Requests to inquire into the killing of 15 Palestinians were rejected by the Israeli defense minister on Sunday, which were carried out by the military. According to reports, on Friday a confrontation between the armed forces and the Palestinian protestors that were present at the Gaza-Israel border, resulted in the killing of 15 people.
The influential Palestinian group in Gaza called Hamas, claimed of the 15 dead, five of them belonged to their armed forces. Israel, in coalition with the West, have declared Hamas to be a terrorist group and claimed 8 of the 15 to be members of Hamas and another two belonging to other militant groups.
The incident has reduced the number of Palestinians that were present along the fenced border that stretches for 65 km (40 miles). Initially, Palestinians numbering in tens of thousands were camping in tents near the border, but on Sunday only hundreds remained as the area was markedly quiet.
However, businesses and schools are closed on Friday for the Muslim sabbath, and organizers expect people to be back and continue the protest that is intended to be six weeks long. The demonstration has been for refugees and their descendants to return to their homes, in what is now Israel.
Following the carnage on Friday, an independent probe into the matter has been called by Federica Mogherini, a top diplomat of the European Union, and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
There was a statement from the Vatican too as Pope Francis, in his Easter address referenced the events in Gaza, said that the defenseless could do nothing in such situations of conflicts, as he called for restoration of the Holy Land.
The criticism, however, were rejected by the Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, who thought that the soldiers on the borders did only what was necessary and deserve a medal for their actions. In a statement made to the Israeli Army Radio, he added that there won’t be any inquiry into the matter.
According to diplomats, a U.N. Security Council statement drafted by Kuwait was blocked by the United States on Saturday. The statement included a request of restraint from all sides, while also calling for an independent investigation into the matter, the diplomats claimed.
The Israeli military had warned people to stay away from the border, but the warning fell on deaf ears as hundreds approached the area and according to the soldiers, threw fire bombs and hurled stones, as well as rolled burning tires towards the soldiers.
A 12-year old Palestinian boy was among those hit by Israeli gunfire and was receiving treatment on Sunday in a Gaza hospital. He said that he was in a crowd that approached the border and believed if he stayed away from the fence and did not throw stones, no harm would come to him. Bashar Wahdan was the boy and he said that he was standing 30 meters away from the fence, when he felt something hit his leg and he fell to the ground. The bullet broke a bone, as it cut through the boy’s leg.