The Israeli Ambassador will be called in again this week by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise concern about the deaths of more than 50 people in Gaza and wounding of 2700 while protesting the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday Mfat met with Ambassador Itzhak Gerberg in the past fortnight and would call him in again after Israeli forces killed more than 50 people.

The deaths were on the same day the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem after US President Donald Trump's decision to move it from Te Aviv, recognising it as Israel's capital.

Ardern said such a move was always going to inflame the situation given Jerusalem was critical for hopes of a "two-state" solution to succeed.


"You will recall at the time the United States announced they would be moving their representation to Jerusalem we stated at that time strongly that we did not believe that would take us closer to peace and it hasn't," Ardern said.

However in a statement on Tuesday, the Israeli Embassy defended Israel's response, saying Hamas had used the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem as an excuse to "cynically fan the flames of the conflict while initiating violent provocations against Israel."

"Israel has the right and the duty to protect its sovereignty, its borders and its citizens. Accordingly, that message of self-defense has been conveyed to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Any imposed solution cannot work. The only path to reach a peaceful solution to this conflict is through direct negotiations."

Ardern said New Zealand stood by the two-state solution.

"It is the right of any nation to defend their border, but this is a devastating, one-sided loss of life. We would condemn the violence that has occurred and it's plain to see the effects of this decision and the ramifications are wide reaching."

Foreign Minister Winston Peters said the deaths were "highly regrettable" and would not help the peace process.

He said it was clear it was triggered by the opening of the US embassy, but it had long been the view of the US that Jerusalem should be properly treated as Israel's capital and Trump had acted on it.


He would not be talking personally to the Ambassador or to his counterparts in either the US or Israel about the situation.

"The position of New Zealand has been made very clear, the Prime Minister has stated it, I've reiterated it and that's about as far as we can take it."

He dismissed the question of ejecting the Ambassador as countries such as Turkey have done, saying it was hard to talk to people who were not there.