Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi strongly condemned the killing and injuring of Palestinian protesters by the “racist” Israeli regime in Gaza, and said that the latest crime revealed the regime’s “inhumane nature.”
“Israel has a long history of occupation, massacre and crimes,” Qassemi said while calling on the international community and those who still care about humanity to take immediate and decisive measures against the Israeli atrocities.
The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman further asked regional countries to focus on fighting “the Zionist regime’s expansionist and inhumane policies” instead of spending their efforts on internal conflicts and arming themselves to threaten other Muslim states.
“The responsibility for the deaths of Palestinians lies with leaders of a few known regional countries, who are secretly seeking to establish ties with the Zionist regime in order to get the consent of the US,” Qassemi added.
Dubbed “The Great March of Return,” Friday’s rallies in Gaza coincided with the 42nd anniversary of Land Day, which commemorates the murder of six Palestinians by Israeli forces in 1976.
The Return rallies will culminate on 15 May that marks Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe) on which Israel was created.
According to the figures provided by the Gaza Health Ministry, 16 Palestinians were killed and over 1,400 others wounded on Friday after Israeli forces fired live ammunition at Palestinian protesters marking Land Day and used tear gas to push them back from a heavily fortified border fence.
Ahead of the protest, the Israeli military had deployed tanks and 100 snipers with the authority to use live rounds on the Gaza border.
Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said he expected “the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility” regarding a “heinous massacre” of peaceful Gaza demonstrators by Israeli forces and “defuse this volatile situation, which clearly constitutes a threat to international peace and security.”
Meanwhile, assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, urged maximum restraint amid “fear that the situation might deteriorate in the coming days.”
“Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights and humanitarian law. Lethal force should only be used as a last resort with any resulting fatalities properly investigated by the authorities,” he added.
Additionally on Friday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged “an independent and transparent investigation” into the Gaza clashes and reaffirmed the world body’s “readiness” to support the so-called peace process.
Farhan Haq, a deputy spokesperson for Guterres, quoted the UN chief as saying that the Gaza “tragedy underlines the urgency of revitalizing the peace process aiming at creating the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations for a peaceful solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israeli representative at the UN, however, did not take part in Friday’s Security Council meeting.