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NGO: Israel ‘policy’ of using live fire on Palestinian demonstrators

Palestinians take cover as Israeli forces fire bullets during demonstrations against US President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem in Gaza on 29 December 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Palestinians take cover as Israeli forces fire bullets during demonstrations against US President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem in Gaza on 29 December 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israeli occupation forces killed eight Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip over a three-and-a-half-week period, six of whom were hit in the upper body with live fire, according to NGO B’Tselem.

In a report on the Israeli army’s use of lethal violence against unarmed demonstrators along the Gaza Strip perimeter fence, the rights group names eight Palestinians killed during protests.

In addition to these fatalities, B’Tselem records show more than 300 Palestinian protesters were injured by live fire over the same period.

Read: Palestinian protesters killed in Gaza

For B’Tselem, the evidence points to an official Israeli army “policy of suppressing demonstrations in Gaza with live fire”, with Israeli soldiers “sometimes stationed in watchtowers or behind dirt piles” opening fire on demonstrators “who are not endangering them”.

Palestinians killed

  • Muhammad Muheisen (29)
  • Ibrahim Abu Thurayyah (29)
  • Yasser Sukar (23)
  • Muhammad Al-Dahduh (19)
  • Zakaria Al-Kafarneh (20)
  • Sharif Shalash (28)
  • Mahmoud Al-Masri (29)

The “heavy death toll” in “such a short space of time”, as well as “the harsh impact on the lives of the hundreds of persons injured”, were “predictable” and “likely taken into account by those who authorized this policy and bear the responsibility for its outcomes”, B’Tselem concluded.

The killing of Muhammad Al-Dahduh was one of the incidents described in detail by B’Tselem.

On 8 December 2017, shortly after noon, “a demonstration was held near the Gaza perimeter fence close to the Nahal Oz Checkpoint, which is east of Gaza City.”

“Hundreds of Palestinian youths torched tyres and threw stones at Israeli soldiers and jeeps stationed on the other side of the fence, about 10-25 metres from it. The soldiers responded by firing live bullets and teargas,” and “some of the youths threw canisters back at the soldiers.”

At around 3pm, Muhammad Al-Dahduh “approached the fence, hung a Palestinian flag on it and drew back”. According to an eyewitness, Muhammad was sitting a few metres from the fence when he “tried to get up” and “was immediately hit by a bullet”.

Read: Israel arrested 1,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem since Trump declaration

Muhammad was rushed to hospital “where doctors found that the bullet had penetrated his neck, fracturing bones and severing his spine, so that all four limbs were paralyzed”.

He died of his wounds more than two weeks later on 24 December.

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