Leaders of western nations were less keen to wear their hats of human rights protectors as Israeli troops over the weekend fatally shoots tens of Palestinians protesting near the border with Isreal.
Video shows some of the Israeli snipers shooting at men lining up to pray as part of the demonstration. At least 16 protesters have been killed by Israeli troops firing live rounds in their midst.
Western nations have been quick to intervene in middle eastern countries such as Iraq and Syria, claiming they were doing so to protect rights of citizens.
The protesters were among thousands who marched along the Gaza-Israel border on Friday and set up protest camps at the start of a six-week campaign for the return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.
The violence goes on as Israel embarked on its week-long Passover festival, which began at sundown on Friday, to commemorate the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, as told in the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday praised troops for “guarding the country’s borders” after a mass Gaza frontier protest led to clashes that left 16 Palestinians dead.
“Well done to our soldiers,” he wrote in a statement. “Israel acts vigorously and with determination to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens.”
Palestinians accused Israel of using disproportionate force, saying the soldiers opened fire on protesters who did not pose a threat, while human rights groups questioned Israel’s use of live fire.
UN chief Antonio Guterres called for an “independent and transparent investigation” and European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini followed suit, calling in a statement for a probe into Israel’s use of live ammunition.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas declared Saturday a day of national mourning and in a speech said he held Israel fully responsible for the deaths.
Thousands attended funerals for 14 of those killed — two were buried on Friday — with mourners holding Palestinian flags and some chanting “revenge” and firing into the air.
“On the eve of Passover (of all days), which commemorates God liberating Prophet Moses and his people from tyranny, Zionist tyrants murder peaceful Palestinian protesters — whose land they have stolen — as they march to escape their cruel and inhuman apartheid bondage. Shameful,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.