Palestinians demonstrate for the fifth Friday in a row as UN rights chief condemns Israel’s use of ‘excessive force’.
Since the protests began on March 30, 45 Palestinians in the coastal enclave have been killed by Israeli forces and more than 5,500 wounded. Marchers are demanding the right to return to their homes seized by Israel in 1948.
Here are all the latest updates as of Friday, April 27:
3 Palestinians killed, 955 wounded
Three Palestinian demonstrators were killed and 955 injured by Israeli forces during the protests on Friday.
“Thousands of people stood right at the border, then we heard Israeli forces opening live fire. They’re still doing that sporadically as we speak,” Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reported from the Israel-Gaza border.
“Ambulances are rushing towards that area… The scenes that we have witnessed here over the past half hour or so are the most dramatic.”
Eighteen medical personnel and journalists were among the wounded.
Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said Israeli forces targeted medical service points twice with an unidentified gas east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.
A number of victims experienced convulsions as a result of their exposure, he said.
|A female demonstrator is evacuated after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops at the Israel-Gaza border [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]
Dozens hurt in latest Gaza protest
- At least 25 Palestinian protesters have reportedly been injured by live Israeli gunfire or have suffocated from tear gas inhalation, as demonstrations erupted for the fifth Friday in a row in Gaza, according to reports.
- The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that at least six Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces fired live ammunition at protesters, while the rest were hurt because of teargas inhalation.
- Hundreds of protesters have been gathering at the eastern and northern borders of the Gaza Strip on what they called the “Friday of Rebellious Youth”.
UN rights chief decries Israel’s excessive use of force in Gaza
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has condemned Israel’s use of “excessive force” against Palestinian protesters, saying its security forces must be held to account for the many deaths and injuries sustained by Palestinians in the past month.
- “The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators – not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” Zeid said.
- In the past four weeks, 42 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,500 injured along the fence in Gaza, with no reports of Israeli casualties.
|Friday, April 20
Four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces
- Palestinian officials say the death toll on Friday has risen to four, with Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, a 15-year-old from Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, joining the growing list of fatalities.
- Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, added that at least 729 Palestinians, including 45 children, had been wounded by Israeli forces.
- The other three victims were identified as Ahmed Rashad, 24, Ahmed Abu Aqil, 25, and Saad Abdul Majid Abdul-Aal Abu Taha, 29.
Yahya Sinwar makes rare public appearance at protest site
- Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has made a rare public appearance at a protest near Gaza City.
- Freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with Israel after more than 20 years in jail, Sinwar told the crowd of protesters that they would “march on Jerusalem”.
|Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, made another rare public appearance on Friday at a protest near Gaza city [Bernard Smith/Al Jazeera]|
|Palestinians raise their flag in front of burning tyres they lit near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
Naming the dead
These are the 39 Palestinians that have been killed by Israel since the start of the protests:
- Mohammed Naeem Abu Amr, 27, died on March 30
- Amin Mansour Abu Muammar, 22, died on March 30
- Mohammed Najjar 25, died on March 30
- Ahmed Odeh, 19, died on March 30
- Mahmoud Saadi Rahmi, 33, died on March 30
- Eyad Abdul Aaal, died on March 30
- Abdelfattah Abdelnabi, 19, died on March 30
- Jihad Freneh, 33, died on March 30
- Ibrahim Abu Shaar, 22, died on March 30
- Abdelqader Al-Hawajri, 42, died on March 30
- Abdel Fattah Bahjat, 18, died on March 30
- Jihad Abu Jamous, 30, died on March 30
- Fares Al-Raqab, 29, died on March 30
- Ahmed Omar Arafeh, 25, died on March 30
- Bader al-Sabbagh, 22, died on March 30
- Naji Abu Hujeir, 25, died on March 30
- Sari Abu Odeh, 30, died on March 30
- Hamdan Abu Amsheh, died on March 30
- Shadi Hamdan al-Kashif, 34, Rafah, succumbed to his wounds on April 5 from injuries sustained on March 30
- Thaer Mohammed Rabea, 30, succumbed to his wounds on April 6 from injuries sustained on March 30
- Ahmed Nizar Muhareb, 29, died on April 6
- Usama Khamis Qudeih, 38, died on April 6
- Majdi Ramadan Shabat, 38, died on April 6
- Hussein Mohammed Madi, 16, died on April 6
- Sobhi Abu Outawi, 20, died on April 6
- Ibrahim Al-Err, 20, died on April 6
- Mohammed Saeed Mousa Al-Hajj Saleh, 33, died on April 6
- Alaa Zamli, 17, died on April 6
- Sedqi Faraj Abu Atewi, 45, died on April 6
- Alaa Eddine Yahya Al-Zamli, 15, died on April 6
- Hamza Abdel Al-Aal, died on April 6
- Yaser Murtaja, 30, died on April 7
- Marwan Awdeh Qadeih, 45, died on April 9
- Mohammed Abu Hajeela, 31, died on April 12
- Abdallah Al-Shahri, 28, died on April 12
- Ahmed Abu Aqil, 25, died on April 20
- Ahmed Rashad, 24, died on April 20
- Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, 15, died on April 20
- Saad Abdul Majid Abdul-Aal Abu Taha, 29, died on April 20
Great March of Return spokesman: South Africa is our model
Asaad Abu Shariek, a spokesman for the Great March of Return protest movement, said demonstrators were following a path laid down by South Africa during its struggle against apartheid.
“People are very enthusiastic to come and take part in the protests because they know without participating in this non-violent form of resistance they can’t achieve their objective,” Abu Shariek told Al Jazeera.
When asked whether the protests would lead to any tangible concessions by the Israelis, Abu Shariek said: “We are implanting an idea in the minds of people across the world that Palestinians have rights and they hope for the right of return.
“We want the world to impose a military embargo on Israel and the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] strategy. South Africa used this method, and they emerged victorious, and I think we will be no exception.”
|A man has his eyes cleaned after he was exposed to tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
‘Barrage of tear gas’
Reporting from the protest site, Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith said the thousands of Palestinians in attendance were being subjected to a “barrage of tear gas from Israeli soldiers”.
“Thick black smoke has now filled the air as they try to obscure the view for Israeli soldiers,” Smith said.
“This is a peaceful protest as it has been over the last few weeks.
“There will be more protests like this until May 15, the day the Palestinians call the Nakba that marked the founding of the state of Israel.”
Death toll reaches 37 Palestinians killed
- Ahmed Rashad, 24, was pronounced dead by the Palestinian Ministry of Health after being hit by a live bullet fired by Israeli forces. This brings the death toll to 37 Palestinians since protests began on March 30.
- Ahmed Abu Akil, 25, died in the hospital after being shot with a live bullet, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Palestinians fly kites over fence into Israel
Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border have sent kites over the fence into Israel, including some carrying notes telling Israelis: “There is no place for you in Palestine.”
|Palestinians fly a kite with the words: ‘We will return despite the betrayers’ [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
40 Palestinian protesters wounded
- At least 40 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli use of live fire and tear gas during protests along the Gaza-Israeli border, reported by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
- Among the wounded is Ahmed Abu Akil from Jabaliya. He has been moved to the intensive care unit after being injured in the head by live bullets fired by the Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
- Another two Palestinians have also been reported injured in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces fired live bullets at protesters.
Israel drops leaflets in Gaza: ‘Stay away from border fence’
- Israel dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip warning Palestinians not to approach its border fence as the military braced for fresh Palestinian protests along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.
- It was the first time leaflets have been dropped in the recent round of demonstrations.
- The Israeli army “is prepared for all scenarios. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it,” read the leaflets, which were scattered by Israeli aircraft along the border in the early morning.
|Friday, April 13
Number of injured approaches 1,000: health ministry
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health is reporting that a total of 969 people have been injured by Israeli forces
Palestinian killed in Gaza
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Islam Herzallah, 28, died after being shot by Israeli snipers in his stomach, east of Gaza.
- The number of injuries has surpassed 701, it added.
Palestinian Ministry of Health: 528 wounded
- Health officials in Gaza say at least 528 protesters have been wounded, including 16 journalists and medical professionals.
- According to the ministry, at least 122 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition.
Palestinian Ministry of Health says 363 protesters wounded so far
- Journalists are among the injured, with Ahmad Abu Hussein shot in the chest while covering the protests in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.
- A bullet also grazed the arm of Middle East Eye’s photographer Mohammed al-Hajjar at the same location.
More than 100 protesters wounded, say health officials
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 112 protesters have been wounded by live bullets and tear gas along the Gaza Strip border.
Mobile clinic targeted near Khan Younis
|Medics carry a wounded protester on a stretcher in Khuza’a, Khan Younis, on the third consecutive Friday protest near the Gaza Strip border [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
- The spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry Ashraf al-Qidra had condemned Israeli forces targeting a mobile clinic east of Khan Younis with tear gas, resulting in the suffocation of 10 medical staff.
- “Despite the direct targeting of our medical points, we are determined to continue providing treatment to our people under all circumstances,” he said.
- The Ministry of Health also said that 30 protesters have been injured so far.
Three protesters injured
- Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said that three protesters east of Gaza City have already been wounded by Israeli forces.
- “What we have seen over the past two Fridays is a great number of people shot by Israeli snipers,” he said, speaking near the encampment near Gaza City.
- According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, more than 1,600 Palestinians were wounded last Friday.
Journalists undeterred by Israeli targeting
- Last Friday, nine journalists who were covering the protests were hospitalised with serious leg injuries after Israeli forces shot at them.
- One them, Izz Abu Shanab, is a freelance photographer and told Al Jazeera he was wearing a flak jacket marked with “PRESS” and a helmet.
- “As I was working about 400 metres away from the border fence, the Israelis shot me with a live bullet in the leg,” Abu Shanab said. “It broke the bone because it was an explosive bullet.”
- Another journalist, Jameel Dahlan, said that despite concern from family members, he will continue to cover the protests.
- “We as journalists send a message,” he told Al Jazeera. “No matter what my wife or mother says, we love our work. Because of that we’ll keep coming here.”
‘Burn the Israeli flag’
|Palestinians in Gaza burn the Israeli flag as part of the protest’s theme on the third consecutive Friday [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
- Amer Shreiteh, member of the Coordinating Committee for the Return March, told local Palestinian media that Friday’s protest theme has been dubbed as “Burn the Israeli flag and raise the Palestinian one”.
- “A 25-metre flag mast has been built for each of the five encampments along the border,” he said.
- In a statement, the Committee confirmed its commitment to a peaceful, popular protest.
|Friday, April 6
For a second week, thousands of Palestinians protested along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, as part of the Great March of Return movement.
Israeli forces have killed 29 Palestinians during the past week, including 21 during and after the March 30 protests, which wounded more than 1,600 others.
Eight Palestinians died last Friday, including one who succumbed to his wounds after being shot last week.
Two more died from their wounds the following day, including journalist Yaser Murtaja.
Local media: Eight killed by Israeli forces
- The Palestinian Shehab News Agency is reporting that the death toll in Friday’s protests has risen to nine, after Alaa Yahya al-Zamali, 17, was shot dead by Israeli forces in Rafah.
Yahya Sinwar: Gaza will ‘stand tall’ in the face of the occupation
- Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has made a rare public appearance at a protest near the city of Khan Younis.
- Freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with Israel after more than 20 years in jail, Sinwar told the crowd that Gaza would “stand tall” in the face of Israeli occupation.
- “The plot of starvation and siege have failed to incite the Palestinian people against the resistance [Hamas].
- “Gaza will not starve and will not abandon its national objective.
- “Our people came out to tell the world that Gaza is free and that we will stand tall and resist the Israeli occupation.”
|A Palestinian protester wears a tyre on his head with an onion (to protect himself from tear gas) dangling from it [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
Local media: Six killed by Israeli forces
- The Palestinian Safa Press Agency is reporting that the death toll has risen to eight, with Sidqi Abu Outewi, a 45-year-old from Nuseirat, and Mohammed Hajj Saleh, a 33-year-old from Rafah, joining the growing list of fatalities.
Fifth Palestinian killed, health ministry says
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health says the death toll has risen to six, with 20-year-old Ibrahim Al-Ourr killed.
Palestinian Ministry of Health: 780 wounded
- Health officials in Gaza said that at least 780 protesters have been wounded, including seven women and 31 children.
Fourth Palestinian killed, health ministry says
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that a 16-year-old boy has been killed by Israeli forces.
- The teenager, Hussein Madi, was dead on arrival after he was taken to Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, the ministry added.
Journalist: 28 wounded protesters in intensive care unit
- Hosam Salem, a photographer at the scene in the southern Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that there are currently 8 protesters in the intensive care unit at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.
- Salem witnessed his colleague Yaser Murtaja, a 30-year-old journalist with a local media outlet, drop to the ground after he was shot by Israeli forces in the stomach.
- “Yaser was filming with his camera next to me when we heard the sound of gunfire,” Salem said. “He just fell on the ground and said, ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot’.”
- “He needed eight units of blood,” Salem continued. “The hospital moved him from the operations room to the ICU where his situation remains critical.”
- Another journalist, Ibrahim Zanoun, was shot in the arm while covering the protests in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.
Half an hour ago the occupation army shot my brother, journalist, Ibrahim Zanoun in the arm!
— Ezz zanoon (@EzzZanoon) April 6, 2018
Health officials: Two killed, 250 injured
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health says protester Majdi Ramadan Shbat has been killed east of Gaza City by Israeli forces.
- The number of those wounded has risen to at least 250, according to the ministry.
- Shbat’s death brings the total number of protesters killed on Friday to three, after Thaer Rab’a, who was shot by Israeli forces during the March 30 demonstrations, succumbed to his wounds earlier in the day.
Protesters ‘defiant’ amid growing tension
|A Palestinian woman and man stand behind burning tyres in Khuza’a near the border in southern Gaza Strip [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
- Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Gaza, says Palestinian protesters have remained “defiant” despite Israel saying it will not change its rule of engagement.
- “Some young boys have been carrying mirrors to blind the soldiers stationed all along the border,” she said. “We’ve seen them with makeshift homemade gas masks which won’t really protect them from anything.
- “Tension is growing because more and more people are arriving, but it seems that the Israelis are showing some degree of restraint compared to last week,” she continued. “They are still using live ammunition and high-velocity bullets which don’t kill but maim protesters.”
Palestinian killed in Gaza
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed that 38-year-old Osama Qdeih has been killed by Israeli live fire east of Khan Younis.
- The number of wounded has increased to at least 150, the ministry added.
Ministry of Health: 40 wounded by live fire and tear gas
|A medic stands over a wounded protester near Gaza Strip’s eastern border [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
- Palestinian health officials say at least 40 protesters have been wounded.
- According to Ashraf al-Qidra, the health ministry’s spokesperson, five are in critical condition after being shot in the head or in the upper body.
- Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that the protests are the outcome of “years and years of frustration” by the residents of the Gaza Strip.
- “If you look at the past 60 years there has always been delayed action from the Arab League and the international community [with regards to] the Palestinian question,” he said.
- “That delay of action is an indication that there is no serious attempt to stop Israel from doing what it is doing now.”
UN warns Israeli forces to respect ‘right of peaceful assembly’
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell has expressed concern over further violence during Friday’s demonstrations and in the weeks ahead.
- Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Throssell said: “We remind Israel of its obligations to ensure that excessive force is not employed against protesters and that in the context of a military occupation, as is the case in Gaza, the unjustified and unlawful recourse to firearms by law enforcement resulting in death may amount to a willful killing, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
- Earlier, Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed the death of Thaer Rab’a, 30, who succumbed to his injuries after he was shot by Israeli forces last Friday.
- This brings this week’s death toll to 22 Palestinians.
Friday of ‘Burning Tyres’
- Palestinians have gathered hundreds of spare tyres and plan on setting them on fire in order to create a smokescreen to obstruct the vision of Israeli snipers.
- Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Hoda Abdel-Hamid, said that the situation is calm at the moment, despite five Palestinians so far being wounded by live ammunition
- “[At the five encampments along the border] you have entire families with their children dressed in traditional Palestinian clothes,” she said. “They are having picnics, they are sitting on the floor, and there’s a lot of vendors on the side.
- “It is a completely different atmosphere and that’s where the vast majority of people are.”
Hamas internal security called for peaceful protest
|An elderly Palestinian man and his granddaughter sit during Friday prayers at at one of the encampments east of Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]|
- On Thursday night, the internal security of Hamas released a statement calling on all protesters to “avoid friction with the Israeli occupation forces, and cooperate with the instructions of the organizers of the events.”
- The statement also called on participants to avoid wearing distinctive clothes and to not take photos or use their mobile phones.
Organisers of the march
- “The march is organised by refugees, doctors, lawyers, university students, Palestinian intellectuals, academics, civil society organizations and Palestinian families,” Asad Abu Sharekh, the spokesperson of the march, told Al Jazeera.
- “Using these claims of Hamas being behind the protests, Israel is trying to sabotage the idea of the march to justify its escalation against protesters.”
- The planned protests, which started on March 30, or Land Day, will continue until the Nakba anniversary on May 15, which marks 70 years since 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their villages and towns by Zionist militias in 1948.
- Makeshift tents have been erected 700 metres away from the Israeli fence, symbolising the right of return for Palestinian refugees, who make up 70 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population of two million.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS