The rapid fire whizz of one bullet goes past, quickly followed by a second to the left, then a third to the right, as teenagers and young men duck and run for safety from the Israeli army fire.

“Medic!” a voice screams above the noise and panicked shouts of the scrambling Palestinian youth. “Let’s go.” Hazem Shaban yells to his colleague, both of them springing into action.

The protest against Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the blockade on the Gaza Strip started less than five minutes ago. There was no warning before live ammunition began to rain down on the protestors.

Running towards the bullets with a bright-orange foldable stretcher grasped in his right hand, Shaban navigates the bumpy ground at the Israel-Gaza border.

Keeping his head low and body tucked in as bullet fire continues, he and fellow Red Crescent medic Mohammed Mundil, have only one thing on their mind - get the injured out, and as quickly as possible. The Red Crescent - a Palestinian humanitarian organisation affiliated to the Red Cross - and its workers are always present during clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youth. They fling themselves into life and death situations in Gaza on a weekly basis.

Embedding with the Red Crescent’s central Gaza team, the Sunday Herald gained unparalleled access as they performed lifesaving duties at the often violent and deadly border clashes.

Mundil and Shaban respond with lightening speed to the frantic call. With soldiers shooting, protestors scramble in an attempt to get to shelter, those who trip are scooped up by others as they run past – it’s not a place you want to stay immobile for long.

Shot and in shock, Qusai Abu Faris at first lies silent and motionless on the waste-ground, before suddenly clutching at his right leg. Blood begins to soak through his jeans.

Seconds before, Abu Faris had been throwing stones towards the direction of the Israeli soldiers. Along with around two dozen young Palestinians at the front of the protest, he had already stopped moving forward towards the chain-link border fence – two hundred metres from their gun-toting and uniformed peers appeared to be as far as he wanted to risk going.

Twisting his back, Abu Faris turns to hold his second leg as well.

“Quick, quick quick,” Shaban shouts as he assembles the stretcher, bundling the injured teenager onto the bright orange plastic within a matter of seconds.

Abu Faris is just 15, but he’s been shot twice, once in each leg. Running towards an ambulance around fifty metres away, Mundil and Shaban try to keep themselves low as they carry the injured boy. Others around them – many helping to carry the stretcher as well – do the same. The soldiers fire is sporadic but hasn’t stopped.

The waiting ambulance already has its siren wailing, the backdoors frantically opened by Hassan Attal, a full time medic with the Palestinian Red Crescent. Time is not on Abu Faris’ side.

The bleeding in both legs is severe. The wound on his left leg is gaping, he’s been shot with a Dum-Dum bullet, an exploding bullet that consists of a 6mm metal head with an explosive inside that detonates on impact for maximum damage. The use of such bullets has in effect, been considered a war crime since the 1899 Hague Declaration and the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute.

“Look at me,” Attal says in a soft yet hurried manner, as Abu Faris lies twisting in pain in the back of the ambulance. His face is pale, but he’s still conscious.

Attal rips out bandages from plastic cases that adorn the ambulance’s interior. As he treats the boy, his uniform, shoes, and skin begin to be coated with blood. A crimson stream runs down the stretcher from the boy’s body, the blood spilling onto the aluminum floor of the ambulance, and spreading with every rough bump from Gaza’s rural unpaved roads.

The live fire, the injuries, the blood, and at times death, have become a Friday routine for Attal, along with hundreds of other Red Crescent workers up and down the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

“It’s become normal for us seeing all of this and dealing with it,” Attal laments.

“We try to keep our emotions away, if we let it become too much we can’t do our job. We have to overcome our feelings.”

Protests, particularly on Fridays, spring up routinely in towns across the occupied Palestinian territories. Deaths of protesters, and civilians caught in the crossfire, from live ammunition, but also from the potent tear gas that soldiers fire with ferocious frequency, are not uncommon.

However unlike the occupied West Bank where protests don’t always result in Israeli live fire, the Gaza border clashes almost always start, continue, and end with live ammunition. Yet despite the violent and deadly nature of the clashes, coverage of events remain limited.

“Of course we feel it unfair that the media reaction to what happens in the protests here is less than in the West Bank,” Shaban says. “And they [Israeli Army] are always more aggressive with us here.”

Gaza residents like Shaban believe that with fewer eyes watching the protests in Gaza compared to the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers have orders to shoot from the outset.

Back at the border teenagers, mainly from the nearby Bureij refugee camp, hide behind a dirt mound topped by a solitary small Palestinian flag. The protesters take it in turns to expose themselves to the Israeli soldiers, hurling stones from slingshots towards their uniformed opponents.

Around 50 yards behind them, hundreds of other protestors wait in the wings. Palestinian youth run back and forth along the unpaved rural road leading to the border, bringing tyres to be burned to create a literal smokescreen of tar black smoke in order to obscure the view of the often trigger-happy soldiers. A cheer goes up when a tyre, on fire and bellowing smoke, manages to be rolled out successfully tens of metres in front of the gathered youth.

Despite the cheers though, there is a palpable fear in the air. Protestors take it in turns, around 30 at a time, to head to the front and throw stones - their shift only ending when Israeli troops starts firing and one of them goes down. An ambulance speeds off to the hospital every twenty to thirty minutes. The dance of soldier and protester is a dangerous and brutal routine.

Red Crescent workers like Shaban know the drama well, he also knows that when the bullets start flying he must do the opposite of what everyone else around him is doing. He runs towards the danger, not away from it.

“There are stress and nerves before,” says Shaban.

“But when we begin running to treat people, it gives us strength. Being able to give a service to humanity like this gives us a big comfort while doing our job.”

Shaban is just a volunteer. He doesn’t get paid for risking his life to help the injured. The Red Crescent is made up of hundreds of volunteers like him.

Gaza, impoverished and with an economy that the World Bank described earlier this year as on the verge of collapse, currently boasts the largest unemployment level in the world, 43% by United Nations’ estimates, 60% claimed by the Public Workers’ Union in Gaza.

Shaban knows what he does is dangerous. Colleagues and fellow volunteers like himself have been killed while doing their duty in the past, but he holds hope that by doing the risky work, eventually when a paid job opportunity with the organisation comes up, he will stand a fighting chance of getting it. It’s extreme volunteering.

“There are as many as sixteen volunteers that work with our small team here,” Attal explained before the protest started.

“They face the same risks as us, they can be killed and have been. They do all of this without even being paid.”

A couple of hours before the clashes started, Attal sat relaxed, talking politics and watching poorly-made Indian soap operas in the Red Crescent Base in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza. The men around him chain-smoked Shaami brand cigarettes, the cheapest brand in the Palestinian territory, available from small wooden wagons on Gaza’s street corners. They’re known for being a particularly harsh smoking experience. “Smoke these for a year, and you don’t feel the effects of tear gas anymore,” one of the older medics jokes in a husky voice as he smoked his third Shaami in a row.

Strange praise of sorts for the back-alley cigarettes, the tear gas used by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories has been known to kill.

This Friday however, the cigarettes’ supposed gas mask benefits were not needed.

Fifteen-year-old Abu Faris was the first casualty of the day, but twenty minutes later another followed him, and quarter of an hour after, another. With the rat-a-tat of live fire becoming normal after a couple of hours, a football appeared and some of the protesters began to play a match, the soldiers watching on in full view.

The game was being used as a way to taunt the Israeli army and show them that regardless of how many Palestinians they shoot, Gaza’s residents will continue to find a way to live and carry on, and will do so in the future.

A recent United Nations report claimed that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020, the 2014 Israeli war having put ‘almost all of the population into destitution.’

Yet if any group in the world could make seemingly unlivable conditions survivable, it would be the people of Gaza. They’ve had enough practice. More than 90% of Gaza’s water is undrinkable and polluted with seawater. Three Israeli wars in less than a decade has left the area and the population devastated.

As the sun goes down, and the protest winds down after several hours, the Red Crescent team heads to a nearby hospital treating the injured. A dozen have been admitted, two in serious condition. Abu Faris, with such severe injuries, was transmitted to Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa. The team hopes he survives the night.

“You poor thing,” the mother of Mohammed al-Hindi one of the injured shouts as she comes rushing into the hospital ward as Red Crescent volunteer Abed Bashir looks over the injuries.

“What were you thinking? Why did you go?” she suddenly starts screaming, her words tinged with upset, anger, and worry.

“For Palestine,” her son replies. His mother starts crying, but nothing more is said between the two.

“They endanger themselves for us, put themselves in danger,” al-Hindi says when asked about the Red Crescent medics that rushed him from the protest to hospital. “I appreciate everything they do.”

“It’s something for Palestine yes, but it is something for humanity as well,” Shaban says of the Red Crescent work while in the ambulance on the ride back to base after the long, dangerous, and stressful day. “We have to do this.”