The United States blocked a draft of a U.N. Security Council statement on Saturday, expressing “grave concern at the situation on the border” following the massive “Land Day” Palestinian march on Friday, in which some 30,000 protestors violently rioted at the Israel-Gaza border. The Israel Defense Forces killed as many as 17 armed protestors during the riots.
According to AFP, the statement presented by Kuwait requested an “independent and transparent investigation of the violence,” and “called upon all sides to exercise restraint and prevent a further escalation.” The draft also referred to the Palestinian “right to peaceful protest” and expressed “sorrow at the loss of innocent Palestinian lives.”
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for “those concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties.”
In response to requests for the inquiry, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that the “attempt to break through the fence” was specifically carried out to “harm our sovereignty.”
“Any state whose borders people tried to crash would act in an even more severe way than we did, and therefore the procession of hypocrites calling for a committee of inquiry must understand that there will be no such thing,” he said. “There will not be any international inquiry. We will not cooperate with any inquiry of this kind.”
On Saturday night, the IDF posted the names and photos of 10 of the protesters killed, identifying them as members of known terrorist organizations.
IDF spokeswoman Keren Hajiott released a video statement on Facebook summarizing the riot and Israel’s response, stating that “the IDF has an obligation to protect the citizens of Israel, which is exactly what we did.”