On Friday, March 30, 30,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip began six weeks of sit-ins and demonstrations to demand their internationally recognized right of return to the villages they were displaced from in 1948, which lie just a few miles away on the other side of Israel’s prison fence.
As they exercised their right to protest, the Israeli military met them with lethal and excessive force. 100 Israeli military snipers, prepositioned with shoot-to-kill orders, used live fire on the demonstrators and killed at least 18 Palestinians and injuring more than 1,400.
According to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has a right to peaceful assembly and to return to their country. Moreover, the use of lethal force is illegal under international law except in cases of imminent threats to life. Though Human Rights Watch has asserted that Israel’s actions were “unlawful” and “calculated,” Israel thinks it can continue to act with impunity.
Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign assistance, receiving $3.8 billion in taxpayer-funded weapons each year. US laws are supposed to prevent these weapons from being used to commit human rights abuses. It is past time to end Israel’s impunity to using excessive force against Palestinians.
Email your Members of Congress now to demand the US open an investigation into Israel’s unlawful killing of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza.
Palestinians have the right to protest without paying for it with their lives.
- Read Human Rights Watch’s “Gaza Killings Unlawful, Calculated“
- Read Amnesty International’s “Stop the use of lethal and other excessive force and investigate deaths of Palestinian protesters“
- Read Al Mezan Center for Human Rights’ “15 Palestinians Killed and 1,087 injured in the Gaza Strip“
Thank Members of Congress for speaking out by liking and sharing their social media posts
The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 31, 2018
I am horrified by the tragic wounding & killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza last Friday. Attacks on peaceful Palestinian protesters must end, and the U.S. & the international community must do more to support a resolution to the conflict. https://t.co/gloUgvPmpD— Rep. Betty McCollum (@BettyMcCollum04) April 2, 2018
Ahead of Friday's demonstrations, my colleagues and I are calling on protesters in Gaza to carry out their right to assembly nonviolently and urging Israeli soldiers to exercise utmost restraint and comply with international law. Full statement here ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/PS0D14NX0J— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) April 12, 2018
Deeply concerned about of the killings of peaceful Palestinian protests on Gaza border. The US and international community must come together immediately to put an end to this conflict and work to improve conditions for the people of #Gaza.https://t.co/BpQxQZjc0u— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) April 4, 2018
All human beings have a right to speak, assemble and protest, and nonviolent protest must be respected by all governments. Ahead of Friday’s planned protests in Gaza, calling on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to show maximum restraint and respect for nonviolent protesters.— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin) April 18, 2018
Thank you, @SenatorLeahy. We hope you will continue standing up for Palestinian rights by applying the Leahy Law in the case of the killing of 17 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza on March 30. https://t.co/W6eDrvHW40— Palestinian Rights (@US_Campaign) April 5, 2018
5 Members of Congress, @repmarkpocan, @RepJayapal, @keithellison, @RepBarbaraLee, & @RepHankJohnson, released a statement calling on the Israeli military to refrain from using live fire on Palestinian demonstrators. #GreatReturnMarchhttps://t.co/AcPmhk5u1r— Palestinian Rights (@US_Campaign) April 13, 2018