In Preemptive Move Prior to the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli Forces Escalate Their Measures along Eastern and Northern Gaza Strip Borders, PCHR Warns of More Civilian Casualties
Date: 14 May 2018
Time: 09:30 GMT
Since yesterday evening, 13 May 2018, and until today morning, the Israeli forces have taken several escalating measures to confront the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege, which will expectedly reach its peak today, 14 May 2018. The demonstrations of the Return and Breaking Siege March declared by the Supreme National Authority started its activities on 30 March 2018 along the border fence with Israel. Though the activities have been entirely peaceful activities, the Israeli forces excessively used lethal force against the civilian demonstrators. As a result, 42 civilians were killed, including 6 children and 2 journalists; and more than 3,300 civilians, including 600 children and 80 women, were wounded with live bullets or other lethal means.
During the last hours, PCHR’s fieldworkers monitored the following:
- Since Sunday, 13 May 2018, the border areas have witnessed further military backups accompanied with military bulldozers, tanks, heavy equipment, and water pumping vehicles.
- At approximately 01:00 today, 14 May 2018, the Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, north and east of the Gaza Strip, moved 100-200 meters from the border fence into the eastern outskirts. They then established a barbed wire fence around 50-70 meters away from the border fence opposite to the new demonstration yards prepared by the Supreme National Authority of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.
- In eastern Rafah city, the Israeli forces leveled the sand barriers established by the young men to protect the demonstrators from the Israeli snipers around 200 meters away from the border fence.
- In the morning, Israeli drones dropped thousands of leaflets for the second time since yesterday. These leaflets were against the Great Return March demonstrations that will reach its peak today.
- From 03:00 to 08:00, Israeli forces pumped wastewater through special pumps towards Palestinian lands in the vicinity of the Return encampments, which daily witness peaceful demonstrations. Moreover, Israeli drones fired firebombs at tents in the Return encampments in Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis; in eastern al-Shuja’iyia neighborhood, east of Gaza City; and eastern Jabalia.
- On his Facebook page, the spokesperson of the Israeli forces, Avijaa Adraei, published many posts threatening the peaceful demonstrators, adding that the Israeli forces are ready for many scenarios and will use force against anyone attempting to pose threat to Israel’s security.
- Since dawn and until this moment, PCHR’s fieldworkers reported the injury of 8 Palestinian civilians, including a woman.
PCHR is gravely concerned over these proactive steps and threats by Israeli officials, which indicate that the Israeli forces have the intention, upon an official decision at the highest military and political echelons, to inflict more casualties among Palestinian civilians.
Therefore, PCHR warns of further deterioration and calls upon the international community to take immediate action in order to protect the Palestinian civilians and avoid more casualties.