(Sputnik) – The situation in Gaza topped the agenda of the UN Security Council’s meeting, which was earlier initiated by Kuwait and which began with a moment of silence for the dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces on May 14, a day when a ceremony to open the US embassy in Jerusalem was held.
During the gathering, most ambassadors expressed concern over the use of force by Israel which Swedish envoy to the UN Olof Skoog said should be exercised with restraint, a stance that was supported by his colleagues from China and the Netherlands.
While French envoy Francois Delattre said that “the situation in the Middle East is close to a perfect storm,” his British counterpart Karen Pierce called for an independent investigation into Monday’s violence.
“Our position on the status of Jerusalem and moving the American embassy is well known. The status of Jerusalem should be determined in a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states,” she pointed out.
Pierce was echoed by Bolivia’s envoy Sasha Llorenty who said that “the unilateral decision by the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem does nothing but inflame spirits.”
“The United States, which supports the occupying power, has become an obstacle to peace. It has become part of the problem, not part of the solution,” Llorenty stressed.
UN Middle East peace envoy Nikolay Mladenov, in turn, underscored that there was “no justification” for the violence in Gaza.
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, for her part, defended Israeli troops’ actions and blamed Hamas for the violence on Gaza’s border with Israel. “Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday,” she said, adding that the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem was the right thing to do.
Earlier, the US blocked the UN Security Council motion calling for a probe into the deaths of Palestinians killed in violent clashes with the Israeli forces on the Gaza Strip border.
Since March 30, Palestinians have been holding the so-called Great March of Return, near the border of the Gaza Strip. During these protests, dozens of Palestinians have been killed and thousands others wounded as Israeli forces continue to suppress the demonstrations.
The rallies intensified after the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, when at least 59 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,000 others injured.
The then Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem was seized by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. 13 years later, the Israeli parliament approved the Jerusalem Law proclaiming the entire city Israel’s undivided capital.
The international community does not recognize the annexation, calling for the status of Jerusalem to be agreed upon with the Palestinians, who claim its eastern part as the capital of their future state.