55 dead in Gaza protests as Israel fetes relocation of US Embassy; Hatch, Lee express support for move

A Palestinian woman walks through black smoke from burning tires during a protest on the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, May 14, 2018. Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza's border with Israel, as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem. | Associated Press photo by Khalil Hamra, St. George News

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — In a jarring contrast, Israeli forces shot and killed at least 55 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,200 during mass protests Monday along the Gaza border, while just a few miles away Israel and the U.S. held a festive inauguration ceremony for the new American Embassy in contested Jerusalem.

It was by far the deadliest day of cross-border violence since a devastating 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, and further dimmed the already bleak prospects for President Donald Trump’s hoped-for peace plan.

U.S. President’s daughter Ivanka Trump and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, arrive for the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. Amid deadly clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border, President Donald Trump’s top aides and supporters celebrated the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem as a campaign promised fulfilled. | Associated Press photo by Sebastian Scheiner, St. George News

Throughout the day, Gaza protesters set tires ablaze, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air, and hurled firebombs and stones toward Israeli troops across the border. The Israeli military, which has come under international criticism for using excessive force against unarmed protesters, said Hamas tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the protests and released video of protesters ripping away parts of the barbed-wire border fence.

Monday’s protests culminated more than a month of weekly demonstrations aimed at breaking a crippling Israeli-Egyptian border blockade. But the U.S. Embassy move, bitterly opposed by the Palestinians, added further fuel.

There was barely any mention of the Gaza violence at Monday’s lavish inauguration ceremony for the new embassy, an upgraded consular building located just 50 miles away. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials joined an American delegation of Trump administration officials and Republican and evangelical Christian supporters.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and chief Mideast adviser, headlined the U.S. delegation with his wife and fellow White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and four Republican senators. Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson was also present, and evangelical pastors Robert Jeffress and John Hagee delivered blessings.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) took to the Senate floor Monday to commemorate the opening of the embassy and Israel’s 70th anniversary.

“I applaud President Trump’s decision to commemorate this historic anniversary with the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem,” he said.

“Although my schedule does not allow me to be in Israel today, perhaps it is even more appropriate that I make these remarks here rather than in Jerusalem. After all, today should be seen as an American holiday just as it is an Israeli one. America’s interests, prosperity, and security have benefitted immeasurably from our deep friendship with the State of Israel. Indeed, the world is a much better place because of Israel, and it’s high time that the country received its fair treatment on the world stage.”

President Donald Trump stands with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, center, after arriving at the Ronald R Wright National Air Guard Base in Salt Lake City Utah, Dec. 4, 2017 | Photo by Scott Sommerdorf/The Salt Lake Tribune via The Associated Press, St. George News

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) witnessed the official transfer of the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“It is truly an honor to be here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, for the transfer of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv. This is a long overdue recognition of history and reality,” he said. “We continue to hope for peace and longtime stability between Israelis and Palestinians, but the US could no longer wait to do the right thing in recognizing the nation’s rightful capital.”

In a videotaped address, Trump said the embassy move, a key campaign promise, recognizes the “plain reality” that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Yet he added the United States “remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement.”

But Monday’s steadily climbing death toll and wall-to-wall condemnation of the embassy move in the Arab world raised new doubts about Trump’s ambitions to broker what he called the “deal of the century.” More than a year after taking office, Trump’s Mideast team has yet to produce a long-promised peace plan.

Trump says recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital acknowledges the reality that Israel’s government is located there as well as the ancient Jewish connection to the city. He insists the decision has no impact on future negotiations on the city’s final borders.

But to both Israel and the Palestinians, the American gesture is widely seen as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in their longstanding conflict.

“What a glorious day. Remember this moment. This is history,” Netanyahu told the inauguration ceremony. “You can only build peace on truth, and the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state.”

The Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as their capital, have cut off ties with the Trump administration and say the U.S. is unfit to serve as a mediator. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed the area in a move that is not internationally recognized.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, furious over the embassy ceremony, said he “will not accept” any peace deal proposed by the Trump administration.

The Palestinian president also urged the international community to condemn what he said were “massacres” carried out by Israeli troops in Gaza, and officials said the Palestinians would file a war crimes complaint against Israel in the International Criminal Court over settlement construction.

By nightfall, at least 55 Palestinians, including a young girl and four other minors, were killed, the Gaza Health Ministry said. It said 1,204 Palestinians were wounded by gunfire, including 116 who were in serious or critical condition.

Egypt, an important Israeli ally, condemned the killings of Palestinian protesters, while the U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, decried the “shocking killing of dozens.”

Israelis hold American and Israeli flags with the new U.S. embassy in the background in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem. | Associated Press photo by Sebastian Scheiner, St. George News

Turkey said it was recalling its ambassador to the United States over the U.S. Embassy move, saying it “disregarded the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” and would “not serve peace, security and stability in the region.” It also recalled its ambassador to Israel following what it called a “massacre” of Palestinians on the Gaza border.

South Africa, a fervent supporter of the Palestinians, also recalled its ambassador for consultations, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, called on Israel to respect the “principle of proportionality in the use of force” and show restraint, while also urging Hamas to ensure any protests remain peaceful. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a similar appeal.

At the U.S. Embassy ceremony in Jerusalem, Kushner placed the blame on the Gaza protesters.

“As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” he said.

Israel says the blockade of Gaza, imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas overran the territory in 2007, is needed to prevent Hamas from building up its military capabilities. But it has decimated Gaza’s economy, sending unemployment skyrocketing to over 40 percent and leaving the territory with just a few hours of electricity a day.

The Israeli military estimated a turnout of about 40,000 at Monday’s protest, saying it fell short of what Hamas had hoped for. But officials described what they called “unprecedented violence” unseen in previous weeks.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said hundreds of protesters carried out “concerted, coordinated” attacks on the border fence.

Palestinian women wave national flags and chant slogans near the Israeli border fence, east of Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2018. Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza’s border with Israel, as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem. | Associated Press photo by Adel Hana, St. George News

Although the crowd did not manage to break through, he said they caused “significant damage.” The army released video showing demonstrators setting a cargo crossing on fire and appearing to climb on the fence as they lobbed flaming objects into the Israeli side.

Conricus also said Hamas militants disguised as protesters tried to infiltrate, and there were at least three instances of armed Hamas gunmen trying to carry out attacks. Israeli aircraft and tanks struck seven Hamas positions.

Monday marked the biggest showdown in years between Israel’s military and Gaza’s Hamas rulers along the volatile border. The sides have largely observed a cease-fire since the 2014 war — their third in a decade.

Since the protests began on March 30, 105 Palestinians have been killed, most of them protesters. Israel said it killed three militants trying to plant a bomb along the fence, and Palestinian security officials said several Hamas militants were also killed by Israeli shelling in northern Gaza.

Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas figure, said the mass border protests would continue “until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved.”

Throughout the day, sirens wailed as the wounded were carried to ambulances. Groups of young activists repeatedly approached the fence, but were quickly scattered by gunfire and tear gas.

The timing of Monday’s events was deeply symbolic to Israel and the Palestinians.

The U.S. said it chose the date to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment. But Tuesday also marks the anniversary of what Palestinians call their “nakba,” or catastrophe, a reference to the uprooting of hundreds of thousands who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation. A day of mourning and mass funerals was planned Tuesday.

A majority of Gaza’s 2 million people are descendants of refugees, and the protests have been billed as the “Great March of Return” to long-lost homes in what is now Israel.

The new embassy will temporarily operate from an upgraded, existing U.S. consulate building, until a decision is made on a permanent location. Even the current location is sensitive, located partially in an area designated “no-man’s land” in a 1949 armistice agreement. The U.N. considers that land to be occupied territory, though the U.S. says in practice the area has been in continuous Israeli use since 1949.

Written by FARES AKRAM and JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press. Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Ilan Ben Zion in Mefalsim, Israel, Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, and Karin Laub in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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45 Comments

  • comments May 14, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Can’t escape the irony that Israel has basically become the new nazis. And so many of you are fooled into believing they are a “friend and ally”. The type of friend that’ll stab you in the back when you turn around. lmao.

    • Brian May 15, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Hamas is an actual terrorist group, that behaves like actual nazis, constantly calls for the total destruction of Israel and all Jews, and has threatened and planned repeatedly to spark a mass-incursion across the Israel border so they can get thousands of operatives into Israel and commit acts of terrorism within. Israel stands its ground, tells them not to approach its border, but Hamas does anyway with lots of weapons, lots of people, slings, stones, burning tires, masked faces, etc, and when Israel defends its border it’s the problem? Riiiiiiiight. On top of that Israel has tried repeatedly to have actual negotiations and Hamas’ only talking point is “death to Israel!”. How, exactly, are you supposed to negotiate with that? Answer: you don’t.

      The Israeli government is far from perfect (I have a mirror if you need it) but they’re in an impossible situation and I support their right to exist and to defend their borders against actual threats, which all of the recent “protests” are.

      • comments May 15, 2018 at 10:56 am

        You’ve been completely fooled, brian. You’re clueless. All you israel supporters are. Completely fooled.

        • No Filter May 15, 2018 at 11:07 pm

          But I do support Gal Gadot, that is one Israeli worth keeping around.

          • RadRabbit May 16, 2018 at 9:42 am

            much love for Gal Gadot

    • RadRabbit May 15, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Considering how Hamas has stated it wants to kill all Jews I think that would just make them Nazi’s that beat their wives.

      • Utahguns May 17, 2018 at 7:22 am

        GAZA would make a nice glass marble…just add some thermonuclear heat.

  • jaybird May 14, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    All those idiots taking selfies while hundreds are being maimed by the new nazis better hope the Muslims dont unify. Cause if they do, there goes Isreal and the middle east.

    • tazzman May 15, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      I guessed you missed the 1973 war. Israel beat Egypt, Syria and Jordan in a week. And Israel also has nukes and no one else does.

      Israel would wipe the floor with them and rightly so.

    • RadRabbit May 15, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      LOL at least if they do attack Israel that region would be the most peaceful place on the planet after Israel wipes them out. Maybe Iran will get its nukes finally as long as they can catch them.

  • jaybird May 14, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    …up in smoke.

  • Rafiki May 14, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    I’ve not seen much ‘news’ of this on the web. CNN had a blurb yesterday that I saw. Nothing on Fox News. Seems pretty newsworthy as the U.S. is actively involved right now.

    • RadRabbit May 15, 2018 at 10:03 am

      Nothing new here just Islamic Terrorist doing what they do. As far as our embassy being in Jerusalem that was voted on in congress and passed overwhelmingly and every President from Clinton to Obama have said the capitol is Jerusalem the only difference is Trump actually kept his promise about moving the embassy.

  • Striker4 May 15, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Oh well as long as they keep showing the first lady in those sexy outfits she wears I’m good !

    • comments May 16, 2018 at 10:59 am

      the first lady needs to be shipped back to the ukraine until she learns to speak english.

      • Utahguns May 17, 2018 at 7:37 am

        The FLOTUS speaks five languages: English, French, Serbian, Slovenian and German.
        Now you’re a bit smarter….maybe.

        Compare that to your two languages: Jive BS and limited English

  • SSTEED May 15, 2018 at 3:18 am

    Traitors: Trump, Hatch, Lee and all the authors of this article who live in America and are taking money from the criminal cabal who own the federal reserve and the monopoly money issued by it. Any American taking money from AIPAC should be charged with treason. Its not like they have much of a choice at this point; they have been making deals with the devil, and now they have to dance.

  • SSTEED May 15, 2018 at 4:03 am

    Shout-out to the pro-Palestinian Jews who were out protesting in D.C. while this was going down.

  • westernperson May 15, 2018 at 5:21 am

    The Israelis are defending their country. You would do the same. These so called “Palestinians: are and invented people who are only
    serving the purpose of trying to destroy Israel.With all of the oil money they Arabs have they could have easily absorb their brothers into their countries
    and there would be peace but they are more useful as a tool to destroy Israel. Christians cannot live in any of their countries and worship properly as they
    will be killed, but Christians can worship in Israel. I rest my case. We love Israel and support her. Remember Jesus came from the Jewish people. How dare any compare Israel to the Nazis?

    • jaybird May 15, 2018 at 8:50 am

      Big problem with your logic: Gaza is just a huge prison, a concentration camp, the Isrealis have instituted to keep the Muslims under modern day apartide. People in Gaza and West Bank DO NOT have the same rights as tne Jews in Isreal, cant vote, cant travel, live without clean water, lacking electricity, no opportunity, no jobs. Its a mix that leads to insurection. Never again seems to be only for the Jews.

      • Brian May 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm

        Gaza is self-governed by the Palestinians, not the Israelis. The problem is the Palestinians voted in Hamas, a terrorist organization, in free elections in 2006. And in 12 years Hamas has spent their time, money, and energy calling for Israels destruction, inciting riots, committing atrocities, and spreading fear, hate, and terrorism. So Gaza has very little economy, very few jobs, very little security, but a whole lot of protests, burning tires, and angry people that are regularly used as human shields or manipulated into rushing the Israel border to drum up fake news. Several weeks ago Hamas started a propaganda campaign telling their citizens the Israeli border had been abandoned and was unguarded and that they could freely cross over. They knew it wasn’t, and they knew people would be killed, but they didn’t care. There are children being killed there, but only because their parents are taking them to a violent protest and poking a bee’s nest with a stick. This is on Hamas, the Palestinians, and the parents.

      • tazzman May 15, 2018 at 2:21 pm

        No, Gaza has been given millions of dollars and they take all of that and use it for Hamas. Meanwhile, the people living there remain impoverished.

    • Chris May 15, 2018 at 10:31 am

      The Palestinians are certainly not an “invented people.” They are the truly indigenous people of Israel who resided there at the time crackpot Zionist Jews began showing up in the 19th century claiming a right to the land based on a religious myth. European Ashkenazi Jews who constituted the vast majority of these Zionist settlers could not, and still cannot, prove any lineage to any people of the Middle East.

      • tazzman May 15, 2018 at 2:27 pm

        Yes, they are an invented people. Their lands claims are fabricated. And no, Jews occupied the lands for centuries. The religious idea underlying that might be a myth but their having lived there is not. There is plenty of archaeological evidence that Jewish people settled there centuries before some Palestinians fabricated their “homeland”.

        • Chris May 15, 2018 at 3:48 pm

          Your understanding of this matter is very thin. Yes, Jewish peoples lived in what is now Israel long ago, but since the diaspora of Jews following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, the region became populated by Arabs who eventually became Muslims. These Palestinians came to greatly outnumber any remnant of Zionist Jews who filtered back to the area in the 18 centuries since the diaspora. The fact that fellow Jews lived there 2000 years earlier gives modern day Zionists no legal or ethical claim to the land. It would be analogous to having Piute natives eject you from your St. George home with the excuse that Piutes had previously live there three hundred years earlier.

  • homer498 May 15, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Yeah yeah yeah! Talk about being in need of a history lesson. I’ve been watching this go on for 40+ years; and the Arabs have been completely unified against Israel in the past, see the (Six-Day War (June 1967) – Fought between Israel and Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan, and Syria with support from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria); and they attacked Israel simultaneously with their Armies, and they got their Armies wiped out, and rubbed in it; and noses rubbed in it when Israel took “The Gaza strip” and “The Golan Heights” for reasons of “Security” and Israel did it with conventional weapons when nobody would have blamed them for using nuclear weapons. Look up “The Six Day War” because nothing in the world is more dangerous than a lack of intelligence: and yours is scary bad. “The new nazis” ??? really ? You clearly don’t understand who the “Nazis” were; and you clearly aren’t familiar with the term “Neo-Nazis” or, that the term “Neo” means “New”; and they’ve been around for 50 years. The Israelis are definitely half the problem, and as long as they exist, no Arab nation will ever be allowed to poses any nuclear weapons; of any kind. Israel will strike first before that happens.

    • jaybird May 15, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Yeah. Now they have nukes. Think beyond 50 years ago. As long as tne Muslims are fighting among each other, Isreal is okay, but as soon as that changes, watch out. Gaza is a living hell for those “citizens” of Isreal. Get YOUR history lesson right. Apartheid in parts of Isreal will not turn out well for the Jews and arbitrary moves wont either.

      • tazzman May 15, 2018 at 2:25 pm

        “As long as the Muslims are fighting among each other, Israel is okay, but as soon as that changes, watch out.” The Muslims will never stop fighting among one another as long as there are Shia and Sunni. So, essentially forever.

    • jaybird May 15, 2018 at 9:02 am

      PS, this has been going on for 70 years, after the Jewish diaspora since before Christ. The Jews came in and took it all 70 years ago. The Palestinians were ripped from their homes and have been paying for it since.

      • tazzman May 15, 2018 at 2:23 pm

        You’re preaching myth. There is no such thing as their homes and their lands. It was a Jewish homeland and the Palestinians fabricated this idea of a “homeland” because they did not want to co-exist with Jews.

        • Chris May 15, 2018 at 4:03 pm

          jaybird is correct. If you are claiming that Palestinians did not inhabit the region when Israel was unilaterally created in 1948, you really know nothing about the history of the so-called “Holy Lands.” Maybe you’d like explain the presence of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem if you claim that Arabs did not call Jerusalem home.

    • Chris May 15, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Apparently, it is you who needs the history lesson. The Israelis attacked first in the 1967 war, and they attacked the USS Liberty, killing many American sailors, to cover up this fact.

      • homer498 May 15, 2018 at 1:04 pm

        So let me get this straight, the Israel’s attacked Egypt, Jordan, and Syria simultaneously, and to justify those attacks, the Israel’s attacked one of our ships ? Man those Israel’s are clever.

        • Chris May 15, 2018 at 3:56 pm

          You are obviously not well read in this matter. The fact that Israel attacked first against the Egyptians is now well documented and accepted, despite the fact that Israeli diplomats lied to the U.N., and the rest of the world, claiming that Egypt had attacked first. Jordan and Syria did not enter the war until Egypt urged them to do so after the initial attack. If you have not heard of the USS Liberty, you are truly ignorant about the 67 War. Google it, and prepared to be amazed. By the way, it’s Israelis not “Israel’s”, but I can see that literacy is not one of your strong suits.

          • 42214 May 15, 2018 at 5:35 pm

            I bet you think the Jews are responsible for Pearl Harbor too.

  • RadRabbit May 15, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Sounds like 55 terrorist weeded out to me.

  • 42214 May 15, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Hope 55 is just a start. Let’s add some zeros to that number.

  • westernperson May 15, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    While the so called “Palestinians” continue to riot, throw objects and kill the Israelis
    build, innovate, and discover ways to improve people. Check this out:

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-researchers-say-they-have-found-way-to-curb-growth-of-cancer-cells/

    Google the many inventions by Israelis and the overwhelming Nobel Prizes awarded to the Jewish People.

    Why not visit the Arab Nations and then visit Israel. I bet you would rather live in Israel.

  • comments May 15, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    probably ssteed is the only one here who is gonna agree w/ me, but I fully believe the israeli zionist gov’t had a large part in orchestrating the 9/11 attacks. Also many of the israeli dual citizens in US intelligence and military. They really are the new nazis. There is no question about it. They may even be far worse than the germans ever were…

    • No Filter May 15, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      My money is on the Saudi’s. I think they paid all the bills on 9/11. More use of the military equals more use of their oil, which translates into more golden toilets!

      • RadRabbit May 16, 2018 at 10:34 am

        I think your right on the Saudi’s but please tell me more about these toilets?

      • comments May 16, 2018 at 11:07 am

        No, too many zionists were involved. Saudi may have played some role, but I believe the orchestrators were zionists. I don’t dwell on it much anymore because it gives me a headache and it’s pointless, but 3 skyscrapers don’t just fall down like they’re made of sand, not w/o the help of demolition explosives–zionist-planted demolition explosives. Everyone has been fooled about 9/11. The zionists are experts and manipulating the reality of a situation and making sure a fake history is written about it. They’re well practiced at it with their hollywood garbage movies and such. 😉

  • westernperson May 15, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Read what Pastor Hagee says about Israel. Wonderful. Great man.

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/top-pro-israel-evangelical-leader-sees-wellspring-of-support-for-jewish-state/

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