Israel’s snipers have injured thousands protesting the blockade of Gaza

Since March 30 2018 Palestinians have protested along the fenced border with Israel calling for a return to the lands they were expelled from in 1948. Israel maintains direct external control over the territory’s air and maritime space, most of its land crossings, electricity and water supply and other utilities.

There have been 189 Palestinians  killed by Israeli snipers between 30 March and 31 December 2018, but what has been less reported are the thousands who have had their lower limbs shot. The article below looks at the casualties.

Gaza’s walking wounded: Israeli snipers have shot 6,392 protesters in lower limbs this year

The National in December 2018

Israeli snipers have shot and wounded at least 6,392 Palestinian protesters in the lower limbs in eight months of weekly rallies, according to a new tally, leaving the enclave’s streets and hospitals filled with maimed victims.

Since March 30, [2018] Palestinians have massed along the shared border with Israel to call for a return to the lands themselves and their relatives were displaced from at the birth of the country in 1948. The rallies have turned deadly with Israeli snipers deliberately targeting the legs to quell the unrest.

Of 10,511 protesters treated since that day in the enclaves hospitals and field clinics, 6,392 were struck in the lower limbs with live ammunition or rubber bullets, according to the Associated Press. That figure does not include the 175 killed by Israeli sniper fire on the border. It total, at least 220 Palestinians have been killed since March in different incidents including air strikes and tank fire. A Palestinian sniper killed one Israeli soldier.

Rights groups and Gazan medics say the number of wounded is so overwhelming that Gaza’s already crippled medical services cannot cope with the fallout, leaving many unrested and at risk of infection or, worse, death.

A visible sight in the territory is now one of incapacitation, young Gazans on crutches or with their legs bound together with a metal frame.

“This many patients would overstretch the best healthcare systems in the world. In Gaza, it is a crushing blow,” Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, Doctors Without Border’s chief for the Palestinian territories, said in a statement last month.

Some of those wounded say they were involved in throwing stones at Israeli soldiers but many say that they were unarmed and not posing any threat to Israeli forces when they were shot.

Israel says it is acting proportionately, stopping border breaches by shooting to maim and not to kill. It holds the rulers of Gaza, Hamas, responsible for the border protests. But rights groups say the open-fire policy breaches international law as it permits soldiers to lethally shoot protesters who pose no mortal threat to military personnel.

The enclave’s health system has been battered by three wars between Hamas and Israel since 2008 and a parallel Israeli siege that has squeezed the territory’s land crossings, its imports and exports, as well as its coastline. Read the rest of the article here.