Fifty-nine Palestinian protesters, including seven children under 18, have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations on the day of the US embassy’s inauguration in Jerusalem, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday.
More than 2,700 protesters have been injured in Gaza on what has been the most violent day of the six week long Great March of Return. Those wounded on Monday include 203 children and 78 women, according to the ministry.
The Palestinian government denounced Monday’s violence as a “terrible massacre” perpetrated “by the forces of the Israeli occupation”, and called for an immediate international intervention to prevent further deaths. A day of national mourning has been declared by the government in Ramallah, to be held Tuesday.
Around 35,000 protesters gathered at the border fence and thousands more within half a mile of the vicinity, according to Israeli Defence Forces.
Clashes have also reportedly broken out between protesters and the Israeli Defense Forces in Bethlehem.
The first of Monday’s deaths was 21-year-old Anas Hamdan Qudeih, killed east of Khan Yunis, a spokesperson for the ministry said. A 29-year-old man, Mosaab Yousef Ibrahim Abu Laila, was later killed east of Jabalya. Some of the dead have yet to be identified. Six children under the age of 18, including one girl, are among the fatalities.
Amnesty International has called the Israeli violence in Gaza “an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights.”
We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights in #Gaza. 38 confirmed dead, including 6 children, with close to 2000 people injured. Many are reporting injuries to the head and chest. Over 500 injured with live ammunition. This must end immediately.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) May 14, 2018
Around half of all injuries were caused by live bullets while hundreds more were targeted with teargas, according to the ministry. The Palestinian Health Ministry claims that Israeli forces are directly targeting emergency services and journalists and are calling on citizens to urgently donate blood to help save the lives of those wounded.
Six journalists have reportedly been injured while covering Monday’s demonstrations, according to the Journalist Support Committee.
A short while ago, 3 terrorists attempted to place an explosive device near the security fence in Rafah, under the cover of violent riots. In response, the IDF fired at the terrorists, who were killed pic.twitter.com/LFRRyfHDzl
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 14, 2018
The latest deaths bring the number killed since the Great March of Return protests began six weeks ago to 103.
Dr. Mkhaimer Abuseda, professor of political sciences at Alazhar University in Gaza, told RT that the relocation of the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem is “a very sad day for the Palestinians, reminding them of their first Nakba some 70 years ago.”
“It seems to me that the Palestinians have decided that the US is no longer an honest broker in the MidEast peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis,” he said, adding that it will likely lead to further Palestinian rage and resistance.
Scuffles have reportedly broken out outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem as the inauguration ceremony took place inside.
— Bel Trew (@Beltrew) May 14, 2018
Scuffles between demonstrators and police outside US embassy in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/9q1aEPF9S6
— JoMa Sommarstrom (@ekmathia) May 14, 2018
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has condemned Monday’s violence, claiming the US, as well as Israel, is responsible for the “massacre” because of their “unjust decision” to move the embassy.
6)Bu katliamlardan dolayı İsrail’i ve aldığı haksız/hukuksuz kararla bu hadiselere ve ölümlere neden olan ABD yönetimini kınıyorum.
Kudüs’ün tarihi,manevi ve akdi statüsü,oldu bitti ile değişmez/değiştirilemez.
Bu katliamdan,İsrail hükümeti kadar ABD Yönetimi de sorunludur.
— Bekir Bozdağ (@bybekirbozdag) May 14, 2018
Tuesday marks the commemoration of Nakba Day, a term which Palestinians use to describe their forced mass exodus from their homes during the establishment of the State of Israel. It is celebrated among Israelis as Independence Day. Thousands of people have gathered near the border to take part in Monday’s protests.
Huge demonstrations are expected to mark the May 15 event, which brings to a close the six-week Great March of Returndemonstrations.
The IDF dropped leaflets warning people in Gaza to stay away from the security fence ahead of Monday’s protests. Demonstrators in North Gaza brought down an IDF drone that was allegedly dropping fire bombs on tents, according to the Great Return March movement.
READ MORE: Israel fires tear gas, drops leaflets warning Palestinians to stay away from border
A few minutes ago, IDF jets once again distributed leaflets warning against approaching the security fence, attempting to sabotage it or to carry out terror attacks pic.twitter.com/dJcBcUYiiz
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 14, 2018