BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government on Monday expressed sharp concern about reports that dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops in Gaza while taking part in mass protests, urging Israel to refrain from using live munitions except as a last resort.
“The right to peaceful protest must also apply in Gaza,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said in a statement.
“Israel has the right to defend itself and secure its (border) fence against violent intrusions, but the principle of proportionality applies.”
That meant that live munitions should only be used when other, weaker forms of deterrences had proven unsuccessful and specific threats were present, the spokeswoman added.
Israeli troops killed at least 43 Palestinians, the highest toll in a single day since a series of protests began in March.
The violence came amid mass protests against the U.S. relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv.
The foreign ministry also called on the Palestinians to refrain from escalating the situation, engaging in violence or inciting others to do so.
The German government said it remained ready to carry out development and humanitarian support, but the situation in Gaza needed to calm down before urgently needed measures could be discussed.
“One important step on this path is that those who hold power in Gaza renounce violence and the Palestinian Authority once again takes control in Gaza,” the spokeswoman said.
“Everyone must now ensure that the situation does not escalate further,” she said.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Michael Nienaber