Israel's live fire use against Gaza protesters challenged in court

Israel's live fire use against Gaza protesters challenged in court
Rights groups in Israel launched the legal challenge, asking the supreme court to ban or restrict the army's use of live ammunition.
2 min read
30 April, 2018
Israeli soldiers keeping position along a Gaza border fence [Getty]

The Israeli military's use of live fire against unarmed Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border is facing its first legal test before the country's Supreme Court.

Six human rights groups asked the court on Monday to restrict or ban the use of live ammunition, after 39 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,600 by Israeli live fire in recent weeks during the Great March of Return protests.

The rights groups say rules of engagement of law enforcement apply, under which officers can only resort to lethal force if their lives are in imminent danger. They say the military's use of lethal force against unarmed protesters is unlawful.

Israel's military argues that the border protests are part of a long-running conflict with Gaza's ruling Hamas, which it considers a terror group. Israel says rules of armed conflict apply.

As part of Monday's legal challenge, the rights groups want the court to rule the current rules of engagement governing demonstrations are illegal.

Despite international condemnation, Israel has said it will not investigate the killing of protesters in Gaza and threatened to "expand" its response.

The UN has warned that Gaza would be "unlivable" by 2020 due to Israel's blockade, which began after Hamas took control of the Strip in 2007.

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