IDF confirms that 24 killed Monday were militants ; Erdogan accuses Israel of genocide; South Africa and Turkey withdrawal ambassadors; UNSC attempts to pass statement calling for private investigation- US vetoes statement.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank began their annual protests and riots marking Nakba Day on Tuesday.
Nakba Day, or “the day of disaster/catastrophe” falls one day following the Gregorian calendar date of Israel’s independence, May 14. This year’s protests are a continuation of violent demonstrations and terror on the Gaza border with Israel on Monday in reaction to the US Embassy move in Jerusalem.
A reported 58 Palestinians were killed and over 2,500 injuries reported in the Gaza Strip on Monday alone.
Gazans continued to light tires on fire to create smokescreens, while throwing rocks, explosives, molotov cocktails on IDF forces. There were numerous attempts to infiltrate Israel, the IDF preventing terrorists from placing explosives on the border fence on Monday.
Protests from Gaza have been ongoing for over six weeks as part of the “Great March of Return”. Hamas has used the dire humanitarian crisis it inflicts on the residents of Gaza to fuel protests, calling for martyrdom and using human shields.
The IDF continued to defend Israel’s border on Tuesday on high alert after reportedly targeting and destroying 11 Hamas targets with drones and airstrikes on Monday. It confirmed that 24 of those killed on Monday had “documented terror backgrounds”, confirming that most were “active Hamas terror organization operatives, and some were active operatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad”.
Israel has been met with global condemnation, particularly from Europe and the United Nations. Both Turkey and South Africa withdrew their ambassadors on Monday, Turkey accusing Israel of genocide on the Palestinian people. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of being a “terrorist state” that is committing “genocide” on the Palestinians. On the US Embassy move, he stated Monday, “No matter from what side, whether from the United States or Israel, I curse this humanitarian plight, this genocide… We will not allow today to be the day the Muslim world loses Jerusalem,” calling on Islamic leadership to react.
Erdogan also spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by telephone Monday, confirming the withdrawal of its ambassador to Israel, as well as condemning the US Embassy move and deaths in the Gaza Strip, Erdogan wishing “Allah’s mercy to all [Palestinian] martyrs”.
Abbas, who underwent surgery on Tuesday, continued with his claims that the US Embassy in Jerusalem was “illegal”, stating on Monday that the embassy is a “American settlement in Jerusalem”.
South Africa confirmed it removed its ambassador after it condemned the IDF’s actions in the Strip earlier on Monday. It stated on the deaths in Gaza that they were “victims [who] were taking part in a peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem,” also confirming “The South African Government has withdrawn its ambassador to Israel after a deadly attack in the Gaza Strip in which more than 50 civilians were killed.”
The United Nations Security Council attempted to pass a statement condemning Israel amidst “peaceful” Palestinian protests, calling for a private investigation into the 58 deaths reported Monday. The United States used its veto power to block the statement, Palestinian leadership reporting that all other 14 members voted in favor.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has been clear that Hamas would be held responsible for any aggression from the Strip. On Israel’s defense, he stated “Every country has an obligation to defend its borders. The Hamas terrorist organization declares it intends to destroy Israel and sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal. We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and citizens.”
Be sure to watch Amir’s special update on yesterday’s events, from the US Embassy move, to the Palestinian’s rage.
Photo: Palestinians light tires in West Bank, Wikimedia Commons, 2018