Israel's defence minister says Hamas is 'a group of cannibals'

  • Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Erdoğan traded insults on Twitter
  • More than 60 Palestinians have been killed in last two days along Gaza border
  • Deaths sparked international concern - but Israel insists it was protecting border
  • State's defence chief Avigdor Lieberman has called Hamas 'a group of cannibals'
  • Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan, claimed Hamas was to blame for every Palestinian death during the clashes

By Julian Robinson and Sara Malm for MailOnline

Published: 08:03 EDT, 16 May 2018 | Updated: 10:34 EDT, 16 May 2018

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been attacking each other on Twitter in the wake of the violence at the Gaza border.

More than 60 Palestinians have been killed - many by Israeli live fire - in the last two days amid violent demonstrations over the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem.

Turkey condemned the shootings, branding Israel a terrorist state carrying out genocide of Palestinians, which saw Netanyahu fire back at Erdogan on social media.

Twitter spat: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned to social media to respond to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Gaza, after which the Turkish President also took to Twitter

'Erdogan is among Hamas's biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter,' Netanyahu tweeted.

'I suggest that he not preach morality to us.' 

Erdogan took to Twitter himself to respond, branding Netanyahu 'the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people's lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions.

'He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can't cover up crimes by attacking Turkey. 

'Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandments.' 

Erdogan is among Hamas's biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter. I suggest that he not preach morality to us

— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 15, 2018

Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people's lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions.

He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can't cover up crimes by attacking Turkey.

Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandments.

— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) May 15, 2018
Violence: A wounded Palestinian protester lies on ground during clashes with Israeli security forces in al-Bureij in the center of Gaza Strip on Tuesday
Violence: A wounded Palestinian protester lies on ground during clashes with Israeli security forces in al-Bureij in the center of Gaza Strip on Tuesday

Violence: A wounded Palestinian protester lies on ground during clashes with Israeli security forces in al-Bureij in the center of Gaza Strip on Tuesday

Israel's defence minister has said Hamas is 'a group of cannibals that uses children as weapons' in the wake of deadly protests (pictured) along the Gaza border
Israel's defence minister has said Hamas is 'a group of cannibals that uses children as weapons' in the wake of deadly protests (pictured) along the Gaza border

Israel's defence minister has said Hamas is 'a group of cannibals that uses children as weapons' in the wake of deadly protests (pictured) along the Gaza border

More than 60 Palestinians have been killed - many by Israeli live fire - in the last two days amid violent demonstrations over the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem
More than 60 Palestinians have been killed - many by Israeli live fire - in the last two days amid violent demonstrations over the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem

More than 60 Palestinians have been killed - many by Israeli live fire - in the last two days amid violent demonstrations over the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem

This comes after Israel's defence minister Avigdor Lieberman called Hamas 'a group of cannibals' and accused them of using children as weapons and human shields on the border.

Lieberman said Israeli troops did everything they could to avoid civilian deaths - and put the blame on Hamas rulers.

He said: 'The Hamas leadership is a group of cannibals who treat their children as armament. They have rocket armament, personal armament and another kind of armament - their children and women. 

Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman (pictured) said Hamas bosses are a 'group of cannibals who treat their children as armament'
Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman (pictured) said Hamas bosses are a 'group of cannibals who treat their children as armament'

Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman (pictured) said Hamas bosses are a 'group of cannibals who treat their children as armament'

'Their goal is to lift Gaza's blockade but not to build their economy or hold talks about coexistence, but rather to smuggle weapons (into Gaza) to continue to build up their military force and create a pseudo Hezbollah model.'

Meanwhile, Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan, suggested Hamas was responsible for every Palestinian death during the clashes.

He told Jpost: 'Hamas has orchestrated the violence and orchestrated with the deliberate intent of trying to force the IDF to use lethal force against their people so that their own people get killed.' 

Since the Hamas-led protests began on March 30, more than 110 Palestinians have been killed and some 2,500 have been wounded by live fire, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Canadian doctor shot in the legs during Gaza protests

A Canadian-Palestinian doctor has described how he was shot in the legs by an Israeli marksmen - while a paramedic colleague was killed in a separate shooting.

Dr. Tarek Loubani, from London, Ontario, was on the Gaza border on Monday to help care for wounded Palestinians during deadly clashes.

The emergency physician said he was wearing a visible green surgeon's outfit when a bullet entered his left leg and exited through his right leg. While he will require rehabilitation, he says he feels 'incredibly lucky'.

Canadian-Palestinian doctor (pictured in blue) has described how he was shot in the legs by an Israeli marksmen - while a paramedic colleague was killed in a separate shooting
Canadian-Palestinian doctor (pictured in blue) has described how he was shot in the legs by an Israeli marksmen - while a paramedic colleague was killed in a separate shooting

Canadian-Palestinian doctor (pictured in blue) has described how he was shot in the legs by an Israeli marksmen - while a paramedic colleague was killed in a separate shooting

But the doctor revealed his guilt at being unable to save a paramedic, 36-year old Musa Abuhassanin, who was shot in the chest an hour later at a protest site further north.

Loubani said that, had he not been shot himself, he may well have been able to save Mr Abuhassanin's life.

'There was relatively heavy fire that was going on. He was wearing a high visibility jacket. It was clearly marked. He was shot in the chest,' Dr. Loubani told the Globe and Mail. 

'They couldn’t remove him. They couldn’t recover him for about 30 minutes until finally they dragged him to a blind spot and then dragged him down a hill and took him to the hospital in a civilian vehicle. He died before he got to the hospital.'

Loubani is part of a medical team funded by the South African-based Shuttleworth Foundation, the Globe and Mail reported.

Palestinian officials say the vast majority of the casualties have been unarmed protesters.

The heavy death toll on Monday, along with hundreds of wounded, made it by far the bloodiest day of cross-border violence since a devastating 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. It also triggered a diplomatic backlash against Israel.

The UN Security Council held a special session that began with a moment of silence for the Palestinians who were killed. In Geneva, the UN human rights office said Israel has repeatedly violated international norms by using deadly live fire to repel protesters.

Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and consul general and several European countries summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their foreign ministries for questioning and called for an international investigation. 

US president Donald Trump announced his decision in December to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the American embassy there, triggering a joyous reaction from Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

The use of force along the Gaza border has sparked international concern - while Israel claims it was just protecting its borders. Pictured: Relatives mourn an eight-month-old baby killed in the clashes
The use of force along the Gaza border has sparked international concern - while Israel claims it was just protecting its borders. Pictured: Relatives mourn an eight-month-old baby killed in the clashes

The use of force along the Gaza border has sparked international concern - while Israel claims it was just protecting its borders. Pictured: Relatives mourn an eight-month-old baby killed in the clashes

The state's defence chief Avigdor Lieberman said troops did everything they could to avoid civilian deaths - but that Hamas rulers in Gaza were to blame for using them as human shields
The state's defence chief Avigdor Lieberman said troops did everything they could to avoid civilian deaths - but that Hamas rulers in Gaza were to blame for using them as human shields

The state's defence chief Avigdor Lieberman said troops did everything they could to avoid civilian deaths - but that Hamas rulers in Gaza were to blame for using them as human shields

Israel has always claimed Jerusalem as its capital yet most countries opted to place their embassies in coastal Tel Aviv because of the holy city's contested status.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move not recognised internationally.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and view the relocation of the embassy as a one-sided move that invalidates the US as a peace broker in the region.

The embassy move added fuel to the weekly Palestinian protests in Gaza demanding the right of return to Israel and the lifting of a decade-old naval blockade.

They culminated in the killing of nearly 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces in clashes along the border.

'War begets war': Pope warns Gaza bloodshed is hurting chances for peace as he expresses 'great pain for the dead and wounded'

Pope Francis has warned that the latest spasm of violence in the Holy Land is only hurting chances for peace, and called for revived efforts at dialogue and justice.

Francis said he was 'very worried and pained' at the bloodshed and expressed his 'great pain for the dead and wounded' and all those who suffer. 

Leading thousands of people in prayer Wednesday at the end of his weekly general audience, he said the use of violence can never bring about peace.

'War begets war, violence begets violence,' he said.

Francis didn't single out either the Israelis or the Palestinians in his comments, instead urging all sides and the international community to 'renew their commitment so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail.'

Pope Francis has warned that the latest spasm of violence in the Holy Land is only hurting chances for peace, and called for revived efforts at dialogue and justice
Pope Francis has warned that the latest spasm of violence in the Holy Land is only hurting chances for peace, and called for revived efforts at dialogue and justice

Pope Francis has warned that the latest spasm of violence in the Holy Land is only hurting chances for peace, and called for revived efforts at dialogue and justice

He added, though, a special greeting to Muslims who are celebrating Ramadan, saying: 'May this privileged time of prayer and fasting help those to walk along the path of God, which is the path of peace.'

Francis' appeal came after Israeli soldiers shot and killed 59 Palestinians and wounded hundreds in mass protests at the Gaza border, part of a weeks-long campaign to break a border blockade that Israel and Egypt imposed after Hamas took over Gaza by force in 2007. 

The latest bloodshed came on the same day the United States opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem after relocating it from Tel Aviv. 

Palestinians seek Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as a future capital.

Francis has previously responded to the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital by urging respect for the status quo of the holy city. 

The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The Holy See recognized the Palestinian state in 2015 and has long been viewed as being sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. 

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