UN: Israel, protesters at fault in Nakba Day clash

Report from Ban Ki-moon's office is based on UNIFIL investigation; blames protesters for stones, petrol bombs, Israel for live fire use.

July 7, 2011 06:40
2 minute read.
Nakba Day protesters on Lebanon border

Nakba Day protesters on Lebanon border 311 (R). (photo credit: Sharif Karim / Reuters)


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UNITED NATIONS - Israel used force "not commensurate to the threat" when it fired live ammunition during a Palestinian Nakba Day demonstration in May, but the protesters also behaved in a provocative and violent way, a UN report released on Wednesday said.

The IDF fired on a demonstration at a Lebanese border village on May 15, security sources and the Lebanese army told Reuters at the time. Israel claimed that the Lebanese army was responsible for much of the shooting.

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Seven people died according to the UN report, a figure that was revised down from eleven initially reported killed. The incident happened by the Blue Line -- the UN-mapped frontier between Lebanon and Israel.

The report came from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office and is based on an investigation carried out by UNIFIL, the United Nation's force in Lebanon.

"The secretary-general stands by his conclusions and observations," Ban's spokeswoman told journalists on Wednesday.

The demonstrators, "in throwing stones and petrol bombs across the Israeli technical fence and the Blue Line ... carried out a provocative and violent act that constitutes a violation of resolution 1701," UNIFIL's preliminary findings found.

However, the "firing of live ammunition by the Israel Defense Forces across the Blue Line against the demonstrators" also "constituted a violation of resolution 1701 and was not commensurate to the threat to Israeli soldiers."

The UN Security Council's Resolution 1701, adopted in August 2006, called for a full cessation of hostilities in the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah.

The UN report calls on Lebanese Armed Forces and Lebanese authorities to "enforce law and order in the area and to prevent any incident on the Blue Line."

It also calls on Israel to "refrain from responding with live fire in such situations, except where clearly required in immediate self-defense."

Palestinians mourn the creation of the state of Israel on May 15 each year in what is called Nakba Day, mostly in West Bank and Gaza. This year, inspired by popular uprisings across the Arab world, they also organized demonstrations in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt along frontiers with Israel.

The UN report, dated July 1, was an advance copy which will be issued as a Security Council document according to its cover.

JPost.com staff contributed to this report.

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