New Zealand statement on Gaza deaths 'regrettable' - Israel Embassy

Israel's Embassy in New Zealand has hit back after our Government described the loss of life on the Gaza-Israel border as "one-sided".

Palestinian officials say at least 60 people have been killed following violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it a "devastating one-sided loss of life", and said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has voiced its concerns with the Israeli Ambassador on behalf of the Government.

But the Embassy took issue with Ms Ardern's statement, saying Israel has the right to protect its borders.

"Israel is unjustly and against any objective reasoning accused of using disproportionate force against Hamas," the Embassy says.

"The use of force must be judged not by the number of casualties (and don't forget that the majority of them are Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists)."

More than 2700 Palestinians were wounded in the crackdown, and Gaza's health ministry says eight children under the age of 16 were killed. One was reportedly an eight-month-old girl.

Protests began after the US embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem on Monday (local time). Ms Ardern has criticised the decision to open the embassy, calling it a backwards step in the progress towards peace.

"This is the most significant violence we've seen in a number of years," Ms Ardern said on Tuesday morning.

"We would condemn the violence that has occured, and I think it's plain to see that the effects of this decision and the ramifications are wide-reaching."

However Israel says New Zealand has failed to treat both sides fairly.

"It is astonishing to see how much disinformation is being used against Israel for its self-defense on the Gaza border," Israel's Embassy says in the press release.

"The government of New Zealand, which has recognised Hamas as a terror organisation, regrettably has not condemned Hamas for its actions nor its investment in terrorism."

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