The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
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.
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.
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.
We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights in #Gaza. 38 confirmed dead, including 6 children, with close to 2000 people injured. Many are reporting injuries to the head and chest. Over 500 injured with live ammunition. This must end immediately.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) May 14, 2018
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.
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.
“Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now. The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int'l community needs to ensure justice for victims” – #Zeid. pic.twitter.com/hBb7825Sp8
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 14, 2018
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 to Jerusalem.
#Palestinians have begun commemorations of the #Nakba a day early in Ramallah in the West Bank, demanding the right to return to the homes and towns they were expelled from. Palestinians remain one of the largest refugee populations in the world. pic.twitter.com/3YtV8iYpnP
— amnestypress (@amnestypress) May 14, 2018
We recognise that Israel has legitimate security concerns and needs to protect its population, and we call on Israel to be proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force.
Leaders across world have condemned Gaza bloodbath, but Trump admin, who celebrated as Israeli forces gunned down demonstrators, blamed Hamas alone. @hrw's @saribashi tells @washingtonpost that this gives Israel "green light to continue killing & maiming" https://t.co/nrSbWyj4wL pic.twitter.com/rKCzlR4vkf
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) May 15, 2018
Australia urges Palestinian protesters to refrain from violence and attempting to enter into Israeli territory during the March of Return.
#Gaza: It is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time.
Our medical teams are providing surgical and post-operative care, they will continue to do so tonight, tomorrow, and as long as they are needed. https://t.co/q1OaHR7rRv
— MSF International (@MSF) May 15, 2018
The Australian Government is committed to a future where Israel and a Palestinian state exist side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders.