Responding to reports that dozens of Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured by the Israeli military during protests along the fence that separates Gaza and Israel today, Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said:
“This is another horrific example of the Israeli military using excessive force and live ammunition in a totally deplorable way. This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes.
“Today’s footage from Gaza is extremely troubling, and as violence continues to spiral out of control, the Israeli authorities must immediately rein in the military to prevent the further loss of life and serious injuries.
“Only last month, Amnesty International called on the international community to stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel. The rising toll of deaths and injuries today only serves to highlight the urgent need for an arms embargo.
“While some protestors may have engaged in some form of violence, this still does not justify the use of live ammunition.
“Under international law, firearms can only be used to protect against an imminent threat of death or serious injury.”
Early medical reports from Gaza today indicate that dozens of people have been shot in the head or chest. Amnesty International last month documented research from the Gaza Strip that showed the Israeli military were killing and maiming demonstrators who pose no imminent threat to them.