Israel warns of more bloodshed at upcoming Gaza protests

Israel warns of more bloodshed at upcoming Gaza protests
2 min read
04 April, 2018
Right-wing Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israeli forces will continue to use live fire if protests on the Gaza continue this week.
Gaza will likely see further protests on Friday [Getty]

Israel's right-wing Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said the military will continue with the same deadly tactics it employed against Palestinians at the Gaza border during protests on Friday, during a visit to the area.

Live fire - along with rubber bullets and tear gas - were used by Israeli troops and left 18 Palestinian protesters dead and hundreds more wounded, at a demonstration on the Gaza border Friday.

"We have established clear ground rules and we do not intend to change them," Lieberman said close to the Gaza border. 

"Anyone who approaches the border is putting his life in danger."

He called protests at the border "a clear provocation" and rejected calls for an independent enquiry into the killings.

Israel's military have accused some of the protesters of "terrorist" activities and links to militant groups.

Despite these claims, no Israelis were injured on Friday, despite the huge death toll for Palestinians. Some of those injured or killed were shot while praying or observing events.

On Tuesday, a 25-year-old Gaza man was killed by Israeli fire as he threw stones close to a border fence, Gaza's Health Ministry said.

Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour has appealed to the UN Security Council to protect Palestinian civilians, particularly in Gaza. 

He said the Israeli military had "a shoot-to-kill policy" during the protests.

Mansour backed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call for an independent investigation of the killings, saying Israel had "intentionally, grossly and systematically" violated its legal obligation to protect civilians.

In addition to the 18 deaths on Friday, more than 750 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli live fire, according to Gaza health officials. 

The total Palestinian wounded was around 1,500, including 148 injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.

Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas official, said mass protests would continue as planned, despite Lieberman's threats.

He added that the Israeli defence minister's latest comments should be seen as "more evidence of a war crime he (Lieberman) committed in Gaza last Friday".

The mass march at the border was intended to commemorate the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled their homes during the creation of Israel.

Much of Gaza's population is made of these refugees and Palestinians have demanded a right to return to their homes.