GENEVA – The UN on Monday urged Israel to stop the disproportionate use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza strip and initiate an impartial and independent investigation into killings of protesters.
“Alarmed by the disproportionate use of force displayed by the Israeli Security Forces (ISF) against Palestinian demonstrators […] which has resulted in the death of at least 40 people, among them five children and in thousands of persons being injured,” the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said in a statement on Monday.
The statement said it was “gravely concerned that many of the persons who died or were injured were reportedly posing no imminent threat at the time they were shot”.
Israeli authorities have denied and continue to deny access to urgent medical treatment to injured Palestinians, it added.
The statement said the UN committee was “highly concerned that these incidents are taking place in a context marked by the 50 year-occupation of the Palestinian territory, the blockade imposed since 2007 on the Gaza strip and a rise of racist hate speech and incitement to racist violence against Palestinians by Israeli governmental officials and Israeli armed forces.”
“Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in Gaza must stop now. The right to life must be respected,” the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement on Monday.
“Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The international community needs to ensure justice for victims,” he added.
At least 43 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred Monday — and hundreds more injured — by Israeli army forces deployed along the other side of the border, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Thousands of Palestinians have gathered on Gaza Strip’s eastern border since early morning to take part in protests aimed to commemorate the Nakba anniversary and protest relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The rallies will culminate on Tuesday, May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment — an event Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba” or “the Catastrophe”