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20 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Gaza ‘on brink of war’: UN chief

Al Jazeera
Gaza ‘on brink of war’: UN chief
A Cattle egret is seen in a burned filed next to Kibbutz Beeri near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Monday. AFP Photo

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip places the besieged enclave on the "brink of war", as he urged Israel and Hamas to recommit to a 2014 ceasefire, reports Al Jazeera.

The UN chief said in a report obtained by news agencies that he is "shocked" by Israel's use of live fire since border protests began in Gaza on March 30.

He said its military has "a responsibility to exercise maximum restraint" except as a last resort.

The report was sent to the council last week ahead of a meeting on Tuesday on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

"The killing of children, as well as of clearly identified journalists and medical staffers by security forces during a demonstration are particularly unacceptable," Guterres said.

"They must be allowed to perform their duties without fear of death or injury."

Israel has not yet responded to the accusations.

Guterres also told the Security Council that he "unequivocally condemns the steps by all parties that have brought us to this dangerous and fragile place" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He warned that actions by Hamas and other Palestinian groups not only risk Palestinian and Israeli lives but "efforts to restore dignity and the prospects of a livable future for Palestinians in Gaza", citing rockets fired at Israel and attempts to breach the Gaza-Israel fence by some protesters.

Since weekly mass protests began along the Israel-Gaza border on March 30, at least 130 Palestinians have been killed and 13,000 others wounded by Israeli army fire.

The overwhelming majority of the dead and wounded have been unarmed, according to Gaza health officials. Two Palestinian journalists were killed while covering the protests in April while a 21-year-old medic was shot dead in early June.

Guterres renewed his call for an independent investigation of the shooting deaths in Gaza. Israel, which says Hamas has used the protests as cover for attacks on the border fence, has rejected the appeal and argues that the use of force is justified to defend its borders.

The marchers have pressed demands for a right of return for Palestinian refugees to their families homes which they were forced to flee 70 years ago.

More than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled in the 1948 war over Israel's creation. Two-thirds of Gaza's 2 million residents are internally displaced peoples.

Guterres reiterated that "there is no viable alternative to the two-state solution," with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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