Israeli Rights Group Urges UN: Make Israel Stop Shooting at Gaza Protesters

B’Tselem lodges the request ahead of a Security Council session Thursday on the Middle East

Palestinian paramedics carry away a woman who was injured during clashes with Israeli forces near the Gaza border, April 20, 2018.

The head of the human rights group B’Tselem has asked the United Nations to try to stop Israel from shooting unarmed protesters on the Gaza border.

The request by Hagai El-Ad comes in a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres ahead of a Security Council session Thursday on the Middle East.

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El-Ad lists the names of 35 Palestinian demonstrators who, he says, were shot to death by Israeli forces during incidents on the border in recent weeks. He describes Gazans’ lives as “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 says the number of deaths stems from the Israeli army’s “manifestly illegal” rules of engagement against unarmed demonstrators, and points the finger largely at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Gadi Eisenkot.

Hagai El-Ad, the head of human rights group B'Tselem, June 2017.
Tomer Appelbaum

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According to El-Ad, Israel’s investigations have been whitewashes, thus “the United Nations must do all in its power – and its responsibility – in order to protect Palestinian lives and uphold international norms."

Israel, for its part, has said it is trying to stop the Gaza fence from being breached.

On the agenda at the session scheduled for 5 P.M. Thursday Israel time are the Gaza-fence protests and possibly also U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy on the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said he would provide new information about Iran’s presence in Syria at the session.

The UN envoy to the Middle East, Nikolay Mladenov, will take part in Thursday’s debate.