UN Security Council paralysed over Israel-Gaza violence


People cheer as Hamas leader Ismail Haniya speaks to protesters at the border fence with Israel in Gaza City on Tuesday, a day after Israeli soldiers killed 60 Palestinians and wounded an estimated 2,700.

Nearly 3,000 people were injured as protests at the border between Israel and Palestine turned ugly.

Israel faces mounting regional and worldwide pressure over the deaths of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border, with South Africa, Turkey, Belgium and Ireland withdrawing their ambassadors from Tel Aviv and the UN Commission on Human Rights calling for an independent inquiry.

The US ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday said Israel had reacted with restraint in its military response to protesters at the Gaza border and dismissed suggestions the violence was caused by the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

HALEY: Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border?

"No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has", she added.

But the Palestinian delegation in Ottawa called the us embassy move "unilateral and illegal" and Israel's military response to the protests an "immoral act" that relied on "excessive force".

The protests were directed at a crippling blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant group seized power in Gaza in 2007. On Tuesday, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Israel acted with "restraint" in its response to Palestinian protesters.

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International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says government's intent to downgrading the South African embassy in Israel still stands.

The shootings come amid growing worldwide uproar over the Israeli military's use of deadly force against unarmed protesters.

The Foreign Ministry in the Turkish capital said it summoned Israeli Ambassador Eitan Na'eh on Tuesday and told him it would be appropriate to return home for a period.

State broadcaster TRT said the ambassador was being told to leave.

HALEY: There is no plausible peace agreement under which Jerusalem would no longer remain the capital of Israel.

In a phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the violence in Gaza and spoke of the importance of protecting civilians and their right to protest.

United Nations human rights officials said Tuesday that Israel's use of lethal force against Palestinian demonstrators was unjustified and called for an independent investigation into what could be grave breaches of worldwide law.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, briefed the Security Council by video link from Jerusalem.

The killings sparked widespread outrage from the global community and human rights organisations, while South Africa and a myriad local organisations also condemned the actions by Israel.