In a graphic demonstration of disregard for the lives and rights of Palestinians, a smiling Ivanka Trump welcomed Israeli dignitaries to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, while, just 60 miles away in Gaza, Israel’s armed forces shot hundreds of Palestinian protesters, killing at least 52.
As American officials, including President Donald Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer, Ambassador David Friedman, offered the new embassy to Israel as a sort of gift to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state, thousands of Palestinians came under fire from Israeli snipers for demanding the right to return to homes that their families were forced to abandon in 1948.
More than two-thirds of the Palestinians confined to Gaza are refugees from towns and cities in what is now Israel. The protests along Israel’s perimeter fence that began on March 30 — and were immediately met with lethal force — are intended to draw attention to what Palestinians refer to as the “nakba,” or catastrophe, of Israel’s founding, which led to the forcible displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians.
“Choosing a tragic day in Palestinian history shows great insensibility and disrespect for the core principles of the peace process,” said Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in a statement.
The death toll on Monday means that Israel has now killed more than 90 Palestinians in the past six weeks for approaching the fence it placed around Gaza, surpassing the total number of East Germans shot and killed for trying to scale the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989.