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On unlawful gunfire against protesters in the Return Marches in Gaza



If the heart be not callous: On the unlawful shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza
Since the wave of protests near the Gaza-Israel fence began on 30 March 2018, the Israeli military has killed 32 Palestinians in Gaza, 26 of them demonstrators, and injured more than 1,000 with live fire. Despite the heavy toll on life and limb, all state and military officials refuse to cancel these manifestly unlawful open-fire orders and continue to issue – and justify – them. Ahead of this Friday’s demonstrations (13 April), B’Tselem has issued a position paper on its findings regarding the first day of protest, analyzing the illegality of orders to shoot at unarmed demonstrators who pose no danger to anyone. Read more



27 Nov. 2018
Palestinian minors killed by Israeli troops at Gaza protests: B’Tselem reports on four cases

Naser Musbeh (11) and his sisters, all three Red Crescent volunteers. He was killed by Israeli gunfire on 28 Sept. 2018. Photo b

Since the Return Protests began along the Gaza fence, Israeli forces have killed at least 31 Palestinian minors - 21 of them under the age of 16, and three only 11 years old. In October we published the findings of our investigation into the killing of 4 minors; we now report our findings regarding another 4. None of them posed a danger to security forces; the killing of all was a direct result of the unlawful open-fire policy that Israel is applying in the area.  Read more







22 Nov. 2018
Seven months of protests by Gaza fence: Over 5,800 Palestinians wounded by live Israeli gunfire


Since 30 March 2018, Israeli security forces have fatally shot over 180 demonstrators – including 31 minors – and injured over 5,800 demonstrators with live gunfire. The vast majority of casualties were unarmed, and were fatally shot from a distance while in the Gaza Strip itself. As a general rule, the protectively clad troops sniping at them from other side of the fence were not in any real danger. Israel is responsible for this reality: giving manifestly unlawful open-fire orders; causing the collapse of Gaza’s healthcare system; denying the wounded the care they need. Below is an analysis of figures B’Tselem compiled over the past few months, and the stories of four individuals injured at the protests. Read more




23 Oct. 2018
Israeli security forces fatally shoot Muhammad Shaqurah although he was endangering no one, shortly after he pulled on a bit of wire he attached to the Gaza fence

מוחמד שקורה. התמונה באדיבות המשפחה
Muhammad Shaqurah. Photo courtesy of the family

On 14 Sept. 2018, at a Return Protest east of al-Bureij R.C., Muhammad Shaqurah (20) torched a tire near the fence, tied a bit of wire to the fence, tugged it and let go. After rejoining other protesters about 20 meters away, he was shot and killed by Israeli troops on the other side of the fence, although he was endangering no one at the time. The killing of Shaqurah and 170 other Palestinians, incl. 31 minors, is the direct and predictable outcome of the policy to open lethal fire at protesters near the fence, evincing the disregard of Israeli authorities for the lives of Palestinians. Read more




18 Oct. 2018
Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinians, including a paramedic, during ‘Return March’ protests east of Rafah, 10 Aug. 2018

Left to right: Paramedic ‘Abdallah Qutati, Ahmad Abu Luli and ‘Ali al-‘Alul

On 10 Aug. 2018, thousands of Palestinians held a demonstration east of Rafah. Some burned tires and threw stones at Israeli forces on the other side of the fence. The forces fired tear gas and live bullets, killing three demonstrators. B'Tselem found that two of those killed were not endangering the forces in any way. These fatalities are the direct result of Israel’s open-fire policy, and another example of the lack of concern shown by Israeli authorities for Palestinian life and limb.  Read more





15 Oct. 2018
In 6 months of Gaza protests, Israeli forces fatally shoot 31 Palestinian minors

From left to right: 'Othman Hiles, 14, 'Iz a-Din a-Samak, 13 and Ahmad Abu Tyour, 16. Photos courtesy of the family

In protests near the Gaza fence from 30 March to 8 Oct. 2018, Israeli forces shot and killed at least 166 Palestinians, 31 of them minors, and injured more than 5,300 with live gunfire. Most of those killed or injured did not endanger the forces, who were on the other side of the fence. The high casualty count is a direct result of Israel’s open-fire policy in the area. Its lethal outcomes, which are well-known, convey the Israeli authorities’ disregard for the life and death of Palestinians. Testimonies regarding the killing of four of the minors follow.  Read more






17 July 2018

Israeli soldiers deliberately and fatally shot Palestinian paramedic Rozan a-Najar in the Gaza Strip

Rosan a-Najar in the medical tent at the Return Marches. Photo by Abd al-Aziz a-Najar

On 1 June 2018, during a protest held north of Khuza’ah in the Gaza Strip, Israeli security forces deliberately fired at Palestinian paramedics who were clearly identified as medical crew and were 25 meters from the fence: Rozan a-Najar, a 20-year-old paramedic from Khza’ah was killed; two others were wounded. Since the Gaza protests began in late March, security forces have killed 127 protesters, including at least 18 minors, and wounded some 4,100 people with live fire. The military persists in this lethal policy despite its predictable outcome from the very outset. Read more





31 May 2018
Thus shall it be done: How Israel punishes boys for protesting their confinement to Gaza

Mustafa Daher in the hospital with his cousin Muhammad. Photo by Olfat al-Kurd, B'Tselem, 6 May 2018

Since 30 March 2018, at protests near the Gaza fence, over 3,600 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli live gunfire, and dozens – incl. at least 12 minors – have been killed. Gaza’s healthcare system, already failing after a decade under Israeli blockade, cannot provide them the care they need. Rehabilitation options are also few and too expensive for most. Israel is responsible for this situation: it ordered the unlawful shooting, brought the Gazan healthcare system to the verge of collapse and is denying rehabilitation, in or out of Gaza. These are the stories of three boys who were injured. Two have lost a leg. Their lives will never be the same. Read more




14 May 2018
B’Tselem: Firing live ammunition at Gaza demonstrators shows appalling indifference to human life

Evacuation of one of the wounded in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Khaled al-'Azayzeh, B'Tselem, 14 May 2018

The demonstrations held in Gaza today came as no surprise. Israel had plenty of time to come up with alternate approaches for dealing with the protests, apart from firing live ammunition. The fact that live gunfire is once again the sole measure that the Israeli military is using in the field evinces appalling indifference towards human life on the part of senior Israeli government and military officials. B’Tselem calls for an immediate halt to the killing of Palestinian demonstrators. If the relevant officials do not issue an order to stop the lethal fire, the soldiers in the field must refuse to comply with these manifestly unlawful open-fire orders. Read more






10 May 2018

Failing Gaza healthcare system after 10-year blockade barely handling 2,000+ live fire injuries

Yusef al-Kurunaz. Photo by Olfat Al-Kurd, B’Tselem, 16 April 2018

Since 30 March 2018, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli live fire at protests near the Gaza fence. Doctors there report unusually severe injuries and the healthcare system, already failing after a decade of Israeli blockade, cannot provide proper care. Rehabilitation options are also few and too expensive for most. Israel is responsible for this state of affairs: it ordered the unlawful shooting, brought the Gazan healthcare system to the verge of collapse and is denying the wounded

rehabilitation – in or out of Gaza. Read more






Gaza not through gun sights

View more photos by B'Tselem field researchers on the Photo Blog


26 April 2018
B'Tselem publishes names of protestors shot and killed in Gaza demonstrations under manifestly illegal ordersל

Soldiers, hold your fire!

The order to shoot at civilians who pose no danger to is manifestly illegal. Usage of lethal force is permitted only when there is a clear and present danger to life, as a last resort. The responsibility for issuing manifestly illegal orders lies primarily with the policy makers, including the prime minister, the defense minister and the chief of staff. It is forbidden to give and to obey to such orders. Click to read names of protestors shot and killed in Gaza demonstrations under manifestly illegal orders issued under the direction of the government and the senior military command. Over 1,500 others were injured by live fire. Read More





26 April 2018
B’Tselem to UN Secretary General: Protect Lives of Palestinian Protestors

Gaza protest, 30 March 2018. Photo by Amir Cohen, Reuters

Ahead of today’s UN Security Council's open debate at 5:00 P.M. (Israel time), and as the demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel fence are expected to continue, B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad sent UN Secretary-General António Guterres a letter listing the names of the 35 Palestinians protestors shot to death by Israeli forces in Gaza in recent weeks, four of whom were minors. El-Ad called upon the UN to do “all that is in its power – and its responsibility – in order to protect Palestinian lives and uphold international norms”, with the goal of immediately ending the illegal shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza. Read more





20 April 2018
Military fired teargas at family tents far from fence during Gaza protests, injuring hundreds 

Tear gas fired at demonstrators' tents in Khuza'a. Photo: Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem, 7 April 2018

B’Tselem’s investigation has found that soldiers fired teargas at men, women and children engaged in peaceful activities in tents pitched hundreds of meters from the fence during the recent Gaza protests. This is neither lawful nor justified: Israel has no right to disperse demonstrations inside Gaza or tell Gazans where they can be. It certainly may not fire teargas at demonstrators hundreds of meters from the fence who pose no threat to a soul. Read more





4 April 2018
Why Israeli soldiers must refuse to fire at unarmed Palestinian protestersם

Gaza protest, 30 March 2018. Photo by Amir Cohen, Reuters

Tomorrow (Thursday) B'Tselem will launch a campaign entitled “Sorry Commander, I cannot shoot”. The campaign will include newspaper advertisements clarifying to soldiers that they must refuse to open fire on unarmed demonstrators. The organization is taking this unusual step following last Friday’s events, when soldiers used live fire against unarmed demonstrators. Of at least 17 Palestinians killed that day, 12 were killed at the protests. Hundreds more were injured by live gunfire. Read more





31 March 2018
B’Tselem: Shooting unarmed demonstrators is illegal and the command that allows it is manifestly illegalל

The demonstrations near the fence, March 30, 2018. Photo by Olfat al-Kurd, B'Tselem

Since today’s morning hours, Israeli soldiers have been shooting at Palestinian demonstrators standing on the other side of the fence surrounding Gaza. At least ten Palestinians have been killed so far, including one minor, and at least a thousand have been wounded. Shooting at unarmed demonstrators is illegal and any command allowing such an action is manifestly illegal. Yesterday, B’Tselem warned against relating to demonstration areas as combat zones and against shooting live fire at demonstrators. Armed soldiers and unarmed demonstrators are not “at war.” The illegal open fire regulations and the compliance with them are the reason for the number of dead and injured today in the Gaza Strip. Read more




29 March 2018

B’Tselem: Gaza not “combat zone”, shooting at demonstrators a crime

Israeli soldiers listen to a briefing on the Israeli side of the border with the northern Gaza Strip. Amir Cohen, Reuters, 29 Ma

Ahead of the Palestinian demonstrations planned to start tomorrow (Friday) in Gaza, Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to respond with lethal force. Completely ignoring the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and Israel’s responsibility for it, they are couching the planned protest in terms of a security risk, framing the demonstrators as terrorists and referring to Gaza as a “combat zone”. Fragments of information reported by the media indicate that: soldiers will be ordered to shoot anyone coming within 300 meters of the fence; snipers will fire at anyone touching it; live fire will be used also in circumstances which are non-life-threatening. In other words: shoot-to-kill unarmed Palestinians taking part in these demonstrations. Read more






‘Adel al-Breim, 20, recounts the shooting of live ammunition at Palestinian protesters near the Gaza perimeter fence, north of Khuza’ah, 30 March 2018. Read more   ‘Atef al-‘Arir, 50, tells about the live gunfire fired at Palestinian protesters near the Gaza perimeter fence, by Karni Crossing, 30 March 2018. Read more   ‘Aedah al-Majdalawi, 63, recounts how she was hit by live gunfire when she went to help youths injured near the Gaza perimeter fence, 30 March 2018. Read more