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    Jerusalem Embassy and Gaza Protests: 59 Palestinians Killed by Israeli Gunfire at Border

    Over 770 wounded from live gunfire ■ 40,000 protesting at border ■ Israeli army bombs seven Hamas targets ■ U.S. embassy officially opens in Jerusalem ■ Israel to open Kerem Shalom crossing for transport of goods
    Dozens of Palestinians were killed and thousands more wounded in clashes with Israel in Gaza Monday, sparking condemnations from across the world, as dignitaries convened in Jerusalem for the official opening of the U.S. Embassy.
    Meanwhile, Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem were urged to turn out en masse to protest the embassy move and take part in Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” as Palestinians term Israel’s creation. 
    Funerals of Monday’s casualties are expected to take place in Gaza on Tuesday, with the question remaining whether Hamas will call the masses to the fence as it did yesterday, or keep the rallies as a spontaneous initiative of the people. Rallies are expected in the large West Bank cities, as well as a general strike.
    The Israeli army is deploying soldiers inside communities along the Gaza Envelope as part of the regional defense scheme. (Almog Ben Zikri)
    Five members of the U.S. Congress condemned Israel’s use of live fire against unarmed protesters in a statement released Monday overnight. 
    Signed by Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, Keith Ellison, Henry C. Johnson Jr. and Raul Grijalva, the statement said they were “shocked and dismayed by the lethal force used by Israeli troops against mostly unarmed protesters” at the Gaza border, and urged soldiers to abide by international law and refrain from live gunfire.
    The statement commended Israeli human rights groups and civil society leaders for doing the same. It held President Trump’s “provocative decision” to relocate the U.S. embassy reponsible for emboldening Israeli reactions to the protesters, saying it culminated “in some of the highest levels of violence experienced in the area in weeks.”
    “We ask that Netanyahu’s government show utmost restraint,” concluded the statement, “allow for unfettered medical attention for those who have been wounded, and ease a 12-year blockade on Gaza, which has contributed to grave food insecurity, unemployment and a humanitarian crisis for Gaza’s two million inhabitants. We believe the people of Gaza must be shown compassion and relief, and we remain steadfastly committed to ensuring Israel’s security.”
    An 8-month-old infant, Lila Anwar, died from gas inhalation in the eastern Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Her death raises the protest death toll from Monday to 59. No further details were given. (Jack Khoury)
    The Trump administration on Monday blocked a UN Security Council statement that was intended to call for an investigation of the events on the Israel-Gaza border.
    The statement, circulated by Kuwait, was supposed to include an expression of rage and sorrow on behalf of the Security Council over Monday’s death toll. However, the U.S. blocked it from being adopted and published.
    The Kuwaiti statement also included a call for the creation of an “independent and transparent investigation” into Israel’s actions on the border. It wasn’t the first time that the U.S. has blocked an action at the Security Council related to Israel’s actions in Gaza, but was notable in light of the high death toll yesterday in Gaza –  the highest since the end of the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. 
    The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee says a general strike has been called for Wednesday in Arab communities throughout Israel. The strike will include educational facilities. (Jack Khoury)Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has approved the IDF’s recommendation to re-open the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip to vehicles transporting goods. The crossing was recently closed after it was set alight by protestersPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ended a consultation with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, the head of the Shin Bet security service, and the head of Israel’s National Security CouncilCommenting on Gaza violence, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says “what Israel is doing is a genocide” and accuses it of being “a terrorist state.” He adds that a “big rally” will be held in Istanbul on Friday.Turkey has called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to be held on Friday over the killings in Gaza, Deputy PM Bekir Bozdag tells the state-run Anadolu news agency. The Turkish Foreign Ministry plans to call for a UN General Assembly meeting on the issue, Borzsag also said.
    The horrendous Gaza casualty count marred Netanyahu and Trump’s historic day of glory, writes Chemi Shalev.The White House said on Monday that the responsibility for the deaths of dozens of Palestinians on the Gaza-Israel border “rests squarely with Hamas,” and added that the demonstrations on the border are “cynical.” The comment came after a bloody day on the border during which the IDF shot to death more than 52 Palestinians. White House spokesman Raj Shah added that the Trump administration fully supports Israel’s “right to defend itself.” 

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