U.S. Jerusalem embassy opens as border death toll climbs
Left: The official opening of the embassy. Right: Protests at the Gaza border. Photos: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images, Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Getty Images
As dignitaries from the U.S. and Israel gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, the death toll of Palestinian protesters killed along the Gaza border continued to rise.
Between the lines: This is a remarkable split-screen moment. Most speakers at the embassy ceremony chose to ignore the events in Gaza, but Jared Kushner said "those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” while Prime Minister Netanyahu praised the “brave soldiers protecting the borders of Israel.”
- The protests are tied to a commemoration of the displacement of Palestinians, but have also been fueled by anger over President Trump’s decision to move the embassy.
“Literally as the US embassy inauguration is beginning, loud speakers east of Gaza City are calling on protesters to prepare to seek to breach the border fence.”— From AFP’s Joe Dyke
The scene at the border...
- AP: "Gaza's health officials say total of 52 Palestinians killed, more than 1,200 wounded by Israeli fire in Gaza."
- NYT: "Monday the bloodiest single day since a campaign of demonstrations along the border fence began seven weeks ago. Israeli soldiers and snipers were using barrages of tear gas as well as live gunfire to keep protesters from entering Israeli territory. The Israeli military said that some in the crowds were planting or hurling explosives, and that many were flying flaming kites into Israel.”
- Haaretz: “Israel Air Force strikes five Hamas outposts in northern Gaza. The airstrikes came in response to recent terrorist activities along the border fence by Hamas, according to the Israeli military, including throwing firebombs at Israeli soldiers.”
- UN Secretary General António Guterres: "I'm particularly worried about the news coming from Gaza with the high number of people killed.”
- Egyptian Foreign Ministry: "Egypt rejects the use of force against peaceful marches demanding legitimate and just rights, and warns of the negative consequences of this dangerous escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories."
And at the embassy opening...
- Netanyahu: "You can only build peace on truth, and the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state. … Remember this moment! This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history."
- Israeli president Reuven Rivlin: "In every U.S. election, every presidential candidate has promised to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. Finally, we have a leader who promised this and also kept his promise."
- Trump (via video): "Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. ... We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors. May there be peace."
- Robert Jeffress, a controversial pastor: "We thank you every day that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history, but more importantly stands on the right side of you, oh God, when it comes to Israel."
Go deeper: What you need to know about the embassy move.