Palestinian human rights groups to UN Security Council: Protect unarmed Palestinian civilians in Gaza, hold Israel accountable

Including today’s protest, approximately 100 Palestinians have been killed while participating in peaceful demonstrations and over 10,000 Palestinians were wounded.

Leading Palestinian human rights organizations sent an urgent letter to the United Nations Security Council today, 14 May 2018, decrying the “ongoing and imminent escalation of violence across the occupied Palestinian territory, and in the Gaza Strip specifically, where Palestinian protesters have been met with deadly force at the hands of Israeli occupying forces since 30 March 2018.”


In the letter, Al-Haq, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council emphasize that “[o]ver the past seven weeks, Israeli occupying forces have excessively used force to suppress the Great Return March in the Gaza Strip, willfully targeting and killing protected persons. Since the mass protests began, the Israeli military has fired live ammunition from snipers, used plastic-coated steel bullets, and launched tear gas grenades from drones.”


Including today’s protest, approximately 100 Palestinians have been killed while participating in these peaceful demonstrations and approximately 6,400 Palestinians were wounded.


The organizations called upon the United Nations Security Council member states “to take immediate and concrete action to protect civilians and bring Israel’s unlawful closure of Gaza to an end. Specifically, we ask you to:


  1. Convene an emergency Security Council session to address the urgent situation in the Gaza Strip and the unlawful conduct of the Israeli occupying forces;
  2. Demand that Israel take concrete action to immediately lift its unlawful closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, and cease all forms of collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian population therein;
  3. Implement all options to protect Palestinian civilians and ensure that Israel refrains from resorting to force, including lethal force, against unarmed civilian protesters;
  4. Establish an independent and transparent investigation into the Israeli occupying forces’ use of live fire and snipers and the resulting killings and injuries of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since 30 March 2018.”


The human rights organizations further emphasized that the “Security Council has failed to take concrete steps to lift the unlawful closure and protect the Palestinian population in Gaza” and that this ”lack of meaningful international action has pushed Gaza to the brink of collapse and has given Israel a green light to further breach international law, including the commission of war crimes, with full impunity.”


The letter concluded by calling upon the United Nations Security Council as “Palestinians mark 70 years since the Nakba…  to act on its responsibility by ensuring Palestinians’ demands are finally heard and their rights realized, holding perpetrators accountable, and delivering victims their rights and effective remedy.”

[CLICK HERE to read the letter in PDF format].