Oren: Israel was not 'diplomatically prepared' for Gaza killings
Israel was not sufficiently prepared to defend its army's actions in Gaza this Friday following the deadly brute force unleashed on peaceful protesters by Israeli troops, the country's former ambassador to the US and a current deputy Michael Oren has said.
Oren said he was alarmed by international media descriptions of a march by Palestinians - in honour for their right to return to their homes - as "peaceful". He was also angered by criticism of the Israeli troops actions, who fired on peaceful protesters and killed 17 Palestinians in what has been described as a "heinous massacre".
"Even outlets friendly to us like The Wall Street Journal, did not mention that Hamas is a terrorist organisation," he said. "So as far I am concerned we were completely unprepared. Yesterday [Saturday] was a scramble day, and that should not have been the case," he said, according to Israel's Jerusalem Post.
He added that Israel should be better prepared PR wise as it continues to attack Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and to build groundwork to justify any future confrontation with Hizballah.
"We have to lay the groundwork now," he urged. "You prepare the [Israeli army] for war, you have to prepare for this type of war too, which in many ways is the most critical and decisive."
Oren also suggested to host an international conference to spread the the Israeli narrative on Hamas.
"The first thing we have to say is that Hamas is recognised by the US and Europe as a terrorist organisation, people forget that," he added.
The death toll from Friday's shootings reached 17 - all Palestinians - on Monday morning, after Faris al-Raqib, 29, succumbed to his wounds when he was shot by the Israeli army for partaking in the peaceful "Great Return March" in the besieged Gaza strip.
After the killings, the Israeli army on Twitter bragged that it knew where "every single bullet went", implying that it knew that it was shooting and killing unarmed Palestinians. The tweet caused an uproar among pro-Palestine activists, and was later deleted.
Some 1,600 Palestinians were wounded during the demonstration, Gaza's health ministry said, over 700 of them by live bullets. The remainder were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inhalation. No Israelis were injured.
The Great Return March remains specifically important to the 1.3 million refugees of the besieged enclave's population population, whose families fled to Gaza during the mass expulsion of Palestinians during Israel's establishment in 1948.
The 1.3 million refugees, known as Muhajereen in Palestine, comprise a large portion of Gaza's overall 1.9 million population.