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World What you need to know about the Gaza border violence and the global backlash against Israel

Palestinians run for cover from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem.

MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The latest

  • Israel will look into the shooting of a Canadian-Palestinian doctor along the Gaza border, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, while rebuffing calls from his Canadian counterpart for an international probe of why Israeli forces used live ammunition on a crowd of thousands.
  • Mr. Netanyahu spoke on the phone Thursday with Justin Trudeau, who had earlier denounced Israel's "excessive force" at the Gaza border, where Israeli soldiers killed nearly 60 people on Monday. The killings took place while the United States was opening its new embassy in Jerusalem, which it now recognizes as the capital of Israel.
  • The hundreds of people wounded Monday included Tarek Loubani, an emergency doctor from London, Ont., who was shot in the legs. One of his paramedics was also killed. “I remember looking at my shoes and I remember thinking, ‘My god, how did so much blood get there so fast,'" Dr. Loubani told The Globe and Mail in an interview.
  • The protests dropped off dramatically after Tuesday, which Palestinians observe as Nakba Day, the anniversary of the conflict that led to Israel's creation and drove hundreds of thousands from the region. 
  • Israel's treatment of Palestinians came under renewed criticism on Friday from the UN's human-righs chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who said 1.9 million people in Gaza are “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death."

gaza suffers worst violence in years

No fishing area

Fishing limit:

6 nautical miles

ISRAEL

Concrete wall

Erez

Crossing

May 14: 58 Palestinians killed

and thousands wounded during

protests against opening of

U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

Jabalia

Gaza

City

MED. SEA

Malaka

Israeli-declared

buffer zone

No-go zone

(100m)

Deir

al Balah

Main protest camps

High-risk zone

(100-300m)

GAZA

STRIP

Risk zone

(1,000m)

ISRAEL

Tel

Aviv

WEST

BANK

Khan

Younis

Jerusalem

EGYPT

Rafah

Rafah Border

Crossing

ISRAEL

Razor-wire fence

0

80

Kerem Shalom

Border Crossing

0

5

KM

KM

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: graphic news;

united nations; haaretz; afp

gaza suffers worst violence in years

No fishing area

Fishing limit:

6 nautical miles

ISRAEL

Concrete wall

Erez

Crossing

May 14: 58 Palestinians killed

and thousands wounded during

protests against opening of

U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

Jabalia

Gaza

City

Malaka

MED. SEA

Israeli-declared

buffer zone

Main protest camps

No-go zone

(100m)

Deir

al Balah

High-risk zone

(100-300m)

GAZA

STRIP

Risk zone

(1,000m)

ISRAEL

Tel

Aviv

WEST

BANK

Khan

Younis

Jerusalem

EGYPT

Rafah

Rafah Border

Crossing

Razor-wire fence

ISRAEL

0

80

Kerem Shalom

Border Crossing

0

5

KM

KM

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: graphic news; united

nations; haaretz; afp

gaza suffers worst violence in years

ISRAEL

No fishing area

MEDITERRANEAN

SEA

Concrete wall

Erez

Crossing

Fishing limit:

6 nautical

miles

May 14: 58 Palestinians killed

and thousands wounded during

protests against opening of

U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

Jabalia

Gaza

City

Over 100 Palestinians killed

in “Great March of Return”

protests since March 30

Malaka

Israeli-declared

buffer zone

Main protest camps

No-go zone

(100m)

Deir

al Balah

High-risk zone

(100-300m)

LEB.

SYRIA

GAZA

STRIP

Risk zone

(1,000m)

ISRAEL

Tel

Aviv

Khan

Younis

WEST

BANK

Jerusalem

EGYPT

Rafah

Rafah Border

Crossing

ISRAEL

Razor-wire fence

JORDAN

EGYPT

0

80

Kerem Shalom

Border Crossing

0

5

KM

KM

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: graphic news; united nations; haaretz; afp

What ‘Nakba Day’ means

This Tuesday was Nakba Day, a day of mourning for Palestinians on the 70th anniversary of the “nakba,” or catastrophe, which is what Palestinians call the uprooting of hundreds of thousands who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.

For Hamas, the Islamic militant group that seized Gaza in 2007, Monday’s border protest was the culmination of a weeks-long campaign to try to break the blockade. The group led weekly protests near the border with Israel since late March as part of this push. But the timing of Monday’s embassy ceremony in Jerusalem was especially provocative. Israel’s government praised the Trump administration’s acknowledgement that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital, but Palestinians saw it as a betrayal, obstructing plans to make East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state. (Most countries say the status of Jerusalem – a sacred city to Jews, Muslims and Christians – should be determined in a final peace settlement and that moving their embassies now would prejudge any such deal.)

In addition to the planned ceremonies of mourning, Palestinians spent Tuesday burying their dead and launching new demonstrations in the West Bank. Thousands of mourners attended funeral rallies, many waving Palestinian flags and some calling for revenge.

May 15, 2018: A Palestinian demonstrator holds a sling during a protest marking the 70th anniversary of Nakba, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/Reuters

The U.S. opens Jerusalem embassy

On Monday, the U.S. opened a new embassy in Jerusalem, officially recognizing it as the capital of Israel. The relocation of the embassy, which U.S. President Donald Trump first announced in December, was a controversial move that breaks with decades of official U.S. policy.

The American delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, four Republican senators, Jared Kushner and Mr. Trump’s daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (L) and US President's daughter Ivanka Trump unveil an inauguration plaque during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.

MENAHEM KAHANA/Getty Images

In a recorded video message played to some 800 people gathered at the new embassy, U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States “remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement.”

In a speech at the ceremony, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and Mideast adviser, also spoke of a resolution to generations of conflict. “When there is peace in this region, we will look back upon this day and will remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth,” he said.

“What a glorious day,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Remember this moment! This is history! President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history.”

“We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay,” he said. “We are here in Jerusalem protected by the great soldiers of the army of Israel and our brave soldiers are protecting the border of Israel as we speak today.”

LEBANON

0

40

KM

SYRIA

Tel Aviv:

The U.S. Embassy’s previous location

WEST

BANK

JORDAN

GAZA

ISRAEL

EGYPT

0

4

Ramallah

KM

WEST

BANK

ISRAEL

Jerusalem

The embassy’s move to Jerusalem has triggered deadly protests

Bethlehem

Palestinian built-up areas

1949 Armistice border

Israeli settlements

Barriers constructed

Jerusalem municipal

boundary

Barriers under

construction

East Jerusalem

Barriers projected

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL,

SOURCE: ESRI; UN OCHA

LEBANON

0

40

KM

SYRIA

Tel Aviv:

The U.S. Embassy’s previous location

WEST

BANK

JORDAN

GAZA

ISRAEL

EGYPT

0

4

Ramallah

KM

WEST

BANK

ISRAEL

Jerusalem

The embassy’s move to Jerusalem has triggered deadly protests

Bethlehem

Palestinian built-up areas

1949 Armistice border

Israeli settlements

Barriers constructed

Jerusalem municipal boundary

Barriers under construction

East Jerusalem

Barriers projected

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: ESRI; UN OCHA

Ramallah

0

4

0

40

KM

LEBANON

KM

Tel Aviv:

The U.S. Embassy’s previous location

WEST

BANK

WEST

BANK

ISRAEL

Jerusalem

GAZA

ISRAEL

The embassy’s move to Jerusalem has triggered deadly protests

Bethlehem

Palestinian built-up areas

1949 Armistice border

Israeli settlements

Barriers constructed

Jerusalem municipal

boundary

Barriers under

construction

EGYPT

JORDAN

East Jerusalem

Barriers projected

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: ESRI; UN OCHA

Border violence

The opening was overshadowed by violence along the Gaza border, where Israeli soldiers shot and killed dozens of Palestinians during mass protests. It was the deadliest day there since a devastating 2014 cross-border war.

In a show of anger fueled by the embassy move, protesters set tires on fire, sending plumes of black smoke into the air, and hurled firebombs and stones toward Israeli troops across the border. Later on Monday, Israeli forces fired from tanks, sending protesters fleeing to take cover.

Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2018 which was caused by incendiaries tied to kites flown by Palestinian protesters from across the border.

JACK GUEZ/Getty Images

In all, 2,771 people were wounded in Monday’s unrest, World Health Organization official Mahmoud Daher told The Associated Press Tuesday, citing figures from the Health Ministry and a group of aid agencies. Of those, 1,360 were wounded by live fire, 400 from shrapnel and 980 from gas inhalation, he said.

Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas figure, said the mass border protests would continue “until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved.”

Israel says the blockade of Gaza, imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas overran the territory in 2007, is needed to prevent Hamas from building up its military capabilities. But it has decimated Gaza’s economy, sending unemployment skyrocketing to over 40 per cent and leaving the territory with just a few hours of electricity a day.

The Israeli military estimated a turnout of about 40,000 at Monday’s protest, saying it fell short of what Hamas had hoped for. But officials described what they called “unprecedented violence” unseen in previous weeks.

Reaction around the world

Peace talks aimed a finding a two-state solution to the conflict have been frozen since 2014.

U.S.: The White House said responsibility for dozens of deaths in Gaza coinciding with the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem “rests squarely with Hamas.” White House spokesman Raj Shah says that “Israel has the right to defend itself” and is blaming Hamas for the “dire situation.” He also called Monday “a great day for Israel and the United States.”

Canada: In a statement, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is “deeply concerned” by the recent violence in the Gaza Strip and “saddened by the deaths and injuries that occurred today and have occurred over the past several weeks.”

U.K.: “It is deplorable that extremist elements may have been seeking to exploit these protests for their own violent purposes,” Britain’s minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said in a statement. “We will not waver from our support for Israel’s right to defend its borders. But the large volume of live fire is extremely concerning. We continue to implore Israel to show greater restraint.”

France: French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the violence against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza in a statement released late on Monday and reiterated his opposition to the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Mr. Macron talked with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and is planning to talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, the presidency said.

Turkey: One of the most vocal critics of the U.S. move and the violence in Gaza, Turkey’s government declared three days of mourning for those killed. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the actions of the Israeli forces as a “genocide” and Israel as a “terrorist state.” Turkey also said it was recalling its ambassador to the United States over the U.S. embassy move, saying it “disregarded the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” and would “not serve peace, security and stability in the region.” It also recalled its ambassador to Israel.

Iran: “We will always stand against aggressors and oppressors and believe that the ultimate victory belongs to the oppressed and Palestinians,” President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying Wednesday by state media.

Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, which has used its control of holy sites in Mecca and Medina to brand itself the protector of Islam around the world, offered a brief statement of condemnation and reaffirmed its support for “the Palestinian brotherly people” and their “legitimate rights.”

Qatar: Among Arab Gulf states, Qatar’s statement was the most fiercely worded. It described the violence as a “brutal massacre and systematic killing committed by the Israeli occupation forces against unarmed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including children and women, during their peaceful and legitimate protest.”

Commentary and analysis

Globe editorial: The forgotten people of Gaza

Daoud Kuttab: Absence of a political horizon for Palestinians is what fuels the anger in Gaza

Doug Saunders: As mass killings horrify the world, Netanyahu’s circle dwindles

Janice Stein: Amid escalating violence in the Middle East, some good news

H.A. Hellyer: To Arabs, Jerusalem represents the symbolic denial of freedom

Marcello Di Cintio: For Palestinians, the Nakba is a disaster that continues to this day

Konrad Yakabuski: On Israel, Trudeau is Harper's pupil


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