The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is “truly shocked” at the killing of a wheelchair-bound Palestinian amputee by Israeli occupation forces in the besieged Gaza Strip last Friday.
Speaking yesterday, Al Hussein said: “The facts gathered so far by my staff in Gaza strongly suggest that the force used against Ibrahim Abu-Thurayya was excessive.”
Abu-Thurayya, a double-amputee who lost his legs in an Israeli drone attack in 2008, was shot in the head and killed by an Israeli sniper as he was taking part in a protest against the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“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.”
As far as we can see, there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that Ibrahim Abu-Thurayya 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.
In reference to the more than 3,400 Palestinians who have been injured in protests as a result of Israel’s heavy handed response to protests, Al Hussein said: “This level of casualties raises serious concerns as to whether the force used by Israeli forces was properly calibrated to the threat.”
“And these events, including the loss of five irreplaceable human lives, can sadly be traced directly back to the unilateral US announcement on the status of Jerusalem, which breaks international consensus and was dangerously provocative.”