'Shooting “key instigators” during unarmed protests in Gaza when they’re resting. Opening fire on teenagers attempting to make their way to pray in Jerusalem when they pose no danger.
This is the routine, unjustified and criminal use of live fire against Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces.
An Israeli military document states that snipers are permitted to shoot Palestinians who it determines to be “key instigators” or “key rioters” during Great March of Return protests in Gaza.
The military defines “key instigators” as individuals who “direct or order activities” during the protest, such as “tactical placement” and setting tires on fire.
“Key rioters” are defined as those whose behavior “provide the conditions for which mass breach or infiltration” into Israel from Gaza may occur.
The Israeli military document claims that snipers are permitted to “shoot a key instigator” as he “temporarily moves away from the crowd or rests before continuing his activity.” The document presents such actions as an example of “restraint” and suggests that such precautions reduce the risk of “hitting someone else.”
Israel justifies the use of deadly force against protesters by calling Great March of Return mobilizations – demonstrations in Gaza’s east and north perimeter held on a regular basis since early last year – a “mob” or “violent riot” which poses a threat to the military and its infrastructure or in some instances civilians.
It also states that the Gaza boundary “separates two parties to an armed conflict,” a contention refuted by a UN commission of inquiry which has found that the demonstrations are civilian in nature. Human rights groups saythat mass protests along the boundary are a civilian matter of law enforcement governed by the framework of international human rights law.
One such human rights group, Adalah, is demanding that Israel prohibits its use of live fire against protesters.
The concept of “key instigators,” Adalah states, “is neither anchored in international law,” nor was it defined by authorities during hearings at the Israeli high court last year following petitions by rights groups challenging the military’s open-fire orders.'
Read more: Shoot protesters while they rest — Israel’s new rules
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