UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua) — United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov on Tuesday condemned the latest round of violence in Gaza.
In a briefing to the UN Security Council, Mladenov said that Monday was a day of tragedy for the people in Gaza, referring to the clashes near the border fence with Israel.
Monday’s bloody clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers killed at least 61, including eight children and one infant.
“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.
“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.”
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, Mladenov said.
He also warned that 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.
On Monday, thousands of people participated in demonstrations in Gaza as part of the “Great March of Return” demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as well as in protest against the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.