Riyad Mansour calls to set up independent commission to investigate Israeli crimes

Khalil Hamra

The European Union on Saturday urged the Israeli military to "refrain from using lethal force against unarmed protesters", after four Palestinians, including Ayoub, were killed by army fire in the protests.

The United Nations envoy to the region on Friday slammed Israel's response to the Gaza protests as "outrageous" and called on the IDF to stop shooting children. How does the killing of a child in #Gaza today help #peace?

The exposure to violence over the past three weeks has also had significant mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) ramifications, particularly among children. "This tragic incident must be investigated", he wrote.

Riyad Mansour made the comments during a press conference in NY on Friday, expressing hope that the Geneva-based Human Rights Council would approve a resolution authorizing a commission "to investigate these crimes".

Ayyoub was one of four Palestinians murdered Friday by Israeli military fire at the fourth round of per week border protests headed by the Islamic militant Hamas. "A full investigation is needed to understand what happened and why". He has blamed Hamas - the Islamist group which controls the strip - for the latest killings.

Each Friday protest draws tens of thousands of people, although numbers have been declining each week.

In all, the Gaza ministry said that some 445 people were injured, including 96 from live fire.

The protesters have revived demands for Palestinian refugees to regain their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

A new tactic is to send burning kites into Israel. It said in the statement that "troops are responding with riot dispersal means and are firing in accordance with the rules of engagement".

Lieberman, the Israeli defense minister, said on Twitter that "the only culprits in the death of the. boy in Gaza are Hamas leaders". He added that "behind it stands a determined people that is backing up the army".

Medics transporting a journalist injured while covering the Friday protests east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. A smaller number have approached the fence and thrown stones or rolled burning tyres toward Israeli soldiers on the other side. Israel says firebombs and explosive devices have also been used. It charged Gaza residents with participating in "violent disturbances"-not a single Israeli has been injured in the course of three weeks of protest-and warned them to "Stay away from the [border] fence and do not attempt to damage it".

An investigation must be independent and transparent, Mansour stressed, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, other countries, and most recently six independent human rights investigators have called for. More than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.

Commenting on the U.S. State Department's use of term "occupied territories" in the annual human rights report released on Friday, the senior PLO official slammed the U.S. intervention in the situation and accused the U.S. administration of speaking on behalf of the Israeli government.

The protest began on March 30, and has seen tent encampments spring up near the Israeli-imposed restricted zone along the 40km (25-mile) border fence.

A sea turtle was rescued on Thursday - Israeli Independence Day - after it got caught in a fishing net.

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