Why Israeli soldiers must refuse to fire at unarmed Palestinian protesters | B’Tselem – Last Friday was a bloody day in Gaza as Israeli soldiers fired at Palestinians taking part in demonstrations within the Gaza Strip. Of at least 17 Palestinians killed that day, 12 were killed at the protests. Hundreds more were injured by live gunfire.
The use of live ammunition against unarmed persons who pose no danger to anyone is unlawful. It is even more blatantly unlawful in the case of soldiers firing from a great distance at demonstrators located on the other side of the fence that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip. In addition, it is impermissible to order soldiers to fire live ammunition at individuals for approaching the fence, damaging it, or attempting to cross it. Obviously, the military is allowed to prevent such actions, and even to detain individuals attempting to carry them out, but firing live ammunition solely on these grounds is absolutely prohibited.
Responses by Israeli officials clearly show that Friday’s grave outcomes were the expected, and indeed looked-for, implementation of a policy formulated beforehand. The military therefore enjoyed full backing for its conduct. As Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman clearly stated, “the IDF soldiers warded off Hamas military branch operatives capably and resolutely, just as we expected of them. They have my full backing.”