291 Palestinians in Gaza and 117 in the West Bank.
The utter indifference with which this high number of casualties and wounded has been met in Israel begs a reminder of what should be obvious: Live gunfire is permitted only as a last resort, in cases of imminent mortal danger that cannot be averted by any other means. In the Gaza demonstrations described above, the soldiers were located on the Israeli side of the fence, at some distance from the Palestinian protesters. They were undeniably not in mortal danger – certainly not of a kind that could not be prevented by other means.
Yet even this recent upsurge in the killing and injury of Palestinians through the unlawful and excessive use of live ammunition will not, most probably, be addressed any differently than thousands of other cases in which no one was held accountable. The announcement of the launching of an investigation by the Military Police Investigation Unit into the killing of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya – released after the incident sparked headlines in Israel and around the world – holds no promise. It is no more than the first in a routine series of steps taken to whitewash the circumstances in which Israeli security forces kill Palestinians. With the MAG Corps at the helm, the process will inevitably yield the familiar result: instead of being held to account, those responsible for these killings will be afforded protection.
Video filmed by Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem.