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2018-04-06 digital edition

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April 6, 2018  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

IDF orders probe into military’s response to Gaza border protests

A Palestinian protester burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces near the border of the southern Gaza Strip, on April 2. 
Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images A Palestinian protester burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces near the border of the southern Gaza Strip, on April 2. Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images JERUSALEM (JTA) — The IDF General Staff has ordered an investigation into the Israeli military’s response to the Gaza border protests.

The Israel Defense Forces announced that Brig. Gen. Moti Baruch has been appointed to lead the investigation. Baruch is a former division commander and current head of the army’s Training and Doctrine Division.

The IDF conducted a similar investigation after the Gaza war in 2014. Only after the investigation is completed will a decision be made on whether to open a Military Police investigation, according to reports.

Some 30 Palestinians, including a journalist, have been killed and several thousand injured since the protests began on March 30 when an estimated 30,000 Palestinians massed on the Gaza border at six spots. On Friday, April 6, the IDF again reported massive crowds of some 20,000 Palestinians. The protesters burned tires as a smokescreen, and threw rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops on the other side of the border fence.

The IDF said it used live fire in some cases, as well as riot control measures to stop the protesters from breaching the border fence.

The Palestinians have said the protests are peaceful.

The investigation likely will focus on several specific cases, such as the death of photojournalist Yasser Murtaja, who was operating a drone over the heads of Israeli troops and was wearing a vest emblazoned with the word “Press” on it.

The protests are part of the planned six-week “March of Return” which will end in mid-May with the anniversary of Israel’s founding, which the Arab world calls the Nakba, or catastrophe.

Meanwhile, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said that actions by both Israeli soldiers and Hamas may be considered war crimes. Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that: “Any person who incites or engages in acts of violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing in any other manner to the commission of crimes within ICC’s jurisdiction is liable to prosecution before the Court.“

Fatou said he is closely watch the situation and will “record any instance of incitement or resort to unlawful force.”

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