Palestine: Fifty Gazans killed, no Israelis injured

Funeral for Palestinian journalist Ahmad Abu Hussein, who was shot by Israeli military forces while covering the Great March of Return.

Fifty Palestinians have been killed in Gaza’s eastern perimeter since March 30, five of them children and two journalists, writes Maureen Clare Murphy. The vast majority were participating in the Great March of Return protests, during which no Israelis have been killed or injured.

Israeli occupation forces killed three Palestinians in Gaza including a child, in two separate incidents on April 29.

One of those killed was identified by Palestinian media outlets as 16-year-old Yusif Abu Jazar, killed east of Rafah. He is the fifth child reported killed in Gaza during Israel’s lethal crackdown on Great March of Return protests that began on March 30.

Israel was reportedly holding the bodies of all three Palestinians killed that day, as it continues to withhold the bodies of Musab al-Saloul and Muhammad al-Rabaia, two Palestinians killed in the eastern boundary of the central Gaza Strip on March 30.

Israel continues to spin the protests launched on March 30 as “Hamas riots,” accusing the political and resistance group of “attempting to disguise terror activities as a civilian-led riot”.

Several human rights groups have petitioned Israel’s high court over the military’s shooting of unarmed protesters in Gaza.

Human rights lawyer Michael Sfard told the Associated Press that the high court case is the first broad review of the military’s open-fire regulations in nearly 30 years.

The military told the court that “these are incidents that are part of the armed conflict between the Hamas terrorist organization and Israel, with all that this implies”.

Adalah, one of the groups challenging the open fire regulations, rebutted the military’s claim.

“All the eyewitness testimony and video documentation from the past several weeks clearly reveals the Israeli military has been using live fire in Gaza, resulting in the killings of dozens of unarmed protesters taking part in civilian demonstrations,” the rights group stated. “At no point did the protesters endanger the lives of others.”

The military’s open-fire regulations are classified and the army has said it would only show them to the judges in a closed session, making it impossible for human rights defenders or the public to assess the claims made in court.

After the Israeli military fatally wounded 18 protesters on March 30, the first day of the protests, it tweeted and then deleted an admission of responsibility for the deaths and injuries.

“Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed,” the tweet from the Israeli military spokesperson stated.

The shootings of several Palestinians killed during Great March of Return protests have been captured on video. A video shows Abdallah al-Shamali, 20, standing amid a group of men and children when he is shot in the chest without warning on April 20.

Al-Shamali posed no conceivable threat to any Israeli soldier, positioned hundreds of metres away, when he was fatally wounded.

The fatal injury of journalist Ahmad Abu Hussein, who was wearing protective gear identifying him as a member of the press when he was shot on April 13, was likewise documented on video.

video shows Tahrir Mahmoud Said Wahbeh, 18, being shot in the head as his back was turned to the soldiers positioned behind the Gaza boundary fence on April 23.

Video shows that Muhammad Ayyoub, 14, posed no conceivable danger to heavily armed Israeli occupation forces when he was killed on April 20.

Another video shows Abd al-Fattah Abd al-Nabi, 19, being shot in the head as he ran away from the boundary fence on March 30.

Israeli soldiers operate under an apparent shoot-to-kill policy in Gaza’s boundary areas. The exact range of the zone is undeclared but is generally understood to be within 300 meters of the Gaza-Israel boundary.

Israeli forces killed 19 Palestinians inside the Gaza boundary between the start of 2017 and March 3, 2018, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

[Abridged from Electronic Intifada.]