UN: 32 Palestinians killed, 3000 injured in 2 weeks of Protests on Gaza-Israel border

Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded youth who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, Friday, April 13, 2018. (AP)
Updated 13 April 2018
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UN: 32 Palestinians killed, 3000 injured in 2 weeks of Protests on Gaza-Israel border

  • Large numbers of protestors are expected to gather in five spots along the border after prayers on Friday afternoon.
  • Israeli forces have killed 33 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others since protests began on March 30.

Gaza: Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian and wounded  more than 900 during a large protest on the Gaza-Israel border on Friday in which demonstrators hurled stones and burning tyres near the frontier fence, Palestinian medics said.
Some in the Gaza crowd threw firebombs and an explosive device, according to the Israeli military.
Thousands of Palestinians arrived at tented camps near the frontier as a protest dubbed “The Great March of Return” - evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel - moved into its third week.
Israeli troops have shot dead 30 Gaza Palestinians and wounded hundreds since the protests began, drawing international criticism of the lethal tactics used against them.
An Israeli military spokesman said troops were being confronted by rioters and "responding with riot dispersal means while also firing in accordance with the rules of engagement".
On Friday, groups of youths waved Palestinian flags and burnt hundreds of tyres and Israeli flags near the fenced-off border after Friday prayers. At one camp east of Gaza City, youths carried on their shoulders a coffin wrapped in an Israeli flag bearing the words "The End of Israel".
Israel has declared a no-go zone close to the Gaza border fence, and deployed army sharpshooters along it.
No Israelis have been killed during the demonstrations, and human rights groups say the Israeli military has used live fire against demonstrators who pose no immediate threat to life.
Israel says it is doing what it must to defend its border, and to stop any of the protesters getting across the fence.
The planned six-week protest has revived a longstanding demand for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages from which their families fled, or were driven out, when the state of Israel was created 70 years ago.
The protest began on March 30, and is expected to culminate on May 15.


France urged to suspend boat delivery to Libya over migrant concerns

Updated 25 April 2019
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France urged to suspend boat delivery to Libya over migrant concerns

  • The demand was laid out in a legal challenge that was filed at the administrative court in Paris on Thursday morning

PARIS: Eight international NGOs including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demanded on Thursday that France suspend the delivery of boats to Libya’s coast guard on concerns they would be used to intercept migrants.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly had in February agreed to donate six boats to the Libyan navy, under which the coast guard operates, in a move she said was aimed at helping them “in the fight against illegal immigration.”

But the offer angered rights groups who said they would be used to block migrant boats seeking to reach Europe, forcing those on board to return to war-torn Libya.

The demand was laid out in a legal challenge that was filed at the administrative court in Paris on Thursday morning.

In it, the groups demand “the suspension of the decision” until the court decides whether or not the donation is legal. The court has 48 hours to make a decision.

The NGOs believe forcing people to return to Libya would expose them to “serious human rights violations.” Massimo Moratti, regional director for research at Amnesty International, said the pledge to deliver boats to the Libyan coast guard was “an unlawful and reckless decision.”

He said it was all the more dangerous at a time when fighting has intensified after Eastern commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on the capital Tripoli earlier this month.

“Doing it now, as the armed conflict in Libya escalates, is even more callous and irresponsible,” Moratti said in a statement, warning the donation would make France “complicit” in trapping people inside the country.

The NGOs accused the coast guard of having a bad track record in respecting those in distress at sea, saying it should not be given the logistical means to step up such abuses.

The statement accused the coast guard of abuses including pushing those in distress back into the water, threatening them with weapons and firing toward them.

The six vessels, which are to be delivered in the coming weeks, are 12-meter, semi-rigid boats made by French specialist Sillinger.

Besides Amnesty and MSF, the legal petition was joined by France’s Human Rights League, immigrant support group GISTI, Lawyers Without Borders, migrant aid groups La Cimade and Migreurop and Italian research and aid group ASGI.