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Israel envoy defends action on Gaza border

Ahmedabad: Defending the Israeli Army's action along the Gaza border which left 59 Palestinians dead, Israel's Ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon today said the protests were an attempt by Hamas to breach the border and take Israeli soldiers hostage.

Israeli forces killed 59 Palestinians during clashes and protests along the Gaza border yesterday against the US embassy opening in Jerusalem in the conflict's bloodiest day in years.

Speaking to reporters here, Carmon also lashed out at Iran, saying it was planning the "next holocaust".

He said his country had alerted the international community about the possibility of such a situation.

Hamas is a terrorist organisation, and many of those killed were Hamas operatives, he claimed.

"We have a complicated situation in our region and this is not new. One of the factors for instability is the Gaza strip on the south, reigned by a terrorist organisation called Hamas. In our north, (there is) another terrorist organisation Hezbollah, supported by Iran and by Syria," the envoy said.

"What Hamas had decided to do a few weeks ago, we have been advising the world ahead of time....Look what is happening. Something should be done about it. But nothing was done," he said.

Carmon was here to take part in an interactive session on 'India and Israel: A multifaceted strategic partnership'.

"Some called them peaceful demonstrators. But they were not peaceful. They were incited. Their aim was to breach the border...to cut the border fence and come in thousands. There were instructions by Hamas to kidnap Israeli soldiers," he said.

"They were asked (by Hamas) to not kill the soldiers. They were asked to catch them (the soldiers), as they would need them for negotiations for hostage swap," he said.

"We, as a responsible country which safeguards the territorial integrity and security of the citizens, could not accept this situation. We have advised the world months in advance that we will be witnessing this," the Israeli envoy said.

Carmon claimed that a large number of Hamas operatives were among the demonstrators, and "some of those were killed".

He termed Iran as a "big problem" in Israel's neighbourhood.

"We have three big problems. Iran, Iran and Iran. It promotes terrorism and destabilisation. Iran is preparing for next holocaust," the envoy said.

The nuclear deal with Iran - which the US has now junked - was a bad deal, he said.

On the shifting of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Carmon said the city had been the capital of Israel for many years as "international leaders, when in Israel, hold talks with the government in Jerusalem".

He also hoped that other countries would follow the US's lead and shift their embassies to Jerusalem.

News source: 
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