Former Israeli PM Olmert questions use of lethal force in Gaza

"Is it necessary to use the guns the ways they were used?" Olmert asked in the interview with German TV.

June 7, 2018 12:30
1 minute read.
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the 7th Annual JPost Conference in NY

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the 7th Annual JPost Conference in NY. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert questioned the government's policy on the Gaza Strip in an interview with German TV DW News Wednesday, saying that he has “doubts and questions” over the use of lethal weapons against protesters near the Gaza border fence.

While Israel has the right to block the attempts of thousands of Palestinians to illegally penetrate the security fence, Olmert said that he is "disturbed by the event on the border with Gaza."

When asked by the interviewer why the IDF targeted “thousands of children,” Olmert said: “Not only thousands of children [came to the demonstrations], there were tens of thousands of people."

“Indeed, there were many casualties. 62 were killed,” he said. "I am terribly sorry and sad about it. I also have serious questions as to what are the appropriate patterns of response to the illegal attempts to penetrate into Israel."

"Is it necessary to use the guns the ways they were used? [And] the snipers, the way they were used?" Olmert asked.

The former prime minister hinted that Israel should change its conduct in the Gaza Strip: "I think we need to change the relationship with Gaza in a way that does not jeopardize the security of the State of Israel."

Olmert, who as prime minister oversaw the 2008 conflict with Gaza known as Operation Cast Lead, which included an Israeli ground invasion of the Strip, was also asked  how he lived with the "tremendous loss of life" caused by the orders he gave.

"Israeli cities were shot by rockets coming from Gaza," Olmert replied.  "The first obligation of every government is to defend the life of its people," he said.

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