Liberman slams calls to probe death of Gaza journalist covering protests

Defense Minister says he's willing to keep forces on the border for years if that's what it takes.

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April 8, 2018 13:04
2 minute read.

Funeral held for Palestinian journalist killed in Israel-Gaza protests, April 7, 2018 (Reuters)

Funeral held for Palestinian journalist killed in Israel-Gaza protests, April 7, 2018 (Reuters)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday slammed requests to open an investigation into the shooting death of a Palestinian journalist killed while covering Friday's protests in Gaza.

"The demand to investigate the shooting...is hypocrisy, the march of folly to which we are accustomed," he said. "We have seen dozens of cases of Hamas activists were disguised as medics and journalists. We also saw a journalist approach the border and operate a drone, we do not take chances in those cases. We issued warnings in English and Arabic to the protesters  urging them not to endanger themselves. In the march of terror there were no innocent civilians, they were all Hamas members." 

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The National Journalists Association penned a letter to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot on Saturday requesting the IDF open an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Gazan journalist Yasser Murtaja, who was shot and killed while covering Friday's protests. Five other journalists were reportedly injured by live fire during the protests.

Former journalist, MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) voiced her support for the opening of an investigation on Twitter.

"I didn't know Yasser Murtaja, but I did know dozens of other Palestinian journalists working in Gaza, back when Israeli reporters were allowed to enter the Gaza Strip. As far as I know, he wasn't threatening anyone or trying to cross the border. He, or any other journalists, should not have been shot," she wrote.

Deflecting criticism of disproportionate use of violence by the IDF, Liberman added: "In Syria, half a million people have been killed so far, and only 40 killed at the end of last week. In Sudan and Iraq, hundreds of thousands have been murdered and no chirp or demand is heart, so it is clear that this is hypocritical, just as the Human Rights Council is making decisions against the State of Israel and not against North Korea, Syria and Sudan."

Liberman credited the decrease in deaths in Friday's protests, from 20 last week to seven this week, to Hamas understanding that Israel would not compromise when it comes to national security.



"I have no problem keeping forces on the border," Liberman said. "We can keep them there for two years."

The IDF announced after Murtaja's death was made public that it would be investigating the situation, but noted firmly that the IDF "does not kill journalists." 

Liberman also called for the Attorney General to launch an investigation into human rights group B'tselem on suspicion of incitement to insubordination after the group issued calls in the media for IDF soldiers to disobey orders to shoot at protesters.




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