Malaysia has slammed Israel’s use of force against Palestinian protesters marking the anniversary of the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip, calling on the international community to act swiftly.
Condemning Israel’s actions “in the strongest possible terms”, the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted the four Gazans who were killed and the more than 300 who sustained injuries as a result of Israeli sniper fire, rubber bullets and tear gas.
“The continuous usage of force by Israel against defenceless Palestinian protesters is uncalled for and unacceptable,” a statement read.
The ministry highlighted Israel’s “total contempt and disregard” for a recent report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which found reasonable grounds to believe that actions committed by Israel constituted international crimes.
It further alleged that with the exception of one fatality, all other deaths caused by Israeli forces were unlawful.
“The Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot, nor were they directly participating in hostilities,” the Human Rights Council’s March report said.
“Less lethal alternatives remained available and substantial defences were in place, rendering the use of lethal force neither necessary nor proportionate, and therefore impermissible.”
The Malaysian statement concluded by calling on the international community to take action to avoid further loss “of innocent Palestinian lives”.
Thousands of Palestinians protested along the Gaza fence with Israel on Saturday, marking a year since the start of the Great March of Return. Hundreds were injured as a result of Israeli aggression including 86 children, 29 women, three paramedics and seven journalists.
Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven out in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.