“The Israeli occupation forces’ use of lethal force against civilians in the east of Gaza Strip has resulted in the martyrdom of 271 citizens and the injury of 16,500 others,” Ashraf al-Qidra said on Tuesday.
He noted that Israeli military forces had used various types of live bullets, in addition to unconventional coded gas bombs that cause serious or permanent injuries.
Qidra further highlighted that the Israeli regime has developed its repressive methods using live bullets and tear gas canisters as a tool for killing and maiming Palestinian protesters.
Palestinians have held weekly rallies on the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
More than 270 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. Over 16,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
On June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, which condemned Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.
The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.
The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
It also called for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.”