A new United Nations report criticized Israel’s use of disproportionate force in clashes with Palestinian protesters attempting to enter Israel from Lebanon. Seven died and 111 were injured when the Israeli army opened fire on the protesters during their commemoration — known as Nakba Day — of Palestinian dispossession resulting from Israel’s founding in 1948.
While criticizing the Shia Lebanese militia Hezbollah for helping to organize the border demonstration, the U.N. report found that Israel did not take the necessary steps before deploying deadly force against the protesters:
Other than firing initial warning shots, the Israel Defence Forces did not use conventional crowd control methods or any other method than lethal weapons against the demonstrators.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon chimed in with a statement at the end of the report, noting that Israel “used direct live fire against unarmed demonstrators”:
I call on the Israel Defence Forces to refrain from responding with live fire in such situations, except where clearly required in immediate self-defence.
The U.N. said the disproportionate use of force constituted a violation of U.N. Resolution 1701, which ended the summer 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.
After the announcement of the report, Israel reacted with indignation, refusing to officially comment and canceling a planned periodic trip to Israel by the report’s author, U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams.