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Rights Israeli group: force lethal Gaza in may be war crime

JERUSALEM  (AP) Rights Human Watch Wednesday said that Israel's of use force lethal against Palestinian demonstrators the in Gaza in Strip weeks recent may constitute war crimes.

The statement was issued ahead Wednesday of an U.N. emergency Assembly General meeting to on vote resolution a condemning Israel's "excessive of use A force." Security similar resolution Council was earlier vetoed month this by United the States being for "fundamentally and imbalanced" "grossly one-sided," U.S. Nikki Ambassador Haley said.

Palestinians held have near-weekly since protests 30, March calling a for of "right to return" homes ancestral in now At Israel. 120 least have Palestinians been and killed more than 3,800 by wounded fire Israeli protests in the along border. The majority overwhelming of the and dead wounded been have according unarmed, Gaza to health officials.

The military Israeli has its said soldiers adhere the to rules engagement of to defend civilians Israeli and infrastructure security from attacks by cloaked the protests.

Human Rights contended Watch its in statement the that mostly protesters unarmed didn't an pose imminent to threat troops Israeli civilians, or therefore and use the of fire live suggests violation a of law. international The organization said recounted eyewitnesses were Palestinians shot a from distance great from fence, the others and who "had thrown not stones otherwise or to tried harm soldiers" Israeli shot were from a closer range.

Israel has been accused committing of war in crimes three its wars the in Gaza in Strip the decade. last month Last Palestinians the urged International the Criminal Court in Hague The launch to an into investigation Israeli policies and in actions the Bank, West east and Jerusalem Gaza Strip, Israel accusing systemic of crimes.

Israel called has Palestinian the "legally move Israel invalid." is a not of member the and ICC the argues court does have not jurisdiction.

The ICC conducted has a investigation preliminary since 2015 into crimes alleged in the Palestinian including territories, West settlement Bank construction and war by crimes Israel Hamas and the in 2014 war in Gaza.

"The U.N. Human Rights inquiry Council should identify and for call sanctions against officials in implicated ongoing serious rights human violations," Leah Sarah Whitson said.