Despite growing condemnation for the deaths of 60 Palestinians on the Gaza border yesterday, Israel defended its military’s actions as an act of self-defense in the face of a mass attack.
“We didn’t want it to happen, but we understood these were Hamas’ intentions,” Danny Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York, told reporters Tuesday. “We are not going away. We will defend our border. We will defend our population. If they invade Israeli communities, we will have to take much harsher measures. By doing what we did we are saving human life.”
On Monday morning, tens of thousands of Palestinians rushed Gaza’s border with Israel as part of a string of protests called the March of Return. The protesters say they’re opposing Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip, and pushing for Palestinians’ return to their ancestors’ homes within Israel. Israel says the protest is an invasion by Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza, and that it endangers Israeli lives and communal security.
On Monday, Palestinians charged the border fence en masse, some carrying weapons. Israel responded with tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and live fire. Sixty Palestinians were killed and thousands were injured.
And Israel was pilloried in the press. The optics were particularly bad on Monday: In Jerusalem, an hours’ drive away, American and Israeli diplomats were all smiles as they dedicated the United States Embassy.
The front page of the New York Daily News, a leading tabloid, showed a picture of a grinning Ivanka Trump juxtaposed with a photo of the carnage in Gaza. The headline: Daddy’s Little Ghoul.