At a meeting held on the Passover seder night, when Israelis could not attend, the UN held a meeting calling for an investigation into the IDF clashes with Hamas ‘protesters’ at the Gaza-Israel border.
By: AP and World Israel News
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Friday for an independent investigation into deadly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops at the Israel-Gaza border, while Security Council members urged restraint on both sides.
The Council did not decide on any action or joint message after an emergency meeting Friday evening, convened by Kuwait hours after the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 cross-border war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group that rules the coastal strip.
Israel and the US had urged Guterres to postpone the meeting, as it took place on the first night of Passover, when Jews observe the seder and Israelis would therefore be unable to attend.
Fifteen people were killed and more than 750 wounded by Israeli fire as 30,000 Palestinian protesters marched to Gaza’s border with Israel in a violent demonstration organized by Hamas. The Israeli military said that thousands of Palestinians threw stones and rolled burning tires toward troops, that Palestinian gunmen fired toward soldiers incident and that terrorists were trying to conduct attacks under the cover of protests.
A ‘heinous massacre of peaceful demonstrators’
Guterres wants “an independent and transparent investigation” into the violence, spokesman Farhan Haq said.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to the UN, said he was disappointed the Security Council didn’t coalesce to condemn what he called Israel’s “heinous massacre of peaceful demonstrators” or to support his call to provide protection for Palestinian civilians.
“We expect the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility” and “defuse this volatile situation, which clearly constitutes a threat to international peace and security,” Mansour said.
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and Tamar Zandberg, head of Israel’s extreme-left Meretz party, also called for an investigation into the IDF’s use of live ammunition.
‘International community must not be deceived’
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said “the international community must not be deceived” by what he termed “a well-organized and violent terror gathering” under the banner of a peaceful march.
“The Palestinians sunk to a new deceitful low so that they could use the UN to spread lies about Israel” while its representatives weren’t there because of the Passover holiday, Danon said in a statement.
Some Security Council members suggested an investigation and emphasized that Israel should ensure force is only used proportionally. Some also made a point of noting Israel’s security concerns and calling on demonstrators to avoid violence.
“Bad actors who use protests as a cover to incite violence endanger innocent lives,” said Walter Miller, an adviser at Washington’s UN mission.
Meanwhile, an IDF spokesman warned on Saturday that Israel will continue to target terrorist groups inside Gaza if the violence along border with Israel drags on.
“The border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip separates a sovereign state and a terrorist organization,” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Saturday night.
“It separates a state that protects its citizens from murderers who send their countrymen into danger. The fence separates an army that uses force in self-defense and in a focused and proportionate manner, and Hamas, an organization that sanctifies murder and death, that for years – yesterday included – has been intent on harming millions of Israelis.
Commission of inquiry into a Woodstock festival?
“Anyone who mistakenly views in this murderous spectacle even an iota of freedom of expression is blind to the threats the State of Israel faces,” the statement concludes.
“The IDF soldiers pushed back the Hamas military wing with determination and professionalism, just as we expected them to do. I fully back the [soldiers], because of them we celebrated the [Passover] seder night with confidence. I do not understand the choir of hypocrites calling for a commission of inquiry. They were confused, thinking Hamas organized a Woodstock festival and we should have given [the violent protesters] flowers,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted on Saturday.