Gaza Border Deaths: Unhrc Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:49 am on 22nd March 2019.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Foreign Secretary 11:49 am, 22nd March 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker; I will have another go.

As I was saying, a few days ago, Dr Tarek Loubani came to see me. He is a Canadian who was volunteering in Gaza last year. When the protests began on the border last spring, he went to help the many protestors who had been wounded by gunfire or affected by tear gas. He said that, on 14 May, the situation was relatively calm. He stood chatting to his colleagues 25 metres away from the protestors, wearing his green hospital scrubs. He said:

“We could clearly see the IDF sniper towers…And they could see us”.

When he turned sideways, that was when they shot him—one bullet, through both legs. The paramedic who came to his aid, clearly marked in high-vis clothing, treated his injuries, then resumed his work elsewhere and was shot dead an hour later. That paramedic was one of 189 Palestinians killed during last year’s protests— 35 of them children—while Dr Loubani was one of 6,000 shot by snipers.

The UN report into these actions may have its faults—I accept that, and I agree that it plays down the role of Hamas in orchestrating these protests, but it provides clear and compelling evidence that live ammunition was used in a way that cannot be explained or justified against individuals such as Dr Loubani and thousands more like him. Yet this morning, as the Minister said, the Government have abstained on a resolution endorsing that report, in effect telling the Israeli authorities, “We refuse to find fault with your actions.”