Adalah & Al Mezan issue urgent motion on Gaza to Israeli Supreme Court

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Two prominent rights organisations, Adalah- The Legal Centre for Arabic Minority Rights in Israel and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, have continued to challenge the Israeli military’s use of lethal force against protesters in Gaza.

Today, they have released a briefing paper, which takes a thorough look at the joint petition they filed on 23rd April 2018 to the Israeli Supreme Court. This petition robustly contests the illegal firing of live ammunition by Israeli soldiers at unarmed protester in Gaza. As a final decision by the Israeli Supreme has not been forthcoming on the case, Adalah and Al Mezan issued a motion yesterday demanding an immediate response to their petition.

While the Israeli Supreme Court has been dragging its feet and playing for time, the death toll has risen substantially. Monday 14th May 2018 saw the bloodiest day of shooting yet, with 59 Palestinians killed and at least 2,771 more injured. Israel’s excessive use of force has now claimed the lives of over a hundred protesters, since the Great Return March began on 30th March.

Today’s briefing paper, a summary of the earlier petition, highlights both the atrocities committed by the IOF and the illegality of its actions. From the shelling of protest tents assembled along the Gaza border to the shooting of children and other innocents with ‘powerful rifles’, Israel’s response has been disproportionate to the unarmed reality of the protests.

The petition cites the testimonies of protesters, doctors, journalists and rescue workers, and also video documentation. The petitioners’ wish to submit the latter, via USB, was rejected by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the weight of evidence sent to the justices is sufficient to prove, beyond all doubt, the illegality of Israel’s actions, both under International Law and also Israeli Constitutional Law. For, the Israeli military have breached the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.
The illegality stems from the civilian nature of the protests. As civilians, those who have participated in the Great Return March have the ‘rights to life and bodily integrity’; these rights can only be violated in the event that they pose a concrete threat to the life of another person. This has categorically not been the case with the marches: Palestinian stones are no match for Israeli automatic weapons.

Israel’s statement that the demonstrations, involving “leading inciters or breachers of order”, posed real danger to the lives of Israeli citizens is a bold and empty claim. The hollowness of these words should be clear to anyone who has watched recent footage from Gaza.