Israel Defense Forces troops braced themselves for more violence Tuesday following the deaths of dozens of Palestinian protesters along the border with the Gaza Strip on Monday. Six weeks of demonstrations – and attempts to breach the border fence – reached fever pitch Monday with the historic move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. For up-to-date reports and commentary by Haaretz's correspondents, see:
The plumes of smoke rising in the distance from Gaza were already visible on the drive from the Negev town of Netivot Monday morning. Over the next several hours, the smoke from burning tires grew thicker at dozens of protest sites along the entire Strip, from the area across from Moshav Netiv Ha’asara in the north to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings in the south. Read Amos Harel's full analysis here.
The stark contrast that played out on split screens throughout the world Monday, between the Israeli celebration in Jerusalem and the Palestinian casualties in Gaza, was worthy of Charles Dickens’ immortal opening to “A Tale of Two Cities:” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Read Chemi Shalev's full analysis here.
- Hamas Suggests It Might Tone Down Gaza Protests
- Religious Tune at Jerusalem Embassy Opening Drowns Out Protests
- How Jerusalem Went From Having 16 Embassies to Zero
- Lieberman, Lone Democrat at J'lem Event, Lauds Trump on Embassy Move
Of all the grand and sometimes divorced-from-reality remarks made at the ceremony inaugurating the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, the most blatant was the emotional statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “It’s a great day for peace.” Because alas, peace at the time looked a lot more like a bloodbath taking place on the Gaza border – with the number of dead and wounded rising at a dizzying pace – than an elegant event in the rejected Israeli capital whose honor was restored, if only in part. Read Yossi Verter's full analysis here.
“We’re pleased our Hamas brethren understood that the proper way was through a popular, unarmed struggle,” Fatah representatives have said on several occasions recently regarding the Gaza March of Return. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said something similar during his address to the Palestinian National Council last week.Read Amira Hass' full analysis here.
If the Trump administration’s intention was to offend Jewish sensibilities with its pick of an evangelical minister to offer a prayer at the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, it succeeded. Pastor Robert Jeffress, who spoke at the event, is on record as stating that Jews are going to hell – together with all other non-born-again Christians – or, at least, not to heaven. If it wanted to offend Muslims, the White House also couldn’t have done better, since Jeffress has also made very derogatory remarks about Islam, which he has reportedly slammed as an "evil," "violent" and "false" religion. Read Jonathan Tobin's full opinion piece here.
Wherever one turns in Gaza, there are murals and pictures of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque. Jerusalem isn’t only the Palestinian capital we seek, but visiting it is a tangible desire of every Gazan. Yet, despite Jerusalem’s unique significance to Palestinians and the desperate attempts to prevent Trump’s unilateral plans to change the city's status in Israel's favor – that has had little if no effect. Standing up for the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem has become a lost cause. Read Muhammad Shehadain's full opinion piece here.