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Great Return March: 101 Palestinians Killed by IOF Since 30 March 2018, 59 Killed on 14 May, including Seven Children, One Disabled Man, and 1,861 Injured

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 01:08
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58 Palestinians killed during Great Return March protests in the Gaza Strip on 14 May 2018, as United States unlawfully relocates its embassy to Jerusalem – Al-Haq (c) 2018. The eve of the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba marked the opening of the United States (US) embassy in Jerusalem, unlawfully relocated from Tel Aviv following the 6 December 2017 announcement by US President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. On Monday, 14 May 2018, Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem was entrenched and endorsed by the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, in violation of Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations on the prohibition of annexation, a general principle of international law and in breach of the Israel’s obligations as Occupying Power under Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to protect the occupied Palestinian population against any measures “by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory”.

The relocation of the US embassy coincided with the Great Return March in the Gaza Strip, which started in commemoration of Land Day on 30 March 2018, to realise Palestinian refugees’ right of return and culminating on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba on 15 May 2018.

Israeli snipers from the Israel Occupying Forces (IOF) perched at the partitioning fence in the Gaza Strip, which Israel has erected to maintain its unlawful 11-year closure and 50-year prolonged occupation of the Gaza Strip, to fragment the territorial contiguity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) by economically, socially, and culturally crippling the protected Palestinian population therein, today resorted to unnecessary, disproportionate, and unlawful use of force, including lethal force, against the protected Palestinian population. Al-Haq documented the killings of 59 Palestinians, including 43 civilians, of which seven were children and one disabled man. The latter, Fadi Hassan Salman Abu Salmi, 30, whose two legs were amputated, was killed by a live bullet to the chest in East of Abasan town, east of Khan Younis. Al-Haq documented 1,861 injuries, including 314 children and 88 women, among them 1,286 injured by live fire, of which 70 cases were described as critical.

The killings represent an egregious and manifest violation of the right to life under Article 6 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and amount to a continued policy by the State of Israel to systematically repress all dissent, including peaceful protests and assemblies, by resort to force and lethal force, against unarmed Palestinian civilians. Notably, the policing of assemblies is governed under a law enforcement paradigm and does not meet the threshold of active conflict. Accordingly, the IOF must apply international human rights law and only resort to force as a last resort and then, use no more force than is absolutely necessary in self-defence and in defending the lives of others. As the Israeli army spokesperson has previously maintained, the IOF “know where every bullet landed”[1] and today that their “troops are operating in accordance with standard procedures”.[2] The patterns of killings, amounting to 42 throughout the last seven weeks of protests, and 59 on Monday, 14 May, and to date totalling 101, are directly linked and emanate from Israel’s territorial expansion, illustrated in its encroaching annexation of Jerusalem, and accelerated colonization of the OPT, in violation of international law.

As Israel continues to deliberately and recklessly violate international law,as in the past seventy years, with impunity, it is time for urgent international action to maintain regional peace and security. Al-Haq reiterates its call:

  1. To convene an emergency United Nations Security Council session to address the urgent situation in the Gaza Strip and the unlawful conduct of the IOF;
  2. In the event that the Security Council fails to take action to prevent Israel’s breach of peace and acts of aggression in Palestinian territory, the United Nations General Assembly must trigger General Assembly Resolution 377 A (V) and collectively agree to take all necessary means, to stop Israel’s violations of international law;
  3. Demand that Israel take concrete action to immediately lift its unlawful closure and blockade of Gaza, and cease all forms of collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian population therein;
  4. Implement all options to protect Palestinian civilians to ensure that Israel refrains from resorting to force, including lethal force, against unarmed civilians;
  5. Establish an independent and transparent investigation into the IOF’s use of live fire and snipers and the resulting killings and injuries of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip since 30 March 2018;
  6. For a clear and condemnatory statement to be issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and immediate request for a Special Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council;
  7. For the Immediate establishment of a United Nations Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry into violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law during the Great Return March in the Gaza Strip and across the OPT;
  8. Calls on the High Contracting Parties of the Geneva Conventions to immediately call a Conference of High Contracting Parties. Article 7 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and related to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts provides for the depositary to “convene a meeting of the High Contracting Parties, at the request of one or more of the said Parties and upon the approval of the majority of the said Parties” to “consider general problems concerning the application of the Conventions and of the Protocol”;
  9. Urgently calls on United Nations Security Council to trigger Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations and apply economic sanctions against Israel for “complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations”;
  10. Calls on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to proceed to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the IOF in the Gaza Strip, for which there is individual criminal responsibility;
  11. Calls on the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to ensure that any possible future negotiations for a final status solution with Israel, lead to the realisation of the rights of the Palestinian People, including Palestinian refugees' right to return, as mandated by international law.
  12. Calls on Israel to immediately end its 50-yearoccupation of the Palestinian territory.

[1] See https://twitter.com/idfspokesperson.

[2] See https://twitter.com/IfNotNowOrg?lang=en?.