Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Gaza in fresh wave of violence

Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Gaza in fresh wave of violence
Ahmed Arafa, 25, was killed in central Gaza after he was shot in the chest by Israeli forces.
3 min read
03 April, 2018
Gazans are at continuous risk of Israeli army violence [Getty]
A Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces on the Gaza border on Tuesday, the health ministry in the Strip said, as tensions remained high days after 17 people were killed during a massacre while Gazans partook in the Great Return March.

The ministry identified the deceased as 25-year-old Ahmed Arafa, saying he was shot in the chest during clashes east of Bureij in central Gaza.

The Israeli army said it was looking into the incident and could not immediately comment.

It is the first reported death since at least 17 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops on Friday as they protested. 

It was the deadliest day since Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza during Tel Aviv’s Operation Protective Edge.

Smaller protests have continued since, with thousands expected to take to the streets again on Friday.

Israel's use of live fire has come under criticism from rights groups, while the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation.

But earlier on Tuesday, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a new warning, saying those who approach the fence between Gaza and Israel will put "their life in danger."

After the killings, the Israeli army on Twitter bragged that it knew where "every single bullet went", implying that it knew that it was shooting and killing unarmed Palestinians. The tweet caused an uproar among pro-Palestine activists, and was later deleted.

Israel’s former ambassador to the US and a current deputy Michael Oren then said the country was unprepared PR-wise for the backlash Israel received after the massacre.

Oren said he was alarmed by international media descriptions of a march by Palestinians in honour for their right to return to their homes as "peaceful". He was also angered by criticism of the Israeli troops actions, who fired on the peaceful protesters.

He added that Israel should be better prepared PR wise as it continues to attack Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and to build groundwork to justify any future confrontation with Hizballah.

"We have to lay the groundwork now," he urged. "You prepare the [Israeli army] for war, you have to prepare for this type of war too, which in many ways is the most critical and decisive."

Some 1,600 Palestinians were wounded during the demonstration, Gaza's health ministry said, over 700 of them by live bullets. The remainder were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inhalation. No Israelis were injured. 

The Great Return March remains specifically important to the 1.3 million refugees of the besieged enclave's population population, whose families fled to Gaza during the mass expulsion of Palestinians during Israel's establishment in 1948.

The 1.3 million refugees, known as Muhajereen in Palestine, comprise a large portion of Gaza's overall 1.9 million population.