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Gaza protest, 30 March 2018. Photo by Amir Cohen, Reuters
From the field

B’Tselem to UN Secretary General: Protect Lives of Palestinian Protestors

Ahead of today’s UN Security Council's open debate at 5:00 P.M. (Israel time), and as the demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel fence are expected to continue, B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad sent UN Secretary-General António Guterres a letter listing the names of the 35 Palestinians protestors shot to death by Israeli forces in Gaza in recent weeks, four of whom were minors. El-Ad called upon the UN to do “all that is in its power – and its responsibility – in order to protect Palestinian lives and uphold international norms”, with the goal of immediately ending the illegal shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza.

“Many of them died immediately, or shortly after, they were hit”, wrote El-Ad. “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. 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.”

El-Ad added that extensive past experience clearly shows that Israel has no intention of investigating these fatal incidents and that the recently announced “investigation” into specific incidents is nothing but “part of a façade designed to give the impression that Israel is abiding by its legal obligation to investigate[...] in an attempt to forestall and prevent investigations by international bodies.”

In the letter, El-Ad stressed that “unlike many other states that violate human rights, Israel insists that its unlawful actions are commensurate with international law, basing this argument on dubious legal interpretations that render the norms of international law hollow. Allowing Israel to continue shooting unarmed protesters, under the pretense it is legal, will further undercut the global effort to protect human rights in the post-WWII era, while Palestinians are the ones being made to pay the price.”