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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls IDF’s reported use of force at Gaza border ‘inexcusable’

May 16th, 2018 | by Richard Paul
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls IDF’s reported use of force at Gaza border ‘inexcusable’
Business and Finance
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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JANUARY 22: The Hyundai corporate logo is seen at the International Car Show (salon des voitures) at Heysel, on January 22, 2008 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – JANUARY 22: The Hyundai corporate logo is seen at the International Car Show (salon des voitures) at Heysel, on January 22, 2008 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)

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Trudeau calling for independent probe of ‘excessive force’ by Israeli military in Gaza

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls IDF’s reported use of force at Gaza border ‘inexcusable’

An elderly Palestinian man falls on the ground after being shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel on May 14, 2018. (Khalil Hamra/The Associated Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling for an independent investigation into what he calls the excessive use of force by the Israel Defence Forces against protesters along the Gaza border on Monday.

Two days after a violent encounter with Israeli soldiers that killed more than 50 Palestinians and wounded hundreds more, Trudeau issued a statement to the parliamentary press gallery Wednesday demanding Israel’s leaders explain how a Canadian doctor tending to injured protesters was caught in the crossfire.

“Canada deplores and is gravely concerned by the violence in the Gaza Strip that has led to a tragic loss of life and injured countless people. We are appalled that Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded — along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children,” he said.

“We are doing everything we can to assist Dr. Loubani and his family, and to determine how a Canadian citizen came to be injured. We are engaging with Israeli officials to get to the bottom of these events.”

In this Monday, Sept. 7, 2015 photo, Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Palestinian-Canadian doctor, poses for a picture with 3D printed stethoscope around his neck, in Gaza City. In a territory lacking many basic medical supplies, Dr. Tarek Loubani says he has designed a stethoscope that can be made by a 3-D printer for just $2.50 _ a fraction of the cost of leading brands. Some doctors say the equipment is just as good. (Khalil Hamra/Associated Press)

Trudeau’s statement goes a step further — in both tone and content — than his previous statement on the violent flare-up at the border, which occurred shortly after the opening of the relocated U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

The city is contested, with both Israelis and Palestinians claiming it as their capital. For that reason, most foreign embassies in Israel are based in the city of Tel Aviv.

Reported use of excessive force and live ammunition is inexcusable. It is imperative we establish the facts of what is happening in Gaza. Canada calls for an immediate independent investigation.– Prime Minister Justin Trudeua on Gaza violence on Wednesday

When asked Tuesday if he thought Israel had used excessive force, Trudeau avoided condemning it directly — instead calling for an end to violence and a two-state solution through direct negotiations “that is mutually agreed by both” Israel and Palestine.

Israeli forces killed 59 Palestinians — mostly by gunfire — and injured more than 2,700 more on Monday, the Gaza Health Ministry said. The ministry said about 1,360 people were struck by gunshots during the melee, and that 130 of those injured were in serious or critical condition.

‘Inexcusable’

Human rights groups have said Israel’s open-fire order was unlawful under international humanitarian law.

Israeli soldiers guard on top of a watch tower in a community along the Israel- Gaza Strip Border, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Thousands joined funeral processions Tuesday for some of the dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in a mass march on the Gaza border, as Israelis faced growing diplomatic fallout from the use of lethal force against unarmed protesters. (Ariel Schalit/Associated Press)

The latest Trudeau statement also goes one step beyond public comments made by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. On Monday, she said she was “deeply concerned” about the violence, saying “all parties to the conflict have a responsibility to ensure civilians are protected.”

Today, Trudeau seemed to single out some of the Israel Defense Forces’ actions as “inexcusable.”

“Reported use of excessive force and live ammunition is inexcusable. It is imperative we establish the facts of what is happening in Gaza. Canada calls for an immediate independent investigation to thoroughly examine the facts on the ground — including any incitement, violence, and the excessive use of force,” he said.

Trudeau said Canada was ready to assist in the investigation. “We will work closely with our international partners and through international institutions to address this serious situation.”

Canada now joins Germany, Spain, the U.K. and Belgium in demanding such a probe. The U.S. vetoed that demand at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council yesterday.

“There should be an investigation into this,” junior foreign office minister Alistair Burt told the British Parliament Tuesday. “The United Kingdom has been clear in calling for, urgently, a need to establish the facts of what happened, including why such a volume of live fire was used …

“There are different forms of inquiry that are possible through the United Nations and we have to find the right formula, but it is important to find out all the facts.”

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated as others take cover from Israeli fire and tear gas during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem. (REUTERS)

Both Ireland and Belgium summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their foreign ministries for questioning about the Gaza violence.

Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, called the Israeli actions “unacceptable violence,” saying “there is a clear lack of proportionality and we are asking for an international investigation.”

The Israeli Defence Force said on Twitter Monday that “many rioters attempted to infiltrate Israel, approx 10 explosive devices & several firebombs were used, & numerous shots were fired.”

The military has said rubber-coated steel pellets, at times used for non-lethal crowd control, are not effective in preventing Gaza demonstrators from approaching or breaching the border fence.

“We regret every casualty, but they are being used by Hamas,” said Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

With files from the Associated Press

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