Yesterday the Israeli High Court held a discussion on the use of lethal force in demonstrations in the Gaza Strip. The hearing combined the petition filed by ACRI, Yesh Din, Gisha and HaMoked and a second petition filed by Adallah and al-Mezan, both challenging the rules of engagement permitting live fire at unarmed demonstrators.
The rules of engagement are classified and were not presented to the court. However, the State's Attorney confirmed that they permit live fire against individuals ("chief inciters") even if they are unarmed and pose no immediate threat. This is the case even though the state itself acknowledges that the demonstrators cannot be considered combatants but rather are civilians.
Attorney Michael Sfard argued on our behalf that Israel must respond to the Gaza demonstrations, including incidents of rioting or attempts to damage or cross the border fence, with law enforcement and crowd control measures. Lethal force may only be used as a last resort to prevent an imminent danger to life and limb.
The petitioners requested to submit supplemental information to the court. The state has until Sunday, May 6, to respond to this information.
Also this week, HaMoked released a new report on the ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in their detention and interrogation by Israeli forces. The research constitutes the basis of HaMoked's advocacy efforts to halt night-time arrests of minors and ensure their rights in interrogation.