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Jamaica deeply troubled by violence in Gaza Strip — foreign ministry

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade yesterday issued a statement reaffirming Jamaica's support for a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and called for peace in the region where violence has erupted in the wake of America's relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Monday.

While the country abstained from a vote at the United Nations General Assembly last December to reject US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the reaffirmed position appears to be in contrast with the move.

“This development presents another opportunity to reaffirm Jamaica's position and our belief that the best solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis rests in a negotiated political settlement based on a just and comprehensive agreement that guarantees the security of the State of Israel and provides for a Palestinian State, within internationally recognised borders,” the statement said.

Palestinians have been staging protests at the border fence for several weeks, but things escalated Monday with the opening of the relocated embassy. Israeli forces have responded to the protestors with live ammunition and tears gas dropped by drones. The violence has claimed some 60 lives and left more than 2,700 people injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.

“Jamaica has been observing, with much concern, the violence that has erupted on the border between Israel and Gaza – the Gaza Strip. We are deeply troubled by the high death toll and the thousands of injured persons, and call for peaceful engagement by both sides,” Jamaica's foregin ministry said yesterday.

“We express deepest sympathy to those affected by the situation and remain hopeful for the attainment of lasting peace and stability for the peoples of the region through continued dialogue on outstanding issues.”

Israel's use of live ammunition has drawn widespread condemnation, notably from Turkey, which expelled the Israeli ambassador after recalling its envoys to Israel and the United States.

Amnesty International described Israel's response as deplorable.

“This is another horrific example of the Israeli military using excessive force and live ammunition in a totally deplorable way,” said Philip Luther, research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa. “This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes.”