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Israel's use of force against Palestinians continues as it is never held to account, HRW says

Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at Palestinian protesters during an anti-Israel protest over tension in Jerusalem, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, on May 12, 2021 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at Palestinian protesters during an anti-Israel protest over tension in Jerusalem, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, on May 12, 2021 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images]

The abuse Israeli forces are inflicting on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank "stem[s] from a decades-long pattern of Israeli authorities using excessive and vastly disproportionate force to quell protests and disturbances by Palestinians, often resulting in serious injury and loss of life", Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

The Israeli attacks come as Palestinian protesters demanded an end to the forced displacement of families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for illegal settlers. Israeli occupation forces also stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on numerous occasions and shot and abused Palestinian worshippers as they prayed the nightly Ramadan prayers.

HRW's Israel and Palestinian Director, Omar Shakir, criticised Israeli forces' use of "teargas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets, including inside al-Aqsa Mosque" against the protesters, 1,000 of whom were injured between 7-10 May, the majority after being hit by rubber-coated steel bullets.

Calling for action from the international community against Israel's abuses, Shakir warned: "Even if the immediate crisis subsides, the vicious cycle will continue so long as impunity for serious abuses remains the norm and the international community fails to take the sort of measures to ensure accountability that a situation of this gravity warrants."

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