In response to the recent demonstrations in Gaza, the Israeli military opened fire on protesters, and to date have killed 15 protestors and wounded 1,110, including over 200 children and 35 women. Over 800 of these casualties were hit by live ammunition fired by Israeli troops—around 40 of them are in critical or serious condition.
Israeli military violations of both international and Israeli law are intensifying and taking on clearly unlawful, and possibly criminal, proportions in light of the fact that the illegal use of deadly live fire was premeditated by Israeli military command.
Multiple videos shared on social media clearly document Israeli military snipers, on multiple occasions, using lethal and other excessive force and opening fire with an intent to kill.
In an urgent letter that Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights sent tonight to the Israeli Attorney General and Chief Military Advocate General, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara wrote:
“The [Israeli] snipers appear to be engaging in a hunt of [Palestinian] demonstrators, with an intent to kill, in order to deter the protesting crowd. This is evident from the fact that many of those killed were shot in the upper part of the body, including the neck and head.”
With the expected renewal of mass protests in Gaza tomorrow, Friday, 6 April 2018, Israeli military spokespeople have resumed their threats, emphasizing that there will be no change in soldiers’ directives or open-fire regulations. Israeli military spokespeople said numerous snipers will again be deployed along the length of the Gaza border and that they will continue to use live ammunition against protesters.
The killing and wounding of hundreds of Palestinians on 30 March 2018 led to extensive international condemnation. That same day, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called for an independent and transparent investigation of the incident. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, also issued a similar call.
Adalah and Al Mezan reiterate their warning that the use of live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators is a violation of international human rights law and Israeli law, and that its continued use will inevitably result in an increased number of casualties – both dead and wounded.
Adalah and Al Mezan demand that the Israeli military refrain from using live ammunition of any type against protestors or for crowd dispersal, and that the Attorney General and Chief Military Advocate General clearly and explicitly order military to refrain from use of such weapons—including the use of snipers.