Palestinians carry the body of Basel Mustafa Ibrahim, killed during anti-Israel rioting, during his funeral Saturday in the village of Anata, which borders Jerusalem.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Tuesday it appeared likely that Israel was using excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank and Gaza.
He was particularly concerned by the IDF shooting Friday of Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, 29, who had lost his legs in a 2008 IDF strike on Gaza, and who was killed Friday while demonstrating near the border fence with Israel.
The UN said he was killed by a bullet to the head some 20 meters from the fence.
“The facts gathered so far by my staff in Gaza strongly suggest that the force used against Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh was excessive,” Zeid said.
“There is nothing whatsoever to suggest that Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh was posing an imminent threat of death or serious injury when he was killed. Given his severe disability, which must have been clearly visible to those who shot him, his killing is incomprehensible – a truly shocking and wanton act.”
Zeid called on Israel to open an investigation into Thurayeh’s death that is independent of the military one.
The IDF said over the weekend that Thurayeh was killed while participating in a riot against the IDF.
Hundreds attend funerals for Palestinians killed during protests in Gaza over Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, December 16, 2017. (Reuters)
Some 3,500 Palestinians demonstrated at nine locations along the security fence, burning tires and throwing stones at troops, the IDF said.
Troops fired “selectively on the chief instigators of the extremely violent riots,” the army said.
Zeid blamed Thurayeh’s death and the violence in the West Bank and Gaza on US President Donald Trump’s December 6 declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
Since then five Palestinian protesters have been killed and hundreds have been injured in demonstrations, Zeid’s office said.
These events “can sadly be traced directly back to the unilateral US announcement on the status of Jerusalem, which breaks international consensus and was dangerously provocative,” Zeid added.
“This level of casualties raises serious concerns as to whether the force used by Israeli forces was properly calibrated to the threat,” Zeid said.
“International human rights law strictly regulates the use of force in the context of protests and demonstrations. The lethal use of firearms should only be employed as the last resort, when strictly unavoidable, in order to protect life,” Zeid said.
The UN high commissioner for human rights also condemned the almost daily Gaza rocket attacks against Israel’s southern border, two of which damaged a kindergarten and a home.