Guatemala Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 17, 2018

At a border protest encampment east of Gaza City, Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, urged people to take part in mass rallies on Friday.

In addition to protesting the relocation of the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Palestinians were also marking the 70th anniversary of what they call the Nakba, or "catastrophe", of Israel's creation in 1948.

"Continued crimes committed by Israel without any global response will lead to a new cycle of violence that will affect the region, Europe and the entire world, stressing that the stability of the Middle East is essential for worldwide stability".

Israel has faced global criticism over its use of live fire, but insists its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop mass infiltration from the Palestinian enclave, which is run by Islamist movement Hamas.

The May 14 opening ceremony of the new United States embassy in Jerusalem sparked mass protests among Palestinians and caused clashes on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which killed over 60 Palestinians and left around 3,000 injured.

In an interview with Baladna TV, a private Palestinian news outlet that broadcasts via Facebook, senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil said 50 out of the almost 60 protesters killed Monday were Hamas members, with the others being "from the people". Protests since then have dwindled.

Friday - when the protests usually peak - will be a key test over whether the current round of unrest will continue on any level.

Albardawil's comments came three days after another senior Hamas official, Mahmoud al-Zahhar, said that the ongoing demonstrations are "not peaceful resistance", but rather supported by the group's "military force".

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who with broad global backing want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as their capital.

No Israeli soldiers were wounded in either case.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel did everything it could to prevent civilian casualties but that Gaza's Hamas rulers were to blame for using them as human shields. No one was hurt by the gunfire.

"This proves what so many have tried to ignore: Hamas is behind these riots, and the branding of the riots as "peaceful protests" could not be further from the truth", said IDF spokeman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, according to the Times of Israel.

Foreign ministers from the League meet in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Thursday, with the Palestinians hoping for a united front against Israel and the United States' decisive shift backing its ally.

The meeting comes after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday said Cairo was in communication with both sides "so that this bloodshed would stop".

Israeli army tanks on Wednesday afternoon fired at military facilities in northern and southern Gaza Strip and no injuries have been reported, medical and security sources said. The Muslim world needs to unite against Israel, he said.

There have been numerous calls for an independent investigation into the deaths, with Britain, Germany, Canada and Switzerland among those supporting such action.

The developments come after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two separate visits to Israel and Palestine since a year ago.

Speaking to Fox News during the clashes, writer and speaker Ben Shapiro pointed out that Hamas was whipping up its own people to attack the border fence, knowing that gullible media would side with them over Israel.

It says those approaching the fence have used explosive devices and firebombs, while soldiers have been shot at.

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