Gaza’s Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire amid mass protests near the Gaza border has reached 37, making it the deadliest day since a 2014 war with Israel.
The ministry says at least 448 Palestinians were shot and wounded Monday, while hundreds more suffered other types of injuries, including from tear gas.
Several thousand gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday to protest the inauguration of a new US Embassy in Jerusalem later that day.
Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as a capital and view the Trump administration’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital as a show of pro-Israel bias.
Palestinians are also marking the 70th anniversary of the “nakba”, or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were expelled or fled in the Mideast war over Israel’s 1948 creation.
The violence made it the deadliest day in Gaza since the devastating cross-border war between the territory’s Hamas rulers and Israel four years ago, and clouded the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
The deaths brought to 79 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers firing from across the border fence since mass border protests began in late March. More than 2,200 Gaza residents have been wounded in that time by Israeli fire.
On midday Monday, several dozen Palestinian stone-throwers were still clashing with Israeli troops on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Witnesses said that in one area, north of Jerusalem, soldiers were firing live bullets, tear gas and rubber-coated steel pellets. A second clash was reported between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
‘A GREAT DAY FOR ISRAEL’
Trump hailed the scheduled opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem as “a great day for Israel”, even as deadly clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces on the Gaza border.
Trump made no reference to the violence in an early morning tweet, instead inviting Twitter followers to watch live coverage of the embassy opening on Fox News channels, which was to begin at 1300 GMT.
“Lead up to 9:00 A.M. (eastern) event has already begun. A great day for Israel!” Trump tweeted.
The US delegation to the inaugural ceremony includes US Deputy Secretary of State James Sullivan, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Trump announced the embassy move on December 6 in recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to the cheers of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But the move has infuriated Palestinians, upending longstanding US policy that the disputed city’s status should be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians as part of a comprehensive peace agreement.