U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley hailed Israel Tuesday for its “restraint” in Gaza, where troops killed at least 60 Palestinians in a deadly day of protests over the U.S. embassy's move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
A few hours later she walked out of the emergency Security Council session as the Palestinian envoy prepared to speak.
“Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would,” Haley told the U.N. Security Council session, referring to reports that protesters threw molotov cocktails and attempted to breach Israel's border on Monday. “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
The U.S. also vetoed a drafted statement by the Security Council that called for an independent probe into Monday's deaths.
“The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest," the draft statement read. "The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability."
Monday was the deadliest day between Israelis and Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza War. At least 60 Palestinians were killed in violent clashes on the border, when Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition and tear gas, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. At least 2,700 more were injured in the clashes, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, with roughly half suffering wounds from live ammunition.
Protests on Israel's border have been raging since late March, when Hamas called on its supporters to demonstrate against Israel's decade-long blockade that has crippled Gaza's economy and depleted its healthcare system. Save the Children reported Monday that at least 1,000 children have been injured since the protests began more than six weeks ago.
“Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy,” Haley said. “This is what is endangering the people of Gaza.”
Haley's comments stood in stark contrast to much of the international community.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt both condemned the violence against the mostly unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza.
“We will not waver from our support for Israel’s right to defend its borders,” Burt said in a statement. “But the large volume of live fire is extremely concerning. We continue to implore Israel to show greater restraint.”
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that attempts to cross the border fence “do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition.”
“We condemn the appalling, deadly violence in Gaza yesterday,” Colville said.
Turkey, along with the South African government, recalled their ambassadors from Israel as a result of the violence on the border.