Accountability needed for killing of Gaza civilians


© Norwegian Refugee Council | Published 09. Apr 2018

Among the people killed in the demonstrations was 30-year-old Yasser Murtaja, a journalist who was filming on site last Friday. Murtaja had agreed to document for NRC the bitter prolonged struggle faced by Palestinian refugees in Gaza. The work was planned to start the day after he was killed. Two days later, he was killed by an Israeli sniper while peacefully observing the demonstrations.

He was there because he wanted to document civilians exercising their right to peacefully protest. The stories that NRC and Murtaja were supposed to work on focus on the impact of the persistent violence experienced by children in Gaza on their mental health and wellbeing. In Gaza, around 300,000 children are already assessed to be in need of critical psychosocial intervention due to the distress caused by more than a decade of blockade and conflict. Reham’s father may now need to have his leg amputated.

Since then, Reham suffers from nightmares and is having difficulty in school. NRC works to address these psychosocial needs in Gaza through its Better Learning Programme, which provides support to students, teachers and caregivers.

  • This cannot be allowed to continue, and those responsible must be held to account, Egeland said. Palestinians in Gaza have embarked on a six-week peaceful protest, called ‘the Great March of Return’, which will culminate on ‘Nakba’ Day on 15 May.

Despite the non-violent nature of the protest, the Israeli military shot and killed 16 protesters in Gaza on 30 March and injured over 1,400. Among those killed was 26-year-old farmer Omar Abu Samour. Omar’s wife says their 2½-year-old daughter keeps asking about where he is as she cannot understand that he is gone. Jehad Abo Jamous, a 30-year-old salesman, was shot in the head while attending the march with his wife and children.

“Now we have no help and no source of income”, said Jehad’s wife. On Friday 6 April, a further nine Palestinians were killed and more than 1,350 injured in Gaza. Among the dead and injured were journalists, paramedics and children.