UK calls for independent investigation into Gaza violence

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Britain on Tuesday called for an “independent investigation” into the violence on the Israel-Gaza border that left 60 people dead, after the United States blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for a probe.

“The United Kingdom supports an independent investigation into what has happened,” Alistair Burt, a minister at the Foreign Office responsible for Middle East affairs, told parliament.

He called on Israel to show “greater restraint” in the use of live fire, and said that the inquiry should look into why so much was used.

However, he also said it was “deplorable but real that extremist elements have been exploiting these protests”, adding the government “understands the reasons why Israel would seek to protect its border and its border fence.”

Most of the 60 Gazans killed Monday were shot by Israeli snipers, Gaza’s health ministry said.

At least 2,400 others were wounded in the bloodiest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 Gaza war, which took place as the United States Monday unveiled its new embassy in Jerusalem.

Burt repeated Britain’s commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict, and said it did not agree with the US decision to move its embassy.

He also told parliament that the government had “no information to suggest UK-supplied equipment” was used against Gazans.

On Monday, tens of thousands had gathered near the border in protest while smaller numbers approached the fence and sought to break through, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side.

The death toll led to strong condemnation from rights groups and concern from a range of countries.

But the US, which blamed the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, blocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that would have called for an independent probe into the violence, diplomats said.

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