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Haley lauds Israel for its 'restraint' after at least 60 dead in Gaza

Haley lauds Israel for its 'restraint' after at least 60 dead in Gaza
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Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyMary Kissel expected to join State Department Scarborough predicts Trump will ‘cash out’ and not run in 2020 Toobin: Flake and Sasse ‘never actually take a stand’ against Trump MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, applauded Israeli forces on Wednesday for what she called their "restraint" in the face of protests in Gaza a day earlier that left at least 60 dead.

"No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has," Haley said at a U.N. Security Council meeting. "In fact, the record of several countries here today suggest that they would be less restrained."

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Israel has come under fire for what human rights groups and others have called its excessive use of force against Palestinian protesters. Israel has defended the use of live ammunition, saying its forces were merely protecting its border and defending themselves.

Haley also blamed Hamas, a militant Palestinain Islamist group, for backing the demonstrations and encouraging protesters to rush the border fence with Israel over loudspeakers throughout the Gaza strip.

She said it was Hamas — not Israel — that was making the "lives of Palestinians miserable."

Her comments came as the U.S. blocked a Security Council resolution calling for a probe into the violence.

The protests in Gaza came as U.S. and Israeli officials gathered in Jerusalem on Monday to inaugurate Washington's new embassy in the highly contested city.

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, alo said on Monday that responsibility for the violence in Gaza rested "squarely with Hamas," and defended Israel's "right to defend itself."

The embassy opening came on the same day that Israel marked the 70th anniversary of its establishment. For Palestinians, however, the day marks the Nakba — or "catastrophe" — when many were uprooted from their homes in 1948.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE's decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. Embassy was applauded by Israeli officials and pro-Israel groups. But the move was widely condemned by the international community, and leaders throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds. 

Jerusalem is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, and Palestinians have long aspired to establish the capital of a future Palestinian state in the eastern portion of the city. Since Trump announced the embassy shift, Palestinian leaders have rejected Washington's role in any future peace talks.