U.N. report: Israel used ‘unnecessary force’ to quell border breach


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s military used unnecessary force against protesters in Lebanon who tried to breach the border during demonstrations on Nakba Day, a United Nations report said.

The report, given to members of the U.N. Security Council and obtained by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, was prepared by U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has severed contact with Williams until further notice over the report, according to the newspaper.

Seven Lebanese protesters died during the May 14 demonstrations marking the day that Israel became an independent state.

The report said that Israeli troops used live fire against the 8,000 to 10,000 demonstrators trying to breach the border fence, who were unarmed.

"I call on the Israel Defense Forces to refrain from responding with live fire in such situations, except where clearly required in immediate self-defense," the report issued by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "Notwithstanding every country’s inherent right of self defense, there is a need for the Israel Defense Forces always to apply appropriate operational measures, including crowd control measures, which are commensurate to the imminent threat toward their troops and civilians.

"Other than firing initial warning shots, the Israel Defense Forces did not use conventional crowd control methods or any other method than lethal weapons against the demonstrators."

The report did note that Palestinian demonstrators who initiated the demonstrations were the first to use violence and violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.

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