Skip to main content

Israel defends decision to deploy snipers amid Gaza protests

Despite having expertise in using nonlethal means to disperse violent demonstrations, the Israeli military chose to use live fire against demonstrators across the border in Gaza.
Read in 

Hamas has conceded that five of at least 17 Palestinians killed by Israeli live fire at a demonstration along the border with Gaza on March 30 were members of the organization. Israel insists that 10 or 12 of those killed were “terrorists.” Even if one accepts the Israeli version, that still leaves five unarmed civilians shot to death by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with more likely to come. Gaza’s Hamas rulers have already declared that the bloodshed would not disrupt the events they dub the Great Return March, scheduled to run until May 15, when Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the “catastrophe” of Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Prior to the protest, IDF senior officers had told Haaretz that a high number of casualties was a “price we would be willing to pay to prevent a breach” of the border fence. Even after the clashes, the IDF continues to insist that it will not change its rules of engagement regarding Gaza protesters. Meanwhile, the Israeli government is unimpressed by the urgent UN Security Council session convened March 31 to discuss the deadly results and by the condemnations issued in world capitals.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.