Number of Civilian Causalities in the Great March of Return and Breaking
Siege in Gaza Strip Increases; 41 Civilians Killed, including 4 Children and
Person with Mobility Impairment, and Around 1500 Civilians Wounded,
including Dozens of Children and Women, 8 Journalists, and 12 Paramedics
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Ref: 52/2018
Date: 14 May 2018
Time: 16:30 GMT

Further to the press release issued by PCHR today afternoon, the Israeli
forces continued to use excessive lethal force against the civilian
demonstrators along the eastern and northern borders of the Gaza Strip as
they continued to fire heavily live bullets, tear gas canisters and
artillery shells, inflecting many civilian casualties. As a result, the
death toll has amounted to 41, including 4 children and a person with
mobility impairment, and around 1500 civilians were wounded, including
dozens of children and women, 8 journalists and 12 paramedics.

The number of those killed distributed as follows according to the Gaza
Strip Governorates:

1. Northern Gaza Strip: 4 civilians killed, including a child.

2. Gaza City: 11 civilians killed.

3. Central Gaza Strip: 6 civilians killed, including a boy and a girl.

4. Khan Younis: 16 civilians killed, including a child.

5. Rafah City: 4 civilians killed.

Field Observations by PCHR’s Fieldworkers Confirm the Following:

· The demonstrations have been entirely peaceful, and the
fieldworkers have not witnessed any armed manifestations despite the state
of outrage and fervor prevailing among the demonstrators who were hundreds
of thousands.

– An outstanding participation of women and children in the
demonstrations.

·- The Israeli Forces unprecedentedly and heavily stationed along the
border fence and inside the military sites surrounding the area along with
intensive flight of the Israeli warplanes.

– Tear gas canisters were intensively and unprecedentedly fired from
the drones and by the Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence or
in the military sites. The tear gas has spared none, including PCHR’s staff
that was in the field.

– Ambulances, medical staff, and field clinics were deliberately and
directly targeted and prevented from approaching those wounded in addition
to causing injuries among them.

– Journalists are directly targeted, causing injuries among them.

– The Israeli fire targeted the upper part of the body as dozens
sustained wounds to the head and chest and many are in critical condition;
thus, the number of deaths is likely to increase.

PCHR reiterates its warning of ongoing use of lethal force against
Palestinian civilians. PCHR emphasizes that the demonstrations are entirely
peaceful and civilians have the right to raise their voice and express their
opinions against the Israeli occupation and the closure in addition to
enjoying their right to return.

The international community shall end Israel’s impunity and strictly
prosecute all those involved in the killings of civilians. PCHR believes
that Israel’s impunity thanks to the U.S. encourages the Israeli forces to
commit further crimes upon an official decision by the highest military and
political echelons.

PCHR also stresses that this ongoing policy by Israel violates the Rome
STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC) and Fourth Geneva
Convention, and its practices qualify to war crimes. Thus, PCHR calls upon
the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation into these crimes in
addition to prosecuting and holding accountable all of those involved in
issuing decisions and orders in the Israeli forces at the political and
security level and those applying the orders.

PCHR asks for the presence of international observers from the United
Nations (UN) bodies in the Gaza Strip to make sure that these demonstrations
are totally peaceful and even if the Israeli authorities denied their access
to Gaza, they can observe from the Israeli side of the borders.

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.

PCHR calls upon Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depository State for the
Convention, to demand the High Contracting Parties to convene a meeting and
ensure Israel’s respect for this Convention, noting that 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.

Public Document

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