Stories by Ghaith al-Omari

Expert Voices

Jerusalem embassy move, Gaza fatalities dim hopes for U.S. peace plan

protesters along Gaza border with smoke in background
Palestinian protestors at the Gaza-Israel border on May 14, 2018. Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The contrast could not be starker between the celebratory proceedings marking the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and the border clashes on Monday that have resulted in 52 casualties — the bloodiest day for Gaza since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.

Why it matters: Both events add more fuel to the already combustible dynamics between the Palestinians and Israel. The embassy move has led the Palestinian Authority to sever contact with President Trump's administration, severely reducing any chances for the resumption of peace diplomacy, while the deaths of Gazan protestors have increased the possibility of another war between Israel and Hamas.

Expert Voices

Gaza protests spark deadly violence along Israeli border

Palestinian protestors run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during clashes following a demonstration commemorating Land Day, near the border with Israel
Palestinian protestors run from tear gas fired by Israeli forces near the Gaza-Israel border on March 30, 2018. Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP via Getty Images

The demonstration in Gaza Friday, during which at least 15 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,000 injured, marked the beginning of a protest effort slated to culminate on May 15. The campaign centers on Palestinian “right of return” demands, which Israel has rejected as anathema to its very existence as a homeland for the Jewish people.

Why it matters: The protests are the most intense confrontations between Palestinians and Israel since the 2014 Gaza war. Coming at a highly volatile time, with both the peace process and internal Palestinian politics in crisis, these protests are likely to escalate the weeks ahead and may spread to the West Bank.