Israeli forces killed over 50 Palestinians and wounded thousands on Monday during a demonstration against the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the controversial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. It is the deadliest day since the 2014 war between the Islamist group Hamas and the Israeli military.

Responding to the news, European Green Party co-chairs Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer and Greens/EFA Group co-presidents Ska Keller and Philippe Lamberts said:

“It is deeply saddening to see yet another wave of violence and bloodshed in a region that seems perennially prone to such outbreaks. We send our condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones, including even children.

“The European Greens fully condemn any disproportionate use of force by the Israeli military against Palestinian protestors who pose no real threat.  We call on Israel to immediately halt fire and support the right for Palestinians to stage a peaceful protest.

“Israel has every right to defend its people from the threat of violence, but long-term results cannot be achieved by such a violent crackdown.  It is time for Israel to address the legitimate concerns of the people of Gaza who have been crippled by a decade-long blockade.

“We also call on all sides to refrain from incitement. In this context we clearly criticise the recent statement by Palestinian leader Abu Mazen regarding so-called Jewish responsility for the holocaust.

“We continue to support a two-state solution with Jerusalem as capital of both Israel and Palestine. As Europeans, we must show a united front and refrain from backing moves that throw fuel on the flames, such as the decision by the U.S. President to move its embassy to Jerusalem.”