United Nations mulls worldwide war crimes probe of Gaza killings

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Relations between Israel and New Zealand have been further strained with the Israeli embassy issuing a statement today criticising the New Zealand Government for its reaction to Israeli forces killing more than 50 protesters in Gaza this week. But he added: "these actions alone do not appear to constitute the imminent threat to life or deadly injury which could justify the use of lethal force".

"My first words are to deplore the tragic loss of lives and suffering in Gaza and to express my deep sadness and condolences to the Palestinian people", Guterres said in a statement read by Deputy Secretary General Louise Frechette at the UN's NY headquarters.

"We warn against the negative repercussions of such a unsafe escalation and we call for worldwide probe to hold those responsible for this massacre accountable", Dr Gargash said.

Protests began after the United States embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem on Monday (local time).

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The draft calls for intensified efforts by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov to help deter violence, protect civilians, and create "an environment conducive to dialogue".

A draft resolution circulated by Kuwait, which is the Arab representative on the council, also demands that Israel "immediately cease its military reprisals, collective punishment and unlawful use of force against civilians, including in the Gaza Strip".

Russian Federation has also expressed its concerns over the escalation in the Gaza Strip, urging all parties to exercise restraint and reaffirming its adherence to a two-state solution, while European nations, such as Germany and France, have condemned the violence by Israel, with French President Emmanuel Macron reiterating his opposition to the transfer of the U.S. diplomatic premises to Jerusalem.

The UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein is expected to speak at the opening of the session, as is the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territory. It said the aim should be to "establish the facts and circumstances" around "alleged violations and abuses including those that may amount to war crimes and to identify those responsible".

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To express solidarity with the Palestinian community special rallies, gatherings and programs are to be organized to condemn Israel's terrorist acts in Gaza.

It brings together Palestinian, Israeli and worldwide experts, as well as representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society, to discuss how a lasting settlement can be brought about.

Members of Students for Justice in Palestine held a protest at an event celebrating Israeli history Thursday, claiming it did not acknowledge Palestinians as indigenous to the region.

Responding to criticism from the United Nations human rights chief at a debate that is likely to end by setting up an inquiry into recent violence, she said the Council had returned to its "worst form of anti-Israel obsession".

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