From [HERE] Ahead of Great March of Return protests slated to continue at the fenced border of the Gaza Strip on Friday, Amnesty International condemned Israel’s reported “zero tolerance” policy toward such demonstrations, warning it likely will lead to more bloodshed after more than six months of confrontations during which Israeli forces have killed more than 150 Palestinians and injured thousands more.
“Given Israeli forces’ horrific track record of using deadly force against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, as well as journalists, medics, and others, the announcement of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy is deeply alarming,” declared Saleh Higazi, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Noting that “Israel has repeatedly used lethal force unnecessarily and excessively against unarmed protesters in shameless violation of international law,” Higazi emphasized that “there are serious fears that this policy will further sanction the use of deadly force against unarmed protesters during today’s demonstrations, and that Israeli forces will be given carte blanche authorization to carry out large-scale, unlawful killings escalating the bloodshed.”
While the details of the policy have not yet been publicly disclosed, Higazi called on world leaders to pressure the Israeli government to scale back its response to the ongoing protests of the decades-long Israeli occupation and 11-year blockade of Gaza. He concluded, “It is now time the international community shows ‘zero tolerance’ towards Israel’s flagrant contempt for Palestinian lives and disregard for its obligations under international law.”
Since the series of weekly demonstrations began on March 30, foreign leaders and human rights advocates have fiercely denounced the Israeli government for authorizing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to use live ammunition on unarmed protesters and demanded an immediate end to the blockade that Israel and Egypt have imposed since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.
Hagai El-Ad of the Israeli human rights group B’Tsalem addressed the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to call for international action against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and appeared on Democracy Now! Friday morning to discuss the uprising and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that’s resulted from the blockade: