Palestinian demonstrators shout during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border east of Gaza City April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Over the past two weeks, a total of 129 Palestinians, including 44 children, were injured by Israeli forces during the Great March of Return demonstrations staged near the fence between Gaza and the 1948 territories, a UN body has said.
In a newly released report covering the period 10-23 December, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that an 18-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces on 17 December east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza, while approaching the fence. His body was withheld by Israeli authorities.
OCHA pointed out that on at least 15 other occasions, Israeli forces opened fire in areas adjacent to the border fence while enforcing access restrictions; no injuries were reported.
At the same time, Israeli forces carried out one incursion and land-leveling operation near the fence. Four Palestinians, including three children, were arrested in two separate incidents.
Over 310 Palestinians have been killed and about 18,000 others injured by Israeli forces since the outbreak of the Great March of Return protests at Gaza border on March 30, 2018.
The weekly protests call for the return of the Palestinian refugees to their ancestral homes in pre-1948 Palestine. Israel rejects any such return, saying that it would eliminate its Jewish majority.
Demonstrators also demand an end to Israel’s 13-year-old blockade around the Gaza Strip, which has shattered the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of free movement in and out of the enclave, preventing the entry of basic amenities.
Israel has repeatedly used live ammunition against the unarmed protesters during the Great March of Return. Israeli soldiers have also targeted clearly identified medics, journalists and other civilians during the regular protests, crimes which are likely to be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC).