Ahmad Rashad al-Athamna

Ahmad AthamnaApril 20, 2018: Ahmad Rashad al-Athamna, 24, from Beit Hanoun, was killed by Israeli soldiers east of Jabalia in the northern part of the Gaza Strip when they shot him with a live round in his neck, while he was participating in a non-violent protest against the Israeli siege on Gaza.

Ahmad was one of four Palestinians killed on Friday, in the fourth straight week of Friday protests known as the “Great Return March”. Each week since March 30th, thousands of Palestinians have gathered at the border between Gaza and Israel, demanding an end to the decade-long siege.

The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that Israeli soldiers shot and killed, Friday, four Palestinians, including one child, and injured more than 729, including 24 children and twelve women, after the army resorted to the excessive use of force against protesters, on their lands, near the border fence, in the besieged Gaza Strip.

In addition to Ahmad, the Ministry said the soldiers killed a child, identified as Mohammad Ibrahim Ayyoub, 15, from Jabalia in northern Gaza, after shooting him with an expanding bullet in the head.

In addition, the soldiers killed Sa’ad Abdul-Majid Abu Taha, 29, from al-Qarara town, northeast of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, after shooting him with a live round in his neck.

The soldiers also killed Ahmad Nabil Aqel, 25, after shooting him with an expanding bullet in the head, east of Jabalia, in northern Gaza. He was first shot in his leg, received the needed treatment, and returned to the protests, before being killed by Israeli army fire.

The Health Ministry also stated that the soldiers shot more than 729 Palestinians, including 174 who were rushed to local hospitals, and at least three who suffered life-threatening wounds, and 271 who received treatment in make-shift field clinics. 156 of the wounded were shot with live fire.

One of the wounded is a medic, who suffered a very serious injury, in addition to two journalists. Ninety Palestinians suffered moderate wounds.

The Ministry stated that eighteen of the wounded Palestinians were shot in the neck and head, 26 in the chest and back, twelve in the pelvis and abdomen, and 154 were shot in their legs.

Furthermore, eighty-six Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation; 29 were injured by shrapnel; five were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets and 29 sustained cuts and bruises.

The army also fired many gas bombs at a Palestinian ambulance east of Gaza city.

The protests started on March 30th, which marks the Palestinian Land Day, and are planned to continue until May 15th, the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), in which more than 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced by Israeli forces in 1948, and their villages and towns were destroyed, prior to the establishment of Israel in historic Palestine.

The Israeli army killed at least 34 Palestinians, and injured thousands or protesters since the nonviolent protests started on March 30th.

April 20th, 2018 marked the fourth Friday of the massive nonviolent protests in Gaza, during which thousands of Palestinian refugees have taken to the heavily militarized borders with Israel to demand their collective right of return to their homelands.

The six-week protest is set to end on May 15th, the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, or “catastrophe,” when the state of Israel was created, leaving some 750,000 Palestinians and millions of their descendants as refugees.

Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Palestinian Observer at the United Nations, sent three identical letters to the United Nations Secretary General, the head of the Security Council and the head of the General Assembly, informing them of the latest Israeli violations and the excessive use of force against unarmed Palestinian civilians.

He called on the International Community to provide the urgently-needed protection to the Palestinian people, facing serious Israeli military escalation and crimes, and urging them to oblige Israel to respect International Law and the Four Geneva Convention.

The Palestinian official said that peace and security around the world start with justice, and implementing International Law, by holding those who violate it accountable for their crimes.

“For the fourth consecutive week, Israel continues the excessive and lethal use of force against Palestinians participating in the nonviolent Great March of Return, especially in the Gaza Strip,” Mansour said, “Israel is shooting Palestinian women, children and the elderly, and is escalating its violations against them. These serious violations must stop; Israel should not be allowed to continue its breaches on International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Despite widespread outcry from international rights groups who have condemned Israel’s excessive use of forces against the civilian protesters, Israeli has maintained its open-fire rules for the Gaza border, ordering its soldiers to “shoot to kill” any Palestinian, even children, who enter the ‘no-go’ zone near the border.

Ahmad was from Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Source: IMEMC