March 22, 2019: Jihad Munir Khaled Hararah, 24, was shot and killed by Israeli forces while participating in the 51st weekly Great March of Return protest in Gaza. In addition to Jihad, Israeli forces also killed Nedal ‘Abdel Karim Ahmad Shatat, 29, and wounded 181 others, including 53 Children, 5 Women, 1 Paramedic, and 3 Journalists. Three of those wounded were reported as having very serious injuries.
Jihad, from al-Shija’iyah neighborhood in Gaza City, was wounded at approximately 17:20 with a bullet that entered the left side of his chest and exited the right side when he was among the protesters around 50 meters away from the border fence, east of al-Bureij refugee camp. At approximately 17:40, he was declared dead on arrival at Shuhaa’ al-Aqsa Hospital.
At approximately 15:00, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started marching to 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 meters and tens of meters away from the main border fence, burning tires and attempting to throw stones at the Israeli forces. Although the protesters 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, the Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets in addition to a barrage of tear gas canisters. The Israeli shooting, which continued until at around 18:00, resulted the killing of 2 civilians.
According to observations by Palestinian Center for Human Rights fieldworkers, the Israeli forces, who were stationed in prone positions and in military jeeps along the fence with Israel, continued to use excessive force against the protesters by opening fire with both live ammunition and tear gas.
As a result, dozens of protesters were hit with bullets and teargas canisters without posing any imminent threat or danger to the life of soldiers.
Moreover, PCHR’s fieldworkers said that the Israeli forces raised the sand berms on which the snipers are stationed, particularly in eastern Khan Younis, enabling them to see clearly and completely the area where the protesters are spread and deep into the Return encampment.
These new violations come only hours after the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on accountability brought by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The vote had 23 states voting in favor, 8 against and 15 abstentions, condemning Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against civilian protesters in Gaza.
The vote follows a report by the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the violations committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, on their findings and results during the period from 30 March to 31 December 2018. The Commission concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Israeli forces committed serious violations during the Great March of Return protests that may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.
The Israeli bullets and tear gas canisters wounded 181 Palestinian civilians, including 53 Children, 5 Women, 1 Paramedic, and 3 Journalists. In addition, dozens of protesters, paramedics and journalists suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures due to tear gas canisters that were fired by the Israeli forces from the military jeeps and riffles in the eastern Gaza Strip. The Israeli forces targeted the medical field point in eastern Bureij Refugee Camp; as a result, one of the paramedics suffered tear gas inhalation. A Palestinian Red Crescent Society volunteer paramedic was also hit with a tear gas canister to his hand in eastern Jabalia. This indicates the Israeli systematic policy to target the medical personnel and obstruct their humanitarian work. Medica are supposed to be guaranteed protection according to international humanitarian law.
Jihad was from al-Shija’iyah neighborhood in Gaza City. Source: IMEMC