Israel: deliberate killing of unarmed civilians...
Between 10pm on Monday 17 September and 8pm on Tuesday 18 September, Israeli forces killed four Palestinian men in the Gaza Strip using live ammunition. Within the same period, two more died as a result of the actions of Israeli forces in the West Bank, one after being beaten during the process of arrest and another shot dead in a busy street in East Jerusalem.
“This shocking fact is a chilling demonstration of the utter disregard for right to life. Several of these incidents appear to involve deliberate and wilful killing of unarmed civilians and may amount to war crimes,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“It is the fact that such crimes are rarely, if ever, punished that allows unlawful killings and other violations of the right to life to continue in shameless disregard of international law. These incidents are not new in the OPT and are likely to continue unless this cycle of impunity is broken.”
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member, Hanan Ashrawi, said in a statement "The deliberate murder of six Palestinians by Israeli forces in the last twenty-four hours is yet another escalation in the Israeli occupation's brutality and inhumanity."
Ashrawi stressed that "emboldened by the total support of the US administration, Israel has stepped up its criminality and policy of summary executions targeting Palestine's innocent victims with deliberate cruelty and impunity." "The international community is urged to end Israel's devaluation of Palestinian lives and to abandon its double standard when it comes to the loss of life, regardless of nationality or religion."
Ashrawi called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague "to take immediate action and open an official and criminal investigation into such widespread and flagrant war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed throughout occupied Palestine." She continued to call on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United Nations "To investigate Israel's egregious violations, lawlessness and provocative acts and hold it accountable with punitive measures and sanctions."
Ashrawi concluded "The real solution remains in ending the occupation and enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination in a free and sovereign state on their own land with Jerusalem as its capital."
Since 30 March, more than 180 Palestinians, including at least 29 children, have been killed and over 17,000 others injured in the Israeli military response to the “Great March of Return” protests held along the Israel-Gaza fence.
“The international community must also take concrete steps to stop the delivery and trade of arms and military equipment to Israel. A failure to do so fuels serious human rights violations against millions of men, women and children suffering the consequences of 50 years of military occupation, including 11 years of blockade in the Gaza strip.” said Saleh Higazi.
In the Opening Statement of the 39th session of the Human Rights Council, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said: “Prospects for peace and respect for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are undermined by the continued occupation. The ever-deepening human rights crisis in Gaza stems from 11 years of Israel’s blockade, as well as successive escalations in hostilities. Against this backdrop, the high number of deaths and injuries of Palestinians in the context of recent demonstrations along the fence in Gaza this year raise serious concerns about excessive use of force.
In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Israeli settlement enterprise – illegal under international humanitarian law – continues unabated. The coercive environment created by demolitions and severe restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians continues in many areas of the West Bank, with increasing acts of settler violence. Of great concern at present is the possible imminent demolition of Khan al Ahmar-abu Helu, one of 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities at risk of forcible transfer in the West Bank. We are also concerned by the recent adoption of the Nation State Basic Law in Israel, which enshrines discrimination against Israel’s non-Jewish population.”