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US blocks UN statement criticising Israel's killing of Palestinians

The US has traditionally shielded Israel from critical UN measures [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 April, 2018

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The US has traditionally shielded Israel from UN measures condemning or sanctioning the country for its human rights violations.
The US on Saturday blocked a draft UN Security Council statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation after Israeli soldiers shot at unarmed Palestinian protesters along the Gaza-Israel border.

Sixteen Palestinians were killed during Land Day demonstrations on Friday, when Israeli troops deployed at the border, including snipers, fired at peaceful protesters.

In addition, more than 1,400 Palestinians were wounded, 758 of them by live fire and the remainder from rubber bullets or tear gas.

Kuwait, which is the only Arab country currently on the 15-member Security Council, called for an "independent and transparent investigation".

The draft council statement also expressed "grave concern at the situation at the border". In an apparent nod to Israel's deadly use of force the UN body reaffirmed "the right to peaceful protest" and expressed the council's "sorrow at the loss of innocent Palestinian lives".

The draft statement was circulated to the council on Friday, but on Saturday the US raised objections and said it did not support its adoption, a Security Council diplomat told AFP

The proposed statement also called "for respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including protection of civilians".

Council members "called upon all sides to exercise restraint and prevent a further escalation," the draft said.

Many Twitter users were quick to criticise the false equivalency between Israeli military and unarmed Palestinian protesters. The US was also criticised for blocking the Security Council statement - Washington has traditionally shielded Israel at the UN.

The proposed statement stressed the need to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution. 

However, nearly all Middle East observers say the two-state solution is dead due to decades of Israeli settlement expansions that have made a contigious Palestinian state effectively unviable. 

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