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