Clashes erupt in Gaza as US Embassy in Jerusalem opens


Israeli troops killed dozens of Palestinians who were taking part in mass protests on the Gaza border as the United States opened its embassy to Israel in disputed Jerusalem.

The Pentagon, in conjunction with the State Department, has increased the presence of Marine Corps security forces at a number of USA embassies in the Middle East and Africa in light of increased tensions and unrest following the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and the opening of the new USA embassy in Jerusalem, according to several military officials.

A letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from 10 members of the 15-member council coincided with the bloodiest single day for Palestinians since 2014.

The dead included a 14-year-old, according to the Gazan health ministry. He was represented at the ceremony by his daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, US envoy to the Middle East.

"As predicted the opening of Donald Trump's confrontational Embassy in Jerusalem has fanned flames of conflict and death".

Trump addressed the ceremony by video. The embassy move fulfilled a Trump campaign promise but infuriated Palestinians and drew criticism that Washington had undercut its own peace efforts.

"The United States remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement".

"Our special bond in the envy of nations around the world", he says of US-Israel ties, noting the shared values of freedom, rights, and democracy.

The military also said one of its fighter jets had struck five targets at a Hamas training facility in Gaza.

Many countries are denouncing Israel and even the USA for the deadly Palestinian violence at the Gaza border, with two countries recalling their ambassadors.

The President's comments have been slammed by human rights groups.

A Foreign Office spokesperson, in a statement, said the move represents violation of global law and several United Nations Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions No. 476 and 478.

The U.N.'s dislike for Israel is obvious.

French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated Germany's concern for the "oppressive humanitarian situation" in Gaza, adding that he had "warned repeatedly of the repercussions" of moving to embassy to Trump, and condemned the violence in Gaza.

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Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, called on the Security Council to condemn Hamas prior to the Council's meeting tomorrow. He echoed the President's sentiment, saying "I believe it's also a great day for peace".

"Every country has an obligation to defend its borders", he wrote on Twitter. The Israeli military said its troops came under fire in some areas, and said protesters tried to break through the border fence.

The inauguration followed Trump's December 6 recognition of the disputed city as Israel's capital.

Already, fallout from the embassy opening has spread far beyond Jerusalem, illustrating how in the delicate Mideast, one point of conflict often begets another.

Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move that is not recognised internationally, as its "eternal and indivisible capital".

Nearly 40 Palestinians were killed that month around Gaza.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a message to Gazans "we will protect our civilians with all our means and not enable the fence to be crossed". Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they want to create.

Why is the embassy move so controversial?

Protests are set to continue on Tuesday as Palestinians mark the 70th anniversary of what they call the "Nakba" ("catastrophe") - when 750,000 Palestinians fled or were forced off their land when Israel was created in 1948.

Also, several thousand people protested in the Turkish city of Istanbul against the Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip, local media reported on Monday.

This move has been condemned and criticized by the global community.

"Jerusalem's historic and spiritual status will never change".

Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammed Momani said, as cited by the Petra news agency, that the U.S. decision violated the UN charter, as well as the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 478 that recognized East Jerusalem as an occupied city. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the US move flouted global law.