The Israeli government is rejecting the charges that it acted with disproportionate violence to the events that took place in Gaza over the weekend.

Israel is bracing for several weeks of military and diplomatic confrontation that began with Friday’s march in the Gaza Strip. The march left 17 Palestinians dead and hundreds more injured, and its protests are expected to continue until May 15, which the Palestinians mark as Nakba Day, the “Day of Catastrophe,” marking Israel’s founding as a modern nation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night congratulated the IDF for defending the borders and making it possible for the country’s citizens to celebrate the Passover Seder quietly.

“Israel acts with firmness and determination to defend its sovereignty and the security of its citizens,” he said in a statement.

An estimated 30,000 Palestinians took part in the Hamas-organized protests, with the IDF saying that those who were shot were either attempting to cross over, plant bombs at or physically harm the fence.

Israeli sources said that except for one “problematic” incident, there are photos and videos to back up the IDF’s claims. This material, the sources said, will be shown to those in the international community who condemned Israel for Friday’s incidents, and accused it of using disproportionate force.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip “separates a sovereign state from a terrorist organization.”

This fence, the statement said, “separates a state that protects its citizens from murderers who send their people into danger. The fence separates an army that uses force in self-defense and in a focused and proportionate manner, from Hamas, which has for years – including yesterday – been trying to harm millions of Israelis, and which sanctifies murder and death.

While the international community is roundly condemning the Israelis for the actions of its troops, the U.S. has stood behind them. In a statement, the U.S. stated that “Hamas should focus on desperately needed improvements to the lives of Palestinians in Gaza instead of inciting violence against Israel that only increases hardship & undermines chances for peace.”

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Photo courtesy Wikipedia