60 Palestinian Protesters Killed By Israeli Forces On The Day US Shifts Embassy From Tel Aviv To Jerusalem
60 Palestinians were killed and over 2,400 were injured in Gaza on Monday, May 14, the historic day of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. An eight-month-old baby also reportedly died because of tear gas leading to asphyxiation.
The United Nations and other world leaders condemned the horrific violation of human rights as tens of thousands of people rallied to bury the dead. Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, was among the leaders who spoke out strongly against the killings. On Tuesday, a spokesman said she was “deeply troubled” by Israel’s use of live fire and “the scale of the violence,” reported The Guardian.
(Pictures taken at the same time this afternoon) pic.twitter.com/0ySzaGjQC9
— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) May 14, 2018
Senior UN officials called it “outrageous violation of human rights”. They further said that it seemed that anyone going close to the Israeli border was liable to be killed. Russia and China also showed concern over the killings. Ireland summoned Israel’s Ambassador to protest against the fatalities.
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights, said in Geneva, “The mere fact of approaching a fence is not a lethal, life-threatening act, so that does not warrant being shot. It seems that anyone is liable to be shot dead.” He stressed that international laws that applied to Israel made clear that “lethal force may only be used as a measure of last, not first, resort.”
Amnesty International has also criticized what it described as a “shameless violation of international laws, in some instances committing what appear to be willful killings constituting war crimes.”
The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, defended Israel saying, “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel defended it’s military’s action and said that every state has the right to defend its border. He tweeted: “Israel will continue to protect itself as much as it takes and not allow anyone who calls to destroy it and break into our borders. We will guard the State of Israel!”
ישראל תמשיך להגן על עצמה ככל שדרוש ולא תאפשר למי שקורא להשמידה לפרוץ אל תוך גבולותינו ולאיים על יישובינו. אנחנו נשמור על מדינת ישראל! pic.twitter.com/PfL8muFWEH
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 16, 2018
What led to the killings?
In December, Donald Trump decided to move the capital of Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A law was passed by Congress in 1995 which required America to move the embassy but every President had since then declined, citing security reasons.
May 14 was chosen as the day for moving the capital to Jerusalem. On Tuesday, Palestinians marched to mark the 70th anniversary of America recognising the Israeli state, the day of its founding, and a day Palestinians refer to as “The Catastrophe,” or “Nakba Day.” It marks the day when 7,00,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from the country..
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) accused the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, of “leading a terrorist operation” and inciting around 35,000 protesters who had assembled in numerous locations along the border fence to conduct what Israel described as terror attacks.
CNN reports that their reporters heard gunshots, saw a tank moving towards the fence in the border area of Malaka. Israeli troops dropped tear gas to disperse the crowd. Around 35,000 people took part in the protest.
— Ian James Lee (@ianjameslee) May 14, 2018
The protests started six weeks ago and more than 100 people have been killed since. The death toll was the highest on Monday. Emergency workers with stretchers carried injured people to safety. Most of them teenagers, some with shots in the abdomen, some with shots in the leg.
Protests spread in West Bank cities from Hebron to Nablus. In Ramallah, a small crowd gathered before noon and marched south toward the Qalandiya checkpoint into Jerusalem. This is a spot for clashes with Israeli security forces.