The World Council Churches has issued a statement condemning the use of "excessive violence" by Israeli forces against "civilian protestors" in Gaza during the past week.

In a strongly worded statement, the WCC also said it was "particularly worried" that some Christians were celebrating the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem as a "gift from God", in spite of "the disruptively provocative nature of this move".

At least 59 Palestinians were reportedly killed and more than 1,300 injured in confrontations with Israeli forces on the border at Gaza on Monday when the US Embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem - the same day the Israeli state marked its 70th anniversary.

The WCC said in their statement that the "violence and bloodshed must be condemned by the international community and must be subject to international investigation". "The situation calls for a deeper understanding that lies behind these events."

"The protesters are exercising their civil rights to express their objection and despair at the current situation for them as Palestinian people," the statement said.

"The 'naqba', the catastrophe their families experienced 70 years ago, continues to cause unresolved dispossession and suffering for many Palestinians - particularly for the people of Gaza. That unarmed civilians – including children – are shot at with live ammunition, even killed, and many injured – cannot be defended legally or morally as an expression of 'the right to self-defense of a state'. This must be seen as an unacceptable use of violence against people that Israel rather has a duty to respect and protect."

The WCC said Jerusalem is a "shared Holy City" of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and that, in the Holy Land, "a comprehensive and sustainable peace must be based upon a two-state solution along internationally recognised borders".

They described it as a "very serious situation" for Christians around the world and in the region that some Christians were "thanking God for a decision that is so blatantly against international law and policy, so much undermining the peace process based on a common international understanding of the rights of both peoples to share Jerusalem as their capital, and so provocative to the occupied and oppressed people of Palestine".

"This should concern all who understand their religious faith as compelling them to work for reconciliation and peace," the WCC said.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis said on Wednesday that he was "very worried and pained" at the bloodshed in the Holy Land and said the use of violence can never bring about peace.

“War begets war, violence begets violence,” he said.

He urged all sides to renew their commitment to ensure dialogue, justice and peace prevail.