Israeli human rights group B’Tselem described the military’s announcement that the general staff investigation mechanism led by Brig. Gen. Motti Baruch will look into the incidents in which Palestinians were killed, focusing on civilian deaths, as “pure propaganda, intended – among other things – to prevent an independent international investigation.
B’Tselem in a position paper entitled, “If the heart be not callous: On the unlawful shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza,” said Israel is treating the protest in Gaza as it has handled similar events in the past: Broad, unlawful use of lethal force at a heavy price to lives, baseless legal interpretations issued to justify this policy, and whitewashing the crimes within days.
The paper provides legal analysis explaining why the orders given the soldiers, permitting live fire at unarmed civilians who do not pose a danger, are unlawful.
Today we ran an ad with the names of the 35 Palestinian protestors killed by Israeli forces in Gaza. Another 1,500+ were injured by live fire. The order to shoot at civilians who pose no mortal danger is manifestly illegal. Both issuing and obeying such orders is forbidden. pic.twitter.com/a1dmdGiH45
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) April 26, 2018
B’Tselem said Israeli officials are relying on worst-case scenarios to justify these orders. Yet hypothetical situations – such as thousands of Palestinians crossing the fence into Israel – are not enough to justify prior permission to open lethal fire at demonstrators.
The center stressed that given the combination of local public opinion, which ranges from ardent support to indifference, and a judiciary skilled in draining moral rules of meaning and whitewashing crime, it is difficult to imagine the necessary substantive change coming from within Israel.
"We went to a peaceful demonstration in Gaza. There were entire families: children playing, women making bread, young men playing soccer. A teargas canister landed near the tent. I screamed, the children and I choked, I couldn’t open my eyes, rescue teams arrived.." Manal pic.twitter.com/ymf2hAUPB7
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) April 20, 2018
BTselem maintained that although many countries violate human rights, yet Israel is unique in insisting that its unlawful actions are in keeping with international law.
”This challenges the very foundations of international law – unlike the conduct of states that make no attempt to lend a semblance of legality to their actions.”
B’Tselem stressed that if the international community does not come to its senses and force Israel to abide by the rules that are binding to every state in the world, it will pull the rug out from under the global effort to protect human rights in the post-WWII era.
“This is not a merely theoretical concern: Until Israel changes its policy, the Palestinians will continue pay for this state of affairs with life and limb,” said the Israeli human rights center.
The number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip has reached 40 since March 30 when the Great March of Return commenced.
(Wafa, PC, Social Media)