UPDATES WITH REACTIONS FROM AFGHANISTAN, RUSSIAN COUNCIL OF MUFTIS, TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NOTHERN CYPRUS, ISLAMIC UNION OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
By Seleshi Tessema and Nilay Kar Onum
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia/ISTANBUL (AA) - International reactions voicing concern over Israeli actions on Gazan protesters that left 60 dead continued to pour in from all over the world on Tuesday, with one of the strongest condemnations coming out from the African Union.
In a statement, African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the “disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army” resulted in the killing of over 50 Palestinian demonstrators, while many more were wounded.
“The relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem can only further heighten tensions in the region and complicate the search for a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Mahamat said.
The pan African body reiterated its solidarity with the Palestinian people in “their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital”.
Mahamat called on the international community to search for a lasting two-state solution.
Earlier, Nigeria’s leading Muslim rights group blamed the U.S. for the Israeli violence on Gazans.
"The development and the resultant killings are condemnable, atrocious tyrannical and dictatorial. This is an atrocity being carried out by a conscience-less superpower [U.S.],” Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) coordinator Ishaq Akintola told Anadolu Agency Monday night.
Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urged Israel to be “proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force”; it also expressed its deep regret and sadness over the loss of life and injury during the protests in Gaza.
Bishop added: “The Australian government is committed to a future where Israel and a Palestinian state exist side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.”
Moscow again expressed concern over the situation.
- Russia, China, Japan react
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We follow very attentively the development of the situation and still consider that all the parties, especially participants of the ‘quarter’ [Quartet on the Middle East] must avoid any actions provoking such spikes in tension.”
The Russian Council of Muftis strongly condemned the U.S. act to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is a city of three religions. We join the voices around the world calling for the prevention of unilateral solutions that aggravate the situation in the Middle East,” it said.
In the written statement, the Islamic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina said: "Gaza people living in a large concentration camp are now restricted in their right to organize peaceful demonstrations on the lands they have lived in for centuries."
Bosnian Herzegovina Islamic Union Husein Kavazovic said a funeral prayer service will be held for Gazan martyrs after Friday prayers throughout the country.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono also termed the Gaza killings as “saddening” and called for a calm response to the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Stating that they did not send any officials to the ceremony marking the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Kono said Japan did not have plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
China called on Israel to exercise restraint along its border with Gaza.
On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China "opposes violent acts targeting innocent people”.
Lu said China supported the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and its people’s legitimate and right cause in the framework of a two-state solution to the conflict, based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
- Pakistani parliament adopts resolution
Also, the Pakistani parliament adopted a unanimous resolution on Tuesday against Israeli aggression and killing of Palestinians. A protest was also held outside the U.S. consulate in the southeastern city of Lahore.
In its statement, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said it will continue to support the Palestinian right to a just and lasting peace, and for the establishment of an independent state in Palestine.
In a written statement, the Foreign Ministry of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus said it condemned the U.S. for causing the events that unfolded in front of the worlds’ eyes, and Israel for using disproportionate force on Palestinians.
Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Israel used “disproportionate force” against Palestinians, calling the violence in Gaza “unacceptable”.
Also, former CIA Director John O. Brennan on his Twitter account described the deaths in Gaza as a “result of utter disregard of Messers Trump & Netanyahu for Palestinian rights & homeland”.
“By moving Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump played politics, destroyed US peacemaker role,” he said.
A total of 60 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred and hundreds more injured by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border Monday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Thousands of Palestinians had gathered on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border since Monday morning to take part in protests aimed at commemorating the Nakba anniversary and to protest the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The rallies are to culminate on Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment -- an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "the Catastrophe".
*Elena Teslova from Moscow and Rafiu Ajakaye from Nigeria contributed to this story.