Hamas admits most killed in Gaza violence were its members

Pauline Gross
May 18, 2018

It said: "A short while ago, IAF fighter jets struck Hamas terror targets in northern Gaza". Trucks carrying men rushed to the apparent site of the blast through empty streets, which were dark during a power cut.

Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose aspirations for a new Islamic caliphate have been only thinly disguised, is calling for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation so that members can "move as one" against Israel, reports an Iranian state-run news source.

Turkey has been among the most vocal critics of the Israeli use of deadly force against protesters at the Gaza border and of the USA decision to open its new embassy in Jerusalem. Another two Palestinians were killed on Tuesday.

But the contrast on Monday, between exultation in Jerusalem and the agony of Palestinians in Gaza, could not have been more stark, or more chilling to those who continue to hope for a just and durable peace.

Ranked as the world's seventh-largest arms exporter, Israel has developed expertise in making non-lethal weapons to subdue protests in Gaza and the West Bank.

The European Union opposed the USA move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Weeks of mass protests and bloodshed along the border may now be reaching a lull as Ramadan begins.

Dawoud Shehab, a member of the organising committee, said activities at the encampments would get under way only in the late afternoon when temperatures drop.

The ministry added: "The Israeli government must stop such use of excessive force against unarmed civilians, including children, and respect the basic human rights of Palestinians as well as worldwide law." .

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Israel has rejected those demands, saying its actions are necessary to stop mass infiltrations from the blockaded Palestinian enclave controlled by Islamist movement Hamas.

The demonstrations were initially meant to end this week.

Friday - the day protests usually peak - will be a key test of whether the current round of unrest will continue.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who with broad worldwide backing want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as their capital. The day is commemorated annually by Palestinians as the "naksa", or setback. They said the Palestinians would not accept medicine "from the murderers of our people".

The Russian top diplomat stated that Moscow was ready to fully facilitate dialogue between Palestine and Israel on the Jerusalem issue. While some Palestinian protesters did try to breach the fence separating Gaza from Israel during Monday's protest, human rights monitors on the ground are adamant that Israel's use of live ammunition was not justified.

Hamas said 50 of the dead were members of the armed Islamist group, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.

"Hamas is pushing people with a view of a massive infiltration into Israel, openly declaring their goal is to destroy Israel", Netanyahu said.

But the Hamas official, Salah Bardawil, did not give further details about whether they were members of the group's armed or political wing, or what they were doing at the time they were killed.

Other reports by GizPress

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