UN urges Israel, Hamas to avoid violence on Gaza anniversary

A U.N. official is urging Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers to avoid a violent escalation on the eve of the first anniversary of the start of weekly border protests.

Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. humanitarian official for the Palestinian territories, issued a statement on Friday outlining the "staggering" human costs a year of demonstrations has inflicted, especially on Gaza's children.

The statement says 195 Palestinians, including some 40 children, have been killed by Israeli forces. Nearly 29,000 Palestinians have been injured, including 7,000 by live fire. A large number of casualties among unarmed Palestinians and clearly-marked medics have "raised concerns" about Israel's use of excessive force.

It says the protests have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, overwhelming a health-care system already stressed by 11 years of Israeli-Egyptian blockade.