In response to a High Court petition, Israeli authorities said the country’s government regards recent demonstrations by Palestinians along the Gaza fence line as a “state of war” and that the state of Israel opposes the application of human rights law during an armed conflict.
Israeli state attorneys on Sunday defended the army’s use of live ammunition during clashes with Palestinian protesters along the Gaza Strip’s eastern fence.
They said human rights laws are not applicable to the ongoing protests, which they argued cannot be considered civilian events. Thus, they said Israeli forces acted in line with both Israeli and international law in killing and wounding dozens of protesters, Haaretz reported Thursday.
“The Palestinian protests on Gaza’s border fall into the ‘state of war’ category; thus human rights laws do not apply to the [Israeli army’s] rules of engagement in this regard,” state attorneys asserted in response to petitions filed with Israel’s High Court by a number of human rights groups.
Since March 30, Palestinians have been holding mass rallies, known as the Great March of Return, near the fence blocking the Gaza Strip from Tel Aviv-controlled territory. The demonstrators claim the right of return for Palestinians displaced by Israel’s war of independence in 1948.
Dozens of protesters have been killed and more than 1,000 others have been injured as Israeli forces suppress the demonstrations with deadly force. The protesters intend to go on with the march until May 15, Israeli Independence Day, when they will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the displacement of the Palestinian population, which Palestinians call “al-Nakba,” or “the catastrophe.”