Monday’s horrific violence in the Gaza Strip, set in contrast to the sight of the son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump saying in Jerusalem that the day would be remembered as the beginning of a new peace in the region, was a combination of tragedy and farce.
At least 55 people were killed by Israeli soldiers as thousands of Palestinians protested near the fenced and well-armed border between Gaza and Israel.
The protesters burned tires and slung rocks at the Israeli forces located at a distance beyond the fence. A small few threw explosives and tried to use the chaos to sneak across the border, according to Israeli military. The Israelis responded with live ammunition, some fired from sniper rifles, as they have during six weeks of protests along the border.
It seems now that Israel has no upper limit on the number of poorly armed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip it will gun down and kill. Likewise, Hamas and other militant factions in Gaza that are urging Palestinians to rush the fence have no maximum number of people they are willing to send to inevitable martyrdom.
It is a hopeless situation for the 1.9-million people of Gaza. Trapped by a brutally enforced sea, land and air blockade, and caught in a power struggle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, they live with limited electric power, little access to safe water, poor medical care and terrible poverty.
It doesn’t take much to get people as desperate as that to protest at the border, or to prompt Israel to open fire on them. The people of Gaza have become cannon fodder; more will likely die on Tuesday when the protests continue.
Amid the carnage, U.S. officials gloated about moving their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a decision that contributed to Monday’s horror show, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “glorious day.”
President Trump’s greatest concern, based on his Twitter feed, was urging people to watch the live television coverage of his daughter and her husband opening the new embassy.
Israel blamed Hamas for the killings. Hamas blamed Israel. Nary a thought for the people of Gaza, though. The inhumanity of it is staggering.