A wave of Israeli sniper fire has left Palestinians of all ages incapacitated or permanently disabled for the rest of their lives.
Israeli forces deployed along the volatile Gaza borders have fired live rounds at rock-throwing Palestinian protesters since demonstrations began in March against Israel’s long-running blockade of largest open air prison concentration camp in the world.
Israeli snipers have shot and wounded at least 6,392 Palestinian protesters in the lower limbs in eight months of weekly rallies, leaving the enclave’s streets and hospitals filled with crippled victims.
According to the Associated Press, since March 30, 2019 about 10,511 protesters were treated in the enclaves hospitals and field clinics. Since that day these Palestinians were shot in the lower limbs with live ammunition or rubber bullets.
That figure does not include the 175 killed by Israeli, mostly female 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.
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 entire oil-rich coastline.
Of the thousands of wounded, Gaza’s Health Ministry says it has carried out 94 amputations, 82 of them on the lower limbs. If wounds are left untreated then many will face amputation.
Anger has also been stoked by the dire economic situation that has left the territory with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, especially for young people.
The United Nations has warned that the territory will become unlivable by 2020 if little change takes place. Hamas has maintained the rallies, reducing their strength when signs of a truce with Israel are close or it takes steps to ease the blockade.
Exacerbating the situation in the enclave is a dispute between Hamas and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which had suspended salaries for thousands of workers, that couldn’t travel to work due to the blockade.
But Qatar has stepped in to funnel millions of dollars and pay almost 30,000 Gazan civil servants, an intervention that has angered officials in Ramallah after the deal agreed with Israel sidelined the internationally-recognized Palestinian government.
The National / ABC Flash Point News 2019.