Martina Anderson: Slaughter in Palestine reminiscent of Bloody Sunday
Sinn FÃ©in MEP Martina Anderson has said the Israel Defence Forces' (IDF) justifications for the shooting of at least 15 Palestinians in Gaza on Good Friday is akin to that offered by London after Bloody Sunday.
The protestors were killed as tens of thousands of Gazans marched on what the Palestinian group, Hamas, described as a 'Great March of Return' to their 'occupied' homeland.
The Derry MEP said: "Palestinians were taking part in legitimate protests at the border when they were fired upon by the Israeli military.
"Statements from the Israeli military are reminiscent of those of the British army after the murders on Bloody Sunday.
"What happened today in Gaza was nothing short of a massacre and the international community needs to act to prevent further loss of life and respond with robust action against Israel.
"There is a responsibility on the international community and the EU in particular to defend Palestinians and to challenge Israeli aggression."
The Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported: "Around 30,000 Palestinians rallied throughout the Gaza Strip on Friday during the 'March of Return,' a series of mass protests along the Israel-Gaza border.
"At least 15 Palestinians have been killed and dozens wounded during clashes with Israeli soldiers over several hours, after a number of protesters threw stones and firebombs toward soldiers stationed along the fence."
This May marks the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which led to the declaration of Israel in opposition to Palestine, which resulted in the expulsion of thousands of people from Palestine/Israel who, with their children and grandchildren, today demand a 'right to return'."
Prior to today's bloodshed the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations have begun mobilizing the Palestinian public to participate in a series of ongoing events that will take place over the course of six weeks - starting on March 30 (known as 'Land Day' marking events that took place in Israel over 40 years ago), and leading up to May 15 (the anniversary of Israel's establishment, which Palestinians refer to as the 'Nakba', or disaster).
"Hamas has called for thousands of Gaza residents, particularly women and children, to set up tent camps as close as they can to Israel's southern border.
"It is from these camps that the march towards the Israeli border fence will be launched.
"Hamas is also seeking to extend the scope of the events beyond the Gaza Strip and to promote marches in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
"Hamas is also actively encouraging Israeli Arabs to join the campaign, thus forcing Israel's security forces to deal with multiple, simultaneous challenges on different fronts, including within its own borders."