While the Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were in Jerusalem May 14 celebrating the opening of the U.S. Embassy there, it also became the bloodiest day of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2014, the Independent reported.
President Donald Trump’s decision to open the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem was widely condemned by the international community as divisive. Now, the U.S. has made another seemingly divisive move–it has blocked a United Nations Security Council statement that called for an independent investigation into the deaths of at least 58 Palestinians along the Israeli-Gaza border.
The Security Council wanted an independent and transparent investigation, but the U.S. used its veto power as it has done 42 other times against U.N. resolutions concerning Israel.
The statement, drafted by Kuwait ahead of a meeting on Tuesday, expressed ‘outrage and sorrow’ at the deaths of at least 58 people during demonstrations over the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem.
It also demanded that all countries comply with a decades-old Security Council resolution calling on them not to station diplomatic missions in the contested holy city, CNBC reported.
In all, more than 1,200 people were harmed when Israeli troops fired live ammunition and tear gas at demonstrators. Among the dead, said Palestinian medics, was a 14-year-old boy. Israel defends its actions, saying its troops were defending its border and that nearly 40,000 Palestinians have been involved in “violent riots” along the border. The White House backed these claims by Israel.
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“The Hamas terrorist organization declares it intends to destroy Israel and sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and citizens.”
Late last year, Trump broke with decades of U.S. foreign policy and declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. This angered Arab and Muslim communities worldwide.
The battle over the territory has been long and bloody. “Some 5 million Palestinian refugees remain eligible for services under the UN Relief Works Agency and qualify as ‘persons… who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.’ Some 1.5 million live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps across the Levant region, including in the Gaza Strip,” the Daily Beast reported.
People living in the Gaza Strip reportedly live in horrible conditions.
“Gaza’s 1.8 million residents live in the small 225-square-mile enclave, making it one of the most densely-populated territories on earth. Thirty-nine percent of the population lives below the poverty line, more than half lack access to reliable electricity, and unemployment stands at 42 percent, according to the UN,” CNBC reported.