Palestinians Rip Into U.S. for 'Unconditional' Support of Israel's Conduct at Gaza Border

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Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas toward Palestinians protesters as they gather on the Israel-Gaza border on Friday, March 30 2018.
Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas toward Palestinians protesters as they gather on the Israel-Gaza border on Friday, March 30 2018.Credit: Tsafrir Abayov/AP

The Palestinian Authority lambasted the U.S. government Sunday for its support of Israel in light of weekend's events at the Gaza border that left 15 Palestinians killed and over 700 wounded, mostly by Israeli live fire.

"The U.S. administration decided to burn all bridges and international law due to its unconditional tendency to support Israel and thwarting any decision or statement that condemns Israel's conduct after the killing of protesters in the Strip," said chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

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Israel has since said that 10 of those killed were active members of Hamas' armed wing and two other militant groups, while Hamas has acknowledged that five of the dead were members of its armed wing.

Thirty thousand Gazans participated in Friday's start to the "March of Return," a series of mass protests slated to continue for weeks. Sunday is expected to be relatively calm, especially considering Christian holidays of Easter and Palm Sunday.

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. 

>> With riots and live fire, Gaza just went 25 years back in time | Analysis >>

"Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights and humanitarian law. Lethal force should only be used as a last resort with any resulting fatalities properly investigated by the authorities," UN deputy political affairs chief Taye-Brook Zerihoun said.

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

Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected calls for an independent investigation into the deaths. "Regarding an investigation committee, it will not happen," Lieberman said to Israel's army radio. 
Lieberman defended the soldiers' actions, saying they acted "exactly according to procedures."

"Anyone that was not posing a danger that was not approaching the [border] fence, they did not shoot," he added.

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