Israel to Investigate Deaths of 11 Palestinians at Gaza Border Protests

Following a UN report alleging that Israel violated international law by intentionally firing at civilians, military general orders investigations unit to open probe

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Palestinians protest along the Israel-Gaza border fence, March 1, 2019.
Palestinians protest along the Israel-Gaza border fence, March 1, 2019. Credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek has instructed the Military Police to open criminal investigations into the deaths of eight Palestinians in three incidents last year during protests along the border with the Gaza Strip.

The MP initiated criminal investigations last year into the deaths of paramedic Razan al-Najjar, ‘Abd al-Nabi and Othman Halas.
Of the eight Palestinians whose deaths will now be probed, three were killed March 30, during the first of what became weekly protests along the border. Three died in the eastern Gaza Strip on April 20, while two were killed on May 15.

>>Read more: UN council: Israel intentionally shot children and journalists in Gaza  ■ Israel may talk tough, but lets Hamas corner it into a compromise to avoid escalation | Analysis ■ Hamas knows now is the best time to pressure Israel into concessions | Analysis 

On February 28, the investigative commission of the United Nations Human Rights Council presented its findings on the most recent round of violence along the border and found “reasonable grounds” that Israeli security forces violated international law. 

The commission determined that the majority of Gaza protesters who were killed by Israeli forces — 154 out of 183 people — had been unarmed. 

The panel also recommended that UN members consider imposing individual sanctions, such as a travel ban or an assets freeze, on those identified as responsible by the commission. 

The findings were rejected by several Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that Israel outright rejects the report: “The council has set new records of hypocrisy and lies out of an obsessive hatred for Israel.”

Netanyahu added that Israel will continue to “fiercely defend its sovereignty and citizens against Hamas attacks and Iran-backed terror organizations.”

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz called the report “hostile, mendacious and biased.” 

The commission found that 35 children had been killed, some from direct weapons fire. The commission also noted one case involving a disabled person in a wheelchair and direct fire at journalists who claimed that they were clearly identified as members of the press.

One commission member, Sara Hussein, responded that there was no justification for firing at children and the disabled, whom she claimed posed no danger. The commission also took note of injury to Israeli soldiers in the confrontations.

The commission also recommended that materials it collected be transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Click the alert icon to follow topics: