Human Rights Watch spoke to doctors who treated patients at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City who said they had received 294 injured demonstrators on March 30, most with injuries to the lower limbs from live ammunition, and five who died, all with head and chest injuries.
While some protesters near the border fence burned tires and threw rocks, Human Rights Watch could find no evidence of any protester using firearms or any IDF claim of threatened firearm use at the demonstrations. The IDF spokesperson, in a tweet posted in the early morning of March 31, “Everything you need to know about the riots in Gaza today,” accused demonstrators of “hurling burning tires, throwing Molotov cocktails, and attempting to harm or destroy Israel’s security infrastructure.” It made no mention of Palestinians using firearms at the protests.
The Israeli government has not shown that the demonstrators throwing rocks or Molotov cocktails posed a grave threat to the well-protected soldiers deployed on the other side of the border fence, nor has Israel claimed that any Palestinian crossed the border on March 30.
Entering a zone declared off limits should not be a crime considered punishable by death, Human Rights Watch said.
“Praising the army’s handling of the March 30 events and saying there shall be no inquiry into how Israeli soldiers gunned down 14 protesters across a fence says much about how cheaply Israeli authorities view the lives of Palestinians in Gaza,” Goldstein said.