Gaza, May 14 (IANS) At least 37 Palestinians were killed and around 1,500 were wounded on Monday by Israeli troops in clashes on the Gaza border before the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
The Israeli Army said on Twitter that 35,000 Palestinians were demonstrating along the Gaza-Israel boundary.
Among the deceased was a 14-year-old boy and reports from the Palestinian Health Ministry and the Red Crescent medical relief group said hundreds were suffering from gunshot wounds, while many others were hit by shrapnel or affected by smoke, the BBC reported.
Witnesses said that several Palestinians managed to get through the security fence and that tens or hundreds were crossing into the Israeli territory.
The demonstrations and general strikes had been planned to protest against the US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which many consider contravenes international consensus to not recognize the city as Israel’s capital until its status is established during negotiations.
Palestinians see East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed in 1980, as the capital of their future state.
The timing of the move has also been slammed, as it is being held a day ahead of Nakba Day (“Day of the Catastrophe”), which this year marks the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation and subsequent displacement of some 700,000 Palestinian refugees.
A small interim embassy will start operating on Monday inside the existing US consulate building in Jerusalem. A larger site will be found later when the rest of the embassy moves from Tel Aviv.
US President Donald Trump will address the ceremony by video and he will be represented by his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will also be present at the event.