(JTA) — The United States blocked a United Nations Security Council statement calling for an investigation of Israel’s use of force against Palestinians who massed on Gaza’s border.
The statement proposed on Saturday by Kuwait called for an “independent and transparent investigation” of the Israel Defense Forces use of live fire, rubber bullets and other crown control methods to push back the estimated up to 30,000 Palestinians in six spots along the border. Some of the Palestinians threw firebombs and rocks, and planted explosives on the border, according to the IDF.
The statement also expressed “grave concern at the situation at the border” and reiterated that he Palestinians have the right to “peaceful protest.”
At least 15 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,000 injured during the Friday clashes along Israel’s southern border with Gaza.
Following the meeting on Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that an impartial and transparent investigation must be conducted into the deaths and injuries of Palestinian protesters during the Friday Land Day clashes. “He also appeals to those concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and in particular any measures that could place civilians in harm’s way,” a spokesperson for the Secretary General said.
The Security Council first met in a closed meeting on Friday night to discuss the violence even after the United States and Israel asked that the discussion be postponed to Saturday due to beginning of the Passover holiday and the first seder night.
“While Jews around the world gathered with their family at the Seder table to celebrate the Passover holiday, the Palestinians sunk to a new deceitful low so that they could use the U.N. to spread lies about Israel,” Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, said in a statement.
“This shameful exploitation of our holiday will not succeed in stopping us from speaking the truth about the Hamas terror-gatherings that aim to destabilize the region,” he also said.
Hamas said the lack of a resolution from the Security Council about the border clashes due to the U.S. rejection showed that Washington is “fully biased” for Israel and said it was “encouraging Israel to commit more violence and terrorism against Palestinian children.”
The head of the Palestinian Authority’s delegation to the United States in a statement issued on Saturday called the killing of the at least 16 Palestinian demonstrators a crime against humanity.
“Our legitimate protest against Israeli military occupation, colonization and apartheid is granted in international law and must be protected by the international community,” Dr. Husam Zomlot said. He added that “the 70-year-old practice of Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy and dehumanization of the Palestinian people must end and Israeli criminals must be brought to justice. These atrocities deserve the strongest condemnation from the US government and action to uphold international law.”
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement about Friday’s violence that “Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are fundamental rights that must be respected.”
The statement also said: “The EU mourns the loss of life. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims. The use of live ammunition should, in particular, be part of an independent and transparent investigation. While Israel has the right to protect its borders, the use of force must be proportionate at all times.”