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'There Are No Innocent People in Gaza': Israeli Army Chief

  • A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated after being shot by Israeli troops at a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, Gaza April 9, 2018.

    A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated after being shot by Israeli troops at a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, Gaza April 9, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 April 2018

The defense minister suggested even medics, activists and journalists could be targeted because they could be part of Palestinian Hamas party.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that there were "no innocent people" in the besieged Gaza strip where at least 30 Palestinians have been killed over the course of 10 days of protests. 

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Lieberman made the comment during an interview with Israeli public radio. "There are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip," Lieberman said. "Everyone's connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists."  

Israel's Defence minister further added, "We know that in many instances Hamas has used journalists and the media and the Red Crescent and ambulances to carry out terror activities. Whoever flies a drone over [Israeli] forces, over our soldiers – we won’t take any chances." 

Despite condemnation from several international human rights groups, Israel has continued to use live fire against Palestinians protesting along the Gaza Strip border as part of activities of the "Great March for Return" taking place for six weeks. 

Such violent crackdown by Israeli forces has left over a thousand Palestinians injured and putting local hospitals in Gaza in severe shortage of medical supplies, forcing them to declare a state of emergency, Al-Jazeera reported Monday.

The Israeli military accused the "approximately 10,000 Palestinians” who were protesting close to the Gaza-Israel border of "rioting in five locations along the border with the Gaza Strip." To obscure the vision of Israeli snipers, Palestinians burned hundreds of tires. 

"We have heard many warnings about using burning tires, but we have no other options to express our anger and our right of return," demonstrator Said Ayman Hamdan told the Middle East Eye Friday.  

"Whatever we use, we are always targeted by Israeli forces. So we use tires that will misguide the Israelis gunshots, as we are peaceful protesters. We needed something to protect us from Israeli brutality."

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In a strongly worded letter, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, Fatou Bensouda, warned both Israel and Gaza of the "deteriorating situation" harming the civilians. 

"Since 30 March 2018 at least 27 Palestinians have been reportedly killed by the Israeli defence forces, with over 1,000 more injured, many as a result of shootings using live ammunition and rubber bullets.

"Violence against civilians, in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza, could constitute crimes under the Rome statute of the [ICC], as could the use of civilian presence for the purpose of shielding military activities." 

On Saturday, U.K. Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn also issued a statement against Israel's "illegal" use of arms against unarmed, peaceful Palestinian protesters. 

"The killing and wounding of yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters yesterday by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage," Corbyn's statement argued. "They have a right to protest against their appalling conditions and the continuing blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, and in support of their right to return to their homes and their right to self-determination."  

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