Israel kills Gaza man during protests

Maureen Clare Murphy 4 October 2019
Israeli occupation forces killed a Palestinian man during the 77th week of Great March of Return protests along Gaza’s eastern boundary on Friday.

Alaa Nizar Ayyash Hamdan, 28, hit with live fire to the chest in northern Gaza, is the 213th Palestinian slain during the Great March of Return protests.
Israeli forces injured 29 Palestinians with live fire during the day’s protests and hit 16 others directly with tear gas canisters, the human rights group Al Mezan stated on Friday.
A volunteer medic was hit in the head with a tear gas canister while evacuating two wounded protesters, according to Al Mezan.
Three Palestinians, including two children, were killed during Great March of Return demonstrations last month.
The Israeli military claimed that it did not use live fire against protesters last week, when Saher Awadallah Jeer Othman, 20, was killed.
The army continues to shoot and kill protesters despite modifying its “rules of engagement” a few months ago, as Israeli media reported last month.
Instead of relying on snipers to deter protesters from approaching the Gaza-Israel boundary fence, Israeli commanders are now reportedly “ordered to deploy forces in bulletproof vehicles a few dozen meters away from the fence,” according to the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz.
“This has resulted in a considerably smaller number of fatalities, as snipers have to shoot less frequently,” Haaretz added.
An independent UN investigation of Israel’s use of force against the Great March of Return found “the use of live ammunition by Israeli security forces against demonstrators was unlawful.”
Israel to transfer tax revenue
Also on Friday, the Palestinian Authority announced that Israel will transfer a portion of the transfer tax funds that it has refused since February.
That month, Israel said it would reduce tax funds transfers to the PA by around $140 million, the amount paid to Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and their families. The Palestinian Authority refused to accept transfers less than the whole amount collected.
Legislation passed last year allows Israel to deduct payments made to Palestinian prisoners and their families from Palestinian Authority tax revenue, which Israel controls.
The tax-transfer standoff contributed to a “severe liquidity crisis” for the PA and ending it was top priority at a UN-sponsored international donor conference that convened last week.
An initial transfer of the frozen tax revenue was made in August. The PA stated at the time that Israel had “agreed to absolve the PA from the excise tax it charges for [Israeli-supplied] fuel … and to retroactively apply this exemption [to] the past seven months,” as Haaretz reported.
Israel will still withhold the funds equivalent to what the PA pays to the families of prisoners. Thus the issue underlying the months-long crisis remains unresolved.
Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenue is a violation of Israel’s obligations under the Paris Protocol framework established as part of the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s, according to the human rights group Al Mezan.
Under the Paris Protocol, Israel collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, giving it “sole control over the external borders and collection of import taxes and VAT,” as B’Tselem, another human rights group, has stated.
The customs union framework of the Paris Protocol was implemented because Israel “did not want to establish an economic border with the Palestinian Authority, an act that would give a clear flavor of sovereignty,” B’Tselem adds.
The Palestinian Authority estimates that the West Bank and Gaza economy loses at least $350 million per year due to Israel’s implementation of the Paris Protocol.