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Israel Rejects Independent Probe into Deadly Violence Against Palestinian Protesters

By VOA News & World Israel News

Friday's violence along the Gaza Strip was the deadliest day between Israelis and Palestinians since 2014. More than 1,400 people were wounded. Israel said 10 of the up to 17 Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli gunfire were "documented" terrorists who tried to sneak across the border. The Israel military said its soldiers opened fire at the demonstrators only when a number of them tried to damage the border fence and threw rocks and firebombs. There are also allegations some demonstrators tried to goad soldiers into a gunfight. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the soldiers deserve medals for defending the country's borders. He said Israel will not cooperate with any independent investigation into the violence, and accused Hamas of "cynically exploiting women and children" protesters as a cover while it carries out acts of violence. "I do not understand the chorus of hypocrites who want a commission of inquiry," Lieberman wrote on Twitter Saturday. "They got confused and thought Hamas organized a Woodstock festival yesterday, and that we should give them flowers." The United States blocked a U.N. Security Council statement expressing "grave concern at the situation on the border" and urging a U.N. probe into the violence. According to the AFP, the draft council statement presented by Kuwait called for an "independent and transparent investigation of the violence," and "called upon all sides to exercise restraint and prevent a further escalation." The draft also referred to the Palestinian "right to peaceful protest" and expressed "sorrow at the loss of innocent Palestinian lives." On Saturday night, the IDF posted the names and photos of 10 of the protesters killed, identifying them as members of known terrorist organizations. IDF spokeswoman Keren Hajiott, released a video statement on Facebook summarizing the riot and Israel's response, stating that "the IDF has an obligation to protect the citizens of Israel, which is exactly what we did." Many of the Palestinians who were wounded said they were not part of the more militant marchers. Some said they were shot for merely standing close to the fence. Other witnesses said some victims were hit by bullets while running away from the violence, not toward it. "It's important to show that we suffer under the occupation, we suffer from the policies of the Israeli government, and we will not stay silent," Palestinian church leader Jamal Khader said in the West Bank Sunday. Other Palestinians were more militant, calling for "revenge." After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday over harsh criticism of Israel's handling of violent rioting in Gaza, Erdogan shot back with a number of insults aimed at the head of the Jewish state. Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu spoke at a press conference in Paris alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, referring directly to Erdogan, "I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, who kill innocent people. That is not the man who is going to lecture us." Netanyahu warned Erdogan that with a record such as this, he "should not preach to us about values and morality." Erdogan responded by calling Israel a "terrorist state and occupier" and Netanyahu a "terrorist." Israelis are preparing to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel. Palestinians have set up tent camps along the entire length of the Gaza Strip. They called May the anniversary of the Nakba, or "catastrophe," when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, unwilling to live under Israeli law, fled their homes in the war that led to the creation and U.N. recognition of the Jewish state. Israel has deployed more than 100 snipers along the Gaza Strip as it plans a nationwide celebration for its 70th birthday.

Google Israel Introduces Hummus Taste Stick Cloud Technology- for April Fools' Day

By JTA

Google Israel in a video for April 1 announced an application programming interface that detects what kind of hummus its customers enjoy. "We're extremely excited to share with you our latest Google Cloud groundbreaking technology: After enabling our customers to address senses through Speech & Vision API, we are now releasing a subset of Taste APIs started with a dish we all love – Hummus!" reads the introduction to the video on YouTube. The video, a joke for April Fools' Day, purports to show how Google researchers came up with the "taste stick" to determine the variety of hummus that an Israeli would most enjoy based on an analysis of their taste buds, and then pinpoint a local hummus restaurant, one of 20,000 in the country, that serves the appropriate variety of hummus. One woman who speaks in the video said she did not feel Israeli enough because she had not been able to find a hummus she liked prior to using the Hummus API technology. Another praises the API for helping her find a spicy hummus. Soon there will be an API for pizza in Rome and tacos in Cancun, Mexico! Other Google videos for April 1 include a Where's Waldo for Google Maps, the "Bad Joke Detector" that clears space on your phone by deleting all the bad jokes sent to you by family and friends, and a redesign of Google in Australia called Googz.


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