The contrast could not have been more jarring on Monday between Jerusalem and Gaza, even as a mere 75 kilometres separated the two. As American and Israeli officials inaugurated the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem – an Israeli victory over the international community’s rejection of its claim to Jerusalem as its capital – Israeli forces gunned down Palestinian protesters in Gaza, the death toll rising inexorably throughout the day. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exuberantly hailed the embassy move as a “historic” moment.
Meanwhile, just outside the new embassy, Palestinian demonstrators in Jerusalem were brutally repressed by Israeli forces. Dozens of unarmed Palestinians beaten and arrested by Israeli security forces outside the embassy, eliciting cheers from Israeli demonstrators who came out to support the embassy’s opening. “Burn them”, “shoot them”, “kill them”, the Israelis chanted. Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner complained on social media, implying Palestinian deaths in Gaza were an attempt to rain on Israel’s parade. In Gaza, Palestinians expressed their deep anger and disbelief at the celebration occurring in Jerusalem as hundreds were indiscriminately shot by Israeli forces.
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