The bloody clashes along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip on Monday, which resulted in the death of more than 58 Palestinians, have relatively calmed down over-the-course of yesterday and today, a reality Israeli security officials attributed, among other reasons, due to intervention and pressure applied by Egypt and other parties across the region. That said, the Israeli military’s heightened state of alert continues ahead of the first Friday of the Muslim month of Ramadan, which will start tomorrow. Due to the Muslim holiday, Israel’s defense establishment assesses that the violent events have not yet ended. Among the main reasons attributed by the Israeli leadership to the relative calm on Nakba day, during which Palestinians commemorate Israel’s inception as a day of catastrophe, was the staunch deterrence that culminated as a result of the IDF’s resolve to thwart any attempted Palestinian infiltrations into the Jewish state.
The high death toll, however, resulted in broad international condemnation of what is perceived as “excessive use of force against Palestinian rioters.” At an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, which started with a minute of silence for Palestinians killed during the violent clashes along the Gaza border, the world body’s Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov stressed that while Israel “must protect its borders… it must do so proportionally and investigate every incident that has led to a loss of human life.” The U.N. Envoy further urged Hamas “not to use the protests as cover to attempt to place bombs at the fence and create provocations.” “Israel has a responsibility to not use lethal force except as a last resort under imminent threat of death or serious injury. It must protect its borders, but it must do so proportionally and investigate every incident that has led to a loss of human life. Hamas, which has controlled Gaza for over a decade must not use the protests as cover to attempt to place bombs at the fence and create provocations. Its operatives must not hide among the demonstrators and risk the lives of civilians,” , United Nations Middle East Envoy Nikolay Mladenov said.
While the Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border demand a return to lands they claim to have owned before the inception of Israel in 1948, and not territories within the 1967 lines that are considered by the international community as lands that should eventually fulfil the Palestinian aspiration for statehood; Kuwait’s ambassador to the United Nations Masour al-Otaibi urged the Security Council to renew its “full solidarity with the Palestinian people in order to defend” what he termed as “their just cause and legitimate rights.” “The Palestinian people are looking to the United Nations and the Security Council to activate what this organization has taken upon itself in order to achieve the maintenance of international peace and security. Here we would like to renew our full solidarity with the Palestinian people in order to defend their just cause and their legitimate rights including their historic and firm right in Jerusalem, which have been guaranteed by the relevant international resolutions. We confirmed that East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine. We call on countries to recognize the state of Palestine and occupied East Jerusalem as its capital. I thank you, Madam President,” Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United Nations Masour al-Otaibi said.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, however, rejected the accusations levelled against Israel for use of excessive force in efforts to defend its borders. Haley further stressed, that while some believe Washington’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was the core reason for the deadly violence along the Gaza border, the Islamist Hamas organization “has been inciting violence for years,” long before the American decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.” / “But let’s remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy.” / “Importantly, moving our embassy to Jerusalem also reflects the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It has served as Israel’s capital since the founding of the state. It is the ancient capital of the Jewish people. There is no plausible peace agreement under which Jerusalem would no longer remain the capital of Israel,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.