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Home / World / Families of murdered Gaza protesters call for an investigation into Israeli violence

Families of murdered Gaza protesters call for an investigation into Israeli violence




Abdul Fattah Abdul Nabi, a 19-year-old Palestinian, was shot dead in protests in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. (Photo by Mahmoud Abu Salama)

The morning after the burial of 19-year-old Abdul Fattah Abdul Nabi, his family gathered in a tent for mourning guests to watch a video in they said that Israeli soldiers shot him in the back.

It seems to be showing Abdul Fattah in black, running away from the border fence with a tire. Just before he reaches the crowd, he crumples under fire.

"He had no weapon, no Molotov, no tire – does that hurt the Israelis, a tire?" Asked his brother Mohamed Abdul Nabi, 22. "He did not go to the Israeli side, he ran away."

The falafel shifter was one of at least [1945912] 15 people killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Friday, while Palestinian factions were referred to as a peaceful "march of return" to mark land day, the anniversary of the expropriation of Arab Land by the Israeli government in 1976. But it ended up being the bloodiest day in the 140 square kilometer area since the war between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Israeli military for preserving its borders. "Israel will act decisively and decisively to protect its sovereignty and the safety of its citizens," he said in a statement on Saturday.

The Israeli military has warned that it will "expand" its response if the violence continues. Hamas and other groups in Gaza have vowed to sustain demonstrations, raising fears of further clashes.

Abdul Fattah's family is among those who demand an investigation into the Israeli response to the protest, saying that video is not a threat. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, more than 700 people were injured with live ammunition at the demonstration.

The United Nations said Saturday it was "deeply concerned" and called for a transparent, independent investigation. The Israeli human rights group Adalah and the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza have written to Israeli justice minister Avichai Mandelblit to demand accountability.

The letter said that using such weapons against civilians was a "flagrant violation of international law."

Israel said that it adheres to strict rules of engagement to deal with 30,000 people at the border. Proverb "Rioters" threw Molotov cocktails and stones, burnt tires and tried to break through the fence.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to requests to clarify the rules of engagement that were adhered to. In the days leading up to the demonstration, it dropped leaflets warning residents of Gaza to stay at least 300 yards from the border fence or risk being shot.

He accused Hamas of using cover for peaceful demonstrations for attacks. Five of those killed are members of the military wing of Hamas, Hamas said.

But other demonstrators said they were there to protest peacefully. The family of 20-year-old Badr Sabbagh said he had just arrived to watch the demonstrations when he was shot dead. They rejected the claim of the Israeli army that all those killed were involved in violence.

"He asked for a cigarette, I gave it to him, he had two moves, and then he was shot in the head," said Mohammed Sabbagh, his 29-year-old brother. "He was only there for 10 minutes."

"I took my grandchildren and we went to a peaceful demonstration," said his father, Fayik Sabbagh, 64. "We went to tell them that this is our country, but what we found was different."

The demonstrations, to which Hamas and other Palestinian factions hope Sustain for a month and a half, had died on Saturday, with thinner crowds at the border than the day before. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, around 35 people suffered gunshot wounds on Saturday.

In response to the video of Abdul Fattah's assassination, the Israeli military warned that Hamas has released several videos of Friday's events, "some of which are only part of incidents while others are being processed or completely fabricated."

Two other videos were broadcast on the Internet showing shooting from different angles, while witnesses said that Abdul Fattah had clearly run away from the fence.

Palestinian photographer Mahmoud Abu Salama photographed and captured Abdul Fattah's last moments. He said the man in the video wearing the green shirt had run to the border fence to get a tire there in the morning. He can be seen in the video as he crawls on the tire before picking it up and running back into the crowd as bullets hurl dust around his feet. When he stumbles, Abdul Fattah runs to help him and grabs his tire.

He was shot dead by a few hundred meters from the fence, Salama said.

"He was killed in cold blood," said 28-year-old Alaa Abdul Nabi, another brother of the slain demonstrator. "We'll report that to the United Nations, we want to know who was involved in killing him, he was not armed."

Abdul Fattah's family said he was not affiliated to a military faction, but said he was going to demonstrations and throw stones. But that's no reason to get shot, they said.

"They threw stones, but the stones did not even reach the fence," said Alaa. "It is a message to throw a stone from our land."

But he had little hope that anyone would be held accountable, a feeling repeated by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

"These are the predictable results of an apparently illegal order: Israeli soldiers are firing live ammunition at unarmed Palestinian demonstrators," said Amit Gilutz, a spokesman for the group. "It is also foreseeable that no one – from the local snipers to the top officials whose policies have turned Gaza into a huge jail – is likely to be brought to justice."

Abdul Fattah, like the majority of The inhabitants of his generation had never left the Gaza Strip. Israel imposed strict restrictions on the movement of goods and people since Hamas took control of the area in 2007.

Last year, however, the United Nations warned that the humanitarian situation in Gaza was rapidly deteriorating, a collapse of the economy and services. The unemployment rate is estimated at around 50 percent.

Israel accuses Hamas of the worsening humanitarian situation and says the group diverts money that it should use for its civilians for nefarious military activities.


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