Relocation of USA embassy to Jerusalem heightens tensions - AU

Relocation of USA embassy to Jerusalem heightens tensions - AU

THE United States and Israel have drawn widespread worldwide criticism after Israeli troops fired on protesters in the Gaza strip during demonstrations against the opening of the USA embassy in Jerusalem.

Since the protests began, Israeli forces have killed more than 100 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, sparking worldwide outrage, particularly over the deaths of unarmed protesters and journalists. I witnessed occupation as a five-year-old child. They carried her tiny body, wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

The demonstration in Gaza Monday culminated a weekslong Palestinian campaign against a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley walked out of a Security Council meeting on Tuesday when the Palestinian envoy began to speak, just hours after she praised Israel for acting with "restraint" in handling the protests in Gaza.

The trucks entered Tuesday, as medical facilities in Gaza were struggling to treat hundreds of people wounded by Israeli fire the day before.

A Palestinian protester holds a rope during clashes after protests near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip, 14 May 2018.

Britain, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden - the five European nations on the council - joined Belgium, Germany and Italy in a statement calling on Israel to "refrain from excessive use of force" and on Hamas "to avoid provocation" and ensure that protests remain non violent.

The question for Israelis is why their government, with weeks of warning about what Hamas would attempt, did not develop a strategy to defeat the operation by minimizing the loss of life.

But the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, this morning defended the use of force as "measured" and "surgical". Some also strongly criticised United States policy and said Trump's visit to Britain in July should be cancelled.

French President Emmanuel Macron also condemned "the violence of the Israeli forces against protesters".

Getty – Contributor
Getty – Contributor

Haley was a rare voice slamming the Hamas terror group and speaking out in favor of Israel at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called over Monday's deadly fighting. His comment followed a decision by Turkey to order Israel's ambassador to leave.

Haley was in sync with her Israeli counterpart, Danny Danon, who said Hamas, the Palestinian militant political faction that governs Gaza, had incited its people to be shot down.

It also reaffirmed United Nations resolutions on the status of Jerusalem, saying that recent events had "no legal effect" under global law.

"The extraordinary meeting on Friday will give a very strong message to the world from Istanbul", Erdogan said at a press conference in London with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

In contrast to the scenes in Gaza, Israeli dignitaries and guests attended a ceremony in Jerusalem to open the U.S. Embassy following its relocation from Tel Aviv.

Some 52 Palestinians in total, including the three men, were killed in skirmishes near the security fence.

The Israeli army estimated that more than 40,000 Palestinians took part in the protests at a dozen sites along the border fence, and said its soldiers were following "standard operating procedures" to push back people seeking to break through the border fence.

The IDF alleged some protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, and burned tires.

Demonstrators chanted "Turkish state, fascist state" through a public address system and waved banners opposite the gates to Downing Street branding Mr Erdogan a terrorist. Roughly 2,700 more were injured.