'After the protests in Gaza, we've seen injuries that you see in conflict situations, not what you would expect in policing and law enforcement situations, Omar Shakir, Israel & Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch, told RT.
The UN Security Council gathered Tuesday for an emergency meeting following the killing and injuring of Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli soldiers during protests on Monday. At least 60 people lost their lives in what's become the deadliest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2014. More than 2,700 people were injured, many with live ammunition.
The violence came as the US controversially opened its new embassy in nearby Jerusalem. However, Washington's envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that there is no link between US Embassy move and deaths of Palestinians.
RT: Have you been surprised by the extreme force used by the Israeli military against the largely peaceful protests in Gaza?
Omar Shakir: Unfortunately, no. Israeli officials said quite clear that their live fire regulations permit them to open fire on demonstrators irrespective of whether or not they pose an imminent threat, which is a threshold required under international law. The scale of the killings reflects the fact that more protesters took to the streets. But the reality is for weeks now Israeli officials have green-lighted opening fire on largely unarmed demonstrators.
RT: The IDF said that they were using all possible restraint to keep the casualty numbers down. What do you make of the comment?
OS: Clearly not. Israeli officials have used live ammunition from the first moments of the protests beginning on March 30, continuing for successive Fridays and for this week. They have effectively turned a no-go zone into a free fire zone. And they fired into protesters inside of Gaza, who have not by the evidence of Human Rights Watch (HRW), accumulated, not posed the kind of threat that would justify the use of force. Remember, Israel has kept Gaza under closure for a decade, caged into a 50 by 11 kilometer strip, under occupation for a half century. And quite simply their use of force does not meet international standards.'
Read more: Fist-size gunshot wounds, pulverized bones, inadmissible use of force by far right Israeli regime in Gaza – Human Rights Watch
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