Rights Groups: Israeli Army in Gaza Violates International and Israeli Law (VIDEO)

Palestinians continue their protests in Gaza as part of the Great March of Return (Photo PC, Abdallah Aljamal)

Israeli military practices at the Gaza border that left dozens of Palestinians dead and thousands injured constitute violations of both international law as well as Israeli law, two human rights groups said on Tuesday.

The Haifa-based Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights filed a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court on Monday demanding that it orders the Israeli military to stop using snipers and live ammunition in order to disperse Palestinian protests in the Gaza Strip.

Since March 30, Israeli soldiers have killed over 40 Palestinian protesters with live ammunition, amongst them a journalist and four minors. Fifty-six percent of the 2,882 people wounded during the protests – 1,607 people – were hit by live ammunition fired by Israeli troops. 523 children and 97 women were among the wounded.

Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara argued in the petition that the military practices in Gaza constitute violations of both international law as well as Israeli law.

The Israeli military’s “open-fire policy against protesters in Gaza is patently illegal… This policy perceives the [Palestinian] human body as an expendable, worthless object,” said Bishara.

Adalah and al-Mezan stressed in the petition that, contrary to the claims of the Israeli military and government, the Gaza protesters are unarmed, civilian demonstrators, who never reached the point of endangering anyone’s life during demonstrations. The protest march’s general principles document, which was included in the petition, makes clear that the protests are popular, non-violent, and unarmed.

The petition emphasizes the absolute ban on opening fire on demonstrators with live ammunition and noted that the norms applicable to confronting civilian demonstrations are based in international law governing “law enforcement and order.” These same norms have also been adopted into Israeli law, including via the Or Commission Report published in 2003.

“These universal norms apply equally and without discrimination to citizens and non-citizens alike, regardless of the content of the protest, their slogans, their location, their organizational affiliation, and the ethnic and national affiliation of the participants.”

The petition included 12 video clips documenting Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed protesters – including women and children – who did not endanger any lives.

Also included in the petition was testimony from wounded survivors also hit by live ammunition during the protests.

“Testimony and video documentation reveals a chilling picture of live ammunition fired routinely and in large quantities at protesters who posed no threat or danger. Videos and first-person testimonies also reveal a horrifying trend of shooting at specific demonstrators in order to kill or harm them.”

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

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