Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has declared that the leaders of Hamas are "a bunch of cannibals who also treat their own children as ammunition," as he toured the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on May 16, according to Haaretz newspaper.
"Their goal is to lift the siege on Gaza, but not to build an economy or to speak about coexistence. They need to lift the siege so they can smuggle weapons, continue to build up [their] power," Lieberman said.
Lieberman also labeled Palestinian protesters as "rabble" and described the protest rallies staged by Palestinians in the region during the last several weeks as "terror processions."
Mass protests erupted in the Gaza Strip on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding and in the wake of the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem – an act that has cemented US President Donald Trump’s decision to formally recognize the city as the Israeli capital.
A total of 61 Palestinians were killed and over 2,700 were injured during the ensuing clashes with Israeli security forces, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow is concerned by this outbreak of violence and urges all parties involved to show restraint and avoid escalating things any further.
She also added that Russia’s stance on the status of Jerusalem remains unchanged, and that Moscow continues to advocate a two-state solution.