Yesterday marked the bloodiest single day along the border of the Gaza Strip, since 2014, where Palestinian authorities claimed that more than 55 people were killed and some 2,500 were injured either by live gunfire, tear gas or other means. The Islamist Hamas organization, which rules the Gaza Strip, claimed the violent protests along the enclave’s security fence with Israel were in response to the American decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem; vowing to continue protests and resistance against Israel and the United States “by all means necessary.” “The crime of moving the American (U.S.) embassy in an unjustified aggressive way to our land, to the eternal capital of Palestine, Jerusalem. Our nation was protesting today as a response to this new American Zionist aggression and to say to the world, with their bodies and their blood. They (eds note: refer to those killed during Monday’s protests) are drawing the map of return, the map of the victory. Our people in the exile and the diaspora, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in 1948 and everywhere else. Our people revolted, resisted and rejected all these plans, plans for cleansing, plans for moving the embassy, and Trump’s deal or what is called the deal of the century,” Senior Hamas Official Khalil al-Hayya said.
A senior Israeli military official told TV7 that the directives the IDF received from the political echelon in Jerusalem demanded “resolve to thwart any attempt by Palestinian residents of Gaza to breach Israel’s territory.” The officials noted that “under the guise of demonstrators, Islamist militants attempted to attack Israeli troops by hurling approximately 10 explosive devices toward them and opening fire on several occasions,” to which the IDF responded with lethal force. That said, IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus accused the Islamist Hamas organization of manipulating unarmed civilians, including women and children, to try and breach the border’ security fence. “Hamas is using the demonstrators, the unarmed people that are participating here and sending them forward. We have seen women and children being sent forward in order to tear down the fence for a second wave of terrorists to get inside and run for the nearest Israeli community. That is a risk that we, the IDF, cannot tolerate and will not tolerate, and we have been very clear about that in the past that we will not allow it. Now we have been relying heavily on less lethal weapons, we have been using tear gas and we have been calling out in Arabic and we have done different things in order to prevent this specific situation,” Israeli Military Spokesman Lt. Gen. Jonathan Conricus said.
The bloodshed drew calls for restraint from the international community, including France and Britain, while stronger criticism from others, including Turkey, which called Israel a terrorist state that is carrying out a genocide against the Palestinian people. “Israel is a terrorist state and the steps they are taking now prove that they are a terrorist state. Unfortunately, the United States are mercilessly cooperating with Israel just like they collaborated with PYD and YPG (referring to Syrian Kurdish militias) as well as Daesh (Islamic State), whom they say they are fighting against. What Israel has done today is genocide, and it is not the first time Israel has carried out a genocide,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
In contrast to international condemnations of Israel, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to Israel’s security, which a White House spokesperson emphasized had a right to defend its sovereignty. Furthermore, White House spokesperson Raj Shah stressed that the U.S. views Hamas as bearing full responsibility for the entire situation across the Palestinian enclave. “We are aware of the reports of continued violence in Gaza today. The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response. And as the Secretary of State said, Israel has the right to defend itself,” White House Deputy Spokesperson said.
Meanwhile in Jerusalem;
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, after consultation with top security officials, that the determined action of the Israel’s security forces prevented penetration of Israel’s borders, while underscoring a continued policy of resolve to protect the sovereignty of the Jewish state.