55 killed in Gaza, ahead of US Jerusalem embassy opening
Ahead of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, at least 55 Palestinians have been shot in Gaza by Israeli forces amid fast rising tensions. The shifting of the US embassy to Jerusalem has infuriated Palestinians who see it as a clear US backing to Israeli rule over Jerusalem, whose eastern part Palestinians lay claim to. Here's more.
Thousands gather in protest despite Israel's warnings
Thousands had gathered across locations in Gaza in protest, despite warnings from Israeli forces about their lives being at risk. Apart from the 55 killed in Monday's mass protests at the Gaza border, the Palestinian health ministry said that over 2,700 people had been injured. Since the latest Palestinian protests began in March, over 80 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces.
Mass protests have swept Palestine since March
Over the last six weeks, Palestinians have turned up in thousands for weekly protests in the run-up to the commemoration of what they call "Nakba" or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands either fled or were displaced from their homes since Israel was founded on 14th May, 1948. Palestine's Hamas government said that protests would intensify ahead of the official celebration on Tuesday.
The different narratives about the protests in Palestine
Palestine's Islamist government, Hamas, said that the protests are to draw attention to Palestinians' rights to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel. However, Israel says that the protests are aimed at breaching the heavily guarded border and for attacking nearby Jewish settlements. Commenting on today's incident, the Israeli army said that its troops operated "in accordance with standard procedures."
But, why is the embassy shifting so controversial?
Jerusalem lies at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel had occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and, according to the 1993 Israel-Palestine peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is undecided and slated to be discussed. For most of modern history, Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem was never internationally recognized. However, that changed with Trump's declaration to shift the US embassy in December 2017.
Ivanka Trump and several high-profile White House members to attend
The opening ceremony of the US embassy in Jerusalem coincides with the state of Israel's 70th anniversary. President Trump is expected to address those attending via video call. Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, who are both senior White House advisers, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will physically attend the event.