Israeli forces have displayed continuing recklessness in their use of force against Palestinian protesters when they killed a young man and a teenager, and injured others, during a crackdown on demonstrations to commemorate the Nakba in the occupied West Bank today, said Amnesty International.
The killings occurred in a demonstration outside Ofer military camp. As well as commemorating the Nakba (the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948), the demonstrators were expressing solidarity with around 125 Palestinian detainees who are being held by Israel without charge and have been on hunger strike for 22 days to protest their detention conditions.
The Israeli army and border police used excessive, including lethal, force in response to rock-throwing protesters who could not have posed a threat to the lives of the soldiers and policemen in or near the fortified military camp.
“The news that two Palestinians were killed during today’s demonstrations is alarming. Israeli forces have repeatedly resorted to extreme violence to respond to Palestinian protests against Israel’s occupation, discriminatory policies, confiscation of land and construction of unlawful settlements. The use of unnecessary and excessive force by Israeli forces against protesters in the occupied Palestinian territories, and in Israel, is unacceptable and must be stopped immediately,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
“The Israeli authorities must ensure that their forces act in a manner that respects and upholds human rights. Amnesty International is calling for a prompt, independent, and transparent investigation into these deaths and injuries.”
Amnesty International documented the repeated use of excessive force and unlawful killings of dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past three years in its report Trigger Happy: Israel’s excessive use of force in the West Bank, released in February 2014.
Israel must uphold its obligations under international law to respect the right to life by adhering strictly to international standards on the use of force by law enforcement officials, and guarantee the right of Palestinians to peaceful assembly. They must also ensure the rights of victims of human rights violations, and their families, to full reparation.