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Malcolm Turnbull says Gaza deaths 'tragic'

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May 15, 2018

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the deaths of protesters in Gaza was tragic.

Amid violent and deadly protests in Gaza, the Australian government has urged both Israel and Palestine to turn down the heat.

Israeli forces shot and killed at least 55 Palestinians and wounded more than 1200 during mass protests on Monday along the Gaza border.

Meanwhile, a few kilometres away, Israel and the US held a festive inauguration ceremony for the new American embassy in contested Jerusalem.

It was by far the deadliest day of cross-border violence since a devastating 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Hamas' conduct was confrontational and seeking to provoke Israeli defence forces.

"Any loss of life is tragic in these circumstances," Mr Turnbull told 3AW radio on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expressed deep regret and sadness over the loss of life and injury.

"We recognise that Israel has legitimate security concerns and needs to protect its population, and we call on Israel to be proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force," Ms Bishop said in a statement.

"Australia urges Palestinian protesters to refrain from violence and attempting to enter into Israeli territory during the March of Return."

Ms Bishop said the violence underlines the importance of a return to negotiations toward a two-state solution and peace.

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