Three dead as protests on Gaza border turn violent

Thousands of Gazans attend funeral of Palestinian journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein

Thousands of Gazans attend funeral of Palestinian journalist Ahmed Abu Hussein

Marchers are demanding the right to return to their homes seized by Israel in 1948. Majority appear to have been unarmed or not presenting an imminent threat to the ISF at the time of their killing or injury.

The call from the global rights group for a halt of weapons sales to Israel came as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ra'ad al-Hussein put the death toll at 42 Palestinians, with no reports of Israeli casualties.

A statement by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General Dr. Saeb Erekat blasted Israel for trying to portray the Palestinian demonstrators as a match to its armed forces.

Erekat also took aim at the Trump administration and specifically called out United States envoy to the UN Nikki Haley, saying they serve as an aid to Israel's "systematic violations of its obligations under International Humanitarian Law and UN resolutions enjoying full impunity".

He urged Israel to reduce the use of live fire and called on Hamas, which governs the enclave, and the leaders of the demonstrations to keep protesters away from the Gaza fence.

In Friday's unrest, a large crowd gathered a few hundred meters (yards) from the border, with some throwing stones and setting tires on fire in what has become a weekly occurrence.

Earlier Friday, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights urged Israel to refrain from using "excessive force" against demonstrators.

Israel has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the deaths along Gaza's border, with the army saying its troops only use live ammunition as a last resort. "Furthermore, many of those seeking treatment outside of Gaza have been refused permits by Israel to leave, which has increased the suffering". "They say people will be shot".

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"It is hard to see how children, even those throwing stones, can present a threat of imminent death or serious injury to heavily protected security force personnel", Zeid said.

A relatives of Palestinian scientist Fadi al-Batsh reacts while holding his 14 month-old son Muhammed during the official ceremony of his body's arrival into the Gaza Strip from Egypt at the Rafah crossing border, Thursday, April 26, 2018.

Two others, who have yet to be identified, were martyred earlier Friday near the border east of Gaza City.

Israel says that would mean the end of the Jewish state, and accuses Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas of using the protests as a pretext for violence.

The letter concluded by writing that "preventing further loss of life is a responsibility that must be shouldered without delay. Any investigations into the events in Gaza must fulfil this objective", Zeid stressed.

The statement adds that recent protests have acted as "a guise for a string of terrorist attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians".

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since Gaza residents began staging protests along the border fence on March 30 to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK's arms control director, told MEE: "It's clear that UK arms sales to Israel are increasing significantly against the continuing backdrop of Israel's ongoing serious human rights abuses against thousands of men, women and children suffering the consequences of life under Israel's cruel blockade of Gaza".

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