At least 52 Palestinians are dead and more than 2,400 have been wounded after Israeli forces opened fire on protesters in Gaza and West Bank, who were demonstrating against Israel’s economic blockade on the region and the opening of America‘s new embassy in Jerusalem.
Several teenagers are believed to be among the dead after Israeli forces used live gunfire and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the protests.
The protesters had attempted to cross the contested border during the opening of the embassy some 65km away, which had moved from Israel’s capital city Tel Aviv to the holy city on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s formation.
The demonstrations come after a week of protests, which have called for the right for Palestinians to return to the land they were expelled from during Israel’s creation in 1948.
Speaking from Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the use of force was an appropriate response to the demonstrations and prevented a breach of Israel’s borders.
The Israeli Defense Force said the countermeasures had killed three “terrorists,” and Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus expressed doubt over the casualty figures presented by Palestinian authorities.
However, Doctors Without Borders has raised serious concerns about the tactics used by Israeli forces, noting some of the wounds exhibited in its Gaza clinics have been “fist-size.”
The UK, France, and Egypt have joined several other nations to express concerns over the incident and call for restraint.
The protests occurred as Ivanka Trump and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner attended the embassy’s opening.
What a great day for the great American-Israeli alliance 🇮🇱🇺🇸
צילום: אבי אוחיון, לע״מ pic.twitter.com/Q2rUdD3ID5
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) May 14, 2018
US President Donald Trump also commented on the embassy’s opening, but not on the protests.
Big day for Israel. Congratulations!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018
Protests are expected to resume today.