Israeli Soldiers Open Fire on Gaza Protesters for 7th Week in a Row

Israeli forces fired live ammunition and tear gas at Palestinian protesters along the border with Gaza on Friday, May 11, this for the seventh consecutive week. Friday’s protests were part of the 45-day “Great March Return,” which began on March 30, and which are set to culminate on May 15, Nakba Day.

Israeli peace demonstrators near the Gaza border call for an end to the siege of Gaza, Friday, May 11, 2018.

Israeli peace demonstrators near the Gaza border call for an end to the siege of Gaza, Friday, May 11, 2018. (Photo: Activestills)

At least 15,000 Palestinians took part in Friday’s protests at several locations along the Gaza-Israel border fence. Jabr Salem Mustafa, 40, was shot in the chest Israeli forces and died while participating in the nonviolent protests along the border east of Khan Younes, in southern Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers wounded dozens more during the protests. Among the wounded was a 16-year-old boy who was shot in the head and was listed as being in critical condition.

Not far from the Gaza border — and visible from one of the “Great March of Return” gatherings — roughly 50 Israelis demonstrated, carrying and signs and banners, against the siege of Gaza and against the shooting of civilians.

Earlier on Friday, a far-right Israeli activist attempted to launch a burning kite into Gaza — but ended up setting fire to fields belonging to kibbutz Nahal Oz.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has urged Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to open fire on the protesters. Four prominent Israeli human rights groups demanded last month that the Supreme Court order the state to revoke the rules of engagement that permit shooting demonstrators who pose no danger to human life.

The “Great March of Return” demonstrations in Gaza are expected to peak on May 14-15. According to the latest statistics from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, since March 30, the Israeli army has killed 47 Palestinians – five of them children – and has wounded 8,536 participants in the Friday demonstrations, including 793 children and 283 women; 166 of the wounded remain in critical condition.

Also on Friday, three Palestinians were injured  during clashes with Israeli occupation forces in the Qalqilia and Ramallah districts in the West Bank, according to local sources. Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel rounds at the weekly demonstration in the village of Kafr Qaddoum, to the east of Qalqilia, wounding two demonstrators with rubber-coated bullets. Rubber-coated rounds also wounded a Palestinian protester when the Israeli army attacked protesters at the northern entrance to the city of al-Bireh in the central West Bank.

In East Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli police attacked dozens of Palestinians gathered outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound to protest Israel’s recent excavations in the Islamic Bab al-Rahma cemetery in the city. The Palestinians were demonstrating peacefully against the Israeli excavations in the cemetery, which started three months ago, with the goal of establishing an Israeli museum and other facilities on the site of the cemetery. Israeli police fired teargas canisters and stun grenades at the protesters and physically assaulted some of them, arresting four. The police also reportedly assaulted some of the journalists who were covering the gathering, including reporters and photojournalists from Palestine TV.