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

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Regional -

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.

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