Adalah to U.S. Congress: Take immediate steps to protect protesters in Gaza

Adalah meets with members of U.S. Congress to call for immediate investigation and support presence of independent human rights monitors in Gaza for May 15 Nakba Day protests.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, together with U.S.-based partners Adalah Justice Project and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, met with a dozen members of the United States Congress in Washington DC on April 23-24, 2018 to provide updates on the urgent situation in the Gaza Strip, to call for effective intervention, and to amplify the just demands of the Palestinian protesters.


The delegates briefed progressive members of Congress on the context of the mass popular protests by Palestinians in Gaza, as well as efforts by Adalah and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights to protect human rights and achieve accountability. The partners emphasized that the protests, which emerged within the context of unlawful 11-year closure of the Gaza Strip that amounts to collective punishment of the population, seek not only an end to the illegal closure, but also the implementation of the internationally-recognized right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.


Adalah Legal Researcher Soheir Asaad (second left) and Adalah Justice Project Director Nadia Ben-Youssef (right) meeting with Democratic Congressman Hank Johnson (second right) in his Washington DC office.


Adalah Legal Researcher Soheir Asaad said: “The majority of Gaza’s population is refugees, and the powerful framing of The Great Return March – From Land Day to Nakba Day – demonstrates profound unity among the Palestinian people and our collective demands for not only an immediate end to current and ongoing Israeli state-violence, but for historical justice and a rights-based future.”


In response to these just demands, Adalah contends that the Israeli military has engaged in the intentional killing of Palestinian protesters, and continues to threaten the population with violence should they join the demonstrations. The delegates provided members of Congress with statements of Israeli military and government officials made in advance of the protest that indicated their intention to use live-fire against protesters, and highlighted both medical records and the Israeli government’s response to Adalah and Al Mezan’s petitions to the Israeli Supreme Court.


Medical reports reflect Israel’s “shoot-to-kill” policy, with nearly 100 percent of Palestinian fatalities being shot in the upper body or head. 


In addition, approximately half of the 5,511 wounded as of 26 April suffer from wounds to the legs and the knees, resulting in 18 amputations thus far, Amnesty International has reported.


In response to an Adalah and Al Mezan petition, the Israeli government also revealed its position that anyone who participates in the protest may not leave Gaza for urgent life-saving or critical care medical treatment. The Israeli Supreme Court rejected this position in the recent Kronz case, however, both young men had legs amputated during the long pendency of the court’s deliberation.


The delegates urged members of Congress to take an unequivocal stance in response to Israel’s actions and justifications of the killings of protesters, by calling for an immediate investigation and/or supporting the presence of independent human rights monitors on the ground in Gaza for the Nakba Day protests (May 15).


Nadia Ben-Youssef, director of the Adalah Justice Project, called on decision-makers to “address the incoherence of their policy vis-à-vis Israel, and include Palestinian rights into their existing progressive framework of equal rights and justice. We are simply asking the progressive community to apply their values to the inhuman situation facing Palestinians in Gaza: all perpetrators of state-violence and collective punishment must be held accountable, the rights of all people to protest must be protected, and their demands for full human rights and dignity must be fulfilled.”


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