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African Union slams Israel for Gaza killings

May 15, 2018 at 10:23 am

Participants are seen at the 30th African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 28 January 2018 [Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency]

The African Union today strongly condemned Israel for killing dozens of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip yesterday.

In a statement, African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the “disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army” resulted in the killing of over 50 Palestinian demonstrators, while many more were wounded.

The relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem can only further heighten tensions in the region and complicate the search for a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Mahamat said.

The pan African body reiterated its solidarity with the Palestinian people in “their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital”.

Mahamat called on the international community to search for a lasting two-state solution.

Meanwhile, Australia urged Israel to be “proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force”; it also expressed its deep regret and sadness over the loss of life and injury during the protests in Gaza.

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“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,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a written statement.

Bishop also urged Palestinian protesters to “refrain from violence and attempting to enter into Israeli territory during the March of Return”.

“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,” she added.

‘Disregard for Palestinian rights’

Former CIA director John O. Brennan on his Twitter account described the deaths in Gaza as a “result of utter disregard of Messers Trump & Netanyahu for Palestinian rights & homeland”.

“By moving Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump played politics, destroyed US peacemaker role,” he said.

A total of 59 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred and over two thousand were injured by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border yesterday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Since the border rallies began on 30 March, more than 90 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by cross-border Israeli gunfire, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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The rallies are to culminate on Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment – an event Palestinians refer to as the Nakba or “the Catastrophe”.

Last week, the Israeli government said the ongoing border protests constituted a “state of war” in which international humanitarian law did not apply.