- White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is pushing a peace deal and hyping its possible benefits as Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
- On Monday alone, Israeli troops killed at least 16 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy and a man in a wheelchair, and some 500 protesters were injured, at least 200 by live bullets.
- The UN has been investigating Israel’s use of force against the Palestinians, of whom more than 60 have been killed since March 30 when the protests started.
- Israel maintains it is within its rights to protect its borders, which some Palestinians have attacked or tried to cross.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner pushed a peace deal and hyped its possible benefits for Palestinians as Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian protesters in Gaza during a trip to open the US’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.
“We believe it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give, so that all people can live in peace, safe from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams,” Kushner said at a speech during the opening of the new interim US embassy in Jerusalem, addressing Israeli religious and political officials and US Republican lawmakers and officials.
“Jerusalem must remain a city that brings people of all faiths together,” Kushner added, praising Isreal’s human-rights record and values, saying they are “the same values that the US cherishes.”
On Monday alone, Israeli troops killed at least 52 Palestinians, including five children and a man in a wheelchair, the Gaza Health Ministry said. Over 1,200 protesters were injured, at least 200 by live bullets, health officials said, according to Reuters.
Palestinians have been gathering in mass numbers to protest Israel since March 30, during which time dozens of protesters have been killed by Israeli forces, which report no casualties. Some of the protesters killed and wounded have reportedly been violent, throwing bombs and flying flaming kites over the border.
The Palestinians are protesting what they see as an occupation of their lands by Israel, and many of them have said they would cross Israel’s border to fight the occupation, something that Israel has repeatedly met with force.
The protests will culminate on Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or what Palestinians call a “catastrophe,” when Israel was created and large swaths of land moved into Israeli control. Many Palestinians have taken offence to the US moving its embassy on the anniversary of Nakba, which they see as adding insult to injury.
“A massacre will happen on a 15th,” Isam Hammad, one of the organisers of the protests, told Haaretz.
Israel has dropped leaflets warning Palestinians not to act in accordance with the wishes of Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organisation that seeks to destroy Israel, by joining in the protests. It’s unclear exactly the degree to which protesters are members of or coordinated with Hamas, but they include women and children.
The UN has opened an investigation into Israel’s use of force against the protesters, which Israel maintains is within the proper rules of engagement.
President Donald Trump campaigned on moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, something contingents of both Democrats and Republicans have supported since the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed into law in 1995 with overwhelming support from both houses of Congress.
But Trump also tasked Kushner with pursuing a peace deal between Israel and Palestine, and experts almost unanimously agree that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem will make a peace deal more difficult. Many Muslim organisations and leaders have condemned the move and said it will limit US influence in the region.
Kushner and his wife, White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, opened the interim embassy at 9 a.m. ET. “A great day for Israel. Congratulations!” Trump tweeted on Monday.
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