Fifty-two Palestinians are reported dead so far today as protests erupted over the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. At least 1,000 individuals have been injured and the death toll continues to climb.
The president of the United States announced back in December of last year that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move the U.S. embassy there, causing outcry across the world.
The embassy move comes just one day before the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the 1948 forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homes as part of the establishment of the State of Israel.
The Nakba, or “catastrophe” is commemorated by thousands of Palestinians each year, and this year’s commemoration is more significant than ever before in light of the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem.
Both the Israeli and the Palestinian people have ancestral, historical, and religious connections to the city of Jerusalem and have contested its ownership since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Muslims, Christians, and Jews all find religious significance in the city and its temples and monuments.
In 1948 during the Arab-Israeli war, Israel took control of the western half of the city and claimed it as part of their territory.
Later, during the war with Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in 1967, Israel occupied the eastern half of the city as well, and annexed the area in violation of international law, effectively bringing the entire city of Jerusalem under Israeli control.
Israel formalized its annexation in 1980, to which the United Nations Security Council responded by issuing Resolution 478, which declared the annexation “null and void.”
Aside from the U.S. and Russia, the entire international community recognizes East Jerusalem as an illegally occupied territory.
Beginning March 30, Palestinian protesters have been converging on the Israel-Gaza border each Friday to protest their expulsion from their homes and land and to advocate for their right to return.
Thirty-three countries out of the 86 invited attended today’s ceremony under heavy police presence and road closures in response to the protests.
Here are some statements from leaders and organizations around the world in response to today’s events:
The Arab League called the decision a “blatant attack on the feelings of Arabs and Muslims” and a “grave violation of the rules of international law.”
Antonio Guterres of the United Nations said, “There is no Plan B to a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace.”
Ali Larijani, speaker of Iran’s parliament said, “Definitely their measures on moving their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Iran’s nuclear issue will not go unchallenged.”
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that the decision will allow “Israelis to spill more blood of innocent Palestinians and increases the intensity of extremism that threatens the world community.”
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that the decision is “inflaming already a very tense situation, and the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.” His comment comes after the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania blocked the European Union from issuing a joint statement on the move.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.
To read our recent coverage of The March of Return, click here.