Human Rights Organizations Demand U.S. Halt Military Aid to Israeli Military Units that Killed and Injured Gaza Protestors

Human Rights Organizations Demand U.S. Halt Military Aid to Israeli Military Units that Killed and Injured Gaza Protestors

On Nakba Day, May 15, 2018, Adalah Justice Project joined a coalition of Palestinian and U.S.-based human rights organizations in submitting a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo demanding that the State Department investigate Israel’s use of lethal force against Palestinians in Gaza, and halt any further assistance to Israeli military units involved in the shootings. The submission elevated the mass popular protests, known as the “Great March of Return” where Israel has met protestors with live fire that as of November 2018 has resulted in the unlawful killing of over 200 protestors and the injury of over 20,000 people. The letter noted that both the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and the Arms Export Control Act prohibit the U.S. from providing aid to military units responsible for gross human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings.

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May 15, 2018                                                                                                                                            

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Re: Investigate Israel’s Use of Lethal Force in Gaza and Halt Foreign Assistance to Israeli Military Units

Dear Secretary of State Pompeo:

Since the start of mass protests six weeks ago, Israeli military forces have used excessive force while appearing to wilfully target and kill 107 protected persons participating in the Great Return March in  Gaza, including snipers firing at them using live ammunition and plastic coated steel bullets. Yesterday the killing of civilians in Gaza continued, with reports of 57 persons killed and more than 2200 injured on this one day alone. Accordingly, we seek expedited processing of this request.

The undersigned human rights organizations demand that the U.S. Department of State investigate Israel’s use of lethal force against Palestinian protesters in Gaza since March 30, 2018, and halt any further assistance to all Israeli military units involved in these shootingsin accordance with U.S. law, including the Foreign Assistance Act and the Arms Export Control Act.  

Here are just some of those who have been killed by the Israeli military in recent weeks, as documented by human rights organisations in Gaza:

    1. Abdel-Fattah Abdel-Naby (18) was shot in the head and killed east of Jabalia (3/30/18);

    2. Ibrahim Abu Sha’ar (17) was shot in the head and killed east of Rafah (3/30/18);

    3. Mohammed Kamal al-Najjar (25) was shot in the abdomen and killed east of Jabalia (3/30/18);

    4. Mahmoud Sa’di Younis Rohmi (34) was shot in the chest and killed east of Gaza City (3/30/18);

    5. Jihad Ahmed Freinah (35) was shot in the head and killed east of Gaza City (3/30/18);

    6. Ahmed Ibrahim ‘Ashour ‘Odah (19) was shot in the head and killed east of Gaza City (3/30/18);

    7. Mohammed Na’im Mohammed Abu ‘Omer (25) was shot in the abdomen and killed east of Gaza City (3/30/18);

    8. Amin Mahmoud Mansour Mo’amar (25) was shot in the head and killed east of Gaza City (3/30/18);

    9. Jihad Zuhair Abu Jamous (30) was shot in the head and killed, in Khan Younis (3/30/18);

    10. ‘Abdel Qader Mardi Soliman al-Hawajri (42) was shot in the abdomen and killed in eastern al-Bureij (3/30/18);

    11. Naji ‘Abdullah Shehdah Abu Hujeir (25) shot in the abdomen and killed east of al-Bureij (3/30/18);

    12. Bader Fayeq Ibrahim al-Sabbagh (19) shot in the head and killed in eastern Jabalia (3/30/18);

    13. Faris Al-Riqib (25) shot by the Israeli military on 3/30/18 and succumbed to his wounds (4/2/18);

    14. Mohammed Sa’ed Mousa al-Haj Saleh (33) shot in the abdomen and killed, east of Rafah (4/6/18);

    15. ‘Ala’a Eden Yehyah al-Zameli (16) shot in the neck and killed, east of Rafah (4/6/18);

    16. Osama Khamis Musalam Qdaih (38) shot in the head and killed, east of Khuza’ah (4/6/18);

    17. Ibrahim Zeyad Salamah al-‘Aar (20) shot in the head and killed, east of al-Buraij (4/6/18);

    18. Sedqi Taleb Mohammed Abu ‘Atawi (45) shot in the head and killed, east of al-Buraij (4/6/18);

    19. Husein Mohammed ‘Adnan Madi (14) shot in the chest and killed in Gaza City (4/6/18);

    20. Majdi Ramadan Mousa Shabat (38) shot in the neck and killed, northeast of Jabalia (4/6/18);

    21. Alaa-Eddein Al Zamli (15) shot and killed in Rafah City (4/6/18);

    22. Mohammed Al Haj-Saleh (32) shot in the head and killed in Rafah City (4/6/18);

    23. Hussein Madi (13) shot in the abdomen and killed in eastern Al Zaitoun (4/6/18);

    24. Yaser Murtaja (30) shot in the abdomen and killed in eastern Khan Younis (4/6/18);

    25. Ahmed Abu Hussein (24) shot in northeastern Jabalia on April 13 and succumbed to his wounds (4/25/18);

    26. Islam Mahmoud Rushdi Herzallah (27) shot in the back and killed in eastern Gaza (4/13/18);

    27. Mohammed Ayoub (14) shot in the head and killed in northeastern Jabalia (4/20/18);

    28. Ahmed Nabil Mohammed Abu ‘Aqel (25) shot in the head and killed in northeastern Jabalia (4/20/18);

    29. Ahmed Rashah ‘Abdullah al-‘Athamnah (24) shot in the back and killed in northeastern Jabalia (4/20/18);

    30. Sa’ed ‘Abdel Majid ‘Abdel ‘Aal Abu Taha (31) shot in the neck and killed in Khan Younis (4/20/18);

    31. Khalil Na’im Mustafa ‘Atallah (22) shot in the neck and killed in Gaza City (4/27/18);

    32. Mohammed Amin Ahmed al-Moqayad (21) shot in the head and killed in Gaza City (4/27/18); and

    33. ‘Abdel Salam ‘Eid Zuhri Baker (33) shot in the abdomen and killed east of Khuza’ah (4/27/18).

Since March 30, 2018, Palestinians in Gaza have been engaged in popular protests leading up to the commemoration of the “Nakba” today, which will mark 70 years since the mass expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 from their homes. The protesters have been expressing their right to return, as well as demanding an end to the land, air, and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip which began almost eleven years ago in 2007. Those killed and the more than 7000 injured so far include children, paramedics, journalists, and people with disabilities. Nearly 3,500 people have reportedly been shot with live fire thus far.

The U.S. provided Israel with more than $3 billion in military aid in 2017, making it the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military assistance. Human rights organisations have documented that the Israeli military has used the U.S.-made Remington M24 sniper rifle to fire on protesters in Gaza. U.S. law requires that foreign military assistance not be provided to any military units responsible for gross human rights violations, which includes extrajudicial killings. There is ample credible information that these killings in Gaza by Israeli forces constitute extrajudicial killings. Moreover, except in extraordinary circumstances, sec. 502B(a)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act bars security assistance to any government that engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.

The undersigned organisations demand that the U.S. government investigate Israel’s use of lethal force against protesters in Gaza since March 30, 2018, and withhold foreign military assistance to any units for which there is credible information that they have been involved. Furthermore, in order to ensure the adequate implementation of U.S. law, the U.S. State Department should require the U.S. Embassy as well as the Israeli Government to track and publicise which military units receive U.S. financial and other forms of aid.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Maria LaHood, Deputy Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Adalah Justice Project
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel 
Al-Haq
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights (Gaza)
Amnesty International USA
Center for Constitutional Rights
Defense for Children International - Palestine
Palestinian Center for Human Rights

cc:

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