No clear word of condemnation from NATO, a simple lip service from the Arab League at what happened yesterday in Gaza: the work of Israeli commandos. Israeli commandos kept on killing unarmed protesting Palestinians and the causalities may be around 60 to 80 by the time the newspaper reaches your hand. In the last decade, Israel’s status as a pariah state among its neighbours has become stronger.
Inhumanity was at its peak in Washington where giant TV screens kept on playing the US embassy opening in Jerusalem with the scant mentioning of the ruthless killing of Palestinians in Gaza Strip. The bloodied opening of the embassy, presided over by dignitaries who included President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law and Mideast advisor Jared Kushner, drew wide condemnation from across the Arab world, and was shunned by US allies in western Europe.
The festivities posed an arresting contrast to the bloodshed only 50 miles to the southwest, where at least 55 Palestinians died on the most violent day in weeks of clashes between Gaza protesters and Israeli forces. Six children were among the dead and more than 2,700 people were injured, according to Palestinian officials. Israel insisted it acted in self-defense and braced for clashes that security officials fear will spread to the West Bank.
Here is a snapshot of condemnation from some countries.
White House spokesman said:
The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas… Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response.
Kuwait drafted a UN Security Council statement calling for an independent inquiry into the violence – and expressing “outrage and sorrow” – but this was blocked by the US. The UK said “the large volume of live fire is extremely concerning” but said protests must be peaceful. Germany said Israel had the right to defend itself but should do so proportionately. France’s President Emmanuel Macron condemned violence by the Israeli military. Turkey said the US shared responsibility with Israel for a “vile massacre” and that it was recalling its ambassadors from both countries. One of the strongest statements came from UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who condemned the “shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire”, while South Africa also recalled its ambassador to Israel, condemning “the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack”.
What is the fault of the Palestinians other than being resorting to protests and being the weakest? On the Gaza frontier, they just burnt tyres while Israelis responded with fire, some of it from tanks. Israel said protesters hurled firebombs and stones as they tried to break through the border fence and that its troops came under fire, although no fatalities were reported on the Israeli side.
The situation is appalling in Gaza where Palestinian health officials said nearly half of the injuries were caused by live ammunition, a higher toll than on previous days. Other people were hit by rubber bullets and shrapnel or were overwhelmed by tear gas. The blockade should end, but that will only be the start of the U-turn which is now required. Closely allied to Gaza’s physical isolation is its political one. The international consensus is also crumbling on isolating Hamas by insisting it recognise Israel before it is allowed to join a national unity government with Fatah. Brick by brick, this policy is coming apart, and in a strange way, Israel is helping.
The writer is a journalist and analyst based in Lahore