UN secretary general, António Guterres, called for an independent investigation the deaths of at least 15 Palestinians who were killed during riots on the security fence between Israel and Gaza. The UN Security Council convened a special meeting and urged restraint on both sides.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq relayed Guterres’ statement to the media, saying the secretary-general wanted “an independent and transparent investigation” into the violence.

“This tragedy underlines the urgency of revitalizing the peace process aiming at creating the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations for a peaceful solution that will allow Palestinians and Israelis to live side by side peacefully and in security,” Haq said.

An estimated 30,000 Palestinians answered a Hamas call to protest on Friday along the security fence separating Gaza from Israel. The protest was called to coincide with Land Day, the annual day commemorating violent riots in 1973 held in response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate land. Hamas called for the protest to continue until Nakba day, May 15, which is not only the day after the Gregorian calendar’s date for Israeli Independence Day but also Nakba (catastrophe) Day when Palestinians commemorate the “tragedy” of the establishment of Israel.

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At last 15 Palestinians were killed on Friday during the protests. Palestinian sources reported at least 1,000 injured.

Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, placed the majority of the blame on the IDF, saying that reports indicated most of the demonstrators stayed well away from the border fence and were not violent.

“However, there are also reports that some protestors engaged in stone-throwing and violent behavior; some reportedly carrying weapons,” he added.

He told the Council that according to reports from Israeli security forces, militants tried to get through the fence an in attempt to plant explosives. Palestinians also reportedly sent a nine-year-old girl through the fence, but Israeli forces were able to send her safely back.

The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) called on Israel to uphold its responsibilities under international law, emphasizing that lethal force should only be used as a last resort, with any resulting fatalities properly investigated by the authorities.

The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said “the international community must not be deceived” by what he termed “a well-organized and violent terror-gathering” under the guise of a peaceful march.

He said “the Palestinians sunk to a new deceitful low so that they could use the UN to spread lies about Israel” while its representatives weren’t there because of the Passover holiday.

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Source: Israel in the News