Israeli soldier sentenced to one month of community service after death of Palestinian teenager

This small sentence comes to close a first trial related to "return marches" of Gaza, which have killed more than 200 people and injured 18,000 since March 2018.

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The first trial in an Israeli military court related to the "Great March of Return", which ignited the barrier of separation between the Gaza Strip and Israel, from March 2018, ended with the announcement, Wednesday 30 October, of a small sentence pronounced against an Israeli soldier. The unidentified soldier pleaded guilty to unlawfully shooting a 15-year-old Palestinian teenager, Othman Rami Halles, as he climbed the fence unarmed on 13 August. July 2018.

The young man is dead. The soldier was sentenced to thirty days of community service (TIG) in the army and sixty days suspended; he was also demoted. Investigators felt he had "Endangered the rioter" Palestinian people, but they have not been able to conclude that " cause and effect " direct between the shot of the soldier and the death of the young man. This scene had been filmed and was the subject of a British BBC documentary in Arabic.

Since March 30, 2018, five points in the fenced border area between Israel and the Gaza Strip on the eastern flank of the enclave have been the scene of a mobilization for Palestinians' right to return to the land. from which they were expelled or fled to the creation of the State of Israel, in 1948, then against the blockade it imposes on Gaza since 2007.

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Large number injured by live ammunition

After a first phase that mobilized tens of thousands of people out of two million inhabitants, the movement was recovered by Hamas. A few thousand people perpetuate it every Friday, in the indifference of the majority of Gazans. The dead remain regular. The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, based in Gaza, estimates that 211 Palestinian protesters, mostly unarmed, were killed in these demonstrations, and more than 18,000 wounded. The Ministry of Health has 124 leg amputees. An Israeli soldier was killed.

This large number of people wounded by live ammunition has defined the Israeli army's action against the movement. From the first days, young protesters had been targeted while they remained away from the barrier and did not immediately threaten the lives of soldiers or the territorial integrity of the Jewish state. The army, however, claims to have favored the leaders in the crowd, and justifies a form of necessary preventive repression.

Following the publication in February of a report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, the Israeli army opened an investigation into the deaths. The military prosecutor later decided to examine the case of a handful of soldiers accused of failing to respect their rules of engagement, including one whose conviction was announced on Wednesday.

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Since the beginning of the march, while Israel was going through two parliamentary elections in April and September, the country has not discussed the purely security policy pursued in Gaza and its dead ends. But with the Egyptian neighbor, Israel quietly eased the blockade imposed on the enclave, where Hamas had to suppress in March a protest against the high cost of living, amid a deep groan against the ruling Islamist movement. .

Some progress in the negotiation

Following Egypt-led truce negotiations, Hamas reduced the mobilization on Fridays, days of march, while Israel allowed Qatar to provide funds to pay salaries for Hamas officials and programs. social support.

Israel has also granted additional exit permits to a few thousand workers, and facilitates infrastructure repairs. Finally, at the Egyptian border, the Saladin Gate commercial crossing, opened in February 2018 with the tacit agreement of Israel, now offers a breathing space to the local economy. The Egyptian road has allowed the entry into Gaza of 6,000 tons of cement and six million liters of diesel per month during the first half of the year, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Economy of Gaza. .

According to a recent report by the Washington Institute (an American think tank), this road circumvents the drastic control imposed by Israel on trade in certain goods deemed sensitive, particularly on cement or, according to the Israeli channel Kan, on tires. The latter are banned from the Israeli Kerem Shalom terminal (where commercial traffic is about ten times that of its Egyptian equivalent), since rioters have burned during the return marches, to shelter behind their smoke screens. In September, Qatar's envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi told Al-Jazeera that the border trade amounted to 40 million euros a month, of which Hamas would draw 10.8 million euros from taxes.

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