A 15-year-old boy, Mohammad Ayoub was killed by Israeli forces after he had joined the protest along the Gaza-Israel security fence.
On April 20, Ayoub had been among the thousands who gathered to protest at the contact line. He was unarmed and posed no threat to Israeli troops. However, he was shot dead. His death brought to 35 the number of Palestinians killed since border clashes had intensified on March 30 in an ongoing protest known as “The Great March of Return” – evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes. For a month, clashes had erupted at the demonstrations and Israeli soldiers had used live fire to keep Palestinian crowds away from its border fence.
Israel’s use of live fire drawn international criticism and Ayoub’s death received special attention.
Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for the long-stalled peace process between the two countries, claimed on Twitter that the 15-year-old’s death is “outrageous.”
🔴 It is OUTRAGEOUS to shoot at children! How does the killing of a child in #Gaza today help #peace? It doesn’t! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. #Children must be protected from #violence, not exposed to it, not killed! This tragic incident must be investigated.
— Nickolay E. MLADENOV (@nmladenov) April 20, 2018
The US Special Representative for International Negotiations in the Middle East also insisted at the investigation of this incident:
A full investigation by Israel of Mohammed Ayoub’s death is underway so that we will be able to understand what happened. As we mourn the tragic loss of a young life, we must all resolve to avoid causing more suffering by responses to his death.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) April 20, 2018
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated that leaders of Hamas, ruled Gaza, are responsible for the violence and the death of the Palestinian teenager.
“Those cowardly leaders who are hiding behind women and children and send them forward as a human shield, so that they can continue to dig tunnels and carry out terrorist actions against the state of Israel,” he wrote on Twitter, Arab news reported.
Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansou called Human Rights Council to set up an independent commission “to investigate these crimes”, stressing he would not accept an Israeli investigation as “it cannot be credible”, the Iranian TV channel Press TV reported.
The Palestinians said they wanted the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish a commission to carry out an independent investigation of the Israeli military’s killing and wounding of Palestinians during protests in Gaza, Washington Post reported.
The UN Security Council has not commented on the protests because the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has blocked proposed statements supported by most members critical of the high death toll and Israel’s use of force against protesters, South China Morning Post reported on April 21.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 39 Palestinains had been killed and over 5,000 had been injured since the start of the protests on March 30.