“Hamas’s conduct is confrontational. They’re seeking to provoke the IDF,” said Australian premier Malcolm Turnbull.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull slammed the Hamas terror organization on Tuesday as “confrontational,” condemning the entity for the deaths of 60 Palestinians who took part in Hamas-led attacks on the security fence on the border with Israel on Monday.
Turnbull told Melbourne Radio 3AW that the deaths were “tragic,” but that “Hamas’s conduct is confrontational. They’re seeking to provoke the Israeli Defense Forces.”
He said that Hamas was “pushing people to the border. In that conflict zone, you’re basically pushing people into circumstances where they are very likely to be shot at as Israel seeks to defend itself.”
The attacks were coordinated to coincide with the US embassy inauguration in Jerusalem, attended by officials and dignitaries from the United States, Israel and around the world.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Israel has a right to protect itself and called on Palestinians “to refrain from violence and attempting to enter into Israeli territory.” She also noted that Israel should respond proportionately.
‘Every Casualty is a Victim of Hamas’ War Crimes’
Following the incident on Monday, the United States blocked a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) statement that would have called for a UN probe of the violence, which read: “The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest. The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability.”
The statement included no reference to any violence committed by Palestinians in the incident, which included rushing, climbing, cutting and trying to burn the fence, as well as the throwing of Molotov cocktails and rocks, live fire against IDF soldiers, the flying of incendiary kites and balloon bombs into Israel, and the burning of tires to create smoke screens for the planting of bombs along the fence.
Responding to the events at the UN, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon stated that “over the past month, Israel had to defend itself from the violent rioters along the security fence with Gaza. The rioters have thrown Molotov cocktails, planted explosive devices and rolled burning tires. They have sent flaming materials over the fence and into Israel, spreading deadly fires across our fields. And they have tried, on multiple occasions, to break down the fence and infiltrate Israeli territory.”
Presenting a photograph of the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is usually used for humanitarian aid but had been burned by the rioters, Danon said, “Had the rioters broken down the fence and infiltrated Israel, there can be no doubt that the damage to Israeli towns and villages would have looked like this.”
“Hamas has committed war crimes not only against Israeli civilians but also against its own people – turning them into human shields for their own cynical gain. Every casualty that has resulted from the recent violence is a victim of Hamas’ war crimes,” he added.