Mass protests hit Gaza ahead of U.S. embassy event in Jerusalem

Geneva Stokes
May 14, 2018

Israeli troops killed 16 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy on Monday, and some 500 protesters were injured, at least 200 by live bullets, health officials said.

President Donald Trump says the USA remains "fully committed" to pursuing a Mideast peace deal as it opens its controversial new embassy in Jerusalem.

"On Monday May 14th, the Hamas terrorist organization plans to send armed terrorists, among 250,000 violent rioters to swarm and breach Israel's border with Gaza and enter Israeli communities", an IDF spokeswoman said in the video.

He said a minor was among those killed during the protests.

As crowds began to swell at midday, Israeli troops began firing from across the border fence.

Although clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces have not been on the scale of the first and second Palestinian intifadas in 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, violence has erupted before over matters of sovereignty and religion.

The Israelis also fired tear gas at people inside the tented encampments that have sprung up along the border, witnesses said.

On the Gaza border, Palestinian protests quickly turned into bloodshed.

The issue has always been seen as one of the last big items that would need to be resolved in any Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

As part of the announcement, the President said the U.S Embassy will be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The official USA delegation is headed by deputy secretary of state John Sullivan, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and several other congress members but all eyes would be on the first daughter who is there to represent her father.

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The new embassy will temporarily operate from an existing USA consulate, until a decision has been made on a permanent location.

Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

At least 800 people were expected to attend the event, including a congressional delegation and a presidential delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas halted ties with the Trump administration and declared it unfit to remain in its role as the sole mediator in peace talks.

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that it was "a great day for Israel!" The ceremony falls on the 70 anniversary of Israel.

President Trump had signaled his readiness to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem since his election campaign in 2016, saying that "more pro-Israel than I am".

"For 70 years, Jerusalem has been awaiting global recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel".

Upending nearly seven decades of American foreign policy, Trump announced last December: "We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians".

On Dec. 16, 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that triggered escalating tension and a wave of outcry in the region.

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem has been welcomed by Israel but condemned by the Palestinians, who want their capital to be in east Jerusalem and view the decision as a blatantly one-sided move on one of the thorniest disputes in the conflict. Only two countries, Guatemala and Paraguay, have said they will follow suit.

Trump's initial decision led to a series of protests in various Middle Eastern and Muslim countries.

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