Violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip’s border hours ahead of the controversial opening of the USA embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, leaving 52 dead and 2,400 more wounded.
The Guardian reports that Israeli forces have killed 37 Palestinians and wounded at least 500 in Gaza, health officials said, as troops fired bullets at residents rallying against the Monday opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
With a White House delegation and Israeli officials set to gather for the inauguration ceremony, the Gaza clashes had wounded more than 500 Palestinians in addition to the 28 killed, the Gazan health ministry said. The dead included a 14-year-old, according to the ministry.
Tens of thousands of people turned out at locations across the coastal enclave in what was the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war. Residents ignored warnings from the Israeli military that Palestinians risked their lives by taking part. The sky along the frontier was filled with thick black smoke as protesters lit tyres. Intermittent sniper fire was heard and crowds of protesters were seen rushing towards the fence.
The bloodshed marked a violent prelude ahead of Donald Trump’s embassy opening. As ambulances rushed the injured to hospitals in the Gaza strip, preparations were underway in Jerusalem for the ceremony.
“The catastrophic measure will bring more unity and solidarity among world Muslims in defending their sanctities while speeding up annihilation of the fake Zionist regime,” said Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as reported by state-run IRNA News Agency.
In the ceremony which took place for the opening, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman referred to the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, and he said that Washington — which became the first country to recognise the State of Israel — has now taken “a step awaited, voted upon, and litigated and prayed for for all these years.”
“Again the United States leads the way,” in relocating the embassy, he says.
The move is the result of the “the vision, the courage, and the moral clarity” of US President Donald Trump, to whom we own an “enormous and eternal debt of gratitude,” says Friedman.
Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to the President and Trump’s son-in-law is expected to speak shortly and leaked documents of his speech, indicate that he’ll be saying that “Israel proves every day the boundless power of freedom. This land is the only land in the Middle East in which Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths participate and worship freely according to their beliefs.” On Iran he’s expected to say that “Iran’s aggression threatens the many peace-loving citizens throughout the region and the world.” On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he’s expected to say that “We believe, it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give — so that all people can live in peace — safe from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams.”
Sources: CNN, The Guardian, IRNA, The Times of Israel