Concern Mounts As Israel Kills 41 Palestinians Protesting US Embassy Relocation

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SRINAGAR: Concern is mounting across Muslim world including Kashmir as the Israeli forces resorted to a literal massacre in Gaza strip by killing 41 civilians. The Palestinians were protesting against the relocation of US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, one of the most controversial decisions of the Trump administration.

The embassy relocation was done the day, Israel was celebrating the seventieth anniversary of its formation as a state. Though the protests against the move were going on since March, the May 18, proved quite a dangerous day. The inaugural function is going on.

Thousands of people were protesting against the embassy relocation. New York Times reported that when a protest attempted crossing the border from Gaza, Israeli soldiers resorted to firing, killing a number of people.

“For many hours now I am unable to move away from the TV,” Altaf Ahmad, a resident from uptown Srinagar said. “It is a massacre, a huge tragedy.”

A mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza quickly turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire. “By 3:30 p.m., 37 Palestinians, including several teenagers, were dead and at least 1,000 were injured in Gaza, the Health Ministry said, making Monday the bloodiest single day since a campaign of demonstrations along the border fence began seven weeks ago,” the New York Times reported. “Israeli soldiers and snipers were using barrages of tear gas as well as live gunfire to keep protesters from entering Israeli territory.”

Now the protests have erupted in West Bank and other held areas. Reports said almost 1000 people are injured.

Israel sees the Trump decision of relocating the embassy as a major shift in favour of the Tel Aviv claims that Jerusalem was the natural capital of Israel. However, Palestine was hoping to have their capital in the Eastern Jerusalem. The decision that all earlier governments in the US avoided is being seen as the climax of US impartiality in peacemaking.

“The embassy opening was set to begin at 4 p.m., with the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, among the dignitaries attending, as well as a small contingent of Republican lawmakers,” the newspaper reported. Kushner incidentally is Trump’s Middle East point man.

The Wall Street Journal that reported the inauguration of the new embassy said the tensions would mount in coming days. “The decision by President Donald Trump to move the embassy was seen as a major victory in Israel, which for years has lobbied the international community to move their embassies to Jerusalem,” the newspaper reported. “But Tuesday’s bloodshed, which comes after Palestinian and Arab leaders had warned the U.S. against moving the embassy and said it would hurt peace efforts, threatened to taint the celebration of U.S.-Israeli ties.”

“The Palestinian Health Ministry said more than 1,600 had suffered injuries, and that many of the dead had not yet been identified,” CNN reported. “CNN journalists near the Gaza-Israel border heard gunfire in spurts and saw a tank moving towards the fence in the border area of Malaka. Israeli drones also dropped tear gas over a crowd of protesters.” The Palestinian Health Ministry told CNN that 443 injuries were caused by live ammunition, 320 by tear gas, and three by rubber-coated bullets.

Russian media, however, put the death toll at 41 and the number of injured at 1600.

Trump, however, is unmoved. “The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace. We wish Ambassador Friedman good luck as he takes up office in this beautiful Jerusalem embassy and we extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbours. May there be peace. May God bless this embassy. May God bless all who serve there and may God bless the United States of America,” Trump is heard saying in a video.

However, UN said it is worried about the news coming from Gaza. “I’m particularly worried about the news coming from Gaza with the high number of people killed,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was quoted saying in Vienna.

“The United States has chosen to be a part of the problem rather than the solution with its latest step and has lost its mediating role in the peace process,” Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has said in a speech at Britain’s Chatham House think tank.

Palestine’s Health Ministry has issued an urgent appeal for medical supplies due to severe shortages caused by mounting casualties among Palestinian demonstrators currently arrayed along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, official Turkish news agency Anadolu reported. “In a brief statement, the ministry said that Gaza’s hospitals and health clinics were now desperately attempting to treat hundreds of people injured by cross-border Israeli army gunfire.” Its report from Gaza put the injured at 1700.

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