Israel, Turkey in war of words over violence in Gaza

JERUSALEM, April 2 (Xinhua) — War of words between Israel and Turkey over violence in Gaza continued on Monday as top Israeli minister said the reconciliation accord between the two countries may have been a mistake.

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is “an anti-Semite” after the latter slammed Israel for shooting dead 17 Palestinians during a mass protest near the Gaza fence on Friday.

Erdogan said the 2016 reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey may have been a mistake. The deal normalized the relations between the countries six years after diplomatic ties between them were severed.

“Looking back, maybe the accord should not have been approved,” Erdogan said.

On Sunday, Erdogan accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being “a terrorist” and said Israel’s response to Friday’s protest was an “inhumane attack.”

“Hey Netanyahu! You are occupier. And it is as an occupier that are you are on those lands,” Erdogan said in a televised address in Adana in southern Turkey.

Netanyahu retaliated, tweeting that “the most moral army in the world will not be lectured to on morality from someone who for years has been bombing civilians indiscriminately.”

“Apparently this is how they mark April 1 in Ankara,” he added, referencing to April’s Fools Day.

The escalating quarrel came amidst growing international criticism over Friday’s killing.

On Friday, about 30,000 protesters from besieged Palestinian enclave marched towards the security fence separating between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The Israeli army responded with live fire and rubber-coated bullets. The violence claimed the lives of 17 Palestinians and injured over 1,200.

The Friday rally was the start of a six-week long protest that is expected to reach a peak on May 15, the day Israel celebrates its statehood and Palestinians mark the forcible transfer of two-thirds of the Palestinian people and the eradication of 418 Palestinian villages.

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