Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Rights groups say Israel failed to investigate shootings that killed more than 200 Palestinians and wounded thousands at violent protests along the Gaza frontier in 2018 and 2019
Rights groups said Thursday that Israel failed to investigate shootings that killed more than 200 Palestinians and wounded thousands at violent protests along the Gaza frontier in recent years, strengthening the case for the International Criminal Court to intervene.
The Israeli military rejected the findings, saying the “mass riots” organized by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers were aimed at providing cover for cross-border attacks. The military said alleged abuses were thoroughly investigated, with soldiers held accountable.
Beginning in March 2018, Gaza activists organized weekly protests that were initially aimed at highlighting the plight of Palestinian refugees from what is now Israel, who make up three-fourths of Gaza’s population of more than 2 million people.
Israeli fire killed at least 215 Palestinians, most of them unarmed, including 47 people under the age of 18 and two women, according to Gaza’s Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights. Hundreds of others were seriously wounded in the demonstrations, which wound down in late 2019. Many were far from the border fence when they were shot.
A report released Thursday by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem and the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said the military failed to investigate orders issued by senior commanders and took virtually no action against any soldiers.
As of April, out of 143 cases transferred to military prosecutors by an Israeli fact-finding mechanism, 95 were closed with no further action. Only one — the killing of a 14-year-old Palestinian — led to an indictment, with the remainder still pending, the report said. It cited figures obtained from the Israeli military through a freedom of information request.