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.
Latest numbers: Israeli forces have killed 127 Palestinians, injured 14,700 including women, children, medics and journalists, in the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of the Great Return March on Palestinian Land, on March 30th, 2018.
We will post updates below as we learn of them. Please check back often.
You can also check IMEMC, Maan, 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).
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.
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, Ha’aretz: 40 Dead, 5,511 Wounded: UN Releases Figures on Palestinian Casualties in Gaza’s Mass Protests on Israel Border…
April 25, Ha’aretz: 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, OCHA – 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
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.”
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.
IMEMC: Palestinian 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….
MEMO… Palestinian Gandhis crushed by Israel’s disproportionate force… The idea for the historic protest came a few months ago from Ahmad Abu Ertima, a member of civil society who was supported by academics in Gaza. The idea gained momentum and was supported by all Palestinian political factions, which understood that they needed new, creative initiatives in the mould of Gandhi and Mandela to attract the attention and support of the international community.
The march’s main goal of holding a peaceful six-week long protest was made clear in advance…. From the early hours on Friday, an estimated 30,000 Palestinians from all walks of life poured out of their homes and refugee camps to take part in the march, the largest peaceful protest ever to take place near the so-called Buffer Zone on the border with the occupying state.
However, this non-violent protest was met with severe warnings and threats by Israeli army officers and politicians. They denounced it as a Hamas-organised riot and threatened to “protect” Israel by shooting anyone who dared to approach the 300-metre zone or try to cross the border. Dozens of Israeli snipers were deployed with orders to shoot to kill. They were backed-up by drones and tanks, and started firing live ammunition into the crowd, as if rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas are not effective any more…..
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
PIC: Israeli forces shoot deaf child in head in Gaza, Israel will not investigate deaths PIC: A Palestinian deaf child was shot and seriously injured by Israeli gunfire east of Khuzaa town to the east of Khan Younis city in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. The spokesman of the Palestinian Health Ministry, Ashraf al-Qudrah, affirmed that the boy sustained a critical injury in the head and that he was… Read the rest of this entry
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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