The US formally opened its embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, and the historic move triggered a new wave of violence. At least 52 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops as they demonstrated near the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, reports the AP. The Washington Post reports that organizers of the demonstration urged protesters to breach the fence, saying incorrectly that Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions when, in fact, the opposite was taking place. Estimates of the number injured ranged up to 2,400. Addressing those at the ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Monday a "great day" for Israel and the US, and "a great day for peace," reports the Wall Street Journal. Also:
- Jared Kushner: The presidential son-in-law spoke at the opening ceremony. "As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution," he said, per the Guardian. As for Trump: "While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to the move the American embassy once in office, this president delivered. ... The United States stands with Israel because we know it is the right thing to do."
- President Trump: In a videotaped message to the opening ceremony, Trump said the new embassy has "been a long time coming." Trump, whose decision to move the embassy fulfills a campaign promise, said his "greatest hope" is for peace. He said the United States "remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement."
- Palestinians: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he "will not accept" any peace deal proposed by the Trump administration after the embassy move. Abbas told PLO officials Monday that "this is not an embassy, it's a US settlement outpost in Jerusalem," in a reference to Israeli settlements on war-won lands sought for a Palestinian state. The Palestinian president also urged the international community to condemn what he said were "massacres" carried out by Israeli troops.
- More criticism: Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal warned that the embassy move "has raised the volume of anti-American rhetoric,” adding that "it’s not a step that will bring peace to Palestine or to the Middle East.” Iran's foreign minister called Monday "a day of great shame" because of the violence. And Syria's foreign ministry condemned "in the strongest terms" the "brutal massacre" by Israel.
- Marines in place: The US has added Marines to guard embassies in Israel, Turkey, and Jordan, reports NBC News.
- The basics: The Wall Street Journal has a primer on the US decision to move the embassy, something stipulated by Congress in 1995 but delayed by every president until Trump, as well the Palestinian protests at the border fence. Israel accuses Hamas of using them as a cover to commit attacks, while Palestinian leaders want Israel to allow Palestinian refugees and the ancestors to return to their homeland.
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