[News] UN commissioner condemns Israeli army killing of Gaza protesters as ‘deplorable’

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 9 12:01:50 EDT 2018

  UN commissioner condemns Israeli army killing of Gaza protesters as

April 8, 2018 - http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=780015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human 
Rights Liz Throssell released a statement over the weekend condemning 
the “deplorable killing” of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

The statement <http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Media.aspx>was 
released on Friday, hours before nine Palestinians were killed along the 
border --including a journalist and two minors 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=780013>-- bringing the death 
toll to 29 since“The Great March of Return” 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=779985> began on March 30.

“Given the deplorable killing of 16 people and the injuring of 
reportedly more than 1,000 others during protests in Gaza, mostly on 30 
March, we are gravely concerned that further violence could occur during 
demonstrations today and in the coming weeks,” Throssel said.

“Given the large number of injuries and deaths, the ominous statements 
made by Israeli authorities in the days leading up to the protest, as 
well as indications that the individuals killed or wounded were unarmed 
or did not pose a serious threat to well-protected security forces – and 
in some cases were actually running away from the fence – there are 
strong indications that security forces used excessive force.”

The statement went on to note that Israeli forces are required by 
international human rights law “to respect the rights to peaceful 
assembly and expression and to use, to the extent possible, non-violent 
means to discharge their duties.”

“In accordance with international human rights law, firearms may be used 
only in cases of extreme necessity, as a last resort, and in response to 
an imminent threat of death or risk of serious injury.”

Throssel highlighted that even if protesters “attempt to approach or 
cross the green-line fence,” it “does not amount to a threat to life or 
serious injury that would justify the use of live ammunition.”

“We remind Israel of its obligations to ensure that excessive force is 
not employed against protestors and that in the context of a military 
occupation, as is the case in Gaza, the unjustified and unlawful 
recourse to firearms by law enforcement resulting in death may amount to 
a wilful killing, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” 
Throssel said.

“We echo the call by the UN Secretary-General for an independent and 
transparent investigation into these incidents, with a view to holding 
accountable those responsible.”

Following the deadly first day of protests in Gaza last week, the UN and 
European Union (EU) called for an investigation into the Israeli army’s 
violent suppression of protests .

Israel’s Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman rejected the calls, 
instead saying “from the standpoint of the [Israeli Defence Force] 
soldiers, they did what had to be done.”

Lieberman added that he thinks “all of our troops deserve a commendation.”

Israel has repeatedly perpetuated the narrative that the massive 
demonstrations -- which were organized by grassroots organizations and 
local activists as a nonviolent protest -- were organized by the Hamas 
movement, and that the protests were being used as to “camouflage terror.”

The UN call for the investigation into the killings came after the US 
blocked a UN Security Council (UNSC) statement 
condemning Israel's use of force against civilian protesters at the Gaza 
border, which rights groups have deemed criminal and illegal. 

Israeli forces have long been criticized for their use of excessive 
force against Palestinians, and what rights groups have termed their 
policy of “extrajudicial execution” in instances where Palestinians who 
did not pose a direct threat to the lives of soldiers could have been 
detained or subdued in a non-lethal manner.
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