Relocation of United States embassy to Jerusalem heightens tensions - AU

by Abel Hampton May 16, 2018, 8:01
Relocation of United States embassy to Jerusalem heightens tensions - AU

Palestinian medics and protesters evacuate a wounded youth during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 14, 2018.

US President Donald Trump's prospects for brokering the Mideast peace "deal of the century" plunged ever deeper as the US Embassy in Jerusalem opened amid violence in Gaza.

By any account Monday's massacre of Palestinians at the Gaza border with Israel was a horrendous day in the 70-year existence of the Jewish State and will be remembered as one more bloody milestone in the never-ending conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. It said at least 24 of those killed on Monday were members of terrorist groups; Hamas and Islamic Jihad acknowledged that 13 of its members were among the dead.

Turkey's move also set off a testy war of words between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who traded insults on Twitter.

Israel said it was defending its border and accused Gaza's Hamas rulers of using the protests as a cover for attacks on the border. In Paris, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the situation in the Middle East as increasingly "explosive".

He called for renewed and genuine worldwide efforts to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict, based on the existence of two states, Israel and Palestine, within the framework of the relevant United Nations pronouncements. He said the plan does not include peacekeeping forces, but he gave few other details.

The draft statement, seen by CNN, included language expressing "outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest".

Turkey's diplomatic relations with Israel were severed and downgraded after the Mavi Marmara tragedy in which nine Turkish citizens trying to break the Israeli embargo on Gaza were killed by Israeli commandos. The raid killed nine activists. It appeared that many protesters had gone to mourning tents rather than back to the scene of Monday's bloodshed. Why can't Jerusalem build a wall on its western border with Israel to ward off such futile Hamas attempts to use their own youth as gun-fodder?

Government and opposition parties were united in condemning Israel for the attack and strongly criticizing the US for its backing of Israel and for the moving of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. Write or call your members of Congress and demand that they conduct an immediate investigation into Israel's actions and hold it accountable for violating human rights (US Campaign for Palestinian Rights has put together language and an e-mail tool).

"The blood of innocent Palestinians is on the hands of the United States", Bozdag told parliament, according to The Associated Press. "They have become part of the problem not part of the solution, a big part of the problem. I suggest that he not preach morality to us". At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the main health facility in the strip, these woes were magnified this week.

Israeli troops killed two Palestinians and injured hundreds at the Gaza boundary fence on Tuesday as residents buried dozens of Palestinians who were shot and killed by Israeli forces a day earlier, Palestinian authorities said.

The point of greatest tension came when a presumed supporter of Israel made his way through the crowd.

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