Gaza protester dies as Israel admits to unjustified killings

A protester is treated by paramedics during Great March of Return protests in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 12 July.

Ashraf Amra APA images

A Palestinian man died after being shot in the stomach by Israeli occupation forces during Great March of Return protests in southernmost Gaza last week.

Ahmad Muhammad Abdallah al-Qarra, 23, was fatally injured during demonstrations east of Khan Younis on 26 July, Gaza’s health ministry stated.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed during the protests along Gaza’s eastern and northern boundaries since their launch last year.

There has been a sharp drop in the number of protest fatalities in the last few months.

Israeli forces fatally injured four Palestinians during Great March of Return protests in May, including Muhammad al-Judaili, a paramedic who succumbed to his wounds in June.

Al-Qarra is the first Great March of Return fatality since al-Judaili’s death.

Israel changes open-fire orders

Last week it was revealed that the Israeli military has decided to change its open-fire regulations, acknowledging it killed dozens of protesters without justification.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, reported that the regulations were changed “after it emerged that firing at the lower limbs above the knee led, in most cases, to death, despite the fact that this was not the objective.”

Soldiers are now instructed to shoot below the knee “and then at the ankle,” according to the report.

A senior Israeli military officer told Kan: “At first, we told them to shoot at the leg. We saw that this can result in fatalities, so we told them to shoot below the knee, then we fine-tuned the regulations to shooting at the ankle.”

The classified open-fire regulations had been approved by Israel’s high court, which declared “there can be no doubt regarding their legality.”

“Both the military and the [high] court bear the responsibility for this criminal policy,” B’Tselem, a human rights group, stated this week.

An Israeli military document published by Adalah, a human rights group, earlier this year states that snipers are permitted to “shoot a key instigator” as he “temporarily moves away from the crowd or rests before continuing his activity.”

The military defines “key instigators” as individuals who “direct or order activities” during the protest, such as “tactical placement” and setting tires on fire.

An independent UN commission of inquiry found that Israel’s use of lethal force against protesters warrants criminal investigation and prosecution and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“[Israeli forces] have intentionally shot children, they’ve intentionally shot people with disabilities, they’ve intentionally shot journalists, knowing them to be children, people with disabilities and journalists,” Sara Hossain, one of the investigators appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, said earlier this year.

Journalists injured

Israeli occupation forces continue to injure Palestinian journalists while they cover the protests.

A rubber-coated bullet fired by soldiers hit photojournalist and cameraman Sami Jamal Taleb Misran in the left eye as he covered demonstrations on 19 July. He was wearing a vest marked “Press” when he was injured east of al-Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza.

At the same location that day, Israeli forces fired a rubber-coated bullet that hit reporter Safinaz al-Louh in the back. She was also wearing a vest marked “Press.”

It was not al-Louh’s first injury while covering the protests. She was hit in her right leg with a tear gas canister on 5 April.




Who can criticise the Palestinians for the Great March of Return? Who, in their situation wouldn't do the same? How can people imprisoned in their own land be expected not to protest? They are in a cleft stick: if they do nothing, they accept their oppression; a signal to the Israelis to pile on more. If they resist, they are terrorists and must be shot. Such are, eternally, the ways of power. In the early days of Israeli "settlement" (the first "settlers" arrived in 1882), and in spite of Zionist violence, the Palestinians were patient and slow to respond. Those who rule by violence assume absence of response to be weakness, and their violence increases. That's why the Great March of Return needs to take place outside Palestine. We who can protest and agitate without fear of violent reprisal need to bear the burden. The more we do, the less the Palestinians need to put themselves at risk. Israel will always use Palestinian resistance to bolster its propaganda that it is terrorism and Israel is an innocent victim. The more we take on the responsibility, the less the Israelis can push that line.
How sweet of the IDF to shoot at children's ankles. Their warmth and compassion are stunning. No doubt the American Israeli Propaganda Advancement Committee will be delighted. I suppose if Arabs occupied California and were kind enough to shoot only at Californian children's feet as they protested, the world would applaud their humanity. Zionists are in the grip of a delusion and America strengthens it. How are delusions defeated? By encountering a reality which shatters them. We have to create that reality.


I am disgusted by the complicit silence of our Australian government. These people we elect only masquerade as 'representatives' of the people of Australia and this is becoming every more apparent to growing numbers of people. Your voices are being heard!


"Over this last year Israeli snipers have murdered more than 300 Palestinian demonstrators on the eastern edge of Gaza. Another 30,000 have been injured by gunshots or teargas. Nearly 60 of those killed and 7,000 of those injured have been children. Hundreds, including children, have had their limbs amputated as a result of being shot with ammunition designed to tear apart limbs. Since 2000, approximately 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel, including 2,172 children. Another 100,000 have been injured."

Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.