ANKARA - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday of being "a terrorist" after the Israeli prime minister rejected Ankara's "moral lessons" over deadly clashes in Gaza.

"Hey Netanyahu! You are an occupier. And it is as an occupier that are you are on those lands. At the same time, you are a terrorist," Erdogan said in a televised speech in Adana, southern Turkey.

"What you do to the oppressed Palestinians will be part of history and we will never forget it," he said, adding: "The Israeli people are uncomfortable with what you're doing. We are not guilty of any act of occupation."

The comments came after Israeli soldiers killed 17 Palestinians and wounded hundreds more on Friday when a major demonstration led to clashes along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan condemned Israel over its "inhumane attack", prompting a sharp response from Netanyahu.

"The most moral army in the world will not be lectured to on morality from someone who for years has been bombing civilians indiscriminately," Netanyahu tweeted.

Referring to April Fool's Day, he added: "Apparently this is how they mark April 1 in Ankara."

Netanyahu has previously labelled Erdogan as someone who "bombs Kurdish villagers".

Israel also rejected calls for an independent probe into deaths of Palestinians. Israel's military has faced questions from rights groups over its use of live fire on Friday, the bloodiest day in the conflict since a 2014 war, while Palestinians accuse soldiers of firing on protesters posing no threat.

Both UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini have called for an independent investigation.

On Saturday, the United States blocked a draft UN Security Council statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation of the violence, diplomats said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised soldiers' actions for "guarding the country's borders," while Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the protests were not a "Woodstock festival".

Lieberman said calls for an independent investigation were hypocritical and on Sunday repeated his rejection of such an investigation. "There will be no commission of inquiry," he told Israel's public radio.

"There will be no such thing here. We shall not cooperate with any commission of inquiry." The Israeli army alleges 10 of the dead had "documented terror backgrounds" in Hamas and other groups and were killed "whilst carrying out acts of terror".

Unverified videos being shared online have fuelled the debate, including one appearing to show a protester running with a tyre being shot while seeming to pose no threat.

Israel's army has issued a statement saying footage is being "edited and fabricated," without referring to specific videos.

Rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticised Israel's use of live fire.

Israel had deployed troop reinforcements along the border, including more than 100 special forces snipers, saying it would prevent attempts to break through the fence.

"While some Palestinian demonstrators have thrown stones and other objects towards the fence, it's hard to believe how this would be an imminent danger to the lives of well-equipped soldiers protected by snipers, tanks and drones," Amnesty said.

The United States on Saturday blocked a draft UN Security Council statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation of clashes in Gaza.

Kuwait, which represents Arab countries on the council, presented the proposed statement, which called for an "independent and transparent investigation" of the violence.

The draft council statement also expressed "grave concern at the situation at the border." And it reaffirmed "the right to peaceful protest" and expressed the council's "sorrow at the loss of innocent Palestinian lives."

The draft statement was circulated to the council on Friday, but on Saturday the United States raised objections and said it did not support its adoption, a Security Council diplomat told AFP.

The US mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request from AFP for comment.

The proposed statement also called "for respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including protection of civilians," according to the draft seen by AFP.

Council members "called upon all sides to exercise restraint and prevent a further escalation," the draft said.

The proposed statement stressed the need to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution.