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‘Pure Propaganda’: Rights Group B’Tselem Slams Israeli Probe on Gaza Killings

  • A woman demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest at the Israel-Gaza border, April 27, 2018.

    A woman demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest at the Israel-Gaza border, April 27, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 April 2018
Opinion

B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad penned a powerful letter to the U.N. stating the gross human rights violations at the hands of the Israeli military.   

The Israeli human rights group  B’Tselem urged the United Nations Thursday to "do all in its power – and its responsibility" to defend the unarmed protesters in Gaza. 

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A day after the news of the second journalist Ahmad Abu Hussein succumbing to injuries Wednesday afternoon, B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad penned a powerful letter to the U.N. stating the gross human rights violations at the hands of the Israeli military.

"These horrific casualty figures – the 35 Palestinians killed and 1,500 injured by live ammunition – are the predictable outcome of the manifestly illegal rules of engagement implemented during the demonstrations, of ordering soldiers to use lethal gunfire against unarmed demonstrators who pose no mortal danger," B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad said in the letter to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. 

"Like so many other Palestinians in Gaza, it is highly likely that they never had a chance to leave the small patch of land – roughly half the size of New York City – which is the Gaza Strip," El-Ad added. "They lived their lives without any political rights, devoid of any hope for a reasonable future, totally subject to the decisions and policies of the Israeli government."   

Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov, meanwhile, warned the U.N. Security Council Thursday that "Gaza is about to explode." He called on Israel to "calibrate its use of force and minimize the use of live fire." 

"Lethal force should be used only as a last resort," Mladenov said, also urging Hamas and protest leaders to keep demonstrators away from the Gaza boundary fence.

B’Tselem called Israel's recent announcement to look into the killings "pure propaganda, intended – among other things – to prevent an independent international investigation."

"This mechanism is part of the whitewashing toolkit that the MAG Corps uses to create a semblance of an efficient law enforcement system that works to uncover the truth and ensure accountability," B’Tselem noted on its website. 

The Israel-based independent non-profit organization that documents human rights violations further said Israeli officers were justifying opening fire at thousands of unarmed protesters based on nothing but hypothetical situations that they might cross the fence and come into Israel.  

"Israel is unique in insisting that its unlawful actions are in keeping with international law. This challenges the very foundations of international law – unlike the conduct of states that make no attempt to lend a semblance of legality to their actions," B’Tselem stated on its website.

"If the international community does not come to its senses and force Israel to abide by the rules that are binding to every state in the world, it will pull the rug out from under the global effort to protect human rights in the post-WWII era." 

According to the recent paper by the organization, 'If the heart be not callous' which is focused on the unlawful shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, "Since the wave of protests near the Gaza-Israel fence began almost two weeks ago, the Israeli military has killed 32 Palestinians in Gaza, 26 of them demonstrators, and injured more than 1,000 with live fire." 

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