Facts & latest news on Gaza Great March of Return (periodically updated)

Facts & latest news on Gaza Great March of Return (periodically updated)

Since March 30, Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip — including families, women, and children — have gathered along the Israeli border to highlight their dispossession in 1948 and protest the growing humanitarian catastrophe.

Israeli forces have killed about 240 and injured over 25,000 protesters, including women, children, disabled individuals, medics, and journalists, since the beginning of the Great Return March on Palestinian Land. Many have been shot in the back. Go here to learn the details of each death.

Gaza Factsheet on why Palestinians are marching

Take action here to stop Israel’s killing of unarmed demonstrators

We will post updates below as we learn of them. Please check back often.

You can also check IMEMC, Ma’an, WAFA and Al Jazeera for their latest reports. Ha’aretz also often has valuable reports (though they’re sometimes slanted, are censored by the Israeli military, and often take their information from the IDF.)  You may also wish to share our Facebook graphic (at end of post) to inform others of what’s going on in Gaza, since U.S. media reports are sparse and often slanted and incomplete (see our report on AP below).

December deaths include a 4-year-old boy who was shot twice with expanding bullets.

November deaths – at least 6 Palestinians were killed during Friday demonstrations in November; 7 more were killed in airstrikes in mid-November; and 7 were killed on November 11th when Israeli soldiers in disguises infiltrated Gaza on an assassination mission.

October 28 – 29 – Palestinian medics say three boys aged 12 to 14 were killed in an Israeli airstrike as the boys were allegedly “apparently involved in placing” an explosive device near the border fence; a 27-year old man was also killed.

October 26 – Israeli forces killed four more protesters in Gaza, and one in the West Bank.

October 19 – The Palestinian Health Ministry  in Gaza gas confirmed that Israeli soldiers injured 130 Palestinians live bullets and caused many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation; among the wounded are 30 children and four medics.

October 12 – On Friday afternoon, 12 October 2018, using excessive force against the peaceful protesters in the eastern Gaza Strip for the 29th Friday in a row, Israeli forces Killed 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and and wounded 224 others, including 42 children, 3 women, 3 journalists, and a paramedic with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters. Ten of those wounded sustained serious wounds. Sixteen of those wounded sustained serious wounds.

October 5 – Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinians, including a 12-year-old, and injured 376 others injured by live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets, concussion grenades and tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces at the latest ‘Great March of Return’ protests at the Gaza-Israel border on Friday.

September 28 – Israeli forces killed a 12 year-old, 2 teens, and 4 others taking part in an unarmed protest at the Gaza border. Israeli soldiers also injured at least 508 others, including 4 paramedics, 4 media journalists and 90 children, many shot with live ammunition.

September 21 – Israeli forces killed a 25-year-old and injured 312 – among the wounded are twenty children and two women.

Friday, Sept 7th – The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that Israeli soldiers killed a teenage boy, and injured at least 210 others…

August 31 – Israeli forces wounded 75 civilians, including 16 children, a journalist and 2 paramedics.

August 16-29  – Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian civilians were killed, 239 civilians, including 52 children, 6 women, and 5 paramedics, were wounded; 10 of those wounded sustained serious injuries. 14 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were wounded and in the West Bank in addition to a foreign activist, who was wounded twice.

August 10 – Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians, including one paramedic, as protesters gathered for the 20th week.

August 9 – At least three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old child, were killed by Israeli air attacks and artillery shelling.

August 5 – A young man who was injured during the first day of demonstrations, March 30th, died of his wounds. He was 17.

August 4 – A 15-year-old boy died of injuries he sustained the previous day in the Great March of Return.

August 3 – With an estimated 10,000 protesters, a 25-year-old man was killed, 220 were hurt (90 by live fire).

July 28 – A 17-year-old boy died from a live round he had received to the chest the previous day.

July 27 – A 12- year-old boy was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper, and a 45-year-old man – who had already been injured in the line of duty a month ago – was killed by live fire to the head.

July 25 – A 26-year-old Gazan man, who was wounded during the May 14 demonstration, died.

July 20 – Israeli forces bombarded targets in Gaza for over 4 hours overnight, hitting “over 60 Hamas targets,” according to Israeli army sources. This was in retaliation for the killing of an Israeli soldier by a Palestinian gunman (the first Israeli military death since the 2014 incursion, Operation Protective Edge). 4 Palestinians were also killed. At this time, a ceasefire is in place, but Israeli leaders are preparing for a possible “broad, painful military operation…more painful than Operation Protective Edge.”

July 13 – Israeli forces have shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian during protests near the fence with Israel in the Gaza Strip, as demonstrations marked on Friday more than 100 days since the start of the Great March of Return mass rallies. Health officials in Gaza identified the victim as Othman Rami Hillis.

In advance of Friday’s protest, the organising committee called on residents to take part in the demonstration in a show of solidarity with Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank slated for total demolition by Israeli authorities. “From the unity of blood and unity of purpose, we declare Friday the day of solidarity with our people in the Khan al-Ahmar,” the committee said in a statement.

July 6 – The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed, Friday, that Israeli soldiers killed one Palestinian, and injured 396 others, after the army attacked the “Great Return March” processions, in the eastern parts of the besieged Gaza Strip. Mohammad Kamal Abu Halima, 22, died after he was shot by and Israeli soldier with a live round in the chest. 57 of the injured were hit by live fire. 119 (including 13 children and 3 women) were rushed to hospitals.

July 3 – Three women were shot and injured on Tuesday by live bullets fired by Israeli soldiers stationed at the border with Gaza and over 130 others received various kinds of injuries, as thousands of women participated in the “Palestinian Women for the Return and Breaking the Siege” protest.

July 2 – IDF troops opened fire on four Palestinians who allegedly infiltrated into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip on Monday and tried to set fire to an abandoned army position. An IDF force pursued the group and opened fire, killing one Palestinian, injuring two, and arresting another.

July 1 – A group of Palestinians breached the border fence in southern Gaza and set afire IDF equipment at an empty sniper outpost before escaping back into the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

June 30 – Israeli forces kill a 14-year-old and a 24-year-old, injure 415.

June 24 – Fifty-four amputations were carried out; seven of them in the upper extremities, 47 in the lower extremities, Al Ray reports.

June 23 – “I just want him to be a normal boy again’: Gaza Family Appeal for Urgent Help to Support Treatment of 11-year-old Mahmoud Who Was Shot in the Face by an Israeli Sniper

video at https://www.channel4.com/news/israel-condemned-for-gaza-killings

May 29 – WATCH: Israel blocks Gaza boats taking patients and students abroad

May 14 – Canadian doctor: Israeli soldiers shot me in both legs as I was treating injured protesters in Gaza

Reporters Without Borders has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli sniper fire on journalists… 2 journalists have been killed and at least 90 injured since the start of the Great March of Return on March 30.

May 2 – Medics report new “butterfly bullet” and toxic gas. At least 45 Palestinians have been killed, about 7,000 wounded according to Al Jazeera. The wounded include at least 24 who have had limbs amputated.

Butterfly bullet

Medics report a new type of bullet – the “butterfly bullet,” which explodes on impact, causing severe injuries. Gaza’s health ministry spokesman, Ashraf al Qedra, explained that the size of the wounds indicates that “an explosion happened inside the body,” and that victims’ “internal organs [are] totally destroyed, pulverized.”

Each of the 24 amputees and the majority of those killed were victims of butterfly bullets, the deadliest Israel has ever used, according to al Qedra.

The severity of these wounds has been a challenge to Gaza’s local medics and staff from Doctors Without Borders. They report that there will be a need for “complex surgical operations.”

Explosive rounds have been banned internationally since the Hague Convention of 1899.

Palestinians also report an unknown toxic, yellow-green gas being shot at the demonstrators. The gas has caused severe convulsions in many protesters.

April 26 – 40 Dead, 5,511 Wounded: UN Releases Figures on Palestinian Casualties in Gaza’s Mass Protests on Israel Border…

April 25 – Second Gazan Journalist Shot by Israel During Border Protest Dies of Wounds. Ahmed Abu Hussein was shot in the stomach while documenting the protest on Israel-Gaza border… (See Timeline of deaths of all Palestinians and Israelis killed since 2000)

April 20 – Mass demonstrations along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza took place today, for the fourth consecutive Friday, as part of the ‘Great March of Return’ expected to continue up to 15 May. As of 19:00, four Palestinians, including one child, have been killed by Israeli forces during the events, and 729, including 45 children, have been injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. The MoH also indicated that 42 per cent of the injuries (305 people) have been hospitalized, including 156 people hit by live ammunition. With limited resources, health providers are struggling to deal with the massive influx of casualties and are in urgent need of additional support and funding.

Paramedics who evacuated the child killed today indicated that he was shot with live ammunition to the head, at around 50 meters from the fence, east of Jabalia, with no evidence that the posed any threat to Israeli forces.

April 20 – Israeli forces kill 2 more and injure 83 – The Gaza Health Ministry said Israeli soldiers shot five Palestinians, including a medic who was shot with a live round in the head, and a journalist who was wearing a clearly marked press vest and helmet… It added that the soldiers killed Ahmad Nabil Abu ‘Aqel, 25, who is physically challenged, after shooting them with an expanding bullet in the head….

Five House Democrats issue statement against Israeli military shooting unarmed Gaza protesters, April 12 – Statement calls on Israeli soldiers to refrain from shooting live ammunition at unarmed Palestinian protesters… calls on Palestinians to exercise their rights nonviolently, says the vast majority are doing so… By Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA-04)

CNN – Israeli forces have injured over 500 Gazans on Friday, April 13th

OCHA report April 13 

US Churches & Agencies issue statement on Gaza: “As US churches and Christian agencies, we support the Palestinian people as they courageously stand up for their rights.” Statement supports refugees rights, calls for end of blockade of Gaza, calls for U.S. to censure Israeli violence…

Elizabeth Warren finally mentions Gaza – Warren, after obeying the Israel lobby for years, has finally said something: “I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza, As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.” This follows statements by Betty McCollum Bernie Sanders and Barbara Lee (see below).

“other high-profile Democratic senators were also asked about Gaza: New Jersey’s Cory Booker and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand did not respond.California’s Kamala Harris’s “office said it would send a statement, but did not do so or respond to a follow-up inquiry.”

Watch: Israeli soldiers cheer as they shoot Palestinian 

Watch: Geraldo Rivera tells Fox News he regrets not speaking out against Israel’s “constant occupation and oppression” of Palestinians

CPJ calls on Israel to hold killers of Yaser Murtaja to account … Pictures posted on social media by local journalists and witness testimony from local journalists show that Murtaja was wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet that were both clearly marked with the words “PRESS” when he was hit…

Daily Sabah: Israelis gather by Gaza border to watch and cheer as military uses live fire against Palestinians – “A disturbing image of young Israelis sitting by the Gaza border, cheering and watching as bombs fall on Palestinians just a few miles away has evoked widespread condemnation as it circulated on social media. (link)

“In the photo, shared by Nir Dvori a reporter at Israeli Channel 2 television news on Friday, seven young Israeli adults are seen smiling and waving at the cameras as they sit on an observation tower in Nahal Oz, outside the fenced-off Gaza strip.

“Many likened the scene to an “outdoor cinema,” calling it disgusting and barbaric to watch as the Israeli military uses live fire and excessive force against Palestinian protesters…. read more

Headlines from Gaza: Massacre in Gaza continues: 

Journalist shot by Israeli forces dies from his wounds… Journalist Yaser Murtaja was shot while wearing a vest marking him as a member of the press… Six journalists shot by Israel during Gaza protests

The UK Independent: Video shows moment Israeli sniper shoots Palestinian footballer in the knee, ending his career:  Mohammed Khalil needs knee replacement surgery if he is to walk again. A Palestinian football player filmed the moment he appears to get shot in the knee, destroying the joint and his career…

Ha’aretz, Amira Haas: In Gaza, Israel Surpasses Its Usual Evil: Israelis have become inured to historical associations; it’s no wonder they can justify lethal fire against unarmed demonstrators…… The two massacres carried out by Israeli soldiers against Gazans during the 1956 Sinai war have fled our awareness as if they never happened, despite the documentation….  According to a report by the head of UNRWA submitted to the United Nations in January 1957, on November 3, Israeli soldiers killed 275 Palestinians — 140 refugees and 135 local residents. On November 12 (after the fighting had ended), Israeli soldiers in Rafah killed 103 refugees, seven local residents and one Egyptian…. In 1991, Israel began a process of effectively imprisoning all Gaza residents. In September 2007, Ehud Olmert’s government decided on a total siege, including limiting imports of food products and raw materials and banning exports….  In assaults on Gaza since 2008, the Israeli criteria for permissible, proportionate killing according to Jewish ethics have become clearer. An Islamic Jihad fighter who is sleeping is a suitable target. Hamas operatives’ families, including children, also deserve to be killed. So do their neighbors. So does anyone who boils water for tea on an open fire. So does anyone who plays in the police orchestra…

B’Tselem: 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 responsibility for issuing these unlawful orders and for their lethal consequences rests with the policy makers and – above all – with Israel’s prime minister, defense minister, and the chief of staff….., it is also a criminal offense to obey patently illegal orders. Therefore, as long as soldiers in the field continue to receive orders to use live fire against unarmed civilians, they are duty-bound to refuse to comply.

B’Tselem:  Why Israeli soldiers must refuse to fire at unarmed Palestinian protesters:  The use of live ammunition against unarmed persons who pose no danger to anyone is unlawful…. Responses by Israeli officials clearly show that Friday’s grave outcomes were the expected, and indeed looked-for, implementation of a policy formulated beforehand. The military therefore enjoyed full backing for its conduct….. The preparations for the demonstrations planned for this Friday are very similar. At first, it was reported that the military had stated that it did not intend to change its open-fire regulations…. it is also a criminal offense to obey patently illegal orders. Therefore, as long as soldiers in the field continue to receive orders to use live fire against unarmed civilians, they are duty-bound to refuse to comply.

IMEMCPalestinian medical sources have reported, Thursday, that Israeli soldiers killed one Palestinian with a missile fired from an armed drone, late on Wednesday at night, while another Palestinian died from wounds he suffered last Friday, in the Gaza Strip… an armed Israeli military drone fired a missile at Palestinian protesters, killing one of them, and wounding several others. Palestinian medics were unable to enter the area due to Israeli army fire…. identified as Mojahed Nabil al-Khodary, 23, from Gaza city… Red Crescent Medics located the mutilated remains of the slain Palestinian, east of the Zeitoun neighborhood, southeast of Gaza city… the soldiers also shot five Palestinians five live fire and caused dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation in the same area… reportedly had special needs… injured more than a thousand, including at least 200 children,  have been injured, many seriously…. In related news, Israeli navy ships opened fire on several Palestinian fishing boats, in Gaza territorial waters, in the western part of the coastal region, moderately wounding three Palestinians… Washington Post: …”Of the 21 dead so far, 15 were killed during border protests, and videos and witness accounts indicate that most were not armed or carrying out attacks at the moment they were killed.”

Ha’aretz: This Is Zionism as Racism. This Is Israel at 70…  “Eli Hazan, a spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, referred to the men, women, children and elderly protesters camped hundreds of meters from the border fence, and told i24 News Monday without flinching: ‘All 30,000 are legitimate targets.'”…

Washington Post/Common Dreams: For Israel, There’s Little Political Cost to Killing Palestinians ….“’I took my grandchildren. We went to a peaceful demonstration,’ Fayik Sabbagh told The Washington Post. “We went there to tell them this is our land, but what we found was different.”

“Israeli authorities claimed they opened fire in response to some protesters who had encroached near the fence, burning tires and hurling stones or molotov cocktails. Footage that emerged from the chaotic scene suggested Israeli soldiers targeted unarmed protesters, including some who were running away and were shot from a distance by snipers.

“One victim was 20-year-old Badr Sabbagh, Fayik’s son, who was killed just minutes after arriving to watch the protests. “He asked for a cigarette, I gave it to him, he had two puffs, and then he was shot in the head,” his brother Mohammed told The Post….

Israeli forces shoot dead a 25 year old in Gaza. (April 3)

Human Rights Watch: Israel: Gaza Killings Unlawful, Calculated. Officials Green-Light Shooting of Unarmed Demonstrators. “The Israeli government presented no evidence that rock-throwing and other violence by some demonstrators seriously threatened Israeli soldiers across the border fence. The high number of deaths and injuries was the foreseeable consequence of granting soldiers leeway to use lethal force outside of life-threatening situations in violation of international norms, coupled with the longstanding culture of impunity within the Israeli army for serious abuses…

Al Jazeera… Gaza hospitals: ‘Israel was shooting to kill or cause disability’

Titter: Congresswoman Barbara Lee tweets that she’s “deeply concerned about the killing of peaceful Palestinian protestors”

CNN… Senator Bernie Sanders said he doesn’t believe the official response from Israeli authorities… “From what my understanding is, you have tens and tens of thousands of people who are engaged in a nonviolent protest. I believe now 15 or 20 people, Palestinians, have been killed and many, many others have been wounded. So I think it’s a difficult situation, but my assessment is that Israel overreacted on that,” the Vermont Independent told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday…. @SenSanders – The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response….

Betty McCollum tweets against the shooting of peaceful Palestinian protestors

Ha’aretz: Gideon Levy: The Israel Massacre Forces

Israeli military snipers fired at hundreds of civilians, hitting over 750 and killing 15, but two Palestinians who dared return fire at the soldiers who were massacring them are “terrorists,” their actions labeled “terror attacks” and their sentence – death. The shooting on the Gaza border shows once again that the killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes  Read the rest of this entry

PLO (March 31, 2018) –  ….The Israeli army used unbridled violence, unleashing more than 100 snipers and firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the protestors before the very eyes of the entire international community. Yet, the UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement condemning the egregious violations that occurred at the hands of Israel.

…the United States and the United Kingdom blocked the statement. Such a counterproductive stance can render them complicit in Israel’s military occupation and in its persistent violations and violence. Neither one has displayed the moral or political courage to hold Israel to account and to curb its illegal behavior. Read more

OCHA… As of 22:00 today, 30 March, 15 Palestinians were killed and 1,416 were injured by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. Of all injuries, approximately 750 were hit by live ammunition, including twenty, who are reported to be in a critical condition.

 Medical facilities in Gaza, which have already been overstrained by the longstanding shortages of medical supplies, electricity and fuel, are struggling to cope with the overwhelming number of casualties. The MoH has requested support from the international community, including humanitarian organizations through the Health Cluster. The MoH has also reported shortages of essential medical supplies, including emergency and anesthesia drugs and disposables, in addition to essential laboratory materials. The Health cluster is monitoring the situation and providing support, in coordination with all health partners. The Israeli-controlled Gaza crossings are closed until Sunday, 8 April, due to the Passover holiday, except for urgent humanitarian cases.

The casualties occurred in the context of mass demonstrations by Palestinians on the Gaza side of the perimeter fence with Israel, where the Israeli army imposes a ‘No Go Zone’. Today’s event, which marked the Palestinian ‘Land Day’, was the first in the ‘March of Return’, a series of mass peaceful protests leading up to the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians refer to as the 1948 ‘Nakba’, on 15 May. The events include the establishment of tent camps in all five Gaza governorates, some 700 metres from the fence. Read more 

PCHR (Palestine Center for Human Rights)… PCHR emphasizes that before occurrence of demonstrations – previously declared by the organizers as peaceful demonstrations only calling for implementation of United Nation (UN) Resolution 194 and raising only Palestinian and UN flags – the Israeli forces sent threatening letters to intimidate the organizers and Gaza Strip residents in addition to deploying snipers and dog sniffer units along the borders with Gaza as declared by Spokesperson of the Israeli Army on his Facebook page.  The spokesperson also threatened that “ if needed, we will respond in the center of the Gaza Strip against those behind these violent protests,” Hinting about committing crimes of extra-judicial killings (assassinations)…

…PCHR also reiterates 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. 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. Read more

Haaretz: 12 Palestinians Killed… IDF fires live ammunition as 30,000 Palestinians demonstrate throughout Gaza for ‘March of Return’ ■ IDF expects demonstrations to continue for weeks ■ 27 Palestinians wounded in parallel West Bank demonstrations Updated this to 14 killed

CNN report…  The dead included one 16-year-old, the ministry said.
In northern Gaza, CNN witnessed at least two dozen people being taken away by ambulances in the span of half an hour. Injuries varied from rubber bullets, tear gas and live rounds fired by the Israeli military. The majority were young men — one woman was among the injured. Palestinian Red Crescent spokesman in Gaza told CNN that 355 injuries were from live bullets and included serious wounds to the head, abdomen and back… Tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters marched in Gaza, with smaller groups taking to the streets in the West Bank and Israel Friday…

The Independent, UK … Palestinian factions in Gaza, including the ruling Hamas, had ordered that the demonstration be peaceful, insisting marchers to keep well back from Israel’s barrier wall.

With 100 snipers positioned on the barrier, however, Israel’s preparations were a show of brute force and soon after dawn an Israeli tank shell had killed Omar Samour, a Palestinian farmer with land near the buffer zone – the first Return March martyr but certainly not the last.

Israel’s ruthless response to the Gaza’s peaceful Return March should come as no surprise. The Israeli military justified the show of force on the grounds that Hamas might exploit the event in some way with acts of violence. But Israel’s real fear of the “return marchers” runs far deeper. Nothing has ever frightened Israel more than the demands of Palestinian refugees for a right to return to their pre-1948 homes. And no group of refugees has a stronger case than those of Gaza who live within a few miles of their former villages… see video

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Previous and related articles:

Updated: Israeli Soldiers Kill Eight Palestinians, Injure 1100 In Gaza

Israel deploys 100 sharpshooters against planned mass Gandhian demonstration by Gaza families

AP’s slanted report on Gaza Return March, corrected and annotated

Gaza ‘Return March’ organizer: ‘We’ll ensure it doesn’t escalate to violence — on our end’ 

IDF Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad: “We don’t do Gandhi very well”

Calling Bono: Your Palestinian Gandhis Exist … In Graves And Prisons 

The Nakba did not start or end in 1948: Key facts and figures on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.