Moving US embassy nothing to do with Gaza violence - Nikki Haley

Majority of United Nations members criticise Israel’s response to protests in Gaza

Palestinian officials say 900 injured as US embassy opens in Jerusalem. Video: Reuters

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International condemnation of the killing by Israeli security forces of 60 Palestinians in Gaza intensified yesterday, though the United States praised the “restraint” shown by Israel.

A majority of United Nations members criticised Israel’s response to protests in Gaza which coincided with the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

But US ambassador Nikki Haley told an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council in New York that the relocation of the embassy had nothing to do with the violence and that Israel had the right to defend itself.

Arguing that Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza, had been “inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy”, she said: “Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would.”

“No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has,” she added.

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Israel faces condemnation over response to Gaza protests VIEW NOW

Highly charged

The highly charged meeting of the Security Council took place as Palestinians again protested at the Israeli border in Gaza, to mark the Nakba, or catastrophe, the anniversary of when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes following the establishment of Israel 70 years ago.

People cheer as Hamas leader Ismail Haniya speaks to protesters at the border fence with Israel in Gaza City on Tuesday, a day after Israeli soldiers killed 60 Palestinians and wounded an estimated 2,700. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
People cheer as Hamas leader Ismail Haniya speaks to protesters at the border fence with Israel in Gaza City on Tuesday, a day after Israeli soldiers killed 60 Palestinians and wounded an estimated 2,700. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Ireland was among several European countries to strongly denounce Israel for opening fire on Palestinian protesters on Monday. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ireland would not be expelling the Israeli  ambassador. He told the Dáil that Ireland needed to pursue a policy of engagement and dialogue.

The Gaza border with Israel was quieter on Tuesday, as thousands of Gaza residents attended the funerals of those killed in Monday’s clashes.

Hamas said 10 of those killed in Monday’s clashes were members of the organisation, though Israel claims that 24 militants were among the fatalities

In Gaza city, hundreds marched in the funeral of eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour, whose body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag. “Let her stay with me, it is too early for her to go,” her mother cried, pressing the baby’s body to her chest.

Children

The dead from Monday’s violence included eight children under the age of 16, according to Palestinian sources.

Hamas said 10 of those killed in Monday’s clashes were members of the organisation, though Israel claims that 24 militants were among the fatalities.

The aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières said it had doubled its capacity in Gaza to provide additional surgery for those injured by gunshots.

South Africa and Turkey recalled their ambassadors to Israel, with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing Israel of carrying out “genocide”. British prime minister Theresa May, who was hosting Mr Erdogan at Downing Street, condemned the violence, but stopped short of blaming Israel.

“The loss of life we have seen is tragic and extremely concerning. Such violence is destructive to peace efforts and we call on all sides to show restraint,” she said.

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