Teen killed as Israel uses sharpshooters to police Gaza protests

Men and women provide first-aid to a child lying on the beach with a bandage on his leg

Palestinians come to the aid of a wounded protester during confrontations with Israeli forces along the northern Gaza sea barrier on the maritime boundary with Israel, 22 October.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Israeli occupation forces killed a 18-year-old Palestinian during confrontations along the eastern boundary of the central Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

Gaza’s health ministry identified the slain youth as Muntasir Muhammad Ismail al-Bazz.

A photo of the teen was published by Palestinian media outlets after his death was announced:

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed during protests in Gaza since 30 March, which marked the launch of mass Great March of Return demonstrations along the territory’s northern and eastern boundaries with Israel.

The Gaza-based rights group Al Mezan said last week that its “documentation reveals a clear trend of Israeli soldiers shooting protesters in the upper parts of their bodies.”

More than 300 Palestinians were injured during last Friday’s demonstrations, 204 of them by live ammunition, including 27 children.

Israel also launched missiles near the demonstrations, according to Al Mezan. Four were wounded by shrapnel from one of the strikes.

Several journalists and paramedics were injured by live bullets and projectiles. This video shows a paramedic who was hit in the eye:

Al Mezan condemned “the use of lethal and other excessive force by the Israeli forces, including sharpshooters and air force, to police demonstrations.”

The group added that “unarmed protesters not posing any serious or imminent threat to the Israeli forces must not be shot.”

A wounded journalist is evacuated during protests east of al-Bureij, central Gaza Strip, on 19 October.

Mahmoud Khattab APA images

Video from protests along Gaza’s northern boundary on Monday show an unarmed demonstrator being hit in the leg by Israeli fire as he is standing and observing, posing no conceivable threat to anyone:

A new report by Amnesty International decries Israeli soldiers’ use of “high-velocity military weapons designed to cause maximum harm to Palestinian protesters who do not pose an imminent threat to them” during the past six months of Great March of Return protests.

Completely illegal

“These apparently deliberate attempts to kill and maim are deeply disturbing, not to mention completely illegal,” Amnesty states. “Some of these cases appear to amount to wilful killing, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime.”

The high number of reported injuries to the knees, “which increase the probability of bullet fragmentation, are particularly disturbing.”

The right group adds that “many of the wounds observed by doctors in Gaza are consistent with those caused by high-velocity Israeli-manufactured Tavor rifles using 5.56mm military ammunition.”

“Other wounds bear the hallmarks of US-manufactured M24 Remington sniper rifles shooting 7.62mm hunting ammunition, which expand and mushroom inside the body.”

Meanwhile Israel’s security cabinet has hampered defense minister Avigdor Lieberman’s ability to stop the delivery of fuel and aid to Gaza.

Lieberman will need the approval of the cabinet to halt supplies, which were resumed on Sunday after the defense minister had ordered their suspension earlier in the month.

UN officials have repeatedly warned of a catastrophic collapse of essential services such as hospitals and water and sanitation facilities if fuel supplies in Gaza run out.

Gaza’s two million residents endure power outages of up to 20 hours per day after more than a decade of siege, multiple Israeli military assaults damaging the territory’s sole power plant, and a protracted impasse between the Palestinian governments in Gaza and the West Bank.

“Gaza is imploding”

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s Middle East envoy, warned the Security Council last week that “The situation in Gaza is imploding. This is not a hyperbole. This is not alarmism. It is a reality.”

He added “we remain on the brink of another potentially devastating conflict” as “all key indicators – humanitarian, economic, security and political – continue to deteriorate.”

Mladenov, along with Egypt, is facilitating indirect talks between Israel and Hamas to reach a long-term truce in Gaza.

His office also seeks the transfer of authority over Gaza’s internal affairs to the American and European-backed Palestinian Authority, whose security forces serve as an enforcement arm of Israel’s occupation, and out of the hands of Hamas, which opposes normalization with Israel.

Hagai El-Ad, director of the Israeli group B’Tselem, also addressed the UN Security Council last Thursday:

“We do not focus on how many is the right number of states to achieve a ‘solution.’ Instead we focus on the realization of human rights,” he said.

He pointed to Israel’s “well-oiled farce” to legalize and whitewash its rights abuses against Palestinians.

“We are now quite expert at constructing this façade of legality, which has been very successful at allowing us not to have to deal with any real international consequences,” he said.

“None of these actions has anything to do with security, as Israel tries to argue. They do, however, affect the amorphous construct called the Middle East Peace Process.”

He added: “If one looks beyond the blinders of this process, it is clear to see how its supposedly yet-to-be-negotiated outcome is in reality being dictated, day in and day out, by unilateral Israeli actions. Members of the Security Council, the only thing being ‘processed’ here is Palestine.”

Following El-Ad’s remarks, Israel’s ambassador to the UN called the B’Tselem director “an Israeli citizen in the service of the enemy” and a “collaborator” in Hebrew in the UN chamber:

El-Ad drew the wrath of several other Israeli leaders:
Oren Hazan, a lawmaker in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party notorious for incitement, posted on his Facebook page an image of El-Ad at the Security Council with the text “Wanted dead or alive,” calling on the public to report El-Ad’s whereabouts.
According to the writer Elizabeth Tsurkov, Facebook declined to remove the post, despite its incitement of violence against a human rights defender by a government official:
Israel has escalated its longstanding efforts to hamper B’Tselem’s work documenting human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Last summer a bill was introduced that would make it a crime for groups like B’Tselem to record video of Israeli soldiers.

A video published by B’Tselem showing an army medic executing a prone man in the West Bank city of Hebron in 2016 provoked international outcry and led to the first conviction of an Israeli soldier on manslaughter charges over the killing of a Palestinian since 1987.

The soldier has since been released after serving nine months in prison and has been held up by Israeli leaders has a national hero.

Another alleged Palestinian assailant was shot dead by soldiers in Hebron on Monday.

Muhammad Muamar al-Atrash, 42, was killed after allegedly stabbing and lightly injuring a soldier near at a military checkpoint near the Ibrahimi mosque in the Old City.

Palestinian medics were reportedly prevented from providing treatment to the wounded man, whose body lay in the street:

Video shows Israeli settlers standing around and celebrating al-Atrash’s death.

A voice in this video states “a liquidated terrorist, thanks be to God”:

In this video a voice calls for the slain man’s body to be put in the trash:
“Whoever comes to kill Jews, to the garbage can. Dog,” a man shouts.

Al-Atrash was a peddler and a father of seven, according to the Palestinian Quds news outlet, which said soldiers fired around 10 bullets at him.

One of his sons is in Israeli detention, Quds added.

A photo of al-Atrash was published after his death:

Seven Israelis and nine Palestinian assailants and alleged assailants have been killed in the context of alleged and actual attacks since the beginning of the year.

This article originally stated that Muntasir Muhammad Ismail al-Bazz was 17 years old, per Gaza’s health ministry. It has been corrected after confirming that his date of birth was 27 June 2000, making him 18 years old.


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.