Amnesty International yesterday responded to Israeli forces' killing of six Palestinians within a 24-hour period by accusing Israeli authorities of demonstrating an "utter disregard for right to life".
The international human rights group warned that "several of these incidents appear to involve deliberate and wilful killing of unarmed civilians and may amount to war crimes", and also renewed its call for an arms embargo to be imposed on Israel.
"Between 10pm on Monday 17 September and 8pm on Tuesday 18 September," Amnesty stated, "Israeli forces killed four Palestinian men in the Gaza Strip using live ammunition. Within the same period, two more died as a result of the actions of Israeli forces in the West Bank, one after being beaten during the process of arrest and another shot dead in a busy street in East Jerusalem."
The NGO stated:
The deaths of six Palestinians within just 24 hours is a horrific demonstration of the unnecessary or excessive force deployed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
"It is the fact that such crimes are rarely, if ever, punished that allows unlawful killings and other violations of the right to life to continue in shameless disregard of international law," said Saleh Higazi, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
"These incidents are not new in the OPT and are likely to continue unless this cycle of impunity is broken," he added.
In the context of Israel's ongoing violent repression of Great March of Return protests in the occupied Gaza Strip, Amnesty International said it "has not documented any instances where protesters posed an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers and snipers, who have been located behind the fence, protected by military equipment, sand hills, drones and military vehicles."
"Israel has a duty to immediately launch an independent, thorough and transparent investigation into each of these incidents and all other incidents which may involve the use of unnecessary or excessive force, torture and other ill-treatment against Palestinian civilians," Higazi said.
"We call on the Israeli authorities to hold those found responsible for these grave violations to account through fair trials. Until this happens we will not see an end to Israeli forces' random and apparently senseless killing and violence."
The Amnesty official also urged the international community to "take concrete steps to stop the delivery and trade of arms and military equipment to Israel", adding that "a failure to do so fuels serious human rights violations against millions of men, women and children suffering the consequences of 50 years of military occupation, including 11 years of blockade in the Gaza Strip".