Gaza, (Daily Mail), 2 April, 2018 - Israel rejected calls for an independent probe on Sunday after its soldiers killed 16 Palestinians and wounded hundreds more when a major demonstration led to clashes along the border with the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s military has faced questions from rights groups over its use of live fire on Friday, the bloodiest day in the conflict since a 2014 war, while Palestinians accused soldiers of firing on protesters posing no threat.
On Friday, Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinians who strayed from a main protest camp attended by tens of thousands and approached the heavily fortified fence cutting off the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Both UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini have called for an independent investigation.
On Saturday, the United States blocked a draft UN Security Council statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation of the violence, diplomats said.
In addition to the 16 Palestinians killed, more than 1,400 were wounded Friday, 758 of them by live fire, with the remainder hurt by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation, the health ministry in Gaza said. No casualties were reported among Israelis.
Unverified videos being shared online have fuelled the debate, including one appearing to show a protester running with a tyre being shot while seeming to pose no threat.
Rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticised Israel’s use of live fire.
‘While some Palestinian demonstrators have thrown stones and other objects towards the fence, it’s hard to believe how this would be an imminent danger to the lives of well-equipped soldiers protected by snipers, tanks and drones,’ Amnesty said.