Prior to Monday, Israeli snipers had killed 49 Palestinians and wounded nearly 10,000 Palestinian protesters since the protests began. Among the wounded and killed were at least half a dozen journalists, including Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein — both of whom were wearing jackets clearly marked “PRESS” when they were shot. There have been zero Israeli casualties.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza says that that the number of Palestinians killed by Israel on the Gaza border has risen to 52.
Gaza’s Ministry of Health is reporting that the number of Palestinians killed today by Israeli forces in Gaza has risen to 43.
Israeli soldiers have killed 41 Palestinians and wounded 1,960, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
“We condemn unreservedly the Israeli government for their brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified actions on the Gaza border, and our thoughts are with all those Palestinians in Gaza whose loved ones have been killed or injured as a result.
“These actions are made all the worse because they come not as the result of a disproportionate over-reaction to one day’s protests, but as the culmination of six weeks of an apparently systemic and deliberate policy of killing and maiming unarmed protestors and bystanders who pose no threat to the forces at the Gaza border, many of them shot in the back, many of them shot hundreds of meters from the border, and many of them children.”
— Emily Thornberry MP, Britain’s Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary
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“Naming this square in honor of the president is our way of showing our love and respect for the president and the American people, who always stand by the side of Israel.”
— Jerusalem Mayor Nir Bakat
So thrilled was the mayor of Jerusalem that Donald Trump had recognized the city as the capital of Israel that he decided a fitting tribute of thanks –—naming a roundabout in honor of the US president.
“Jerusalem returns the love to Trump,” Nir Barkat wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, showing a picture of the traffic circle at the site where the new American embassy is due to be opened next week.
“We have decided that the square adjacent to the embassy in the capital will be called ‘United States Square — in honor of President Trump’,” he said in the Hebrew-language post.
In 1947 the UN recognized that Jerusalem had special status and proposed international rule for the city, along with nearby Bethlehem, as a “corpus separatum” to be administered by the United Nations. That never happened.
On Monday, road signs directing traffic there went up around the neighborhood where the US Embassy will be situated, and next week’s opening ceremony is timed to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The initiative was driven by President Donald Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Trump said his administration has a peace proposal in the works, and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of America’s closest ally had “taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.”
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrated Trump’s decision, but the move upset the Arab world and Western allies. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a “slap in the face” and said Washington could no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.
Guatemala is the only country besides the US that plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
Romania and Honduras are also considering the move.
The Czech Republic plans to open a consulate in Jerusalem, but not an embassy.
Currently 87 countries have embassies in Israel, none of them in Jerusalem
Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes pledged to relocate his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at a special celebratory event in Asunción to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary.
Cartes said that he would like the move to take place before he leaves office in mid-August. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted about the statement under the heading “good news.” But he later said that it was still unclear if plans to relocate the embassy were in the works.
Trump, who formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the embassy relocation on December 6, had mulled attending the inauguration, but reportedly decided against it.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is to lead a delegation of 250 people from the United States, including some 40 politicians, to the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem next month, Channel 10 news reported Sunday.
Mnuchin will be accompanied by US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as 40 senators and representatives, the report said.
The Times of Israel first reported last week that Kushner and Ivanka Trump were likely to attend.
“We will not allow needless bureaucracy to hold up the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.”
— Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon
Israel has expedited construction permits to enable temporary quarters for the US Embassy to open in Jerusalem as planned in May, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump in December broke with other world powers by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing the US Embassy would be moved there from Tel Aviv.
Trump’s reversal of decades of US and broad international policy was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “historic decision.” But it drew criticism from around the world and outraged Palestinians, who want a capital for their own future state in eastern parts of the city.
Israel has said the Embassy will be opened on May 14, the 70th anniversary of its founding. A US official said it would be located at a provisional site in Jerusalem that now houses a US consular section.
Building a permanent embassy could take several years.
“There are only two years left to create a practical and fair solution, and today we hear again from the Ministry of Immigration that they still have no solutions. . . . We have lost too much time, but we will not wait any longer. The issue of Diplomat Hotel and its tenants must be solved immediately.”
— Ksenia Svetlova, Zionist Union member of Knesset
The Diplomat Hotel, which is owned by the US and is located next door to the Jerusalem consulate that will become the embassy in 2020, is being leased as housing for elderly immigrants. But the building is slated to become part of the embassy, forcing the residents to find other housing.
At a heated discussion at the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday, Ksenia Svetlova of the left-wing Zionist Union blasted the committee for not moving quickly enough to find a solution for the residents.
“It is not at all certain that the effort now underway to convert the consulate to an embassy meets the standard of the law.”
— Yossi Miller, Israeli attorney specializing in planning and building law
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said he was seeking an exemption from planning regulations to ensure that the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem can be upgraded to become the American embassy in time for Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations on May 14, 2018.
Kahlon said he has asked the National Planning Committee, chaired by Avigdor Yitzhaki, to impose a rarely used exemption in the National Planning and Building Law empowering him to request the exception and hoped the committee would approve the measure when at an emergency meeting next Tuesday.
“Much more important than what the State Department says, it is what their actions say. You don’t build an embassy in territory that is not sovereign to Israel.”
— Eugene Kontorovich, director of international law at the conservative Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem
In two months, the United States plans to open a new embassy to fulfill President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
There’s just one problem: The embassy may be in Jerusalem, but it may not be fully in Israel.
The diplomatic compound that will serve as the American Embassy until a permanent site is found lies partly in a contested zone known as No Man’s Land.
No Man’s Land encompasses the area between the armistice lines drawn at the end of the 1948–49 war and was claimed by Jordan and Israel. Israel won full control of it in the 1967 war, so the United Nations and much of the world consider it occupied territory.