Netanyahu Blasts Erdogan Over Gaza: Israel Won't Be Lectured by Those Who Indiscriminately Bomb Civilians

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Israeli troops fire teargas canisters at Palestinians during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border, March 30, 2018.
Israeli troops fire teargas canisters at Palestinians during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border, March 30, 2018.Credit: Khalil Hamra/AP

UPDATE: Erdogan hits back: Netanyahu is a terrorist and Israel is a terror state

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday over his criticism of Israel's resonse to the protests on the Gaza border over the weekend.

"The most moral army in the world will not be lectured by someone who for years is bombing civilian populations indiscriminately," Netanyahu said in a statement. "Apparently that’s how they mark April 1 in Ankara."

Prime Minister Netanyahu giving a speech at a conference in Tel Aviv on March 27, 2018.Credit: עופר וקנין

>>Debunking Israel's talking points on deadly Gaza protests | Opinion

Erdogan said in Istanbul on Saturday that he “strongly condemns the Israeli government for its inhumane attack," referring to the killing of 15 Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border on Friday. “Israel will imprison Palestine under its oppression. We will continue to support our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”

Erdogan attacked his critics as well. “I have not heard worthy opposition to the Israeli massacre in Gaza from those who criticized the operation in Afrin,” he said, referring to Turkish actions in the Kurdish enclave in Syria.

The European Union criticized the Turkish offensive on Afrin two weeks ago, while the Kurdish militia called the assault an “occupation.” A top member of the Kurdish civil authority told Reuters that  civilians still in Afrin town were facing threats from the Turkey-backed groups.

“This is the clearest proof of the lack of sincerity by those who focus on us but say nothing about the fact that Israel attacks protesters on their own land,” he said. Erdogan added that he spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday and asked him: “Aren’t you going to intervene there?”

On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent and transparent investigation into the deaths and injuries along Gaza's border with Israel, his spokesman said in a statement.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called on Saturday for a probe into the Israeli military's use of live fire during the mass rallies at the Gaza-Israel border.

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