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Israel 'calculated' massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters, says watchdog Open in fullscreen

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Israel 'calculated' massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters, says watchdog

Live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas were used by Israeli troops [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 April, 2018

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An Israeli military attack on a mass demonstration in Gaza that killed 17 people was an 'unlawful and calculated' decision, watchdog Human Rights Watch has said.
An Israeli military attack on a mass demonstration in Gaza that killed 17 people was an "unlawful and calculated" decision, watchdog Human Rights Watch has said.

HRW released a report on Tuesday, accusing senior Israeli officials of green-lighting the use of live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators last week.

"Israeli soldiers were not merely using excessive force, but were apparently acting on orders that all but ensured a bloody military response to the Palestinian demonstrations," said Eric Goldstein, HRW deputy Middle East director.

"The result was foreseeable deaths and injuries of demonstrators on the other side of a border who posed no imminent threat to life," he added.

The watchdog called on the International Criminal Court to open an independent investigation into the bloody incident, which was the deadliest day since the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas.

Live fire – along with rubber bullets and tear gas – were used by Israeli troops and left 17 Palestinian protesters dead and thousands more wounded, at the demonstration on the Gaza border on Friday.

Read more on the Great Return March

- Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians will not deter the resistance

- Palestinians are not just united because of our struggle, but because of who we are

- 'We want to protect our land': Israel's massacre in Gaza will not stop protesters

- Gaza hospital heaves with injured protesters maimed by Israeli forces

- #GreatReturnMarch death toll reaches 17 after wounded Palestinian dies

On Tuesday, Israeli forces shot dead another protesting Palestinian on the Gaza border, raising the death toll to 18.

Israel has defended its soldiers' actions, saying they opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.

It said there were attempts to damage the fence and infiltrate Israel, while alleging there was also an attempted gun attack against soldiers along the border.

Israel's use of live fire had led to the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres calling for an independent investigation.

Palestinians say protesters were fired on while posing no threat to soldiers.

Hamas has said that the Israeli troops "intentionally killed or caused major disabilities" to protesters during the Land Day march.

Israel's defence minister said on Tuesday that the military will not change its response to the mass protests, warning that those who approach the border are putting their lives at risk.

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