Israel's Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit lodged by six rights groups against the Israeli military's use of lethal force against Palestinians on the Gaza border during weeks-long protests in the area.
Responding to the groups' call to declare regulations allowing Israeli forces to fire at civilians as unlawful, the court said that the protests come amid Israel's protracted "armed conflict" with the Islamic Palestinian militant group Hamas and that it had authorized Tel Aviv to use lethal force against the protesters.
At the same time, the court urged the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to go ahead with their own internal review of the steps taken during the Gaza protests.
The groups' activists, for their part, have criticized the court's decision saying that it "missed an opportunity to prevent the continuation of the killing and injuries."
The situation along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip has substantially worsened over the past several months due to Palestinian rallies called the Great March of Return which started on March 30 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian exodus after the creation of the Israeli state.
At least 62 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more wounded at the time, in what has prompted the United Nations, the European Union, Britain and Germany to call for an independent investigation into Israel's use of force.
Israel, for its part, has insisted that it is Hamas who is responsible for the outbreak of violence in the region, claiming that the militant group has been staging provocations along the Gaza border using rallies as a pretext.