Thirty-five Palestinians, including four children, have been killed during the protests that are set to culminate around the 15 May commemoration of the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of the lands on which the state of Israel was declared in 1948.
“These horrific casualty figures – the 35 Palestinians killed and 1,500 injured by live ammunition – are the predictable outcome of the manifestly illegal rules of engagement implemented during the demonstrations, of ordering soldiers to use lethal gunfire against unarmed demonstrators who pose no mortal danger,” B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad stated in a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
“Like so many other Palestinians in Gaza, it is highly likely that they never had a chance to leave the small patch of land – roughly half the size of New York City – which is the Gaza Strip,” El-Ad added.
“They lived their lives without any political rights, devoid of any hope for a reasonable future, totally subject to the decisions and policies of the Israeli government.”
El-Ad pointed to Israel’s political leadership, in particular Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the army chief of staff, for “responsibility for these fatal outcomes.”