At Israel’s live-fire response to Gaza protests
that I know of that would put the safety of the border fence at the same importance of the life of a 14-year-old.”
Sfard is representing human rights groups petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court to challenge the legality of the military’s live fire rules during demonstrations in Gaza earlier this month. He said the only legal justification for using live ammunition against civilians is if they are “posing an imminent danger to the lives of others”. In the state’s response, Israel has argued that the protests can’t be classified as civilian because they are part of the “armed conflict” between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. “The state opposes the applying of human rights law during an armed conflict,” Israel’s response said.
The border is defended, in general, by two layers of fence topped with barbed wire, and Israeli snipers have been positioned within 100m of the barrier.
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said soldiers wouldn’t be shooting to kill a fence-cutter like Khalil. He said it was a “hectic area with smoke and fires and lots of moving people”. He added, “The command that is issued to our troops is to shoot towards the legs.”
But multiple videos have surfaced apparently showing Israeli forces shooting unarmed protesters. A video in April showed a Palestinian running away from the border fence with a tyre before being shot in the head.
Israeli military officials say they have not changed their rules of engagement over nearly seven weeks of protests and warned before they started that there were orders to use “a lot of force” and live ammunition if soldiers or infrastructure came under threat. At least 111 Palestinians have been killed during the protests, Gaza health officials say.
Israeli officials have lavished praise on the actions of its forces in protecting the border. After a meeting with security chiefs on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying that the “determined actions” of the Israeli miliary had “prevented a breach of Israel’s borders”.
The Israeli military reported an attempt to plant explosives along the fence and a shooting attack by eight Hamas militants in an armoured vehicle. In such cases, Israeli forces shoot to kill, Conricus said.
“The entire border riots are conducted under the slogan of the ‘march of return’. What is the return? To annihilate Israel,” said Yossi Kuperwasser, a retired brigadier general in the Israeli military who also served as director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, voicing a common Israeli view.
If the military didn’t prevent them from crossing, he said, “It would be a disaster for everyone.”
Human rights groups say that fear doesn’t justify the use of deadly force against unarmed protesters when they aren’t posing an immediate threat.
of chlorofluorocarbons was banned.
Israeli soldiers were able to fire at protesters from watchtowers on the other side of the border fence.