[News] Israel has injured 24, 000 Gaza protesters - Some 180 Palestinians have been shot dead

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Nov 26 17:14:50 EST 2018


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/israel-has-injured-24000-gaza-protesters 



  Israel has injured 24,000 Gaza protesters

Maureen Clare Murphy 
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/maureen-clare-murphy> - 25 
November 2018

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Palestinians have paid a great price for their call for life with 
dignity during mass protests held along Gaza’s boundary with Israel over 
the past eight months.

Some 180 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli occupation forces 
and nearly 6,000 others injured by live fire during the Great March of 
Return.

“The vast majority of casualties were unarmed, and were fatally shot 
from a distance while in the Gaza Strip itself,” according to 
<https://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip/20181122_over_5800_palestinians_wounded_in_7_months_of_protests> 
a new report by the Israeli group B’Tselem, confirming previous findings 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/no-evidence-single-gaza-protester-killed-israel-was-armed> 
by other rights organizations.

“As a general rule, the protectively clad troops sniping at them from 
other side of the fence were not in any real danger,” B’Tselem added.

In addition to injuries by live fire, 2,000 cases of injury by tear gas 
inhalation have been recorded, along with hundreds of injuries by 
rubber-coated metal bullets.

Injuries to 90 protesters – 17 of them children – have resulted in 
amputation, nearly all of the lower limbs.

Altogether, a staggering 24,000 Palestinians 
<https://whoinopt.exposure.co/gaza-waiting-for-treatment> have been 
injured during the Great March of Return protests – more than one 
percent of the territory’s population.

Around half of those injured were treated at field clinics at protest 
sites. The rest were transferred to hospital for treatment.

“The mass influx of casualties has disrupted an already fragile health 
system,” according to the World Health Organization. “In the hospitals, 
trauma patients are prematurely discharged to make room for new patients.”

Hundreds of Palestinians require long-term limb reconstruction involving 
multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, according to the 
organization.


    Shot in lower limbs

B’Tselem surveyed more than 400 protesters who were wounded by live 
fire, including 63 children.

The vast majority – 85 percent – were shot in their lower limbs.

Some 40 percent were hit while they were in the immediate vicinity of 
the Gaza-Israel boundary fence. Around a third were up to 150 meters 
away from the fence. Just over 20 percent were more than 150 meters away 
when they were shot.

Forty-one of the children surveyed said they were “injured while they 
were watching the protest, waving a flag, photographing or filming the 
protest, moving away from the protest, or treating the wounded,” 
B’Tselem stated.

Nearly all of the protesters wounded by live fire surveyed by B’Tselem 
require prolonged, medical treatment. More than half require 
rehabilitation and physical therapy. Ten percent are permanently injured.

Being shot by occupation forces is only “the first chapter in a 
prolonged ordeal,” according to B’Tselem.

“Even a superbly functioning healthcare system would be sorely tried 
when faced with such a large number of casualties,” the group states.

“Yet in Gaza, even before the protests began, the healthcare system was 
already on the brink of collapse.”

The dire state of Gaza’s healthcare system is a result of the 11-year 
Israeli blockade at the center of the protests that have met with brutal 
violence.


    Medicines depleted

At the beginning of the month, Gaza’s central pharmacy “was completely 
out of 226 essential drugs, and had only a one-month supply left of 
another 241,” B’Tselem states.

Stocks of more than 250 types of medical disposables had been depleted.

“The blockade places restrictions on replacing worn-out, broken medical 
equipment, on importing advanced medical equipment and drugs, and on 
travel by physicians for professional training outside Gaza,” according 
to B’Tselem.

“In addition, Gaza’s intermittent power supply, again largely Israel’s 
doing, also disrupts hospital functions.”

Israel meanwhile denies or delays permission to medical patients to 
travel outside Gaza via Erez checkpoint for treatment unavailable in the 
besieged territory.

Others have been referred to hospitals in Egypt but cannot afford the 
treatment.

Gaza’s sole prosthetic limbs workshop “can provide only the most basic 
prosthetic legs with limited range of motion,” according to 
<https://www.npr.org/2018/10/31/660576415/inside-gaza-s-prosthetics-clinic-treating-wounded-palestinian-protesters> 
a recent media report.

The cost of going abroad for prosthetic limbs is prohibitive in 
impoverished Gaza where the blockade has pushed unemployment rates to 
over 50 percent.

In addition to physical harm, Israel’s crackdown on the protests has 
increased symptoms of post-traumatic stress 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/nightmares-rise-among-gazas-children> 
in children who find themselves reliving trauma from previous military 
assaults on Gaza.


    “Deliberate policy”

“The high number of casualties at the protests is not an unavoidable 
fact of life,” B’Tselem states.

“It is the result of a deliberate policy by the Israeli security 
establishment.”

“Manifestly unlawful” open fire orders “permit the use of live fire 
against unarmed protestors who pose no danger to anyone and are on the 
other side of the fence, inside the Gaza Strip.”

Israeli forces have shot bystanders standing hundreds of meters away 
while “doing nothing to jeopardize the troops,” as stated by B’Tselem.

These open fire orders – kept secret by the state – have been 
rubber-stamped by Israel’s high court 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/israels-high-court-blesses-killing-and-maiming-gaza-protesters>.

A lower court recently ruled <http://mezan.org/en/post/23316> that 
Palestinians in Gaza are not entitled to seek compensation for damages 
from Israel because the state has declared the territory an “enemy entity.”


    “Banned from redress”

That was the argument made by the court as it rejected a case filed on 
behalf of a boy in Gaza who was left quadriplegic after Israeli forces 
opened fire on him in November 2014.

With the court upholding a 2012 law barring residents of an “enemy 
entity” from receiving compensation, all Palestinians in Gaza “are now 
banned from redress and remedy in Israel, regardless of the 
circumstances and the severity of the injury or damages claimed,” 
according to the rights groups Al Mezan and Adalah.

The new law “introduced criteria that are nearly impossible to meet for 
victims from Gaza,” leaving Palestinians in Gaza who suffered injury or 
damage during military operations ineligible to seek compensation. A 
narrow window of time in which Gaza residents initiate claims in Israel 
– at significant financial cost – and other restraints effectively bar 
anyone there from seeking justice.

But even in the case of the child represented by Adalah and Al Mezan, 
“who was shot in the absence of military activity and his family 
complied with all of the … stringent criteria,” the state argued that 
the boy was ineligible for compensation with “the simple justification 
that he is a resident of Gaza.”

According to the rights groups, “With this message, Israel declared that 
it absolves itself from the responsibilities, as a state, to 
investigate, deter, and take responsibility for violations by its armed 
and security forces.”

The ruling “grants comprehensive immunity to the Israeli military and 
the state for illegal, reprehensible, and even criminal actions” in the 
occupied West Bank and Gaza.

With no way to fulfill their right to effective legal remedy from 
Israel, the occupying power, “the only legal options currently available 
to Palestinians in Gaza are limited to international judicial 
mechanisms,” Adalah and Al Mezan state.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor has warned 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/icc-warns-israeli-leaders-over-gaza-killings> 
Israeli leaders that the shooting of unarmed Palestinians along the Gaza 
boundary could be considered a crime under international law within the 
court’s jurisdiction.

Palestinian and international nongovernmental organizations have called 
on <http://mezan.org/en/post/23220> the International Criminal Court to 
“urgently” open an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes.

The situation in Palestine has been under preliminary examination by the 
prosecutor’s office since 2015.


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