May 29, 2017—Israeli forces injured a 16-year-old Palestinian teen with live ammunition near the Israel-Gaza border on the evening of May 23 during demonstrations.
The teen, Khaled Ghamri, had joined a march that was taking place near Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, in protest of Israel’s blockade on Gaza and in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike. He was struck by live fire in the abdomen and remains in critical condition.
“Israeli forces’ frequent use of live ammunition at the Gaza border shows a pattern of disregard for Palestinian lives,” said Accountability Program Director at Defense for Children International - Palestine, Ayed Abu Eqtaish. “This pattern is made worse by the fact that accountability for child injuries and fatalities in such cases is extremely rare.”
Dr. Mahmoud Alyan, an anesthesiologist and intensive care specialist at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, described Khalid's injury as serious and his overall health condition as “very critical.”
Alyan stated that the bullet had entered and exited Khaled’s right arm, causing a fracture. The bullet had also lacerated his bowel and abdomen on the right side, damaging blood vessels that supply blood to the lower body, according to the doctor. Khaled, who has since turned 17, is currently unconscious and under intensive care at the hospital.
The border area, often referred to as the “buffer zone,” is a site of frequent danger for Palestinians in Gaza. In 2005, Israel unilaterally declared a long strip of Palestinian territory along the Gaza-Israel border a “no-go zone,” illegally restricting Palestinians from accessing their own lands. The exact range of the buffer zone is unclear and Palestinians often only know they have entered the buffer zone when they encounter Israeli fire.
So far this year, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 26 Palestinians have been injured in Gaza by Israeli live fire and DCIP has documented four child injuries.
Earlier this year, on March 21, Israeli soldiers stationed near the border fence fired shells at Yousef Abu Athra, 15, from Al-Shaboura neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza. Yousef died of his wounds.
Khaled’s injury comes in a month that saw a cluster of Palestinian injuries during clashes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the West Bank, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA reported that 255 Palestinians were injured including 26 children in May 2-15 alone.
Hassan Issa, 6, who was struck in the back of the head with a tear gas canister on May 21 near the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem, has been readmitted to the hospital for complications. The child’s father told DCIP that Hassan began having difficulty breathing shortly after his return home and was transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on Saturday where he is currently under intensive care.
On May 14, Israeli soldiers shot a 15-year-old boy, Majdi Abu Jildeh, in the knee during a military night raid on the northern West Bank refugee camp, Jenin. He underwent surgery and has since been discharged on crutches.
A few days before the start of the month, on April 28, Israeli soldiers shot Mo’min Misk, 13, in the knee in the Sheikh neighborhood of Hebron City, southern West Bank. Clashes were taking place at the time. Following surgery, he was released from the hospital on May 3.