Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition against protesters in Gaza has created what the Red Cross describes as an “unprecedented” crisis because of the sheer number of severely wounded and injured people requiring treatment:
Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian protesters in Gaza has left health workers struggling to cope with an unprecedented crisis, with more than 13,000 wounded, a senior Red Cross official said Monday.
At least 132 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the protests at the border with Gaza began at the end of March.
Robert Mardini, head of Middle East for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told reporters that the “vast majority” of the 13,000 hospitalized protesters had suffered severe wounds [bold mine-DL], including multiple gunshot wounds.
“This is I think a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in the Gaza Strip,” said Mardini.
The wounded caseload from the seven weeks of protest had surpassed that of the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
Israeli forces have killed more than 130, but as outrageous as that number is it doesn’t convey the extent of the grievous harm that has been done to the Palestinians protesting in Gaza. If the vast majority of 13,000 people have suffered severe wounds, we are talking about at least 7,000 people very badly hurt by Israeli forces’ actions against the protesters. This is obviously excessive. Human Rights Watch has concluded that these actions may amount to war crimes:
Israeli forces’ repeated use of lethal force in the Gaza Strip since March 30, 2018, against Palestinian demonstrators who posed no imminent threat to life may amount to war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. Israeli forces have killed more than 100 protesters in Gaza and wounded thousands with live ammunition.
According to Mardini, over 1,400 protesters have been struck “by three to five bullets, many in the legs.” In addition to killing scores of protesters, Israeli forces have maimed 1,400 unarmed Palestinians, many of whom will be disabled for the rest of their lives. They have done this to punish unarmed people for having the temerity to protest against the appalling conditions in the enclave that Israel and Egypt have blockaded. These are flagrant violations of international law in the service of an inhumane and cruel policy of collective punishment that also deserves to be condemned.