22:42 GMT +318 November 2019
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    An Israeli border policeman points his weapon at Palestinian demonstrators during clashes at a protest marking Land Day, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 30, 2018.

    ‘No Naive People’ in Gaza Says Israel Defense Minister as Killings Continue

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    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)

    On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that there are “no naive people” among the 30 Palestinians killed by Israeli sniper fire last week during the ‘Great March of Return’ protests, as unarmed demonstrators in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip demand that Palestinian refugees be returned their ancestral lands seized by Israel.

    Remarking on the deaths of unarmed demonstrators, including one journalist, Lieberman said: "There are no naive people in the Gaza Strip," according to Israel's state-owned public radio network. 

    "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," he declared, cited by Arab News.com. 

    Israel has faced strongly-worded criticism over its use of live fire to kill and subdue Palestinians during 10 days of protests along the Gaza Strip. On Friday, at least nine unarmed Palestinians, including a journalist, were killed, and hundreds more wounded in the second mass protest in eight days, raising the death toll since last week's major outbreak that saw 18 Palestinians killed protesting a border blockade of territories seized by Israel in 1948.

    Israel claims it opens fire to prevent attempted attacks by Palestinians backed up by Hamas, the de-facto Sunni-Islamic governing authority of the Gaza strip since 2007.

    There have been no reported Israeli casualties during the protests. 

    Many have criticized the Israeli use of force, including the European Union and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, as both have urged for an independent investigation into the killings, a move Israel quickly rejected.

    On Saturday, UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called the killing of Palestinian protesters an "outrage."

    "The killing and wounding of yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters yesterday by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage," Corbyn said, noting that over two thirds of those living in the Gaza Strip are "stateless refugees" reliant on humanitarian assistance who "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."

    (Note: This article has been updated to reflect statements made Lieberman's spokespersons regarding the translation of a word.)

    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)


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