Dozens die in Gaza protests as US embassy opens in Jerusalem

Dozens die in Gaza protests as US embassy opens in Jerusalem

At least 50 Palestinians were killed and hundreds were injured in Gaza as deadly protests took place ahead of and during and after the ceremony that marked the move of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. It was one of the deadliest day there since the 2014 gaza war.

The violence could deepen Tuesday, when Palestinians mark what they call the "Nakba," or Catastrophe, in memory of the more than 700,000 Palestinians who were either driven from or fled their homes during the Arab-Israeli war that accompanied the creation of the state of israel in 1948. (

The celebratory air at the official opening ceremony in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood also contrasted sharply with calls from international leaders who expressed alarm at the spike in violence and appealed for calm, with some US allies denouncing the US decision to break with international norms by moving the embassy. (

Violent Protest

“Rioters are hurling pipe bombs and firebombs at IDF troops, burning tires, throwing stones and burning objects, with the intention of setting fires in Israel and hurting IDF troops,” a member of the Israeli army was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying. (

Israel’s security service, Shin Bet, claimed Monday that Hamas is encouraging Palestinian civilians to flood the border, with their own gunmen waiting in the wings to break through if a fence is breached. (

“There is a prohibition for Hamas operatives to approach the border, from a fear that they will be killed or captured by IDF troops, unless the security fence falls and then they must enter, armed, into Israel under the cover of the masses and carry out terror attacks,” the agency said. (

Khalil Al-Hayya, deputy chief of Hamas in Gaza, said at a news conference that the purpose of Monday’s demonstrations was to “powerfully confront the embassy deal” and to “draw the map of return in blood.” (

At the front of the march were leaders of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah movement, including Jibril Rajoub, general secretary of Fatah, and Mr. Saidam, the education minister. (

US clarity on decision

The holy city has been one of the most contentious issues in past negotiations, and broad international consensus has been that its status will be settled under a peace deal, although Trump has said Jerusalem is now “off the table”. (

At the ceremony in Jerusalem, Washington’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, stood on a stage painted with the US flag and said: “Today’s historic event is attributed to the vision, courage, and moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude: President Donald J Trump.” The crowd cheered and gave a standing ovation. (

As the death toll mounted in Gaza, both President Trump and Netanyahu lauded the embassy move, with the U.S. president declaring it "A great day for Israel!" (

After Ivanka Trump had unveiled the seal of the embassy, Mr Kushner said in his address: "When President Trump makes a promise he keeps it... We have shown the world that the US can be trusted. (

The deadly fight

Israel’s use of force on Monday included not only infantry with rifles, but also fighter jets and a tank, as it repulsed what it said were unsuccessful attempts by Hamas to have armed fighters slip across the Gaza border. (

At least three separate squads of armed Hamas fighters “tried to use the commotion and smoke and dynamics of the riots as concealment, and then launched an attack on the fence,” said Colonel Conricus, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces. (

Hamas is not happy

Saeb Erekat, a senior Abbas aide, blasted the Trump administration Monday, saying Mr. Trump had violated a promise to hold off on moving the embassy to give peace talks a chance and that his administration is "based on lies." (

Mahmoud Abbas condemned the embassy as a "settlement in East Jerusalem", saying that the US was "no longer a mediator in the Middle East". (

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said it was "shameful to see countries participating with the US and Israel in celebrating the former's embassy move to occupied Jerusalem in a clear and grave violation of international law". (

Commenting on the Friday vote, Israeli Ambassador to the Un Danny Danon said the council “should condemn Hamas, which uses children as human shields while risking their lives, and must call for the end of these provocations which only increase the violence and tensions,” as cited by the Times of Israel. (

Jerusalem border yet to be decided

Although Mr. Trump has said his declaration does not set the final borders of the city, his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has been perceived by both Israel and the Palestinians as taking Israel's side in the most sensitive issue in their conflict. (

Trumps decision brings clarity to the table but the clarity will come at a cost to the US and Israel as well. The American double speak all these years have muddled the war over the decades. But Trumps approach is definitive and it may come at a cost for American diplomacy and foreign policy.


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