International Criticism of Israel Over Gaza Deaths Intensifies; DM Says It’s Gaza’s Fault
Criticism from the international community over Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy against protesters trying to cross the border continues to intensify after four weeks of the lethal cycle. In the fourth week, the United Nations, European Union and Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt all alluded to what is being called excessive violence by the Israeli army, calling for investigations. But criticisms have been rejected by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who admonished on Saturday that those responsible for the bloodshed are “Hamas leaders.” This week saw four deaths, including that of a fifteen-year old. During four weeks of demonstrating, 32 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,600 wounded. Israel insists that Hamas is using the protests as cover for infiltrating Israeli territory where its gunmen will kill or capture Israelis to use as bargaining chips to gain the release of Hamas members from Israeli jails. The demonstrations which run along the route of the Gaza-Israel border began four weeks ago and are to culminate in a mass outpouring on May 15 – event Hamas leaders have vowed will feature a massive outpouring and large numbers of Palestinians forcing their way across the border into Israel – a scenario that could portend a tremendous loss of life. Three weeks from the scheduled mass conclusion, Israel has little support for its position and few options for preventing the mass violation of its border.