Israel ministers defend soldiers rejoicing in shooting Palestinian

His family strongly disputed Israel's allegations.

Murtaja's Gaza-based company had also recently been screened in accord with strict USA government requirements as part of an application for assistance from USAID, said a State Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in line with protocol.

Salama Marouf, head of the government media office in the Hamas-run Ministry of Information in Gaza, said Mr. Lieberman's remarks about Mr. Murtaja only proved that Israel had "sentenced him to death, then tries to promote justifications and pretexts it thinks will exempt it from responsibility for the crimes it has committed".

Israel's defence minister on Tuesday accused a Palestinian journalist, killed by the army during protests along the Gaza border, of having been a member of the military wing of Islamist group Hamas.

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Israel says it has only opened fire when necessary to stop damage to the border fence, infiltrations and attempted attacks. It says it has no choice but to use live ammunition against violent "rioters".

In a statement by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), chief negotiator Dr Saeb Erekat called the video "a reflection of the cruel mentality of Israel's military occupation and the drive of its systematic shoot-to-kill policy against the Palestinian civilians".

Hamas' leader, Ismail Haniyeh, attended the funeral in a sign of respect.

Numerous demonstrators, however, have said they are simply demanding what they say is their United Nations -supported right of return to areas now in Israel.

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"And we are protecting them".

The State Department said Tuesday the grant was still in its early stages, and no equipment or technical assistance has been provided. "We will not allow, here on the Gaza border, them to hurt us". Rushdi Farraj, Murtaja's business partner, said the grant was awarded to establish a graphics department under USAID's "Compete" project, which helps develop the Palestinian private sector. Mr. Murtaja, 30, wore a protective vest marked "Press".

Liberman said last week in a radio interview that "there are no innocents in Gaza" and that everyone living in the occupied territory had some connection to Hamas.

According to NGO Monitor, an Israeli watchdog group that investigates the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating against Israel, Murtaja's hire by a the council is part of a pattern in which NGOs have employed known terrorists.

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The video shows some Israeli soldiers cheering after one of three unarmed Palestinians was shot and fell to the ground near the fence between the besieged Palestinian enclave and Israel during a rally on Friday. But in an apparent reference to Hamas, she also said "the use of civilian presence for the goal of shielding military activities" could also be a war crime.

  • Ryan Wade