The leader of the US Reform movement has urged Israel to take “all necessary and effective precautions so that innocent civilians will not be harmed.”Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued a statement on Tuesday saying: “The ongoing escalation on the Gazan border is tragic and dangerous for both Israelis and Palestinians. There appears to be no doubt that Hamas has made cynical and violent use of those Gazans who seek a more hopeful future.
“But, at the same time, we call on Israel to take all necessary and effective precautions so that innocent civilians will not be harmed. Additionally, the press – especially when marked clearly as such – must be protected as non-combatant civilians.”Palestinian photojournalist Yaser Murtaja was shot dead by an IDF sniper during clashes along the Gaza border on Saturday.He was wearing a protective jacket with “PRESS” marked on the front of it.Security officials told Israeli news site Walla on Tuesday that Murtaja had been an officer in the Hamas security apparatus in Gaza for years.Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Murtaja was operating a drone over IDF soldiers. On Monday, a video filmed by an IDF soldier of a sniper shooting a Palestinian sparked outrage.The Palestinian appeared to be unarmed and non-threatening, and soldiers can be heard laughing, cheering and cursing him.The IDF said it was investigating the film but that it appeared to have been taken a few months ago.“We are concerned about the lack of a hopeful timeline for Gazans to experience a different future,” Jacobs’ statement continued.“Israelis on the Gazan border deserve, too, the guarantee of a peaceful life. The continued tragedy of Gaza shows the strong need for a regional agreement, including Egypt and other Arab states, and for the US to play an arbiter’s role in finding a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.”The recent Palestinian protests along the Gaza border began on March 30.The Palestinians have portrayed the Friday marches as nonviolent protests for freedom, with protesters intent on returning to the sites of villages within Green Line Israel that were destroyed during the 1948 War of Independence.Israel views the march as a violent assault on its internationally recognized border and has published photos of Palestinians burning tires, throwing Molotov cocktails and cutting through the barrier. Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
Funeral held for Palestinian journalist killed in Israel-Gaza protests, April 7, 2018 (Reuters)