Gaza Massacre: UNSC Meets to Discuss the Mass Killings of Unarmed Palestinian Protesters
Today, the UN Security Council is to discuss the situation in Gaza, where protests have erupted against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. At least 59 people have died, and more than 1,000 have been wounded. Turkey and South Africa recalled their ambassadors from Israel for consultations. In a telephone conversation, the leaders of Turkey and Palestine condemned the actions of the Israeli troops. The world saw protests against the violent breakup of protests in Gaza. People in Turkey and Jordan rallied in support of the Palestinians.
More than 100 protesters took to the streets of the US capital. Those who rallied in front of the Trump International Hotel called the diplomatic mission to Jerusalem an «Embassy of Occupation.» I'd like to remind you that the Palestinian protesters are enraged by the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The political status of the city is one of the key issues of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Over the past 25 years, US presidents have postponed the move to avoid escalation.
Sergey Pashkov, chief of Vesti's Middle Eastern Office, is reporting from Israel.
The moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem has exasperated the situation in Palestine. The protests lasted from dawn until nightfall. More and more clashes with Israeli troops were reported on the West Bank and in Gaza, each clash multiplying the number of casualties.
It's Trump Square in Jerusalem. A squatty consulate building changed its inscription to «Embassy of the USA» despite the warnings, calls, and threats. Donald Trump, who considers obstinacy a virtue, had his own way.
Donald Trump: «Today, we officially opened the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Congratulations! Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like any other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Yet, for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious: Israel's capital is Jerusalem».
The delegation consists of 250 people, including the president's personal envoys — his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The entire Israeli political establishment is present.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu strove to present the situation in such a way as if to show that the status of Jerusalem was no longer questionable and that the Eternal City would be the undivided capital of Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu: «Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises».
While the ever-elegant Ivanka Trump was choosing a dress for the fanfare-filled ceremony, at the call of Hamas, 35,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip approached the border with Israel. They used stones, Molotov cocktails, and burning car tires. The response was tear gas, rubber bullets, and even lethal force. The Israelis deployed combat brigades and snipers along the border with the Strip beforehand and launched drones. A dozen streets near the new embassy in Jerusalem were cordoned off as special police units were deployed to the Old City.
Israel predicted that the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem may provoke the Palestinians to protest, that people may take to the streets, and that unrest may unfold. But nobody expected so many casualties. They used lethal force where protesters tried to break through the security fence. Fierce fighting broke out at the Kerem Shalom border crossing. Snipers and machine gunners fired at Palestinians who were trying to break into Israeli territory. More than 50 people died, 116 were badly wounded, about 2,000 Palestinians were affected by smoke and tear gas. The Israeli Air Force launched several sorties to strike at Hamas' military facilities in Gaza. There hasn't been such a high number of casualties in many years. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared a state of mourning.
Mahmoud Abbas: «Today is one of the most tragic days for our people. 52 people have already been reported dead, and the number is growing. That's why we decided to announce a three-day period of mourning and a protest march on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Nakba».
Today, when Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary, a day which is called Nakba («catastrophe») by the Palestinians, is a day which can see more clashes. And the main reason for the escalation is the unilateral decision by the US President.
«I don't think it's a good move as Jerusalem is an international city. Making this move without security a peace treaty is a bad idea. I think nothing good will come of it».
The international community is trying to stop the bloodshed. Egyptians demand that Hamas leaders deescalate the rallies, promising in return to partially lift the blockade from the Palestinian enclave. The UN Security Council is holding a meeting in New York at the initiative of the Arab states. However, with every hour, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop the escalation of the conflict.
Sergey Pashkov, Alexander Ivanyuk, Varvara Golemba for Vesti from Jerusalem.