Israeli Live Fire on Gazans Aim to Maim
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
On February 25, the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry (COI) report into (peaceful) Palestinian protests in Gaza weekly since last March 30, 2018 accused Israel "of violations (that) may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity…"
There's no maybe about it. Israeli forces attack all peaceful Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem violently - using live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, toxic tear gas, and other repressive tactics against unarmed, defenseless civilians threatening no one.
During protests, no Israelis were killed, almost none harmed, none seriously. Yet whenever Palestinians demonstrate for fundamental rights denied them, Israel uses brute force against them - killing or wounding countless thousands, accountability never forthcoming.
Its actions flagrantly violate international humanitarian law, including Fourth Geneva and the Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court.
Unaccountability encourages continued use of excessive force against defenseless Palestinians, including the highest of high crimes against peace.
According to the UN and doctors in Gaza, over 80% of Gazans wounded by Israeli snipers during Great March of Return demonstrations were shot in their lower limbs with intent to maim, the Middle East Eye (MEE) reported, explaining:
"Israeli soldiers intentionally shot civilians and may have committed war crimes in their heavy-handed response to the protests" from March 30 last year through yearend.
Clearly the same pattern of criminality continued during the first three months of 2019, MEE adding:
"Healthcare providers say the pattern of wounds shows that Israeli soldiers are purposefully shooting to maim protesters, most of whom are in their 20s and now require long-term medical care."
MEE quoted Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, saying the pattern of wounds he treated showed IDF soldiers know "exactly where (they're) putting the bullet(s). This is not random. This is very intimate. This is very planned."
Indeed, there's nothing accidental about Israeli soldiers killing and seriously wounding defenseless Gazans. Netanyahu regime and IDF commanders claims otherwise are bald-faced Big Lies, Sitta adding:
"When you have such a huge number of almost identical injuries, where many of the patients were 150 meters away, not in direct contact with the Israeli soldiers, you realize that this is an intentional policy" to seriously wound and main.
Doctors Without Borders' (MSF) representative in the Occupied Territories Marie-Elisabeth Ingres earlier called Israeli violence in Gaza "unacceptable and inhuman," adding:
"It is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time. (MSF) medical teams are working round the clock…providing surgical and postoperative care to men, women and children."
"This bloodbath is the continuation of Israeli army's policy (of) shooting with live ammunition at demonstrators" because who'll intervene to stop the carnage.
Ingres called shooting to maim Gazans "obvious. When you have almost 90% of the people injured in the lower limbs, it means that there is a (deliberate) policy to target the(m)."
Israeli open-fire regulations only permit live ammunition use if soldiers or other security personnel face life-threatening danger.
Even then, it's only to be used as a last resort after warnings were given, never against anyone posing no danger – clearly the case during Great March of Return Fridays.
Israeli live-fire regulations meant to prevent harmful violence are systematically and repeatedly breached by Israeli soldiers and other security forces, ordered by commanders to violently attack peaceful Palestinian demonstrators – in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, resulting in countless injuries and deaths.
International law principles of distinction and proportionality are violated – the former allowing attacks against participants in hostilities, not nonthreatening civilians, the latter prohibiting attacks against combatants if harm to civilians could be greater than any military objective achieved.
In persecuting and otherwise treating Palestinians harshly, Israel operates extrajudicially, ignoring rule of law principles, doing whatever it pleases, knowing it can get away with murder and much more unaccountably.
On March 31, 2018, an IDF statement said: "Nothing (against Gazan protesters) was carried out uncontrolled. Everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed" – the statement later deleted.
Like the US, Israeli rules of engagement permit anything goes, rule of law principles flagrantly breached, accountability for high crimes of war and against humanity never forthcoming.
The IDF claiming it "uses live ammunition only as a last resort and in accordance with regulations that comply with international law" is a bald-faced Big Lie.
Official Israeli policy permits unrestricted brutality against Palestinians, including torture, maiming, and cold-blooded murder.
Former Gazan health minister Dr. Bassem Naim told MEE: "To be honest, (what's going on in the Strip) is catastrophic. Of those wounded, many of them are handicapped forever."
"To bring them from the house to the hospital every two days for rehabilitation or care? It is a very, very huge burden."
"I live on the ninth floor and, at least every day for 12 to 16 hours, I don't have electricity. Can you imagine if you are a young man without a leg?"
Almost as soon as demonstrations begin, Israeli snipers begin using live fire and other brutal tactics against Palestinians, MEE explained.
Virtually always during Palestinian demonstrations, no threats to Israeli soldiers or Jewish civilians exist. Netanyahu regime and IDF claims otherwise are bald-faced Big Lies.
A Final Comment
Time and again, Arab League members voiced support for Palestinian rights, including for its self-determination with East Jerusalem as its capital - virtually never backing its rhetoric with actions.
The same goes for Trump's illegal recognition of Syrian Golan as Israeli territory. At a leadership summit in Tunis, the Arab League rejected Trump's proclamation on Golan.
Like virtually always before, no policy actions are likely, its member states toothless when it comes to challenging the US and Israel.
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