EU asks whether Israel used ‘proportionate’ force in Gaza

A Palestinian demonstrator holds an axe during clashes with Israeli troops, during a tent city protest along the Israel border with Gaza, demanding the right to return to their homeland, on March 30, 2018.

:: The EU raised questions Saturday about whether Israeli troops engaged in “proportionate use of force” in the latest border clashes that left nine Palestinians dead in the Gaza Strip.

The European Union”s diplomatic arm also called for clarification of Israeli military reports that Palestinians stoned and firebombed their positions and tried to cross the fence into the Jewish state on Friday.

It stressed that Israeli live fire killed at least nine Palestinians, including a minor and a Palestinian journalist wearing a “press” jacket, and hurt hundreds more.

“This raises serious questions about the proportionate use of force which must be addressed,” the European External Action Service said in a statement.

“Reports by the Israeli Defense Forces about throwing of stones and firebombs against their positions and attempts to cross the fence into Israel must also be clarified,” it added.

It called for enabling medical equipment to be delivered quickly to those who need it and for “medical deferrals to hospitals outside Gaza for humanitarian reasons.”

The EU also called for avoiding any further clashes and loss of life.

The nine dead Palestinians, including the journalist, were buried in Gaza on Saturday.

They were among thousands of protesters who approached the border fence around Gaza for a second Friday in a row, burning tyres and hurling stones at Israeli forces, who responded with tear gas and live ammunition.

In addition to the nine dead, at least 491 were wounded by Israeli gunfire, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

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