May 08, 2018
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Human Rights Advocates Demand Worldwide Arms Embargo as Gaza Protests Continue

"The international community must act concretely and stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel," says Amnesty International

by Jessica Corbett

As the March of Great Return continued in Gaza for the fifth straight Friday—and Israeli forces killed least four Palestinians and injured more than 800—human rights advocates demanded an immediate worldwide arms embargo in response to Israel's "unlawful" use of force.

International outrage has grown over the past five weeks, as snipers with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have shot and killed Palestinians protesting the Israeli occupation along the Gaza-Israel border. Politicians, international law experts, human rights advocates, and others have fiercely condemned the use of live ammunition on unarmed protesters.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, on Friday called for independent investigations into Israel's use of force, emphasizing that "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."

While Amensty International supported the call for investigations, deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi said, "The time for symbolic statements of condemnation is now over," pointing out that "despite wide international condemnation, the Israeli army has not reversed its illegal orders to shoot unarmed protesters."

"The international community must act concretely and stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel," Mughrabi declared, warning that "a failure to do so will continue to fuel serious human rights abuses against thousands of men, women, and children suffering the consequences of life under Israel's cruel blockade of Gaza."

The Palestinian Health Ministry told Haaretz that one of those killed in this week's protest was a teenager named Azzam Halal Owaida, who died from his injuries on Saturday morning.

"The use of excessive force against any demonstrator is reprehensible, but children enjoy additional protection under international law," Zeid said. "It is difficult to see how children, even those throwing stones, can present a threat of imminent death or serious injury to heavily protected security force personnel."

According to rights groups, reporters, and the U.N., at least four other Palestinian children are among the more than 40 people who have been killed by the Israeli forces since the protests started late last month.

Originally appeared on | Image Credit: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr/cc

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