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Israeli FM rejects criticism over killed Palestinian teens
Published Wednesday 21/05/2014 (updated) 24/05/2014 12:37
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(MaanImages/file)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday brushed off world criticism and demands for an investigation into the deaths of two Palestinian youths killed by Israeli forces last week.

"I reject any demand" for an international investigation, he told reporters on a tour of the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

"Such an incident will be investigated regardless of any demand," he remarked, denouncing world criticism of the incident as "hypocrisy."

His remarks came a day after calls by Washington and a top UN official for an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the two deaths after video footage emerged which appeared to show the shooting was unprovoked.

The closed-circuit footage, released on Wednesday by the NGOs Defense For Children International and B'Tselem, show separate incidents in which two youngsters were shot as they walked down the same street near Ramallah as Palestinians marked the 66th anniversary of the Nakba or "catastrophe" of being driven from their homes during Israel's creation.

Although clashes were taking place in the area on that day, there is no visible evidence of ongoing unrest in the footage.

The Palestinian leadership accused Israel of their "deliberate execution."

But the Israeli army dismissed the footage as having been "edited," and said it was investigating the incident.

Late on Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington expected the Israeli government "to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident."

And Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, called for an "independent and transparent" probe.

He said it was "of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat."

But Lieberman brushed off such calls.

"We don't need an American demand" to launch an investigation, he said.

"We will do it as part our commitment to the Israeli army's moral code."

Israel has said that border police were operating in the area at the time to try to quell a violent demonstration by about 150 Palestinians, and denies using live bullets.

But Palestinians say the youths were unarmed and posed no threat, accusing Israel of using "excessive and indiscriminate violence."

In a separate development, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday published figures showing "a sharp increase" in the number of Palestinian refugees killed and injured by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2013.

According to UNRWA, there has also been a big increase in the numbers of those injured by live ammunition in 2014, with 43 wounded this year compared with 10 in the same period in 2013.
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1 ) Steve / USA
21/05/2014 18:47
The Army's moral code. It will be an interesting wait, just to see the moral code of the IDF in action.

2 ) Mark / USA
21/05/2014 19:25
Moral code? What moral code? lol

3 ) Giacomo / USA
21/05/2014 20:04
Rewrite just in from AFP... ISRAELI FM FULLY AGREES TO INVESTIGATION. "We will inquire this event due to our obligation to the moral code of the IDF", said Mr. Lieberman. Further, Mr. Lieberman questioned why Israel is "demanded", but no such demands are made on Palestinians, which executed 2 of their own, without a lawyer or due process. "I reject any 'demand', and the hypocrisy we see worldwide". AFP later apologized for deliberately misquoting Mr. Lieberman, noting their own hypocrisy.

4 ) Outlier / USA
21/05/2014 21:51
The man is an idiot. Scrutiny should be welcome, to help keep such from happening again. Israel - indeed, the whole Middle East - expect and deserve better.

5 ) Colin Wright / USA
22/05/2014 06:44
To Mark #2: 'Moral code? What moral code? lol' Oh they have a moral code alright. You just don't want to hear what it is.

6 ) mohamed / somalia
22/05/2014 07:08
shame on you as a person who ilike to enjoy killing innocent people.

7 ) Tom / USA
22/05/2014 21:23
Read the Youtube comments by zionists. If this isn't a pathologically genocidal society you'd be hard pressed to find one. One women is actually cheering to the effect of "two down, a hundred thousand to go." Zionism is not just murdering Palestinians, it's killing Jewish culture as well.
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