Geneva – The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties is following today’s demonstrations on the outskirts of the eastern Gaza Strip on the one-year anniversary of the “Marches of Return and Breaking the Siege”, which the Israeli military accompanied with significant reinforcement and with the threat of excessive use of force.
The Geneva Council warned Israel against the targeting of Palestinian civilian demonstrators, reiterating its demand that the thirteen-year Israeli blockade on Gaza be lifted as it constitutes a violation of international law and of United Nations conventions and resolutions.
The Geneva Council has taken notice of the announcement made by the Israeli army to push large reinforcements along the border with the Gaza Strip, in conjunction with the Palestinian protests marking the first anniversary of the Great Return and Breaking the Siege March. The Council expressed its fear that these reinforcements would be used to commit more killings of Palestinian protesters.
A few hours before the demonstrations began, a young Palestinian was shot dead by the Israeli military as he approached with others hundreds of meters away from the separation fence in the eastern Gaza.
Israeli media reported that the Israeli army had deployed three military brigades and an artillery battalion and announced the deployment of 200 snipers along the border with Gaza.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, 267 Palestinians have been killed and more than 30 thousand injured and suffocated over a year of return marches and of almost daily protests. Hundreds of wounded were described as seriously injured. Limbs or parts of limbs of 14 civilians were amputated, while eight civilians with disabilities were also among the victims.
The Geneva Council said that Israel had brutally dealt with a year of Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza Strip, including the use of their right to lethal force in circumstances that did not constitute a real threat to soldiers’ lives stationed in fortified military positions.
In last February, a report by a commission of inquiry set up by a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemned Israel’s use of excessive force to suppress Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip, which may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity according to the same report.
Therefore, the Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties affirmed the Palestinians right to demonstrate peacefully against the Israeli siege, which must be lifted at the earliest time possible. The call is for more serious and effective intervention by the international community to end the siege that resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis for civilians in Gaza