Israel Kills Dozens of Palestinian Protestors as US Unveils Jerusalem Embassy

The Leader of the Free World is, sadly, enabling atrocities.

On the day the United States opened its controversial embassy in Jerusalem today, marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, Israeli forces have killed dozens of Palestinian protestors. It’s not entirely coincidental.

NYT (“Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem“):

A mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire. Monday became the bloodiest day since the campaign of demonstrations began seven weeks ago to protest Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians took part in the Gaza protests. Protests also took place on the West Bank, where the focus was the embassy move.

By nightfall, 52 Palestinians, including several teenagers, had been killed and more than 2,400 were injured in Gaza, the Health Ministry said. Israeli soldiers and snipers used barrages of tear gas as well as live gunfire to keep protesters from entering Israeli territory.

The Israeli military said that some in the crowds were planting or hurling explosives, and that many were flying flaming kites into Israel; at least one kite outside the Nahal Oz kibbutz, near Gaza City, ignited a wildfire.

By midafternoon, the protest nearest to Gaza City had turned into a pitched battle — a chaotic panorama of smoke, sirens and tear gas that stretched along the fence. Emergency workers with stretchers carried off a stream of injured protesters, many with leg wounds but some having been shot in the abdomen. A number were teenagers.

[…]

Even as Palestinians’ anger erupted, American and Israeli officials celebrated President Trump’s move of the embassy to Jerusalem. Previous administrations in Washington, like the governments of most American allies, had been unwilling to make the transfer, insisting that the status of Jerusalem needed to be resolved in a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

In a recorded video message played to some 800 people gathered at the new embassy, Mr. Trump said the United States “remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement.”

In a speech at the ceremony, Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, also spoke of a resolution to generations of conflict. “When there is peace in this region, we will look back upon this day and will remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth,” he said.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel sounded more triumphant and defiant than conciliatory.

“What a glorious day,” Mr. Netanyahu exulted. “Remember this moment! This is history! President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history.”

WaPo (“Israelis kill more than 50 Palestinians in Gaza protests, health officials say“):

Israeli forces killed 55 Palestinians on the boundary fence with Gaza on Monday, local health officials said, a level of bloodshed not seen since the most violent days of Israel’s 2014 war in the territory.

The death toll doubled the number of Palestinians killed during six weeks of demonstrations, dubbed the “March of Return,” and came on the same day that a new U.S. Embassy opened in Jerusalem.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians had gathered on the edges of the fenced off blockaded territory from mid-morning. Many came to peacefully demonstrate, bringing their children, carrying flags. Food stalls sold snacks and music blared.

But the protests appeared to have a more violent edge than in previous weeks. Some young men brought knives and fence cutters. At a gathering point east of Gaza City, organizers urged protestors over loudspeakers to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them.

Israeli snipers were determined not to allow a breach, and ambulances soon began screaming back and forth from the fence, as gunshots rang out over the crowd. No Israeli soldiers were injured, though, and Israel drew widespread condemnation for an excessive use of force.

More than 2,400 people were injured, according to the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza, including 1,200 from live ammunition.

The protests have been going on for weeks, mostly in response to outrageous policies of the Netanyahu government. But, certainly, the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, a capital claimed by both people, exacerbated an already volatile situation. As former Foreign Policy editor David Rothkopf put it, “We are complicit.”

Richard Painter, who was chief ethics advisor to the George W. Bush administration from 2005 to 2007 (i.e., after the Iraq invasion and during the post-torture period) rightly questions what we’ve gained.

Richard Haas, the longtime president of the Council on Foreign Relations and former official in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, is even harsher:

Rothkopf correctly assesses the last quarter century or so of Israeli overreach thusly:

He adds,

Israel’s policy has been shameful. They’ve gone from victim to bully in the world’s eyes and continue to double down. And, sadly, the United States is now their chief enabler.

UPDATE: Doug Mataconis was crafting his own post at the same time.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. An Interested Party says:

    President Carter was correct to compare the situation in Israel to apartheid…simply because some Palestinians have committed terrorist acts doesn’t make it right for Israelis to commit their own atrocities…Israel currently seems to be facing two futures it doesn’t want…either negotiate with the Palestinians so that they can form their own country (seemingly impossible with how much of the West Bank that Israel is gobbling up) or give Palestinians proper citizenship within Israel (thereby destroying the idea of a Jewish state)




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  2. Kathy says:

    The whole situation is an unholy mess with no real possible solution in view. Still, shooting at protesters is such a bonehead move, one wonders what the Netanyahu government could possibly be trying to accomplish.




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  3. Hal_10000 says:

    This is a problem that will not solve. Israel has had an influx of very conservative Jews since the collapse of the Soviet Union who see the future as the Land of Israel (including the West Bank and Gaza). So any politician who granted a Palestinian State would be destroyed. And the Palestinians would run out of town anyone who proposed making peace with Israel.




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  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    In the “typical for this Administration” file, the opening ceremony for the new Embassy featured prayers by evangelical pastors John Hagee, who preaches that all Jewish people are going to hell, and Robert Jeffrees, who preaches that Hitler was doing God’s work:

    Controversial US pastors take part in Jerusalem embassy opening




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  5. Moosebreath says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    One would think that for an event in Israel (aka the Jewish state), the US would bring in a rabbi (aka Jewish clergy) for the blessing. But that seems to make way too much sense for this Administration.




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  6. MarkedMan says:

    By so closely allying themselves with the Trump administration the Israeli government is only hastening the day when America turns our back on them.




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  7. al Ameda says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    In the “typical for this Administration” file, the opening ceremony for the new Embassy featured prayers by evangelical pastors John Hagee, who preaches that all Jewish people are going to hell, and Robert Jeffrees, who preaches that Hitler was doing God’s work:

    Again I am reminded why I feel comfortable as a lapsed Catholic.




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  8. JohnMcC says:

    Without looking I’m going to venture a guess that many of Mr Trump’s supporters not only approve of the murders at the Gaza fence but they also imagine that the U.S. would defend itself similarly from a Mexican ‘intifada’. Actually, I’m going to guess that they anticipate it with pleasure. After all, it’s better to shoot from a WALL than any damn FENCE, eh?




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  9. JohnMcC says:

    It’s well covered if one looks about but should be prominent in all discussions of this massacre that the real reason for moving the embassy to Jerusalem is to roll out the red carpet for the second coming of Jesus.




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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnMcC: Well, one can shoot thru a fence, not so much a wall. Gotta take the bad with the good.




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  11. KM says:

    @Moosebreath :

    One would think that for an event in Israel (aka the Jewish state), the US would bring in a rabbi (aka Jewish clergy) for the blessing.

    Yes, that would make sense if this was even *remotely* about the Jewish people or the Israeli nation as it exists in reality. In the end, this is about the fundie obsession with the End Times and the state the Holy Land must be in for Armageddon to happen. See Pirro’s claim Trump fulfilled Biblical prophecy to get why there’s deeply fundie preachers at a opening of a public government agency in a land they say the Jews need to control in order for Jesus to come back and either slaughter them all or force them to convert to His Will.

    The glee the right is exhibiting is not because they think they’re helping out a fellow nation out in some way. It’s because they’re convince this is a step closer to the End of the %$&#&* World and that gives them warm tinglies all over. Of course these asshat preachers are there – they’re the ones pushing this kind of cultish ideology! It’s an embassy, not the Third Temple but they’re fired up all the same. Watch for a push to build on the Temple Mount soon……




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  12. michilines says:

    @Hal_10000: Your comment seems to imply that the conservative influence is due to immigration of people from the Soviet Union. It seems to me that that is not really accurate, since most of those immigrants identify as atheist. The more impactful immigration is that of American immigrants who represent a significant proportion of the West Bank settlers.

    Your comment about a potential Palestinian reaction is not borne out by any past response by the vast majority of Palestinians to any steps toward peace that have been made.

    This is not a “both sides” situation. One side is a state with the most powerful ally in the world at its back with money and political support (even to our detriment). The other is a stateless people who have been beat down for more than 70 years.




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  13. michael reynolds says:

    All Christian denominations believe Jews are going to hell. Evangelicals try to hasten the moment by ‘supporting’ Israel right into its biblical destruction, and the less politic preachers blurt it out with typical Trumpian vulgarity, but all Christian denominations maintain that only belief in Christ gets you into the pearly gates.




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  14. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Arabs never wanted these small countries that the European created from their heads. After WWI some Arabs wanted a Kingdom of Syria that would have today’s Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Israel/Palestine in the same country, Mohammed Ali Pasha wanted a much larger territory under Egypt.

    Small countries are impractical in the Middle East, specially for countries without oil. And Arabs always knew it.

    That’s why so many Israelis are so militaristic and want more land, that’s why the Palestinians are not going to settle with Israel.




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  15. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    US Movement Conservatives supports Israel because Israel oppresses Brown people. That’s an incentive that’s even larger than Fundie propaganda.




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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    but all Christian denominations maintain that only belief in Christ gets you into the pearly gates

    That is simply not correct. Here, for example, is an article linking to an interview given by Pope Benedict.

    Catholics can no longer believe that all Muslims, Hindus, atheists and so on are going to hell. We have this on the authority of the former Pope Benedict XVI, who gave a long interview a couple of years ago that has only just surfaced in English. Benedict’s view must be definitive, not just because he was a pope, but because he was a notably conservative one.

    And from the Cathechism:

    Indeed, if these people seek God with a sincere heart, and try, in their actions to do his will as they know it, they may also attain heaven (CCC 847)




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  17. TM01 says:

    So we’re siding *with* the people waving Nazi flags now?

    “In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given. It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.” -Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
    Hard to argue with that.




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  18. TM01 says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    US Movement Conservatives supports Israel because Israel oppresses Brown people.

    See? You really do have no arguments other than RAAAACIST!!!




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  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    All Christian denominations believe Jews are going to hell.

    This isn’t true. Mainstream churches tend to be agnostic about what happens to non-believers. The Catholic Church has the doctrine of implicit faith. The Mormon church has the “terrestrial glory”. Reform Protestant churches teach that who is and isn’t saved is up to the grace of God and we simply have no way of knowing what his plan for non-believers is. Universalist churches teach that everyone is saved whether they want to be or not.

    Only fundamentalists churches will explicitly say non-believers are definitely going to hell.




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  20. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Not only that, they’re pretty much the only ones to say who explictly gets into heaven. For most variations of the Christian faith, it’s an assumption because they hold that no one can know for certain and God holds the final say. Evangelicals will tell you they *know* they’re going to Heaven and you’re going to Hell like they know the sky is blue. “Saved” as a religious state of being is static – “Once saved, always saved” is the general belief with any backsliders or apostates written off with the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    Flexibility of this schema can’t happen because the whole Evangelical mindset is premised on the notion that they are elect -if *anybody* can get in, even with God’s blessing, it means that they *didn’t* need to hold to such strict dogma and they’ve basically tortured themselves and others over noting. They’d rather cheerfully write off billions to the flames then admit that maybe God might be cool with people of other faiths getting into paradise.




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  21. al Ameda says:

    American evangelical christian conservatives support Israel because they need Israeli Jews to be around for the End of Days, at which time they (Jews) and all other non-believers will be denied membership to Heaven and vaporized. Until then, Jews are evil bankers, money changers, and mostly liberal voters




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  22. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @michael reynolds: Not correct, at least as far as the Episcopal Church says. I’ve been either Methodist or Episcopalian my whole life and haven’t believed this since I started making Jewish friends in college.




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  23. Kathy says:

    I like the cartoon where a Catholic priest, a rabbi and an imam reach the after-life and are greeted by Amun Ra 🙂




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  24. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @TM01:

    See? You really do have no arguments other than RAAAACIST!!!

    Most US Movement Conservatives that supports Israel are also supportive of Anti-Islam rhetoric.




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  25. Eric Florack says:

    As I’ve said, when you bring bombs to a protest it’s no longer a protest. It’s called an attack and deserves the kind of response this one got.

    Let’s call this what it is. Israel has every justification for leveling the place, and the capability of doing that and putting parking lot stripes on it before 5 o’clock.

    That they haven’t, suggests that they should be praised for their restraint.




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  26. Barry says:

    @Kathy: ” Still, shooting at protesters is such a bonehead move, one wonders what the Netanyahu government could possibly be trying to accomplish.”

    It’s only boneheaded if they didn’t have 100% support from the USA. As it is, I can’t see what would put Israel in trouble.




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  27. An Interested Party says:

    That they haven’t, suggests that they should be praised for their restraint.

    Oh yes, I’m sure it is their “restraint” that causes them to gobble up more and more of the West Bank…sadly for them, that will come back and hurt them in the future…who could have guessed that these descendants of survivors of the Holocaust would turn around and end up being the bullies of an occupying force…




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  28. Eric Florack says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Just in case you don’t remember the destruction of Israel in the killing of individual Israelis is in the Hamas Charter.




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  29. Rick Zhang says:

    Most neutral foreigners (Europeans, Asians) I’ve talked to see American foreign policy as “captured” by interest groups with strong lobbying power – Saudi Arabia, Israel being the leaders.

    There’s no reason we keep subsidizing and supporting Israel or Saudi Arabia. They are not reliable allies who share our values.

    Just give up the facade of supporting human rights/democracy and admit that American foreign policy is mercenary and realpolitik. We will support whoever you are – the left or the right, communist or fascist, democrat or dictator – as long as you pay us our due. Or just get out of meddling in other countries’ business.

    It’s even worse than China, because at least China over the last 3 decades has been interested in regional and global stability rather than provoking more conflicts.




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  30. Warren Weber says:

    Gosh. So, the modern Nazis aren’t the people who are waving Swastikas and throwing firebombs and trying to wipe out Jews — they are really the victims who deserve our sympathy. No, the modern Nazis are often Zionists, if not actually Jewish themselves.

    How the heck did you square THAT circle?

    I really feel sorry for those poor Jews who live in Gaza. As bad as it is for Palestinians under Israeli rule, how bad must it be to be a Jew under Palestinian rule?

    That was facetious, of course. The Palestinians have made damned sure that wherever they govern, their lands are properly Jew-free. And that is their vision of their homeland — Jew-free. From Jordan to the sea.




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  31. Eric Florack says:

    At the Gaza-Israel border riots, of the 62 Arabs killed, 50 have been identified as members of Hamas and 3 as members of Islamic Jihad. At least 85% of the people killed were members of terrorist organizations. The media and stooges refers to this as “indiscriminate killing.”
    —- Bryan L. Berson




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  32. TM01 says:

    It’s interesting that other Middle East countries are blaming Hamas for the violence, laying all the deaths at their feet.

    Meanwhile, the anti-semites on this side of the pond keep blaming the Jews for everything.

    Good Trump for recognizing reality and moving the embassy. And thanks to leftist precedent, no future president can ever move it away!




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  33. TM01 says:

    @Rick Zhang:

    Most neutral foreigners (Europeans, Asians) I’ve talked to see American foreign policy as “captured” by interest groups with strong lobbying power – Saudi Arabia, Israel being the leaders.

    IOW, a lot of the people you talk to are anti-semites.

    Maybe the Jews should just go back to Europe where they’ll be safe.

    And then the Saudis are starting to enter the 21st century, issuing fatwas AGAINST killing Jews, and even criticizing the Palestinians for refusing to negotiate for an actual peace agreement… So yeah…I can see why you’d be opposed to that too.

    There’s no reason we keep subsidizing and supporting Israel or Saudi Arabia. They are not reliable allies who share our values.

    But let’s send a pallet of cash to Iran. THEY share our values! They keep their women covered up, hate Jews, and hang people for being gay!




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