France Sharply Condemns Israel: We Oppose Indiscriminate Firing on Gaza Protesters

Gaza authorities say 39 Palestinians have been killed in weekly protests. 'We remind them of the duty to protect civilians, particularly minors, and of the Palestinians’ right to demonstrate peacefully,' says statement from lysée

Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded woman during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, April 20, 2018.
Khalil Hamra/AP

France denounced "the indiscriminate firing by the Israeli army at demonstrators in Gaza" in a statement released Monday by the country's foreign ministry.

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"What does France plan on doing in concrete terms, not just in words, to stop this weekly massacre that continues while the world remains silent?" asked the statement.

>> Killing of Gaza protesters undermines Israel's claims of self-defense | Analysis

The Israeli military has defended its handling of the protests, in which 39 Palestinians have been killed by army fire, according to authorities in Gaza. The military has opened an official inquiry into some of the incidents over the past month, including the killings of photojournalist Yaser Murtaja and 15-year-old Mohammed Ayoub.

"President Macron shared his concern over the situation in Gaza during his telephone conversation on April 21 with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas," Monday's statement read. "It is imperative to end the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip by ending the blockade and lifting restrictions, as well as through credible security guarantees for Israel.

"Once again, France condemns the indiscriminate firing by the Israeli army on demonstrators in Gaza and deplores the five latest deaths in the past few days," it continued.  "We reiterate our demand for restraint on the part of the concerned authorities and for a proportionate use of force consistent with international humanitarian law. We remind them of the duty to protect civilians, particularly minors, and of the Palestinians’ right to demonstrate peacefully.

"France will continue its efforts to achieve a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians, the only way to return to the path of peace," the statement concluded.

The statement also noted remarks by the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, which has said that medical teams have given postoperative care to people “with devastating injuries of an unusual severity, which are extremely complex to treat. The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities.”