The United Nations has criticized Israel for killing several Palestinian demonstrators on Nakba Day, saying the Israeli army has used excessive force against unarmed protesters.
In a report released by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier this week, Tel Aviv was severely criticized for the bloodshed that Israeli soldiers caused along the Israeli-Lebanon border on May 15, when thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon marched on the Israeli border to mourn the 63th anniversary of the creation of Israel.
According to the report, at least seven people were killed and over a hundred others wounded after Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators, who were holding a symbolic march toward their homeland on the Lebanese side of the border.
Palestinian and Lebanese sources, however, say at least 10 Palestinian demonstrators were killed in the violence.
The report, which was based on the findings of an investigation by the UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, also criticized the Israeli army for failing to follow appropriate and conventional crowd control methods and "using direct live fire against unarmed demonstrators" in a situation where there was no immediate threat to life.
"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 adds.
It also says that "the firing of live ammunition by the Israel troops” across the Blue Line [the border fence] against the Palestinian demonstrators violated the UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon.
A total of 25 protesters were killed in southern Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Syria’s occupied Golan heights by Israeli forces on Nakba Day, but the UN report has solely focused on the Lebanese-Israeli confrontation, not mentioning anything about the Israeli army’s violence in other regions.
Meanwhile, the UN report has angered Israeli officials and the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry has cut contacts with the UN special coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams, who has authored the report, until further notice.
"I am shocked by the number of the deaths and the use of disproportionate, deadly force by the Israeli Defense Forces against apparently unarmed demonstrators, which I condemn," Williams said a day after the deadly incident.