Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who lambasted Israel the day before after 16 Palestinians, ten of whom were terrorists, were killed by IDF soldiers during clashes on the Gaza border.
"The most moral army in the world will not accept moral preaching from someone who for years indiscriminately has been bombarding civilian populations," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
Violence broke out on Friday after tens of thousands of people in the Gaza Strip marched near the Israeli border. Aside from those killed, over 1,400 people were also wounded, 758 of them by live fire, with the remainder hurt by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation, the Gazan health ministry said.
The protesters were demanding hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled during the war surrounding Israel's creation in 1948 be allowed to return.
"I strongly condemn the Israeli government over its inhumane attack," Erdogan said during a speech in Istanbul in response to the clashes.
He then went on to wonder why no objections to Israel's "massacre" were raised by those critical of Turkey's operation in Afrin, Syria.
"Have you heard any noteworthy objections to the massacre by Israel that happened yesterday in Gaza from those who criticize the Afrin operation?" Erdogan demanded.
Turkey on January 20 launched a cross-border operation against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in its enclave of Afrin and the city was captured on March 18.
Ankara has come under heavy criticism from opponents and activists over its own operations in northern Syria.
"This is the biggest proof of insincerity of those who fixate on us but say nothing about Israel using heavy weapons to attack people who are protesting on their own lands," Erdogan said, without saying which governments and organizations he meant.
Erdogan on Friday spoke with US President Donald Trump in a call and the Turkish leader said he told Trump: "Aren't you going to intervene here?"
The Turkish leader, a fervent supporter of the Palestinians, often criticizes Israel's policies but the two sides have increased cooperation since the end of a rift in 2016 caused by Israel's storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead.
The Turkish foreign ministry on Friday accused Israel of using "disproportionate force" against Palestinians during "peaceful protests."
Iran joins in the condemnationUnsurprisingly, Iran also slammed Israel over the incident, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif mocking the irony of it occurring on the first day of Passover—a holiday celebrated as a commemoration of the Jews liberation from slavery and ensuing freedom as a nation.
"On the eve of Passover (of all days), which commemorates God liberating the Prophet Moses and his people from tyranny, Zionist tyrants murder peaceful Palestinian protesters—whose land they have stolen—as they march to escape their cruel and inhuman apartheid subjugation. Shameful," Zarif tweeted.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the "barbaric massacre of a large number of Palestinians by the military forces of the Zionist regime."
According to him, Israel felt it could act with impunity because of Trump's backing and secret ties with several leaders in the region—an allusion to the 32-year-old Saudi heir to the throne, Mohammed bin Salman, Iran's sworn enemy.
"Unfortunately, the unconditional support of Mr. Trump and his administration, and the shameful efforts of some ignorant novice leaders to establish disgraceful secret relations with this regime, have made the leaders of the Zionist regime more presumptuous," he said.
Speaker of the Parliament of Iran Ali Larijani described the Friday's clashes as "further crimes committed by Zionists under the auspices of the US government."