Massacre in Gaza

Israeli soldiers patrol near a burning field on the Israeli side of the border between Israel and Gaza, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

With the blessing of U.S. President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared war on the Palestinians and buried the chance of any peace effort or mediation for as long as the two men stay in power.

By claiming that Monday’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in occupied Jerusalem was a great day for Israel – and with Netanyahu referring to the holy city as its “eternal, undivided” capital – the pair have laid the foundations for a hundred years of war.

The assertion that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is vital for the national security of the U.S. cements the long-known fact that the Jewish state is actually a regional outpost for carrying out Washington’s dirty work.

And as Trump’s aides celebrated in occupied Jerusalem, a massacre was taking place nearby on the Israel-Gaza border, as tens of thousands of Palestinians protesters were met with deadly force.

The blood of almost 60 killed and 2,700 wounded in Monday’s protests alone is an indelible stain on the hypocritical “diplomatic” celebration.

Condemnation of the massacre has come from Europe, the Muslim and Arab world, Moscow and other capitals, and Amnesty International has called it an “abhorrent violation” of human rights.

But the Embassy move is just the tip of the iceberg of Israel’s bloody policy of grabbing land, strangling Palestinians with even greater restrictions, surrounding occupied Jerusalem with more illegal settlements financed by the U.S., and forcing Palestinians out of the city.

To comprehend Palestinian anger and readiness to die for their land, and especially Jerusalem, a short reminder.

Jerusalem is a city sacred to Christianity, Islam and Judaism – a holy city that has been fought over for millennia by its inhabitants, whose Jewish population through the ages has been minimal. Previous invaders included the Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, early Muslim rulers, Crusaders, Ottomans and the British Empire.

What the city faces now from its Israeli occupiers is an attempt to change the face of history, demography and geography.

Yet history will record that on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, Netanyahu’s team celebrated with a new massacre, in the presence of an audience of U.S. dignitaries.

What will also be recorded is the resolve of the Palestinians, whose connection with their lands cannot be erased, and who have showed, yet again, that they are willing to pay the ultimate price in the fight for their homeland.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 15, 2018, on page 1.




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