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Amnesty: Israel carrying out 'unlawful killing' of Palestinians

Israeli forces have carried out a series of unlawful killings of Palestinians using lethal force without justification, Amnesty International revealed yesterday.

In a statement released on its website, the human rights organisation said it had documented at least four incidents in which Palestinians were deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces when they posed no imminent threat to life.

“In some cases, the person shot was left bleeding to death on the ground and was not given prompt medical assistance, in violation of the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment,” the group explained.

“There is mounting evidence that, as tensions have risen dramatically, in some cases Israeli forces appear to have ripped up the rulebook and resorted to extreme and unlawful measures. They seem increasingly prone to using lethal force against anyone they perceive as posing a threat, without ensuring that the threat is real,” said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“Intentional lethal force should only be used when absolutely necessary to protect life. Instead we are increasingly seeing Israeli forces recklessly flouting international standards by shooting to kill in situations where it is completely unjustified. Israeli forces must end this pattern of unlawful killings and bring all those responsible to justice.”

Luther continued: “Unfortunately, Israel’s investigation systems have long served to perpetuate impunity for unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli military and police forces. While we urge the Israeli authorities to conduct independent, impartial investigations into all these incidents, wilful killings of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, over which all states can exercise universal jurisdiction.”

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