International News

    UN calls emergency meeting on Gaza as Arab world slams Israel

    The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Gaza Friday night, after at least 15 Palestinians were killed and over 1,400 more injured in deadly clashes with Israeli troops during a massive border protest.
    The meeting, to be held at the request of Kuwait, will begin at 6:30 p.m. New York time, a diplomat said on condition of anonymity. It will be held behind closed doors, meaning Israeli and Palestinian representatives will not be able to attend.
    The move came as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he had asked the United Nations to immediately work toward providing protection for the “defenseless” Palestinians.
    Friday’s clashes were the deadliest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 Gaza War, as Israeli troops used live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to keep thousands of Gazans from trying to approach the border fence. The military said protesters threw firebombs and rocks at soldiers, rolled burning tires at them and in one incident opened fire.
    Israel was condemned by the Muslim world over the violence, with many accusing it of using “disproportionate force” against Palestinian rioters.
    “We strongly condemn Israel’s use of disproportionate force against Palestinians during the peaceful protests today (Friday) in Gaza,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement Friday.
    The Turkish foreign ministry expressed “concerns” over the casualties.
    “It is necessary that Israel rapidly ends use of force that would further raise the tensions in the region,” it said. “We are inviting the international community to fulfil its responsibility to convince Israel to give up on its hostile attitude.”
    Jordanian minister Mohammed Momani said Amman was holding Israel responsible for the use of “excessive force” against what it said were peaceful demonstrators, the state-run Petra news agency said.
    Egypt also said it condemns the use of “violence” against unarmed civilians and called on Israelis to avoid excessive force.
    The Arab League put out a statement condemning Israel “for its brutal handling of peaceful demonstrations,” according to the UAE-based al-Bayan news outlet.
    Gazan leaders have vowed that Friday’s protests were only the beginning of a new campaign against Israel. Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said the demonstrations would continue until there was no longer a border. The protests are expected to culminate with a march “through” the border fence on May 15.

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