U.S. Blocks United Nations Statement Calling for Probe into Deaths at 'Peaceful' Gaza Border Protests

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Posted: May 15, 2018 11:15 AM
U.S. Blocks United Nations Statement Calling for Probe into Deaths at 'Peaceful' Gaza Border Protests

The United States blocked a United Nations Security Council statement, drafted Monday, that called for an independent probe of the over 50 deaths at the Israel-Gaza border which occurred during riots over the new US embassy opening in Jerusalem. The statement referred to the deaths as the “killing of Palestinian civilians” in a “peaceful protest.” The U.S. and Israel have blamed the deaths on the Hamas terrorist organization behind the protests.

“The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest,” it read according to a draft of the statement obtained by AFP.

It also denied the recent recognition by the U.S. of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying actions "which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect."

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the violence.

"The Hamas terrorist organization declares it intends to destroy Israel and sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal," Netanyahu tweeted. "We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and citizens."

When asked about the deaths, the White House also blamed Hamas.

"The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas," Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said Monday. "Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response. And as the Secretary of State said, Israel has the right to defend itself."

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting on the violence at the border Tuesday, called at the request of Kuwait.