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UN Decries Israel’s Use of Force in Gaza

In the past four weeks, 42 Palestinians have been killed  and over 5,500 injured along the fence in Gaza.In the past four weeks, 42 Palestinians have been killed  and over 5,500 injured along the fence in Gaza.

Israel must stop the excessive use of force by its security forces in Gaza and must hold to account those responsible for the many deaths and injuries sustained by Palestinians in the past month, the UN human rights chief said on Friday.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement that in the past four weeks, 42 Palestinians had been killed and over 5,500 injured along the fence in Gaza, with no reports of Israeli casualties, Reuters reported.

“The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators—not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” Zeid said.

“Old wounds continue to bleed and deepen as we speak, risking the outbreak of another war,” Nikolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council during an open debate on the crises affecting the region on Thursday, UN News reported.

While his briefing covered the situations in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, it was largely focused on the unfolding crisis along the Gaza fence. For the last four weeks, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have converged on the fence to protest the long-standing blockade of the enclave.

The demonstrations are expected to continue and culminate around May15, and could spread to the West Bank and beyond, Mladenov said.

 Powder Keg

Since March 30, during these demonstrations, many Palestinians have been killed and large numbers have been injured by Israeli security forces. No Israeli casualties have been reported, he added.

The UN envoy urged Israel to calibrate its use of force and minimize the use of live fire.

The combination of the security, development and humanitarian deterioration, coupled with the political impasse, makes Gaza “a powder keg”, Mladenov said, calling for action to prevent another war in the enclave, which was shaken by seven weeks of clashes in the summer of 2014.

“People should not be destined to spend their lives surrounded by borders they are forbidden to cross, or waters they are forbidden to navigate,” he said.

 

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