US blocks UN Security Council statement calling for investigation of Palestinian protesters’ deaths


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United States blocked a United Nations Security Council statement supporting the right of Palestinians to “demonstrate peacefully” on the border with Israel.

The statement, sponsored by Kuwait, which represents the Arab world on the council, also called for an independent investigation into the deaths of Palestinian protesters on two consecutive Fridays.

It is the second week in a row that the United States has blocked such a statement.

Nine Gazans were killed, including a Palestinian journalist and a teen, and more than 1,000 injured during the Friday protest on the Gazan border, according to Palestinian sources. About 20,000 Palestinians participated in Friday’s protest, dubbed the tire protest, due to the thousands of tires burned during the demonstration in an effort to thwart Israeli sharpshooters.

Prior to Friday’s protest, the U.S. State Department issued a statement on the Gaza protests in the name of Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s special representative for international negotiations.

The statement said that the United States “strongly urges protest leaders to communicate loudly and clearly that protestors should march peacefully; should abstain from all forms of violence; should remain outside the 500-meter buffer zone; and should not approach the border fence in any way or any location.”

The statement also said that the U.S. “condemn leaders and protestors who call for violence or who send protestors – including children – to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed. Instead, we call for a renewed focus by all parties on finding solutions to the dire humanitarian challenges facing Gazans.”

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