New Amnesty report blasts Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians, urges international pressure | Ben White in MEMO

Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide (Pluto, 2014) has written a new piece for Middle East Monitor on the latest Amnesty International report.

The report’s findings show that in the last three years, at least 261 Palestinians, including 67 children, have been seriously injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces, while more than 8,000, including 1,500 children, have been wounded by other means such as rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas.

We’ve reproduced the article below. You can read it on the MEMO website by clicking here. For more information about Ben’s latest book, which is out this month, watch the video or click on the cover image.

Ben White

The killing of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces is the subject of a damning new report by Amnesty International, which documents “a callous disregard for human life” and “mounting bloodshed and human rights abuses” in the occupied territories.

The new report, ‘Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank’, investigates the deaths of Palestinian civilians, “including children”, over a three year period – individuals killed by an Israeli army operating with “near total impunity”.

Given the use of “unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force”, including evidence of “wilful killings” that constitute “war crimes”, Amnesty is urging the international community “to suspend all transfers of munitions, weapons and other equipment to Israel”.

Another recommendation is for the Palestinian authorities to sign and ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Amnesty is also calling on the USA and EU member states to “oppose any type of sanctions or pressure seeking to prevent the PA from signing or ratifying any international treaties”, including “obstructing access to international justice” through the ICC.

It recently emerged that Israeli government officials are worried about the “danger” posed by potential Palestinian appeals to the ICC, a development described as “potentially very significant“.

According to Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, the new report “presents a body of evidence that shows a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings and unwarranted injuries of Palestinian civilians”, with “the frequency and persistence of arbitrary and abusive force against peaceful protesters” suggesting “that it is carried out as a matter of policy”.

The full report paints a grim picture of life for Palestinians under Israel’s apartheid regime: in the last three years, at least 261 Palestinians, including 67 children, have been seriously injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces, while more than 8,000, including 1,500 children, have been wounded by other means such as rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas. Amnesty notes that “several victims were shot in the back suggesting that they were targeted as they tried to flee”.

The case studies include the killing on 9 December 2013 of 15-year-old Waji al-Ramahi, shot in the back by an Israeli soldier from a distance of roughly 200 metres, close to Jalazun refugee camp in Ramallah. There is also the killing of Lubna Hanash on 23 January 2013, a second year law student at al-Quds University, who “appeared to have a bright future before her until the moment when one bullet struck the left side of her face.”

White T02807Amnesty also document the killing of Samir Awad, a 16-year-old boy from Budrus village, shot dead near his school with three bullets to the back of the head, leg, and shoulder “as he fled Israeli soldiers who ambushed his group [of friends protesting the Wall]”.

Amnesty International believes Samir’s killing may amount to extrajudicial execution or a wilful killing, which is considered a war crime under international law.

Amnesty’s report contextualises Palestinian protests as a response to “prolonged Israeli occupation and a litany of related repressive policies and practices”, including:

the ever-expanding unlawful Israeli settlements, the 800km-long fence/wall, forcible house demolitions, forced evictions, Israeli military checkpoints, roads reserved for use by Israeli settlers from which Palestinians are excluded and other restrictions on the movement of Palestinians.

The report is published as campaigners mark Israeli Apartheid Week with events across the UK and internationally. On 21 March, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the second edition of my book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide will be launched with an event at Amnesty UK chaired by former leader writer for the Guardian, David Hearst.

To view the report click here.

 

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