September 14, 2018: Hani Ramzi ‘Afana, 21, was killed by Israeli soldiers using excessive force against peaceful protesters in the eastern Gaza Strip for the 25th Friday in a row. Hani was one of three Palestinian civilians killed at the protest, including a child. The soldiers also wounded 148 others, including 19 children, 5 women and 5 paramedics with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters. Six of those wounded sustained serious wounds.
According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed heavy deployment of the Israeli forces this week as the army fired live bullets and tear gas canisters, increasing the number of casualties comparing with the previous weeks, despite the peaceful nature of the demonstrations.
The Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators who posed no threat or danger to the life of Israeli soldiers in the areas of demonstrations.
Investigations and observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers emphasize that the demonstrations in all areas were, as always, fully peaceful, and neither weapons nor armed persons were seen. However, the Israeli forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the sand berms and in military jeeps along the border fence.
At approximately 16:30, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to the 5 encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege along the border fence, east of the Gaza Strip governorates. They raised flags and chanted national songs.
Hundreds, including children and women, approached the border fence with Israel, set fire to tires and gathered 300 meters away from the main border fence. Some of them attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces, pulled parts of the barbed-wire fence established inside the Palestinian territories and released balloons along the border fence.
The Israeli shooting, which continued until 19:30, resulted in the killing of 3 civilians, including a child. The killed civilians were identified as:
- Hani Ramzi ‘Afana (21), from Rafah, was hit with a live bullet to the chest in eastern Rafah.
- Mohamed Khalil Ghazi Shaqqourah (20), from al-Maghazi refugee camp, was hit with a live bullet to the chest in eastern al-Bureij camp.
- Shady ‘Abed al-‘Aziz ‘Abed al-‘Al (11), from Jabalia, sustained deep wounds after being hit with a solid object, which caused a fracture to his skull, during his participation in Abu Safiyah area, northeast of Jabalia, according to the Ministry of Health.
Moreover, 148 civilians, including 19 children, 5 women and 5 paramedics, were wounded with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters.
Six of those wounded sustained serious wounds, in addition to dozens suffering tear gas inhalation and seizures after tear gas canisters were fired by the Israeli soldiers from the military jeeps and riffles in the eastern Gaza Strip.
PCHR condemned the crimes committed by the Israeli forces, believing it is as a result of Israel’s enjoying impunity thanks to the U.S. and so encouraging the Israeli forces to commit further crimes upon an official decision by the highest military and political echelons.
PCHR emphasized that continuously inflicting casualties, either killed or wounded, is unjustified, and using lethal force to target and kill civilians, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly or while carrying out their humanitarian duty, is a serious violation of the rules of international law, international humanitarian law, the ICC Rome Statute and Fourth Geneva Convention.
Thus, PCHR called upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation in these crimes and to prosecute and hold accountable all those applying or involved in issuing orders within the Israeli Forces at the security and political echelons.
PCHR also reiterated its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
PCHR called upon Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depository State for the Convention, to demand the High Contracting Parties to convene a meeting and ensure Israel’s respect for this Convention, noting that these grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied territories.
Hani was from Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Source: IMEMC