White House Says 'Hamas is Responsible' for Israel Killing Palestinians in Gaza

Nicholas Kamm  AFP  Getty Images

Nicholas Kamm AFP Getty Images

Israeli troops have killed 55 Palestinians and wounded almost 3,000 in what's been termed as the deadliest day of violence in Gaza since the 2014 war.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin formally began the ceremony by unveiling a US seal, officially marking the shifting of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The official also condemned the "criminal and illegitimate" relocation of the United States mission to Jerusalem al-Quds.

In siding squarely with Israel, Washington put distance between itself and its European allies for the second time in a week, after angering France, Germany and others last Tuesday by abandoning an global nuclear deal with Iran.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who embraced Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka at the new embassy, said the president had "immortalised himself in the chronicles of our capital".

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations accused Israeli forces of using "massive firepower" against civilians. Jerusalem must remain a city that brings people of all faiths together, he said in a speech.

Other responses to the violence were stronger.

"These are things that were negotiated between Palestinian and Israeli parties in the past that we would leave this as a neutral space until we have reached that place in our conflict where we can discuss this, and unfortunately western powers have not allowed this peace to remain and have inflamed the situation even more".

For Palestinians, the violence in Gaza is a manifestation of pent-up frustration and anger surrounding the hope for peace.

Hamas has been directing the weeks-long protest campaign by Palestinians frustrated with Israel's economic blockade of Gaza.


Palestinians observed a general strike Tuesday to mourn dozens killed by Israeli army fire in the single deadliest day in Gaza since a 2014 war, as organizers said the day would be set aside for funerals and that turnout for any new protests on the border with Israel would likely be low.

"The Security Council expresses its grave concern regarding recent developments in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the context of the peaceful protests in the Gaza Strip and the tragic loss of civilian lives", the draft statement read.

Trump's decision this year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel reversed decades of USA policy and drew criticism from Europe and Washington's main Arab partners in the middle east.

Most countries say the status of Jerusalem - a sacred city to Jews, Muslims and Christians - should be determined in a final peace settlement, and that moving their embassies now would prejudge any such deal.

They also count on the United States for their security.

Khater further called on the worldwide community to take action and stop "the savage killings".

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) noted how despite previous presidents promising to move the embassy, Trump was the one who finally did it.

"We have no better friends in the world", Netanyahu told the American guests.

BOTH Israel and the Palestinians have staked emotional claims to Jerusalem as their capital city.

Mr Trump has argued that by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of America's close ally, he had "taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table" and formalised realities on the ground.

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