GENEVA / OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

18-Mar-2019 00:03:30
Human Rights Council-appointed investigators found “reasonable grounds to believe that the Israeli Security Forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law” in their response to protests in the Gaza Strip. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
TRT: 3:30
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 18 MARCH 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

18 MARCH 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Santiago Canton, Chairperson, Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“The main conclusion of the Commission is that we found reasonable grounds to believe that the Israeli Security Forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”
4. Wide shot, press room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Santiago Canton, Chairperson, Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“Based on our understanding, the rules of engagement permit the commanders in the field to designate people as key instigators, or key inciters - that’s the main word - who could be shot in the legs for behaviour such as burning tyres, cutting or breaching the fence or exhorting or leading the crowd in approaching the separation fence. Under the rules, they could be shot in the leg at any moment. While in theory, this key inciter status was to be conferred only when the crowd was posing an imminent threat to life, in reality - and that has been one of the main findings of the Commission - in reality, that was rarely the case.”
6. Med shot, panel
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Sara Hossain, Member of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“In the case of many of the killings, there were very small entry wounds and huge exit wounds. We also have detailed evidence about the kinds of bullets, but also about the use of long-range sniper rifles, sophisticated optical aiming devices. So, we know that the target could be magnified in the sight of the snipers, so they could know the consequences of at least some of the shootings. But nevertheless, triggers were pulled, and the trigger was pulled as we know, more than 6,000 times.”
8. Med shot, cameras
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Santiago Canton, Chairperson, Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“We believe that in situations of crowd control and in situations that we deem to be civilian in nature, if there are individuals in the crowd that may be a legitimate target, you still cannot shoot at the crowd, because you may shoot or kill innocent individuals.”
10. Close up, journalist
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Sara Hossain, Member of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“On the nature of investigations, for the ones from Israel, they have announced that there are these 11 incidents that have been inquired into, but that is after one year. And there is no announcement as to the progress of those investigations and we think that there is at least a moral obligation to disclose what the outcome of those is, when they finally transpire.”
12. Close up, video camera monitor
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Sara Hossain, Member of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“We have also addressed the issue that there has been significant property damage inside southern Israel, caused by these incendiary kites and balloons, and I think that is also part of the investigation process that could be done. We have made recommendations, you’ll find more actually in our new report."
14. Wide shot, journalists
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Santiago Canton, Chairperson, Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“We hope that the international community gets involved in order to avoid more killings and more shootings during the anniversary. I think that is why this presentation was important. It’s important that Israel change the rules of proceedings and stop the shootings basically.”
16. Various shots, press room
STORYLINE
Human Rights Council-appointed investigators found “reasonable grounds to believe that the Israeli Security Forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law” in their response to protests in the Gaza Strip.

The Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory urged Israel to revise its military rules of engagement shortly before the one-year anniversary of the start of mass demonstrations at the country’s border fence with Gaza that have left hundreds of Gazans dead and thousands more injured.

Speaking in Geneva today (18 Mar), Santiago Canton, Chairperson of the Commission explained what the panel knew about the Israeli Defence Force’s relevant military protocols.

SOUNDBITE (English) Santiago Canton, Chairperson, Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“Based on our understanding, the rules of engagement permit the commanders in the field to designate people as key instigators, or key inciters - that’s the main word - who could be shot in the legs for behaviour such as burning tyres, cutting or breaching the fence or exhorting or leading the crowd in approaching the separation fence. Under the rules, they could be shot in the leg at any moment. While in theory, this key inciter status was to be conferred only when the crowd was posing an imminent threat to life, in reality - and that has been one of the main findings of the Commission - in reality, that was rarely the case.”

During last year’s demonstrations in the Gaza Strip - referred to as the ‘Great March of Return and the Breaking of the Siege’ - the Commission found that 189 Palestinians were killed, 183 with live ammunition.

Victims included children, persons with disabilities – including a double amputee who was shot and killed while sitting in his wheelchair - journalists and medical personnel.

Less than two weeks from the anniversary of the beginning of the protests, the panel said its main concern was to avoid a repeat of deadly demonstrations such as those on 30 March, 14 May and 12 October 2018. “We hope that the international community gets involved in order to avoid more killings and more shootings during the anniversary,” Santiago told reporters after addressing the Human Rights Council. “I think that is why this presentation was important. It’s important that Israel change the rules of proceedings and stop the shootings, basically.”

In addition to those killed during weekly protests at the border fence with Israel, the UN panel underscored the damage caused by high-velocity bullets, which replaced the rubber bullets initially used against demonstrators.

Commission member Sara Hossain said, “In the case of many of the killings, there were very small entry wounds and huge exit wounds. We also have detailed evidence about the kinds of bullets, but also about the use of long-range sniper rifles, sophisticated optical aiming devices. So, we know that the target could be magnified in the sight of the snipers, so they could know the consequences of at least some of the shootings. But nevertheless, triggers were pulled, and the trigger was pulled as we know, more than 6,000 times.”

Asked about the legality of targeting unarmed protesters in a crowd, the Commission insisted that doing so based on individuals’ membership of an armed group was unlawful.

SOUNDBITE (English) Santiago Canton, Chairperson, Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
“We believe that in situations of crowd control and in situations that we deem to be civilian in nature, if there are individuals in the crowd that may be a legitimate target, you still cannot shoot at the crowd, because you may shoot or kill innocent individuals.”

The Commission also welcomed inquiries into 11 incidents by Israel, although Hossain called for more transparency. “On the nature of investigations, for the ones from Israel, they have announced that there are these 11 incidents that have been inquired into, but that is after one year,” she said. “And there is no announcement as to the progress of those investigations and we think that there is at least a moral obligation to disclose what the outcome of those is, when they finally transpire.”

The issue of the responsibility of the de facto authorities in Gaza towards the demonstrators was also investigated by the Commission, along with its role in preventing damage to Israeli property caused by the launching of burning objects from Gaza, Hossain added.

“We have also addressed the issue that there has been significant property damage inside southern Israel, caused by these incendiary kites and balloons,” she said. “And I think that is also part of the investigation process that could be done. We have made recommendations, you’ll find more actually in our new report.”

In a related development on Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) appealed for 5.3 million USD to help the many thousands of Gazans hurt and handicapped in the demonstrations.

WHO reiterated concerns that the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Great March on 30 March could result in further casualties and an increase in people requiring trauma care and rehabilitation services.

WHO said the funding was urgently required to ensure the minimum resources are available to immediate health needs, as well as enhance the quality of trauma and emergency care in the Gaza Strip and reduce mortality and morbidity among an at-risk population of two million people.
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