Nakba Day protesters on Lebanon border 311 (R).
(photo credit: Sharif Karim / Reuters)
NEW YORK – The IDF used “unnecessary force” against Palestinians who tried to
forcibly enter Israel from Lebanon on Nakba Day in May, according to a UN report
leaked to the press on Wednesday.
The paper written by UN Special
Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams pointed fingers at both sides, saying
Israel used “force not commensurate to the threat” and Palestinians who tried to
breach the fence near the Lebanese town of Maroun al-Ras were engaged in a
“provocative and violent act.”
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“Other than firing initial warning shots,
the Israel Defense Forces did not use conventional crowd-control methods or any
other method than lethal weapons against the demonstrators,” the report
The investigation into the May 15 incident put the number of
protesters who died in the violent clash at seven, not nine as had previously
been reported. It also contested Israel’s claim that the deaths were caused by
Lebanese troops trying to keep the crowd away from the border by firing warning
shots, saying the fatalities were the result of live ammunition fired by Israeli
soldiers at demonstrators who tried to cross the border.
a political consultant at the Israeli Mission to the UN, said on Thursday that
Israel was disappointed in the probe carried out by Williams.
people throw anti-tank mines,” Weissbrod said, referring to Palestinians who dug
the mines from the ground then threw them at Israeli soldiers, “this it is not
an ordinary protest.”
The report unfairly singled out Israel while
ignoring Lebanon’s responsibility as a sovereign state to prevent hostile acts
from being carried out against its neighbors from its soil, Weissbrod
He also said the report ignored a perilous build up of weapons by
Hezbollah in Lebanon aided by Syria.
“We believe there’s a significant
change on the ground,” he said. “We believe [the arms build up] is not getting
the appropriate attention.”
Some reports in the media said Israel was
furious with Williams for his allegedly overly critical report. Weissbrod said
in response to a question on the matter that the mission had expressed its
position regarding the report in writing to the UN.
The report concluded
with by a statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon who urged Israel to
demonstrate greater restraint and called on protesters to refrain from
“I call on the Israel Defense Forces to refrain from responding
with live fire in such situations, except where clearly required in immediate
self-defense,” Ban wrote. “[Protest organizers] were responsible for ensuring
that demonstrators did not approach the technical fence and did not become
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