The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Gaza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PRESS RELEASE RELEASED

16 MAY 1998

Update on the Israeli use of deadly violence in response to peaceful Palestinian demonstrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of al-Nakhba

According to the latest information collected by the field work team of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, four Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip were killed by the bullets of the Israeli occupation forces during confrontations which erupted Thursday, 14 May 1998 throughout the Palestinian Occupied Territories in commemoration of al-Nakhba - the uprooting of the Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948. During these confrontations, 71 Palestinians in Gaza were injured (46 by live ammunition, 25 by rubber coated metal bullets), among them five from the Palestinian security forces. Many of the injuries are critical and still 17 injured remain in hospitals, including three in the extensive care unit in al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Scores of citizens were treated in the field for injuries related to inhalation of tear gas; twenty were transferred to hospitals.

Number of injuries in the upper body: 52. Number of injured under 18 years of age: 29.

The field workers of the PCHR reported snipers from the Israeli army shooting at civilian demonstrators and causing the death of four, a clear sign of the excessive use of force with the intention to kill. This was also made clear by the deadly shooting of a member of the medical personnel carrying out his work.

Names of the dead: 1  Ashraf Sabri Abu Arram, 22, Rafah  shot in the head by Israeli soldiers near Muraj settlement near Rafah. 2  Zamil Sattam El-Waheidi, 53, Jabaliya  married, father of 14 children, nurse, shot in the chest by Israeli soldiers while carrying out his work as a medical professional trying to help an injured civilian near Erez. 3  Samir Issa Fayyad, 35, Beni Suheila  married, father of 10 children, shot in the head by Israeli soldiers near a military position on a crossroad leading to Gush Katif settlement north of Khan Younis. 4  Muhammad Arafat Juneid, 25, Jabaliya  married, father of 2 children, shot in the neck by Israeli soldiers near Netzanit settlement north of Gaza.

Names of the critically injured in the extensive care unit at al-Shifa Hospital: 1 - Ayman Suliman Zorob, 30, Khan Younis  shot in the right eye. 2  Kamal Adel El-Nijeili, 20, Khan Younis  bullet passed through his abdomen and out his back. 3  Taha Hussein Abu Ghali, 20, Khan Younis  bullet passed through his abdomen and out his back.

The PCHR condemns the barbaric behavior of the Israeli occupation soldiers against Palestinian civilians demonstrating peacefully in commemoration of al-Nakhba. The blatant use of excessive force and the intention to kill led to the death of four civilians and the injury of 71. It is quite clear that official sanction had been given to the use of deadly force against demonstrators. The PCHR confirms that in all places where these deaths and injuries took place, the civilians posed no threat to the lives of the occupation soldiers. Throughout, Palestinian security forces attempted to prevent the demonstrators from coming near the Israeli soldiers. The PCHR warns of the continuing deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and considers the major reason for maintaining the heightened tension in the area is the presence of the Israeli occupation and the Israeli settlements which endanger the lives of Palestinian civilians. The PCHR calls for prompt intervention: to save the lives of Palestinian civilians; to guarantee the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces and the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories; and to enable the Palestinian people to practice their inalienable rights, including the rights to self determination and statehood.