British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the U.S. Embassy move “is playing the wrong card at the wrong time” and called for “restraint” in the use of live bullets by Israeli forces on Palestinian demonstrators Tuesday.
“Obviously we are extremely saddened by the loss of life that has taken place,” Johnson said in a statement.
“We understand that some have been provoking that violence, but on the other hand, there has got to be restraint in the use of live rounds,” he said.
Johnson said “the UK position is that we don’t agree with the U.S. decision to move the embassy.”
“We continue to believe that is playing the wrong card at the wrong time.”
He reiterated the “absolute” British commitment “to a two-state solution.”
The U.K. government on Monday said the killings of more than 50 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank were “shocking” and destructive to peace efforts.
“The loss of life and the large number of injured Palestinians is tragic, and it is extremely worrying that the number of those killed continues to rise,” said Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt.
“We have been clear that the U.K. supports the Palestinians’ right to protest, but these protests must be peaceful,” Burt said.
He said the U.K. would not waver from its support for Israel’s right to defend its borders, “but the large volume of live fire is extremely concerning. We continue to implore Israel to show greater restraint.”
At least 60 Palestinians were martyred and hundreds more injured by Israeli forces along the Gaza border Monday amid protests marking the Nakba anniversary and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Since the border rallies began on March 30, more than 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by cross-border Israeli gunfire, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
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”.
Last week, the Israeli government said the ongoing border protests constituted a “state of war” in which international humanitarian law did not apply.