Israelis kill dozens of Palestinians in Gaza after Trump moves US Embassy to Jerusalem
Dozens of Palestinians have been killed and 1,200 more wounded by Israeli troops, after tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest President Donald Trump's decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
On the deadliest day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war, the Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed that at least 59 Palestinians are dead - including a 14-year-old boy and an infant who died overnight from tear gas inhalation- after protestors clashed with Israeli forces at West Bank and the Gaza border.
The demonstrations were launched to condemn the official unveiling of the new US Embassy, which has been relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively fulfilling Trump's pledge to recognize the city as Israel's capital.
The Israel Defense Forces released a statement, accusing Palestinian militant group Hamas of "leading a terrorist operation" and encouraging protesters to conduct what Israel described as "terror attacks".
Reports claim that Israeli forces employed gunfire and tanks, as well as using a drone to drop tear gas over a crowd of protesters, while Palestinians "hurled stones and incendiary devices".
President Trump himself did not travel to Jerusalem for the opening ceremony, instead sending his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.
In his absence, a video message with a speech from him played on a big screen during the opening ceremony, in which he congratulated the US on completing the relocation "many, many years ahead of schedule".
"Exactly 70 years ago today the United States under Harry Truman became the first nation to recognise the state of Israel. Today we open the US embassy in Jerusalem. It's been a long time coming", he said. "Today Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government. It is the home of the Israeli legislature and the Israeli supreme court and Israel's prime minister and president."
He continued: "Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Yet for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious. The plain reality that Jerusalem is Israel's capital."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared Trump's excitement, hailing the 45th POTUS for finally recognising Israel. He told the crowd of 800 present at the ceremony: "What a glorious day. Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognising history, you have made history. All of us are deeply grateful... We have no better friends in the world."
However, not all countries are happy with Trump's controversial move, with foreign ministries in the UK, France and Egypt condemning the decision which has sparked violent clashes, and urging the fighting to come to an end.
Turkey has reportedly decided to recall its ambassadors to the US and Israel in protest of the Trump administration's official inauguration of the new embassy, with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag telling Turkish state media that the diplomats would return to Ankara. It is not clear how long this recall will last.
In addition, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, stated that Israel must stop firing on protesters, stating "the right to life must be respected".
In response to national outrage, the White House has released a briefing which states that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “does not mean the United States has taken a position on final status negotiations.”