Dozens killed in protests as U.S. embassy inaugurated in Jerusalem

A wounded Palestinian is evacuated at the Israel-Gaza border during a protest against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem May 14. (CNS photo/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Reuters)A wounded Palestinian is evacuated at the Israel-Gaza border during a protest against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem May 14. (CNS photo/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Reuters)

As the new United States embassy was inaugurated in Jerusalem on May 14, violence broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers.

International media reported that in Gaza, at least 52 people were killed, including five under the age of 18, and some 2,000 were injured. The death toll was expected to rise.

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Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and now feel that the U.S. cannot be a fair broker in the peace process with Israel.

Many Israelis see opening the embassy as the long-awaited official recognition of Jerusalem as their capital and the fulfillment of a promise made by numerous U.S. presidents to move the building from Tel Aviv. 

Israel accuses many of the protesters of being members of Hamas and of using Palestinians as pawns in the violent protests along the Gaza border, which began March 30. The Israeli Defense Forces has said that numerous protesters have been caught trying to break through the border fence that imprisons them, and fire-lit kites sent by Palestinians across the border have caused millions of dollars of damage to crops when they have landed on Israeli farmland. 

"They don't have anything to lose," he said. "They are not living in dignity."

At St. Joseph Parish in Jifna, West Bank, May 14, Father Firas Aridah tolled bells at noon to mourn those injured and killed in clashes, to mark the commemoration of the day Palestinians call al-Naqba—their catastrophe—and to lament the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence; Palestinians commemorate that 250,000-300,000 Arabs living in the British mandate of Palestine were forced off their lands and homes at the time.

"Jerusalem is at the heart of the conflict," he said. "Opening the American embassy without resolving the conflict is going to the extreme. They can resolve the conflict of Jerusalem and then do whatever they want. But why just move the embassy to Jerusalem without resolving the conflict?"

The priest said although parishes in the Holy Land tell their parishioners to resist occupation by educating themselves and preparing for the future, people in Gaza see no future. He said he can stress to his school's Christian and Muslim students that throwing stones is not worth dying for, but people in Gaza are desperate. 

"They don't have anything to lose," he said. "They are not living in dignity."

On May 15 Palestinians will mark a moment of silence in commemoration of the Naqba, much like the Israelis did a month early on the Hebrew anniversary of Israeli independence.

Father Aridah said he would light candles with his parishioners following 6 p.m. Mass on May 15 and have a silent march to the center of the village. He expects the demonstrations, including throughout the West Bank, to continue for some time.

In a statement released May 14, Pax Christi International said it recognized the 70th anniversary of two historic events this year: the 70th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel and the Naqba.

"These two events are forever interconnected. Pax Christi members and partners will once again stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, especially those who, after seven decades, remain refugees, as they mark this solemn anniversary," said the statement. It called for the right of return and/or compensation for Palestinian refugees as a prerequisite for a just and fair Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, for which Pax Christi said an increased commitment from the international community is "urgently necessary."

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J Cosgrove
3 months 1 week ago

I would not look to most news organizations as a source of what is happening in Gaza. Most is fake news. It is hard to get to the truth when Hamas is the source of much of the reporting.

rose-ellen caminer
3 months 1 week ago

The oppressors' modus operandi is to say that all resistance to oppression is the work of outlawed terrorist organizations. Assad does it, all dictators in the middle East have done it. The Americans did it in Baghdad, outlawing the Baathist party, and so all Sunni people living in Baghdad by virtue of their existence became de facto outlaws who the US military cleansed[murdered] Baghdad of. The Israeli's are doing the same thing; any resistance to their unjust occupation and illegal land grabs,and illegal expansion of settlements is claimed to be the work of an out lawed terrorist organization or their manipulated dupes. Hence they can murder people at will on the guise of fighting terrorism, whenever the oppressed act out and riot against oppression. When people riot here ,even violently , we all say the violence is not justified BUT we look at the causes for the despair that leads to violence. We say this about prison riots and about riots in our cities. Why here but not for Palestinians? Because we have chosen to not extend empathy with Palestinians. We have in effect dehumanized them. Because of this, we don't really recognize their inherent rights[in spite of the dishonest speeches made at the celebration]. Palestinians must EARN their human rights, by jumping through Israel's hoops . This is exactly what was going on in South Africa; Blacks , the oppressors said, had to earn their right to not be oppressed. When it comes to Palestinians , their human rights ,their feelings , their suffering, their despair is not recognized, certainly not as being caused by the occupation and illegal land annexation of the racist apartheid state that Israel says must forever be.

J Cosgrove
3 months 1 week ago

It's interesting how after all the Sunnis we supposedly killed, they were the main force behind Bush's successful Surge.

Also Gaza was given independence and Israel moved out. The Israeli government continues to supply a Gaza with humanitarian supplies even during the violence by Hamas.

As I said most of the reports about Gaza are fake news.

Ann Johnson
3 months 1 week ago

Have you been to Palestine? I have and life there is far more difficult than you can imagine. How would you like to live without electricity for 20 hours a day? How would you like tainted drinking water? How would you like the prospect of no jobs, no meaningful work, not just for yourself, but for your children?

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

The people living in Gaza have a horrible life. That is not fake news. But what is happening now is mostly fake news to promote a narrative.

Who is to blame for the terrible conditions? That is mainly fake news.

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