News ID: 214435
Published: 0421 GMT May 04, 2018

Israel declares Gaza protests 'state of war': Paper

Israel declares Gaza protests 'state of war': Paper
Tear gas canisters are fired by Israeli troops at Palestinian demonstrators during protests demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Gaza fence, east of Gaza City, on April 27, 2018. (REUTERS)

Israel said protests near the Gaza fence amount to an act of war, and thus it is right to respond fatally to the demonstrations in which 45 Palestinians have been killed in recent weeks.

The daily Ha’aretz cited a regime statement as saying that Tel Aviv sees the ongoing ‘March of Return’ protests as ‘part of hostile acts by Hamas against Israel,’ reported.

The statement came in response to a High Court petition filed by human rights groups, declaring that Israel "opposes the applying of human rights law during an armed conflict.”

"The Israeli forces’ rules of engagement comply with both Israeli and international law," Ha'aretz quoted the statement saying. 

Gazans have been protesting each Friday at the fence since March 30, demanding the right to return to their homeland.

Israel’s Knesset on Monday passed a controversial law that allows the prime minister to bypass Parliament and declare war or order a major operation on his own after only consulting his minister for military affairs.

The United Nations top human rights official strongly condemns Israel’s use of ‘excessive force’ on Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip, which has led to the deaths of dozens of them over the past month.

Apart from the 45 fatalities, more than 5,500 Palestinians have been injured since Israel began responding to the popular protests with lethal force.

“The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators – not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said last Friday.

Videos of Israeli soldiers celebrating after shooting Palestinian protesters have gone viral around the world and provoked international outrage. 

It was the second video released in April showing Israeli soldiers celebrating after shooting unarmed Palestinian protesters.

Naftali Bennett, Israel's minister of education, told Hebrew news sites at that time: "Since when do we judge a soldier according to the elegance of his speech? I prefer a cheerful soldier from a grieving father."

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian Authority official, said the video showed what Palestinians have long alleged regarding soldiers' actions at the Gaza fence, ‘but nobody has been listening.’

"The issue of sniper fire is not something new at all, but it is time for the world to see and to believe what we have been saying all along."


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