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ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: Stop the use of lethal and other excessive force and investigate deaths of Palestinian protesters

7 Apr 2018
[International Secretariat]
Region: ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
Topic:

17 Palestinians were killed and approximately 1,400 have been injured, were injured during protests that started yesterday in the Gaza Strip. Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to put an immediate end to its heavy handed, and often lethal, suppression of Palestinian demonstrations. Amnesty International is also calling for independent and effective investigations to be launched immediately into reports that Israeli soldiers have unlawfully used firearms against unarmed protesters. Israel must respect the human rights to life and to peaceful protest. We are amid concerns that the crackdown against protesters demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees will continue.

Under international human rights law lethal force can only be used to defend lives from imminent risk.

Having consistently ignored the human rights of Palestinian refugees for 70 years, Israel must at least hear their demands and allow peaceful demonstrations and protests to take place.”

On 29 March the Israeli forces announced the deployment of 100 snipers to the border, as well as increased security in the form of tanks and drones. The Israeli military stated that it had “enforced a closed military zone” in the areas near the fence that separates Gaza and Israel. The Israeli Minister of Defence warned that those approaching the fence were “putting their lives in danger”.

Among those injured, some 750 people have been hit with live ammunition and 20 are reported to be in a critical condition. Others have been injured with tear gas and rubber bullets. The Israeli forces claim that those killed were trying to cross the fence between Gaza and Israel. Reports indicate that Palestinian protesters have thrown stones, Molotov cocktails and burnt tyres.

“While some Palestinian demonstrators have thrown stones and other objects towards the fence, it’s hard to believe how this would be an imminent danger to the lives of well-equipped soldiers protected by snipers, tanks and drones.

The protests known as the “Great March of Return” were launched on 30 March to coincide with Palestinian Land Day, and are demanding the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees to their villages and towns in what is now Israel. The protests are expected to last until 15 May, when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba or “great catastrophe”. The day marks the displacement and dispossession of hundreds of thousands in 1948-9 during the conflict following the creation of the state of Israel. 

“The Israeli authorities must launch effective and independent investigations into all incidents in which unnecessary or excessive force appears to have been used and bring those suspected of being responsible to justice.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared today to be a day of mourning, and Palestinians have observed a general strike in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

31 March 2018
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL NEWS FLASH

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