In a major break with the Jewish lobby—which normally strictly controls public pronouncements from European Union officials—the EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini has called for an official investigation into the deadly massacre of unarmed Palestinians by Israel over the Easter weekend.
At least 17—and counting—Palestinians were shot dead and more than 1,400 wounded after Israeli army snipers, soldiers and drones attacked thousands of protesters who had flocked to a sit-in near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories.
The demonstrations—which did not take place on Israeli soil—are part of a combined protest against the planned American government’s move of its embassy to Jerusalem and also part of a build-up to commemorate the mass expulsion of Palestinians from Palestine by the Jews in 1948.
Mogherini called for “an independent and transparent investigation” that “could shed light on how the Palestinians were killed during demonstrations” and would focus on the “use of live ammunition” by the Jews against the demonstrators, none of whom were armed.
Despite Israeli denials, a number of videos have emerged of Palestinians being shot dead while not posing any threat to the Jewish soldiers.
In one video, a man later identified as Ibrahim Abu Shanab is seen kneeling on the ground in the first of two rows of worshippers Friday, facing the border fence at a distance of 150 to 200 meters (yards). Suddenly, he stands up, limps a few meters (yards), collapses and his carried away by young man.
In another video that spread on social media, a young man is seen being fatally shot from behind while running away from the border area carrying a tire.
However, Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman dismissed the calls for an independent investigation, saying that “Israeli soldiers did what was necessary. I think all our soldiers deserve a medal.”
Protests are to continue until May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding. The date is mourned by Palestinians as their “nakba,” or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were driven out by terrorism and violence by the incipient Jewish state.
More than 760,000 Palestinians—now estimated to number nearly five million with their descendants—were driven out of their homes on May 14, 1948. Most of Gaza’s two million inhabitants are descendants of Palestinian refugees.
Since 1948, Israel has denied Palestinian refugees the right to return, despite UN resolutions and international law.
Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and parts of Syria’s Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized by the international community.
Israel is required to withdraw from all the territories seized in the war under UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted months after the Six-Day War, in November 1967.