The S&D Group calls for an immediate end to violence and condemns the loss of Palestinian lives in the Gaza Strip. About 60 Palestinians were killed and more than two thousands injured amid clashes with Israeli forces on the Gaza border yesterday.

S&D Group president Udo Bullmann said:

“Yesterday and today mark another tragic chapter in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We condemn the massive loss of Palestinian lives and strongly support the call made by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini for utmost restraint in order to avoid further casualties. Israel must put an immediate end to the disproportionate use of force against protesters, while the organisers of the protest have to avoid that the demonstrations be abused for violent purposes incited by Hamas or other groups. We also call for unimpeded access to medical and blood supplies for the injured.

“The right of Israel to exist within secure borders and to defend its territory, as well as the right of Palestinians to self-determination through a sovereign state, are unquestionable. But Israel cannot achieve security by occupation, while Palestinians can only fulfil their aspirations by non-violent means. The only solution remains a negotiated peace agreement accepted by both sides with the support of the international community. It is in this spirit that we continue to support the two-state solution with the state of Israel and the state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security along the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps and Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

“It is also in the same spirit that we continue to protest against the decision of President Donald Trump to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem without offering any hope to Palestinians. The breaking of the international consensus over the status of Jerusalem has contributed to the current climate of violence. We call on all EU member states to stick to the international consensus and to avoid a similar move. This is of crucial importance for the credibility of the European Union and its foreign policy in the world.”