UN Mideast envoy condemns violence in Gaza

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-16 06:40:52|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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UNITED NATIONS, May 15 (Xinhua) -- UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov on Tuesday condemned the latest round of violence in Gaza.

Briefing the Security Council, Mladenov said that Monday was "a day of tragedy" for the people in Gaza, referring to the bloody clashes near the border fence with Israel.

"There are no other words with which to describe what actually happened. There is no justification for the killing. There is no excuse. It serves no one. It certainly does not serve the cause of peace," said Mladenov via video teleconference from Jerusalem. "Who can possibly find words to console the mother of a child that has been killed? Who?" he asked.

"I call on all to join me in condemning in the strongest possible terms the actions that have led to the loss of many lives in Gaza," he said.

At least 60 Palestinians, including six children, were reportedly killed and more than 1,300 others were reportedly injured by live ammunition and rubber bullets, he said. One Israeli soldier was wounded.

The death toll makes Monday the bloodiest day in Gaza since the conflict of 2014, he said.

Israel has a responsibility to calibrate its use of force, to not use lethal forces, except as a last resort under imminent threat of death or serious injury. It must protect its borders, but it must do so proportionally and investigate every incident that has led to a loss of human life, he said.

At the same time, Hamas, which has controlled Gaza for more than a decade, must not use the protests as cover to attempt to place bombs at the border fence and create provocations, he said. Hamas operatives must not hide among the demonstrators and risk the lives of civilians, said Mladenov.

On Monday, an estimated 35,000 people participated in demonstrations in Gaza and hundreds of people in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, and East Jerusalem, as part of the "Great March of Return" as well as in protest of the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he said.

While no fatalities were reported in the West Bank, where limited clashes took place between demonstrators and Israeli security forces at several checkpoints, the situation in Gaza deteriorated throughout the day, particularly along the perimeter fence, said Mladenov.

The cycle of violence in Gaza needs to end, said Mladenov. "If it does not, it will explode and drag everyone in the region into another deadly confrontation."

Since the beginning of protests on March 30, more than 100 people have been killed, including 13 children.