Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors at the United Nations have accused each other’s countries of violating international law over the latest round of Gaza violence.
They spoke at a UN Security Council meeting which ended without any joint statement or action on Tuesday.
This comes after after two more Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military, bringing the total to 62 in this round of violence on the Gaza border.
Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour addressed the council: “How many Palestinians have to die before you take action? When are you going to act?”
Israeli ambassador Danny Danon told the council: “You must tell Hamas that violence is not the answer.”
This is the Kerem Shalom crossing, usually used for humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. It was burned by Palestinian rioters. Had the rioters broken down the fence and infiltrated Israel, this would have been the fate of Israeli towns just hundreds of meters from the fence. pic.twitter.com/KXB3GSCEJn
— Ambassador Danon (@dannydanon) May 15, 2018
The UN human rights office said Israel has repeatedly violated international norms by using deadly live fire to repel protesters from its border with Gaza, suggesting its forces should instead arrest those who reach the fence.
The UN’s Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, told the Security Council “there is no justification for the killing”. He called on Israel to “recalibrate” its use of force and to use lethal force only as a last resort.
He also urged Hamas not to use protests as cover to plant bombs and “create provocations”.
It was not immediately clear what might come out of the session given deep divisions between most of the world and the US, Israel’s close ally.
US ambassador Nikki Haley said no member “would act with more restraint than Israel has” in its confrontation with Palestinians at the Gaza border.
Palestinians killed during protests on Tuesday added to growing international uproar over the Israeli military’s use of deadly force against unarmed protesters. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded by live fire in a series of weekly protests led by the ruling Hamas terror group.
The Gaza health ministry, which provided the toll from Monday’s violence, said a nine-month-old girl died from tear gas exposure, but medical officials later cast doubt on that claim, saying the infant had a pre-existing medical condition.
The high casualty toll revived international criticism of Israel’s open-fire policies.
Rights groups have said the use of potentially lethal force against protesters who pose no immediate threat to soldiers’ lives is unlawful.
The military has said presumably less lethal rubber-coated steel pellets are not effective in keeping demonstrators from the fence.
Germany, Belgium and Ireland called for an investigation of the violence.
Ireland’s foreign ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador to express “shock and dismay”.China called on Israel to exercise restraint. On Monday, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel until further notice.