Israeli sniper fatally wounds Gaza child

Mourners carry the body of Saif al-Din Imad Nasir Abu Zaid during his funeral in Gaza City on 7 March. The 15-year-old was fatally injured by an Israeli sniper during protests the night before. 

Ashraf Amra APA images

A 15-year-old boy died hours after being shot during protests Wednesday evening in the Malika area east of Gaza City, the health ministry in the territory announced early Thursday.

Israeli snipers shot Saif al-Din Imad Nasir Abu Zaid in the head and wounded six others with live bullets, according to Wattan TV.

Photos of Abu Zaid circulated on social media following his death:

Targeting children

Israeli forces have killed at least 40 children in the context of the Great March of Return protests along the Gaza-Israel boundary since their launch on 30 March last year.

About 190 Palestinians have been killed during the protests.

A United Nations independent commission of inquiry recently published its preliminary report stating that it had collected evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel which has used lethal military force against unarmed protesters.

“[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.

The report calls for the individuals responsible to face international sanctions and arrest.

“Israeli forces caused permanent disabilities to many of the 940 children shot during the demonstrations,” the UN report states.

Five Palestinian children have died after being struck by tear gas canisters since the start of 2018, according to Defense for Children International Palestine.

Israel killed 60 Palestinian children in 2018.

Targeting journalists and media organizations

Israel also targets journalists during the protests, but its war on Palestinian media continues outside that context as well.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV channel a “terrorist organization” on Wednesday.

Al Mezan, a human rights group based in Gaza, condemned Netanyahu’s decision as “a dangerous precedent.”

“Occupation forces target journalists, employees of the press and media institutions systematically,” Al Mezan stated.

Israeli forces have killed 18 journalists or media workers since the start of the second intifada in 2000, according to Al Mezan. The Israeli military has attacked 32 media organizations as well.

This includes bombing al-Aqsa TV buildings and killing its journalists in Gaza.

In November, an Israeli airstrike targeted the headquarters of al-Aqsa TV, which is located in a heavily populated area of Gaza City.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has rejected Israel’s assertions that al-Aqsa TV’s links with Hamas make it a legitimate military target.

This claim “has no basis in international law,” CPJ stated. “Journalists, like all civilians, only lose their protected status if they directly take part in hostilities.”

Al Mezan warned that Israel’s designation of al-Aqsa TV as a “terrorist” organization could escalate Israel’s attacks on Palestinian journalists and media.

Israeli forces have killed two Palestinian journalists covering the Great March of Return protests and injured many others.

An Israeli sniper fatally wounded journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was wearing a flak jacket marked with the word PRESS on 6 April last year.

A week later journalist Ahmad Abu Hussein died of injuries sustained while covering protests.

In December, photographer Mohammed Asad, a regular contributor to The Electronic Intifada, narrowly escaped a similar fate.

The fragment of a bullet fired by an Israeli sniper destroyed his camera but left him physically unscathed.

But that same bullet had hit 16-year-old Muhammad al-Jahjouh in the neck, killing him.

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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.