Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border, as Palestinians protest on the Gaza side of the border, March 30, 2018..
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
LOS ANGELES – “The Nazi-like terror group Hamas” is responsible for the violence that left 17 dead and hundreds more injured after violent clashes erupted on the Gaza border on Friday, head of the Zionist Organization of America Mort Klein told The Jerusalem Post.
“What I am painfully and frightfully reminded of by Israel’s necessary defensive actions, is that the irrational hatred of Jews in 2018 remains so strong that while the Jewish state is fighting against an Arab, Nazi-like terrorist group, Hamas, whose charter and proclamations call for the murder of every Jew and Israel’s destruction, the world – through the [United Nations] – continues to show sympathy and support for the Hamas Nazis actions,” Klein said on Sunday.
“What country on earth would not use military force against an avowed terrorist enemy who comes to their border, 30,000 thousand strong with guns, bombs and burning tires, to infiltrate their country in order to kill innocent civilians and damage their security infrastructure after the terrorists were warned to refrain from these terrorist actions?” Klein asked.
No Gaza inquiry, Israeli Defense Minister Liberman says, April 1, 2018 (Reuters)
Although among the most striking and strident, Klein’s sentiments were reflected by a number of major Jewish organizations in the United States, who condemned the Islamist regime ruling over the Gaza Strip for what they described as the “cynical exploitation” of civil unrest.
“Hamas is once again cynically exploiting its civilian population to draw attention away from its own flawed leadership and once again with tragically deadly consequences,” the Anti-Defamation League wrote in a statement.
“Their call for ‘return’ is a call for the end of the State of Israel,” the organization added.
The protests, called the “March of Return,” are expected to continue until May 15, which the Palestinians commemorate as “Nakba Day,” the “Day of Catastrophe,” marking Israel’s founding as a modern nation.
StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein said that Hamas was responsible for “instigating” a “violent riot” against IDF soldiers, adding that the terrorist group’s attempt at billing the demonstration as a peaceful protest quickly faltered.
“It should come as no surprise that there are casualties, 10 of whom are known Palestinian terrorists,” the Israel education organization told the Post.
“Hamas asked for trouble by instigating 30,000 people to storm the border with guns and fire bombs aimed directly at Israeli soldiers. This is was not a peaceful protest, it was a violent riot.”
Following an internal investigation, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said that of the individuals reportedly killed during Friday’s demonstration, 10 were members of the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing. Hamas disputes that figure, claiming only five were part of the armed faction.
Other organizations, like the American Jewish Committee, emphasized Hamas’s use of financial aid to build terrorist infrastructure and tunnels as proof of the group’s preference toward violence instead of peaceful planning or providing aid for their people.
“Hamas has invested millions of dollars in its current campaign, which is meant to lead thousands of Gazans to breach Israel’s borders,” spokesperson Avital Leibovich told the Post in a statement.
“This money, could have been used for the welfare of the people in Gaza, but instead was utilized in purchasing grenades and AK-47s, as well as paying people for their participation at the riot,” she said. “Israel has the right to defend its borders just like any other country and any suggestion for an investigation on Friday’s events [by the EU or UN] should be directed at Hamas, which is accountable for this situation.”
The deadly demonstrations on Friday were part of the annual “Land Day
” march, which commemorates the deaths of six Arab citizens of Israel killed by Israeli security forces during protests over government land confiscations in northern Israel in 1976.
The protest, which the military said is being orchestrated by Hamas, comes as ordinary Palestinians face mounting hardships inside the Gaza Strip, including rising unemployment, crippling poverty and daily electricity blackouts that last for hours.
Soon after the violence subsided on the Gaza border, Human Rights Watch decried what it called the “shocking number of Palestinians killed and hurt” by IDF forces, adding that the incident brought into the fore concerns about Israel’s use of deadly force in Palestinian demonstrations.
“The shocking number of Palestinians killed and hurt today by soldiers firing across the Gaza fence raises serious questions about Israel’s longstanding use of live ammunition to police demonstrations,” HRW said in a statement.
“Israeli allegations of violence by some protesters do not change the fact that using lethal force is banned by international law except to meet imminent threat to life,” the organization added.
The military said its troops had used live fire only against people trying to sabotage the border security fence.
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