London, Geneva, April 23, 2018
The Palestinian Return Centre started a large-scale correspondence campaign to expose to the British and international political community the Israeli human rights violations against the great march of return demonstrators.
PRC sent letters to 42 member-states of the Human Rights Council, as well as to more than 600 British MPs, to explain the crimes committed by the Israeli authorities against peaceful demonstrators during the past weeks, which witnessed demonstrations on the border area in Gaza to demand the right of return.
PRC said that Palestinians came out because of the continued siege on the Gaza Strip for more than 11 years, and to demand the international community to recognize and implement their right to return to their homes and lands from which they were displaced in 1948.
PRC called on the UK government to pressure Israel to implement the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland and to publicly condemn Israel's extrajudicial killings.
PRC also called on member states of the Human Rights Council to consider accountability measures against Israel and to send an independent fact-finding mission to investigate Israeli crimes against Palestinians.
The United Nations has called for an inquiry into the killings which has been denied by Israeli authorities. Four UN experts including Michael Lynk, UN special Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, released a statement condemning the killings by Israeli security forces of Palestinian protesters near the Gaza fence and noted that:
‘Israeli forces used live ammunition and teargas against the demonstrators, who had gathered in occupied Gaza on the occasion of Land Day to call for their right to return to their homes. Most of Gaza’s population - which has been subjected to a comprehensive air, land and sea blockade by Israel for 10 years - is comprised of Palestinians who have been forcibly expelled from their homes and lands since 1948.’
Human Rights Watch concluded that the murder of Palestinians in Gaza was ‘unlawful’ and ‘calculated’ and that Israeli ‘officials green-light shooting of unarmed demonstrators.’ ‘Israeli soldiers were not merely using excessive force but were apparently acting on orders that all but ensured a bloody military response to the Palestinian demonstrations,’ said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. ‘The result was foreseeable deaths and injuries of demonstrators on the other side of a border who posed no imminent threat to life.’