Is­rael re­jects calls for in­quiry into Gaza blood­shed Our troops de­serve a com­men­da­tion, says De­fense Min­is­ter Lieber­man

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

groups of pro­test­ers rush­ing for­ward, throw­ing stones and burn­ing tires.

Is­raeli troops re­sponded with live fire and rub­ber-coated steel pel­lets, while drones dropped tear gas from above. Soldiers with ri­fles were perched on high earthen em­bank­ments over­look­ing the scene. The mil­i­tary has said it re­sponded only to vi­o­lent at­tacks aimed at troops and the bor­der fence. But video from the scene showed at least a hand­ful of in­ci­dents in which peo­ple ap­pear to have been shot either far from the bor­der or while they were not ac­tively ri­ot­ing.

The Is­raeli mil­i­tary ac­cused Ha­mas of re­leas­ing videos that were either in­com­plete, edited or “com­pletely fab­ri­cated.” It said troops had fol­lowed strict rules of en­gage­ment, and that pro­test­ers were putting them­selves in “harm’s way” by op­er­at­ing in a dan­ger­ous area.

In the interview, Lieber­man said those who protested peace­fully were not harmed, say­ing claims that peace­ful pro­test­ers were harmed were “lies and in­ven­tions.”

“Who­ever didn’t get close to the fence was not shot,” he said.

Ta­mar Zand­berg, leader of the dovish op­po­si­tion party Meretz, posted a video over the week­end call­ing for an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into Fri­day’s vi­o­lence.

“I’m wor­ried about the fate of all of us, and the fate of the res­i­dents of the Gaza pe­riph­ery com­mu­ni­ties, who could be sit­ting in bomb shel­ters to­day, to­mor­row or next week,” she told Army Ra­dio, “so I’m call­ing to stop this now.”

Zand­berg came un­der heavy crit­i­cism for her com­ments. “As if this were a case of in­no­cent civil­ians who had been shot while do­ing their hol­i­day shop­ping, rather than peo­ple who had been pushed to the bor­der by Ha­mas in or­der to be killed in ser­vice to the Pales­tinian nar­ra­tive,” wrote de­fense an­a­lyst Alon Ben-David.

The Is­raeli mil­i­tary has said those killed by troops were men who were in­volved in vi­o­lence and who be­longed to Ha­mas and other mil­i­tant fac­tions. The army later re­leased the names and ages of 10 of the dead, in­clud­ing what it said were eight mem­bers of Ha­mas and two from other mil­i­tant groups.

Is­rael has also ac­cused Gaza health of­fi­cials of ex­ag­ger­at­ing the num­ber of wounded.

Fif­teen Pales­tini­ans were killed and hun­dreds more wounded on Fri­day in the con­flict’s worst sin­gle day of vi­o­lence since the 2014 Gaza war. (AFP)

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