Israeli government tries to justify killings of Palestinians despite heavy criticism
Amid growing international criticism over deadly Gaza violence, the Israeli government tries to justify its military's use of live fire targeting unarmed Palestinians
AN ISRAELI government spokeswoman has come under fire for her comments on the situation in Gaza and trying to justify Israeli forces' use of live fire and the shooting deaths of Palestinian protesters.
Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland on Monday, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Michal Maayan said "Well, we can't put all these people in jail" when asked why troops were shooting at the demonstrators. Her comments during a live recording quickly went viral, drawing criticism from around the world. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in seven weeks of protests, mainly from Israeli sniper fire.
Responding to criticism that the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will only cause more instability in the region and hurt the peace process, Maayan said, "But mov- ing embassies to Jerusalem isn't stopping peace, it's actually helping peace because it's helping the Palestinians realize that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state of Israel and it helps them realize a reality that's very important to us to go further on."
"Jerusalem is the capital of Israel; it's going to be the capital of Israel whatever future settlement we will arrive with Palestinians," she told the Irish broadcaster.
Israel has come under international pressure after its border forces on Monday killed some 62 Palestinians protesting against the transfer the same day of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, international participation at the controversial opening ceremony for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was lower than the list announced by Israel's Foreign Ministry, Israeli Haaretz daily said in a report yesterday.
Accordingly, 22 foreign ambassadors or diplomats were present at the opening ceremony out of the ministry list showing 32 countries confirming that they would attend. Participating countries were Angola, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Kenya, Macedonia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Paraguay, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.
Albania, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Serbia, South Sudan, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam were the countries that did not attend the ceremony although they were listed as countries that confirmed participation.
Left-wing Haaretz, known for its opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu, said that Serbia, Vietnam, Peru, El Salvador and the Ivory Coast denied their participation to the paper after the foreign ministry list was published.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry invited 86 countries to attend the ceremony, but only roughly one-fourth were present. European Union countries mainly refused to attend due to reactions against Trump's unilateral move, while Palestine recalled Wednesday its ambassadors from Austria, Czech Republic Hungary and Romania, as they were present at the ceremony.
The article also pointed out that representatives of Russia, India and Japan were not present in the ceremony despite their recent moves to improve relations with Israel and high-profile meetings with Netanyahu.
Palestinians protesters run for cover from Israeli tear-gas, east of Gaza Strip, May 15.