Gaza investigators call on Israel to review ‘rules of engagement’ as Gaza protest anniversary looms

UNifeed Video Protesters walking towards the Gaza separation fence, bordering Israel.The UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory presented its findings in Geneva on 28 February, 2019.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Human Rights Council-appointed investigators urged Israel on Monday to revise its military rules of engagement, shortly before the one-year anniversary of the start of mass demonstrations at the country’s border fence with Gaza, that have left hundreds of Palestinians dead and thousands more injured.

Speaking in Geneva, Santiago Canton, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, explained what the panel knew about the Israeli Defence Force’s relevant military protocols with regard to demonstrators.

“Under the rules, they could be shot in the leg at any moment,” he said. “While in theory, this key inciter status was to be conferred only when the crowd was posing an imminent threat to life, in reality – and that has been one of the main findings of the Commission – that was rarely the case.”

Mr. Santiago’s comments followed his assertion that the panel’s “main conclusion…is that we found reasonable grounds to believe that the Israeli Security Forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law”.

During last year’s demonstrations in the Gaza Strip – referred to as the “Great March of Return and the Breaking of the Siege” – the Commission found that 189 Palestinians were killed, 183 with live ammunition.

Victims included children, persons with disabilities – including a double amputee who was shot and killed while sitting in his wheelchair – journalists and medical personnel.

Less than two weeks from the anniversary of the beginning of the protests, the panel’s concern is to avoid a repeat of deadly demonstrations such as those on 30 March, 14 May and 12 October. “We hope that the international community gets involved in order to avoid more killings and more shootings during the anniversary,” Mr. Santiago told reporters after his address to the Human Rights Council earlier in the day. “I think that is why this presentation was important. It’s important that Israel change the rules of proceedings and stop the shootings, basically.”

‘Triggers were pulled 6,000 times’

In addition to those killed during weekly protests at the border fence with Israel, the UN panel underscored the damage caused by high-velocity bullets, which replaced the rubber bullets initially used against demonstrators.

“In the case of many of the killings, there were very small entry wounds and huge exit wounds,” Commission member Sara Hossain said. “We also have detailed evidence about the kinds of bullets, but also about the use of long-range sniper rifles, sophisticated optical aiming devices,” she added.

“We know that the target could be magnified in the sight of the snipers, so they could know the consequences of at least some of the shootings. But nevertheless, triggers were pulled, and the trigger was pulled more than 6,000 times.”

Asked about the legality of targeting unarmed protesters in a crowd, the Commission insisted that doing so based on individuals’ membership of an armed group was unlawful.

“We believe that in situations of crowd control and in situations that we deem to be civilian in nature, if there are individuals in the crowd that may be a legitimate target, you still cannot shoot at the crowd, because you may kill or shoot innocent individuals”, Mr. Santiago said.

Israel probe into 11 incidents welcomed

The Commission also welcomed inquiries into 11 incidents which Israel has said it will undertake, although Ms. Hossain called for more transparency.

“On the nature of investigations, for the ones from Israel, they have announced that there are these 11 incidents…but that is after one year,” she said. “And there is no announcement as to the progress of those investigations and we think that there is at least a moral obligation to disclose what the outcome of those is.”

The issue of demonstrators launching incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza was also covered in the Commission’s report to the Human Rights Council, Ms. Hossain said, noting that “significant property damage” had been caused in southern Israel.

In a related development on Monday, Human Rights Council-appointed Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk warned of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza linked to the “stifling restrictions” on the Strip’s residents.

“Israel has maintained a hermetic air, sea and land blockade around Gaza, controlling who and what enters and leaves the (Gaza) Strip,” Mr. Lynk told the Council. “For nearly five million Palestinians living under occupation, the degradation of their water supply, the exploitation of their natural resources and the defacing of their environment, are symptomatic of the lack of any meaningful control they have over their daily lives.”

A major concern is the “collapse of natural sources of drinking water in Gaza and the inability of Palestinians to access most of their water sources in the West Bank”, the Special Rapporteur said.

Scale of Gaza victims’ needs is immense, warns UN health agency

Coinciding with developments at the Human Rights Council on Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) appealed for $5.3 million to help the many thousands of Gazans hurt and handicapped in the demonstrations.

“The sheer magnitude of trauma needs in Gaza is immense; every week injured patients continue to arrive at hospitals requiring complex long-term treatment.” said Dr Gerald Rockenschaub, head of WHO’s office for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

WHO reiterated concerns that the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Great March on 30 March could result in further casualties and an increase in people requiring trauma care and rehabilitation services.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Greater transparency, fairer prices for medicines ‘a global human rights issue’, says UN health agency

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

The AI doctor won’t see you now

UN condemns deadly simultaneous terrorist attacks on military camps in Mali

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

The different ways of care: Is there a general rule to follow?

1 in 7 people would choose not to fly because of climate change

Thousands flee fresh violence in South Sudan, many ‘suffering from trauma’

Lack of basic water facilities risks millions of lives globally: UN health agency

As people return to work, here’s how we can make commuting more inclusive and sustainable

Food safety critical to development and ending poverty: FAO deputy chief

Data is the oil of the digital world. What if tech giants had to buy it from us?

Essential services on verge of shutdown in Gaza as emergency fuel set to run out

Oleg Sentsov awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize

Europe should make voice ‘more heard’ in today’s ‘dangerous world,’ says UN chief

Refugees now make up 1% of the world’s population

Sustainable fishing staying afloat in developed world, sinking in poorer regions

270 million people are migrants, who send home a staggering $689 billion

Statelessness for terrorists’ families, never an acceptable option, urges UN rights chief

Why vaccines are not just for children

Top UN official urges Russia and Ukraine to step away from further confrontation at sea

The end of the 404? Why we need to repair the internet’s crumbling infrastructure

Is this the way to finally beat corruption?

MEPs Anti-fraud votes for more votes?

Constitution of the 9th legislature of the European Parliament

Euro-Mediterranean Assembly fixes its permanent seat in Rome

Camino de Santiago – a global community on our doorstep

Brexit: European Commission recommends the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the agreement reached on the revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and revised Political Declaration

Students & Allies Unite Globally To Launch #Students_Against_COVID

The world has made spectacular progress in every measure of well-being. So why does almost no one know about it?

OECD warns global economy remains weak as subdued trade drags down growth

Financing economic recovery, written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General

As inequality grows, the UN fights for a fairer world

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

Welcome to the COVID-19 era of world sport

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

JADE Spring Conference 2018 is on its way: Young entrepreneurs gather in Brussels to shape Europe

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

New UN forestry project bids to help countries meet climate change commitments

FROM THE FIELD: Free tutorials in Mali, ‘a life-saver’ for Fatouma

Is South Korea set to lose from its FTA with the EU?

It’s Trump’s anti-globalization and inward-looking rhetoric that perturbs GOP and US

UN chief welcomes G20 commitment to fight climate change

Czech PM should resolve his conflict of interest as a matter of urgency say MEPs

Bram in Colombia

Warmer months ahead for many parts of the planet: UN weather agency

UN rights chief urges ‘immediate dialogue’ to end Chile unrest

3 natural mysteries that could be explained by quantum physics

UN agency chiefs issue ‘call to action’ on behalf of refugee children

A third of world’s out-of-school youth live in conflict, disaster-affected countries: UNICEF report

MEPs call for decisive action to fight inequalities in the EU

EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

Sexual education in a school at the Brazilian Amazon

Writing a greener story in Asia and the Pacific amidst COVID-19 outbreak

Do we judge robots on their colour? This study says we do

Parliament pushes for cleaner cars on EU roads by 2030

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

For resilient, sustainable city mobility after COVID-19, these trends must continue

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s