Palestinians in Gaza 'caged in a toxic slum,' United Nations rights chief says

Saul Bowman
May 18, 2018

On Thursday, the terrorist group issued a call for mass participation in the border protest, claiming that it would honor the 63 Palestinians who were killed this week in the area.

The draft resolution discussed on Friday, presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and backed by 47 United Nations member states, said the investigators should look into "all violations of worldwide humanitarian law and global human rights the context of the military assaults on large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018".

"My first words are to deplore the tragic loss of lives and suffering in Gaza and to express my deep sadness and condolences to the Palestinian people", Guterres said in a statement read by Deputy Secretary General Louise Frechette at the UN's NY headquarters.

A large number of Palestinians gathered to protest on the Gaza Strip's eastern border to commemorate the Nakba anniversary and protest the relocation of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which overturned decades of American foreign policy. The council session would only serve to "empower Hamas and reward its terror strategy and its use of civilians as human shields to advance its terror activities against the citizens of Israel". "Hamas and the leaders of the demonstrations have a responsibility to prevent all violent actions", Guterres said.

The Israeli ambassador was recalled over the resolution for about six months.

The increased tension comes as Israel's Independence Day approaches, with celebrations set to coincide with a ceremony marking the relocation of the US Embassy, scheduled for Monday, May 14.

The draft calls for intensified efforts by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov to help deter violence, protect civilians, and create "an environment conducive to dialogue".

"Over the course of the next two days, I urge you all to reflect on how we can turn this vision into a reality", she said. Capping weeks of protests, about 40,000 Gaza residents descended on the border area Monday.

Israeli snipers opened fire from across the fence, killing 59 Palestinians and wounding 1,300.

"Israel is unjustly and against any objective reasoning accused of using disproportionate force against Hamas", the Embassy says.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, meanwhile, said Hamas had stirred the violence and Israel had acted shown "restraint".

Hamas said Wednesday that 50 of the dead were members.

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