In the last 6 weeks, Israeli forces have fatally shot more than 100 Palestinians inside Gaza. Thousands more have been wounded, many with life-changing injuries.
Israeli soldiers were firing at demonstrators who entered a 300-meter zone inside Gaza along the border fences. Israel has declared it off limits. They acted on orders from senior security officials, who told them to fire live rounds even outside of life-threatening situations. Most protesters were peaceful. Some threw stones and firebombs, launched kites with incendiary material or tried to breach or damage the fence. Israel has a responsibility to defend its borders. But during protests lethal force can be used only when strictly necessary to protect against an imminent threat to life. Merely entering a zone inside Gaza that Israel has declared off limits – or even trying to cross the border – does not permit the use of deadly force. Since the protests began the Israeli army has reported only a single injury among its troops, who fired from behind fences inside Israel. Many demonstrators were young people, protesting harsh travel restrictions that have devastated the economy and blocked access to schools, medical care and family visits. The UN Human Rights Council has announced a special session for Friday. When it convenes, it should launch an independent investigation into the killings and maimings at the Gaza border.