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Human Rights Watch calls on Israel to stop shooting at Gaza civilians
Published Saturday 26/04/2014 (updated) 27/04/2014 11:25
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A general view shows the closed gates of the Kerem Shalom
crossing between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip on March
13, 2014 (AFP/File Said Khatib)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel must stop shooting at Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, Human Rights Watch said Friday, noting four have been killed near the border fence since the beginning of 2014.

A report by the New York-based watchdog cited UN data which also said more than 60 civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire near the perimeter fence of the Palestinian enclave led by the Islamist Hamas.

It focused on seven incidents between Jan. 2 and March 1, in which the four were killed and five others wounded, "none of whom posed a threat to the soldiers or others."

HRW noted that "Palestinians living in the densely inhabited Gaza Strip use land near the fence with Israel for agriculture, collecting rubble, scrap metal, and other reusable materials, and recreation."

"Month after month, Israeli forces have wounded and killed unarmed Palestinians who did nothing but cross an invisible, shifting line that Israel has drawn inside Gaza’s perimeter," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East director.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli army, did not challenge the facts but slammed the report which he said "completely ignored the reality of the state of conflict we have with Gaza, the perimeter with which is a springboard for terrorism from the Strip."

"The statement ridicules human rights. This week alone we've had numerous attacks emerging from the immediate perimeter of the fence," he said.

"They don't magically arrive there," Lerner said of the perpetrators.

He also referred to "terror tunnels" from Gaza and projectiles fired at southern Israel.

The military spokesman said "the 100-meter (yard) limit" from the border fence, which was agreed upon under the terms reached after an eight-day confrontation between Israel and Hamas militants in November 2012, was "known and widespread."

"People approaching the fence are putting themselves at risk," Lerner added, noting the army fires warning shots before aiming at people.

HRW maintained in its report: "While firing warning shots may reduce the likelihood of shooting a civilian, a failure to heed warning shots does not turn a civilian into a lawful military target."
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
26/04/2014 11:55
Not a word about the hundreds of IEDs and landmines the Palestines place at the border fence. Not a word about the military attack tunnels Hamas digs under the fence. The area is an active war zone.

2 ) Kathy P / USA
26/04/2014 16:32
Hey!!!! Now there is a wild thought... "Human Rights Watch calls on Israel to stop shooting at Gaza civilians" Think it will be respected? Or ignored like the thousands of other violations.... I wonder...

3 ) JoeUSA / USA
26/04/2014 18:28
Moshe Dayan once said that Israel must act like a rabid dog in attacking any threat or perceived threat. It is time to put the rabid dog to sleep.

4 ) Reality / Truth
26/04/2014 19:39
The Human Rights Watch group should realize two things, after so many militant attacks, "near the border fence", where: -1- GAZA RESIDENTS NEAR THE FENCE ARE NOT "CIVILIANS", and -2- Israel can and should continue shooting them in self-defense !!

5 ) Outlier / USA
26/04/2014 19:55
No call for the end of missiles and mortars from Gaza? Hypocrites!

6 ) Maureen / Australia
26/04/2014 20:15
#1 Brian Cohen Gaza is what USrael made it - an open air prison/USrael weapons testing ground!

7 ) Julie / USA
26/04/2014 23:18
@4 - izraelis near the fence are the only ones who are not civilians, they are criminals for shooting civilians.

8 ) @ Kathy-2 / The Obvious
27/04/2014 02:29
- After the last Gaza war, where Israel was called a war criminal for defending it's civilians from Hamas rocket attacks, an Israeli singer wrote a song called "Only Israel does Not have the right to defend itself", but we both know that like any state * ISRAEL DOES HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF, * IT'S CIVILIANS, AND THEIR SECURITY", so yes and Obviously so, "HRW calls on Israel" to stop defending a border, where so many attacks have already taken place "will be ignored".

9 ) @ Maureen-6 / Truth
27/04/2014 02:40
You should at least give half (if not 100%) of * THE RESPONSIBILITY, for the Gaza situation * TO HAMAS, for before Hamas' rocket barrages on Israeli cities: - there was trade and prosperity in Gaza, - there was No need for smuggling tunnels, and - there was No Naval Blockade either, and the same is essentially true for Hamas' relations with Egypt, where first they attacked Egypt, and as a result only now are militant movement in the Sinai region is restricted and under attack.

10 ) ian / australia
27/04/2014 06:16
#1, #5 Witness Brian and Outlier. The big news of course is that Hamas and Fatah have reconciled, will form a unity government and that Hamas as a result will recognize Israel and denounce violent resistance. Having kvetched about this endlessly, you'd think they might express some guarded positivity about the development. But no. Like grumpy old curmudgeons, we get the same knee-jerk whine about tunnels and rockets and hypocritical, Israel-hating Human Rights groups. And it's also

11 ) ian / australia
27/04/2014 06:19
(contd.) a pretty clear intimation that they liked things better the old way: Hamas violent and extremist, Fatah powerless and corrupt and the leadership going along perfunctorilly and clownishly with farcical "negotiations" for a Palestinian state Israel had NO intention of EVER allowing to be created.
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