A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. Picture: AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

Johannesburg - The African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has issued a statement condemning the "disproportionate use of force" by the Israeli army in response to Palestinian protests against the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

Reports say as many as 58 Palestinians - some of them children - were shot dead and thousands more injured by Israeli forces on Monday during the protests

In the statement released on Tuesday, Mahamat strongly condemned the "disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army, which resulted in the killing of over 50 Palestinian demonstrators, while many more were wounded".

The AU chairperson said the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem can only further heighten tensions in the region and complicate the search for a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Mahamat reiterated "the solidarity of the African Union with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign State with East Jerusalem as its capital". 

He also called for renewed and genuine international efforts to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict, based on the existence of two States, Israel and Palestine, within the framework of the relevant United Nations pronouncements. 

African News Agency/ANA