Germany backs independent inquiry on Gaza violence


Germany on Tuesday backed calls for an independent commission to investigate rising tensions on Israel-Gaza border and reports of excessive use of force by the Israeli military.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert expressed “serious concern” over the deaths of Palestinian demonstrators by cross-border Israeli gunfire.

“In our opinion, an independent investigation commission can shed light on the violence and the bloody confrontations at the border area," he said.

His remarks marked an apparent change of tone towards Israel, amid continued violation of international standards by the Israeli army, which continued to use live ammunition against protestors.

Last week, German government expressed confidence in the work of Israeli authorities, who pledge to conduct an “internal inquiry,” after dozens of Palestinians were martyred in anti-occupation rallies.

Seibert called on Israeli government and the Palestinian authorities to exercise restraint and avoid any steps that could further escalate tensions.

“Israeli government has the right and responsibility to protect its citizens and secure its borders. But while doing that, it must comply with the principle of proportionality,” he stressed.

At least 61 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli forces on Monday.

Thousands of Palestinians have gathered on Gaza Strip’s eastern border since Monday morning to take part in protests aimed to commemorate the Nakba anniversary and protest relocating of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The rallies will culminate on Tuesday, May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment — an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "the Catastrophe".


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