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Palestine Insists on International Investigation over Land Day Victims

Palestine Insists on International Investigation over Land Day Victims

Monday, 2 April, 2018 - 06:30
Palestinian demonstrators on Land Day (Reuters)

Palestinian officials announced that Palestinian Authority is demanding an international investigation into the killing of several unarmed Palestinian citizens near Gaza Strip during protests for Land Day.

Palestine's representative to the UN Human Rights Council, Ibrahim Khraisha, confirmed that the Secretary-General of the United Nations was working with all the parties in the Security Council to find a mechanism to investigate Land Day incidents.

Khraishi said that: "it did not end with the US rejection."

Palestinian Ambassador to UN Riyad Mansour is coordinating with Kuwait, which originally called for an extraordinary session of the Security Council, to issue a statement or resolution that includes an investigation into the killing of 17 Palestinians last Friday, during the Return March in Gaza Strip.

"If the Security Council fails, the matter will be discussed in Geneva and a meeting with the High Commissioner for Human Rights is needed," Khraisha said.

United States has blocked a draft statement by the United Nations Security Council proposed by Kuwait which demanded an "independent and transparent investigation" under international law into the bloody events on Friday's Land Day protests.

At least 17 Palestinian protesters were killed and more than 1400 injured, 758 of which were injured with live ammunition.

The statement also expressed "grave concern at the situation at the border" and stressed "the right to peaceful protest".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Friday for an independent investigation into deadly clashes in Gaza, while Security Council members urged restraint on both sides.

Similarly, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called on Saturday for an independent and transparent investigation into the Israeli military's use of live fire during mass rallies.

However, Israel refused to cooperate with any international party in the investigation saying it targeted several Palestinians who were trying to cross the borders. It also condemned the Security Council for holding a meeting on Gaza on Passover.

Israeli Envoy to UN Danny Danon lodged an official complaint with the UN Security Council for holding the emergency session during the first night of Passover, accusing Kuwait of hijacking the consultations and forcing an open session.

"The State of Kuwait, with full knowledge that our permanent mission, Israel and Jews everywhere were observing the first night of Passover, hijacked the consultations, forced an open session and invited the Palestinian delegation to present remarks that they had been advised to prepare well in advance. Israel was not given the same advance notice and was barred from taking part in the deliberations due to the observance of our religious holiday,” wrote Danon.

“Once again, Hamas has exploited women and children as human shields, including by dressing young children in military uniforms and arming them with guns and ammunition,” he added.

In turn, Fatah member, Mohammad Ashtiyeh, indicated that eventually Israel should be put on trial and punished for its crimes committed against the Palestinian people, lastly killing 17 citizens in Gaza during the peaceful demonstration demanding an end to the occupation.

Ashtiyeh told a delegation of Oxford students that what happened in Gaza recently requires “serious stance by the international community that obliges Israel to abide by international laws and treaties and to provide international protection to the Palestinian people.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for the protection of the Palestinian people on several occasions, most recently on Friday.

Since Friday, Gaza border has been witnessing daily confrontations and organizers say the march will continue until May 15, the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba Day.

Israel admitted Sunday that it held the bodies of two armed Palestinian civilians from Gaza who were killed by the Israeli forces.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai wrote an Arabic post on his Facebook page claiming the two Palestinians were “armed with rifles and an explosive device. They intended to carry out a terrorist operation in Israel.”

The two Palestinians were Mosaab Salol and Mohammed Rabaya.

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused any international or internal investigation into the killing of Palestinian protesters. He even praised Israeli troops and thanked soldiers for allowing the nation to celebrate the Passover holiday. He added: “Well done to our soldiers. Israel acts vigorously and with determination to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens.”

Israel will refuse to participate in any potential international probe into the actions on the Gaza border Friday that led to the deaths of 17 Palestinians, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told Army Radio on Sunday morning.

Sources at Israeli army indicated that the law that obligates the army to investigate any incident of the death of a non-military person by Israeli forces does not apply to the situation in Gaza.

However, an investigation will be conducted only by Israeli forces experienced officers, not by a non-military external party.

"The investigation will be thorough and will contribute to drawing lessons and making proper judicial decisions,” they added.

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