Euro-Med and international groups call for probing Israel’s crimes in Gaza Published: Wed, 16-May-2018

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and other international organizations have called for investigating Monday’s mass murder of unarmed Palestinian protesters resulting from the Israeli army's use of excessive force to disperse them, killing dozens of them and wounding hundreds.

This came during a news conference held on Tuesday at al-Shifa Medical Compound by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor in which a joint press statement signed by 27 different international organizations was read by officials from the human rights group.

According to the statement, 59 Palestinians, including 7 children, were killed and some 2,771 others injured on May 14 alone as the Israeli forces used excessive force, including live ammunition to disperse unarmed protesters. 

Accordingly, the death toll has now amounted to 108 citizens, while injuries rose to 12,291, and still counting. 300 of the injured are suffering from serious or critical wounds.

The statement also affirmed that all protests were, in general, peaceful in Gaza border area, while targeted protesters did not pose a real threat to soldiers’ lives that could justify their killing or the use of excessive force against them.

"It is true that, in some cases, protesters threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, attempted to cross the fence, or used Molotov cocktails. However, compared to vast majority of cases, these were limited. Also, none of them used or carried firearms. Given the large numbers of casualties, Israel’s use of lethal force is in no way justifiable. It is arbitrary and excessive."

"It appears that there is a deliberate intention to further complicate injuries of protesters, causing serious injuries that may lead to permanent disabilities."

The organizations, which signed the statement, called on the international community, especially the UN, to compel Israel to respect protesters’ right to demonstrate in a peaceful manner in the Gaza Strip, and to prevent its soldiers from using force when dealing with peaceful demonstrators.

They also stressed the need for "an effective and serious investigation by Israel regarding the incidents whereby excessive force was used against the demonstrators in the Gaza Strip, and the use of weapons that have caused unjustifiable pain, while holding perpetrator accountable for these crimes, and bringing them to justice.”

They called for “referring these cases to the Courts of Justice of the countries party to the Geneva Conventions, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, to look into the said crimes."

They also called on Israel, the occupying power, "to put an immediate and unconditional end to the blockade on the Gaza Strip," and "compensate all those who were affected by this blockade over the past years."

"The Israeli government must work seriously to end its long-term occupation of the Palestinian territories, allow the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and compensate those who do not wish to return, as stipulated in UN General Assembly Resolution 194," the groups stated further.

Source: Palestinian Information Center