[Photo: Hosam Salem]
Occupied Palestine has not seen this much destruction and death since 2014, after 60 protesters were killed and thousands more injured on Monday in what has been referred to as ‘Bloody Monday’. The protests come after the US embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s new capital, on Monday.
On Tuesday, further violent clashes erupted at the 70th commemoration of the establishment of the state of Israel, which Palestinians know as Nakba (‘Day of Catastrophe’) or the 1948 Palestinian exodus. Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, had initially called upon Palestinians to orchestrate a strike on Tuesday to honour those who had been killed the day before.
Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza Strip
Meanwhile, Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital is said to be on the brink of collapse; head of emergency, Ayman al-Sahabani, revealed that up to 500 cases arrived simultaneously, which was more than the hospital’s capacity could take. Al-Sahabani also stated that the halls were overflowing with the dead and the injured. The majority of patients were being treated for lower body injuries, as well as injuries to the chest.
Parents, Anwar and Mariam, mourned the death of their eight-month-old daughter, Laila, who died as a result of tear gas inhalation. Mariam and Laila were in tents at a Gaza sit-in, away from the front lines.
“People who recognise the humanity in others do not author or perpetrate massacres,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu argued.
International response: God is “weeping”
As more details on the violence came to light, Archbishop Desmond Tutu deemed the situation in Palestine a “massacre”; which reflected his previous statement that God was “weeping” after Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. In a further statement, he expressed that he was “deeply distressed” and “broken-hearted” after learning of the events in Gaza earlier in the week. “People who recognise the humanity in others do not author or perpetrate massacres,” he argued.
Subsequently, the Israeli ambassador to South Africa was recalled in protest, and Turkey recalled both its Israeli and US ambassadors. Turkish president, Recep Erdogan, accused the Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, of having “the blood of Palestinians on his hands” while his deputy PM referred to the massacre as “Bloody Monday”.
American comedian, Chelsea Handler, also lashed out on Twitter:
I’m glad Ivanka and Jared could take time away from their busy schedules of not being qualified to represent the US to go represent the US, and celebrate moving the capital in exchange for the adelson’s donations, while 50+ Palestinians have been killed.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) May 14, 2018
As did Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales; who used the hashtag #PalestinaLibre to denounce what he called the “genocidal reaction of the Israeli army”.
Bolivia rechaza y condena de la manera más enérgica la apertura de la Embajada de EEUU en Jerusalén. Nuevamente EEUU viola el derecho internacional y encubre los crímenes del Estado de Israel. Viva #PalestinaLibre
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) May 14, 2018
However, Mr Netanyahu seemed unfazed by the international indignation; commending the US president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who was all smiles at the unveiling of the US embassy. It was eulogised as “a glorious day” for Israel by Netanyahu. Meanwhile, senior advisor to the US president and husband to Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, stated that it was those who provoked the violence who were “part of the problem and not part of the solution.”
UN Security Council meeting
The UN Security Council called an emergency meeting following Monday’s violent clashes. In attendance was US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who The Times of Israel reported was “a rare voice slamming the Hamas terror group and speaking out in favour of Israel”. Hamas, a Palestinian fundamentalist organisation, has been blamed for using Monday’s unveiling of the embassy in Jerusalem as an excuse to encourage others into violent protests.
Haley also argued that Israel had acted with “restraint” in the clashes which killed 60 Palestinians and injured more than 2,700, as the Israeli ambassador to the UN argued that the casualties of Monday’s protests were “solely Hamas’ responsibility”, because Israel was simply defending their border.
In a scornful move, while the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, was composing himself in response to Israel and the US, Haley walked out of the meeting. Later on, Mansour expressed that he felt she had let the Palestinian people down.
Also addressed at the meeting was the possibility of an independent probe into the violence between Israel and Palestine, a suggestion that was backed by the UN Secretary-General and ambassadors from Britain, China, and the Middle East (among numerous other nations). The notion of such an investigation was reportedly not supported by the US.
Kuwait’s ambassador additionally proposed a resolution which would allow for the protection of Palestinian citizens, while Nikolai Mladenov, the Middle East ambassador, demanded Israel use proportionate force. Under international humanitarian law, proportionality is a chief factor in establishing the necessity of military intervention in armed conflict.
In a joint statement by the European members of the meeting, it was said that Hamas needed to avoid provocation and that the Israel Defense Force (IDF) needed to show “maximum restraint”.International Human Rights / Humanitarian Law, Middle East