The Hamas terrorist organisation is entirely at fault for the deaths in Gaza that have followed the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Tuesday.
Mr. Turnbull said the loss of life was “tragic” but Hamas had to be held responsible for pushing people – including young children – to attack the border in violent confrontation with Israel.
“Any loss of life like this is tragic in circumstances like this, but Hamas’ conduct is confrontational. They’re seeking to provoke the Israeli defence forces,” Mr Turnbull toldAustralian radio outlet 3AW.
“If they’re pushing people to the border in that context, in that conflict zone, you’re basically pushing people into circumstances where they are very likely to be shot at as Israel seeks to defend itself.”
The Israel Foreign Ministry agreed:
As Mr. Turnbull spoke, the country’s former leader Tony Abbott urged consideration for moving the Australian embassy from its current home in Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital.
Although the prospect of Australia moving its embassy is not on the diplomatic agenda, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop echoed Mr. Turnbull’s call for Hamas to stop pushing people to the border.
“We recognise that Israel has legitimate security concerns and needs to protect its population, and we call on Israel to be proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force,” Ms Bishop said in a statement.
“Australia urges Palestinian protesters to refrain from violence and attempting to enter into Israeli territory during the March of Return.”
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claims that at least 55 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more wounded Monday in riots at 12 locations along the border.
Israel responded to the claims on Twitter: