THE Israeli Supreme Court rejected on Thursday night two petitions and fully adopted the Israeli military’s position, giving a green light to its continued use of snipers and live firing of explosive bullets against Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.
Three Supreme Court justices unanimously rejected the two petitions – one filed by Adalah and another by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and fully accepted the military’s claims relating to the use of live fire on protesters.
The court ruled that the Israeli military’s firing of live ammunition at protesters was in accordance with the law because, according to the court, the protest participants constituted a real danger to Israeli soldiers and citizens.
Adalah and Al Mezan responded late on Thursday night to the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling. ‘The Israeli Supreme Court completely ignored the broad factual basis presented to it by the petitioners, which includes multiple testimonies of wounded and reports of international organisations involved in documenting the killing and wounding of unarmed protesters in Gaza. ‘It is worth noting that the Israeli Supreme Court refused to watch video clips documenting Israeli shootings of demonstrators and, rather than actually examining the case, fully accepted the claims presented to it by the state.
‘The extreme nature of the ruling is also highlighted by the striking absence of any mention of the casualty figures that had been presented to the court.’ Adalah and Al Mezan also noted that ‘this ruling, which justifies the shooting of protesters, contradicts the conclusions and preliminary results of international human rights organisations and United Nations bodies documenting and evaluating the events in Gaza.
‘The Supreme Court’s ruling gives full legitimacy to the illegal actions of the Israeli military, which has led to the killing of more than 100 people and the wounding of thousands of protesters, including women, children, journalists, and paramedics. Of those killed, 94 per cent were shot by Israeli troops in the upper body.’
Adalah and Al Mezan filed their petition with the Israeli Supreme Court on 23 April demanding that it orders the Israeli military to stop using snipers and live ammunition in order to disperse Palestinian protests in the Gaza Strip.
Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara argued in the petition that the Israeli military’s ‘open-fire policy against protesters in Gaza is patently illegal … This policy perceives the (Palestinian) human body as an expendable, worthless object.’ Since 30 March, 115 Palestinian residents of Gaza – including 15 children – have been killed by the Israeli military.
At least 86 were killed during the protests themselves, including 12 children, two journalists, and three people with disabilities. Approximately 3,000 more were wounded by live fire during this same period. Those who were killed were mostly shot in the upper part of the body.
The two organisations stressed in the petition that, contrary to the claims of the Israeli military and government, the Gaza protesters are unarmed demonstrators who never reached the point – at any stage – of imminently endangering anyone’s life during demonstrations to the extent that the use of lethal force would be necessary.
The petition included 12 video clips documenting Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed protesters – including women and children – who did not endanger any lives. Also included in the petition was testimony from wounded survivors hit by live ammunition during the protests.
‘Testimony and video documentation reveals a chilling picture of live ammunition fired routinely and in large quantities at protesters who posed no threat or danger. Videos and first-person testimonies also reveal a horrifying trend of shooting at specific demonstrators in order to kill or harm them.’