Avoid further bloodshed, UN chief urges, as Gaza violence leaves dozens dead
Following reports that dozens of Palestinians have been killed, demonstrating along the border of the Gaza Strip on
Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
urged both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to show restraint.
“The Secretary-General is profoundly alarmed
by the sharp escalation of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the high number of Palestinians killed
and injured in the Gaza protests,” said UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq in a statement.
“Israel security forces must exercise maximum restraint in the use of live fire. Hamas and the leaders of the
demonstrations have a responsibility to prevent all violent actions and provocations,” the statement added.
According to media reports, more than 50 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,000 wounded in Gaza – the Palestinian
enclave occupied by Israel, as the Israeli army fired live ammunition and tear gas at protesters assembled along the
fence with Israel.
It was the highest Palestinian death toll in a single day since Hamas-led demonstrations began along the border fence on
March 30; and the highest number of casualties inflicted since the 2014 conflict with Israel inside Gaza.
During the six-weeks of demonstrations which organizers have called “the Great March of Return,” thousands of
Palestinians have converged at the border to protest the long-standing blockade of the enclave. Israel has accused
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militants of using the protests – involving women, children, and elderly civilians - as a
pretext to infiltrate Israel and carry out terrorist attacks.
In the Monday’s march, many Palestinians were protesting the official move of the United States embassy, from Tel Aviv
The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People does not recognize Israel’s claim
that the entire city of Jerusalem is its capital.
The Committee considers that the status of Jerusalem
must be settled through negotiations that take account of the political and religious concerns of all sides.
“With tensions high and more demonstrations expected in the coming days, it is imperative that everyone show the utmost
restraint to avoid further loss of life, including ensuring that all civilians and particularly children are not put in
harm’s way,” said the Deputy UN Spokesperson.
“The ongoing violence underscores the urgent need for a political solution. The Secretary-General reiterates that there
is no viable alternative to the two-state solution, with Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace, each with
its capital in Jerusalem,” he added.
Meanwhile, the UN body monitoring implementation of the convention on eliminating racial discrimination has urged
Israel, which is a State party, to immediately end the disproportionate use of force
against Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip, refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and
ensure prompt and unimpeded access to medical treatment for those injured.
The body – known as the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - also urged Israel to initiate an
impartial and independent investigation into the use of force against Palestinian demonstrators and ensure that all
Palestinians under its effective control, enjoy full rights under the Convention, without discrimination.