Under banner of peace, the US officially relocated its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday amid deadly protests in the Gaza Strip. This was met with clashes and protests along the Israeli-Gaza border.
Israeli forces shot and killed 55 Palestinians and wounded at least 1,200 as tens of thousands protested along the frontier against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians took part in the Gaza protests. Protests also took place on the West Bank, where the focus was the embassy move.
A mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire. Monday became the bloodiest day since the campaign of demonstrations began seven weeks ago to protest Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza.
More than 2,700 Palestinian demonstrators were injured on Monday, at least 1,350 by gunfire along the border fence with Gaza, the Health Ministry reported. The mass protests began on March 30 and had already left dozens dead.
The latest protests took place after the shift of embassy, on the 70th anniversary of the formation of Israel. The formality and celebration created an almost surreal contrast to the violence raging barely 40 miles away.
Thirty-three countries attend US ceremony to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, says Israel’s foreign ministry.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel said it was a “glorious day.” “Remember this moment, this is history,” he said. “President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history.”
Most countries say the status of Jerusalem, a sacred city to Jews, Muslims and Christians should be determined in a final peace settlement and that moving their embassies now would pre-judge any such deal.
Donald Trump, who had tweeted that Monday was a “great day for Israel”, did not attend the embassy opening but spoke in a video message, saying he extended “a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbours. May there be peace.”