Palestinian President Recalls Washington Envoy as Israel Faces Diplomatic Crisis After Gaza Killings

Israel says thwarts infiltration attempt from Gaza ■ Belgium summons Israeli envoy ■ Nikki Haley: No country would act with more restraint than Israel ■ Israel says 24 of 60 killed Monday were militants

Tear gas is fired at protestors during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel, east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018
THOMAS COEX/AFP

Hamas conveyed indirect messages to Israel on Monday night that it might change tack in the Gaza border protests Tuesday, but Israel isn't certain whether the group really aims to rein in the violent demonstrations which claimed the lives of 60 Palestinians by live Israeli gunfire Monday.

Funerals of Monday's casualties are expected to take place in Gaza on Tuesday, with the question remaining whether Hamas will call the masses to the fence as it did Monday, or keep the rallies as a spontaneous initiative of the people. Rallies are expected in the large West Bank cities, as well as a general strike.

Latest: IDF Spokesperson Tells U.S. Jews: Israel Failed to Minimize Gaza Casualties, Hamas Won PR War by Knockout

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Latest updates:

16/05/2018, 11:00: Turkey Invites Press to Film Ousted Israeli Envoy Frisked at Airport

Diplomatic row escalates as Israel retaliates, summons Turkish rep and invites local press to cover (Noa Landau)

12:30 P.M.: Israel expells Israel's consul general in Istanbul

After expelling Israeli ambassador to Ankara, Eitan Naeh, to which Israel responded hours later with the expulsion of the Turkish consul general in Jerusalem, Husnu Gurcan Turkoglu, Turkey also expelled Israel's consul general in Istanbul, Yossi Levi Safri. Read the full story here

11:00 P.M.: Hundreds protest in Tel Aviv over bloodshed in Gaza

Waving signs that read “Stop the Live Fire” and chanting “Arabs and Jews refuse to be enemies,” hundreds of demonstrators flooded a main Tel Aviv thoroughfare Tuesday blocking traffic in protest of Israel’s firing on Palestinian protesters along the border with Gaza. (Dina Kraft) Read the full story here

9:50 P.M. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo postponing Israel trip

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that he will be postponing his trip to Israel, slated for this week, due to the security situation in the country. Cuomo decided to go on the trip last week, following the Iranian attack on Israel's northern border. He hoped to be one of the first American officials to visit the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem after it was officially opened on Monday. His office says that the visit will take place in a few weeks. (Amir Tibon)

9:21 P.M.:  Abbas recalls Palestinian envoy in Washington

President Mahmoud Abbas recalled the Palestinian envoy in Washington, a senior Palestinian official told Reuters. According to senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the envoy is already on his way back home. (Haaretz) Read full article

Diplomatic fallout from deadly Gaza clashes.
Haaretz

8:21 P.M.: Israeli army begins to scaling down forces along Gaza border

The Israeli army has begun to decrease the number of soldiers deployed alongside the Gaza border in order to prevent unnecessary exposure to Hamas fire.

The IDF says that Hamas is assessing the situation at the Gaza border, following internal criticism about the number of deaths and the fact that Hamas did not successfully carry out a attack. 

The IDF says Hamas is assessing its achievements following the media coverage, adding that Hamas may rekindle the protests if media attention were to pick up. (Yaniv Kubovich)

8:20 P.M. U.K. calls for independent Gaza investigation

The United Kingdom called for an "independent and transparent investigation" into the Gaza border deaths "in recent weeks," the British envoy said at an emergency UN Security Council session. The probe should include "the extent to which Israeli security forces’ rules of engagement are in line with international law." (Noa Landau)

7:48 P.M. Second Palestinian reportedly killed today in Gaza protests

A second Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire during protests on the Gaza border, east of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza's Health Ministry reported. The ministry said some 160 Palestinians are wounded, mostly from tear gas inhalation.

Around 4,000 protesters gathered Tuesday night around five locations along the border fence of the Gaza strip. Protestors threw Molotov cocktails and set fire to burning tires in the direction of Israeli soldiers and Israeli territory.

In the West Bank, some 700 protesters throw stones and throw Molotov cocktails at security forces. Israeli forces responded with crowd dispersal means.

Twenty Palestinians wounded in the West Bank were evacuated to hospitals in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Beit Jala and Salfit.

One of the Palestinians was severely wounded by live gunfire in Ramallah and another was moderately wounded by rubber bullets, also in Ramallah, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported. (Jack Khoury)

7:10 P.M. Israel expels Turkish consul general after Ankara ousts Israeli ambassador 

The Foreign Ministry summoned Turkey's consul general in Jerusalem, Hüsnü Gürcan Türkoğlu,  and asked him to leave the country after Turkey earlier expelled Israel's ambassador in Ankara.

The Turkish consulate in Jerusalem, like many others in the city, is in charge of relations with Palestinians. (Noa Landau) Read full article

7:09 P.M.: Army arrests suspects who tried to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza

The Israeli army arrested suspects who tried to infiltrate into Israel under the auspices of a violent riot in the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF identified the suspects and an arrest was carried out near the border fence. The suspects were interrogated by security forces. (Haaretz)

7:05 P.M.:  Nikki Haley walks out of UN Security Council session on Gaza as Palestinian envoy starts to speak

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley walked out of a UN Security Council session when the Palestinian envoy, Riyad Mansour, started to speak. (Noa Landau)

6:52 P.M. Hamas political chief says the 'March of Return' will continue

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas political bureau chief, said that the 'March of Return' protests that began last month will continue. 

Haniyeh, speaking at a ceremony c commemorating the Nakba in Gaza, said "We say to Israelis: Don't test our patience; we have a lot more to give and are very determined to continue [marching]."

6:30 P.M. Erdogan: Netanyahu has blood of Palestinians on his hands

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweets that "Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state [Netanyahu] has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can't cover up crimes by attacking Turkey." (Noa Landau)

5:35 P.M. Nikki Haley: Hamas has been inciting to violence years before U.S. embassy move

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tells a UN Security Council session that Hamas has been inciting to violence years before the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Haley says that "those who suggest that violence in Gaza has anything to do with the location of the U.S. embassy is mistaken moving the embassy was the right thing to do."

About the deaths in Gaza, Haley says "no country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has."

Haley says the U.S. is prepared to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, peace that is "rooted in reality." Haley concluded congratulating Israel for its 70th anniversary. (Noa Landau)

5:32 P.M.: Wesk Bank Palestinian lightly wounded by rubber bullets, evacuated to hospital

A Palestinian was lightly wounded by rubber bullets in Nablus during confrontations in the area. They were evacuated to the Rafidia hospital in the West Bank. (Jacky Khoury) 

5:02 P.M. Belgium summons Israeli ambassador over Gaza deaths

Belgium summoned Israeli ambassador Simona Frankel to a meeting with a senior official of the Foreign Ministry to take place on Wednesday, Israel's Foreign Ministry reported. Earlier, South Africa and Turkey expelled their Israeli  ambassadors following the deaths in Gaza. (Noa Landau) Read full story

4:52 P.M.: Report of first Palestinian killed in Gaza protests today

One Palestinian man was killed during Nakba Day protests on the Gaza border, east of Al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza's Health Ministry said. The man was identified as Nasser Aourab, 51. (Jacky Khoury)

4:30 P.M. Israel: At least 24 militants killed during Monday's Gaza protests

Israeli security forces say that at least 24 out of the 60 Palestinians killed during Monday's protests on the Gaza border were militants – most of them members of Hamas and some of Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli military says some 400 Palestinians are currently protesting at six locations along the Israel-Gaza border, and that clashes are taking place at 18 sites in the West Bank, with an estimated 1,300 Palestinians taking part. The military says soldiers were responding with crowed dispersal measures. (Yaniv Kubovich)

4:10 P.M. : Gaza health officials: Infant's death may have been by natural causes, not tear gas

Gaza health officials are casting doubt on initial claims that a 9-month-old baby died from Israeli tear gas fired during mass protests on the Gaza border with Israel.

A medical doctor said Tuesday that the baby, Layla Ghandour, had a pre-existing medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of he was not allowed to disclose medical information to the media.

Layla's family claimed Tuesday that the baby had ended up in the area of the protest as a result of a mix-up. The Gaza Health Ministry initially counted her among several dozen Palestinians killed Monday.

A Gaza human rights group, Al Mezan, says it is looking into the circumstances of the infant's death. (Haaretz)

3:50 P.M. Turkey expels Israeli ambassador over Gaza deaths

Ambassador Eitan Naeh was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara and asked to leave the country over the death toll in Gaza. (Noa Landau) Read full article

3:45 P.M. The Israeli left’s endless misery in the days of Netanyahu and Trumpistan (Chemi Shalev) Read full opinion 

3:02 P.M. 12 wounded from rubber-tipped bullets in Bethlehem

12 Palestinians were wounded from rubber-tipped bullets and 33 were wounded from inhaling tear gas during clashes near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

2:38 P.M. Three Palestinians wounded in West Bank clashes, Ramallah Health Ministry says

Three Palestinians were wounded Tuesday from rubber-tipped bullets during clashes near the Beit El security barrier in the West Bank. They were evacuated to the governmental hospital in Ramallah.

Clashes were also reported near the northern entrance to Bethlehem. (Jack Khoury)

2:33 P.M. Israeli army questions authenticity of infant's death due to gas inhalation

Israeli army spokesperson tweeted on Tuesday there was reasonable doubt as to the validity of the Gaza Health Ministry report of an 8-month-old infant dying of gas inhalation from Monday's clashes.

Written in Arabic, the tweet claimed the Israeli army has several testimonies that cast uncertainty on the report. (Haaretz)

2:29 P.M. Brushfire erupts in Nahal Oz, suspected due to flaming kite (Almog Ben Zikri)

2:27 P.M. Hamas trying to use deadly Gaza clashes to secure humanitarian relief, Israel believes | Analysis

The messages sent by Hamas to Israel at the end of the bloody day of protests on the border with the Gaza Strip Monday may attest to the organization's willingness to try to rein in the violence Tuesday. What happens near the fence later in the day will show whether there’s a chance of that happening. (Amos Harel) Read full analysis

2:05 P.M. How the world media covered Israel and the deadliest day of the Gaza protests

The protests along the Gaza border, in which 60 Palestinians were killedby live gunfire and over 1,359 were wounded, took center stage in the world media on Tuesday, as outlets reported extensively on the violent events juxtaposed with the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. (Haaretz) Read full story

1:58 P.M. Netanyahu slams Erdogan over Gaza criticism: 'Don't preach about morality'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday after his criticism over Monday's clashes. "Erdogan is among the greatest supporters of Hamas and undoubtedly understands terror and massacre. I advise him not to preach about morality." (Noa Landau)

1:41 P.M. Palestinian wounded from live gunfire in West Bank during clashes with Israeli army 

A Palestinian was wounded from live gunfire on Tuesday during clashes with Israeli security forces in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank. The man was evacuated to the governmental hospital in Ramallah in moderate condition. (Jack Khoury)

1:34 P.M. Funerals commence as thousands march along the Gaza Strip

The funerals of the 60 Palestinians killed in the border protests on Monday have commenced on Tuesday, as tens thousands are marching in processions across the Strip. 

Reports have also come in of Palestinians torching tires east of Jabaliya. (Jack Khoury, Almog Ben Zikri)

1:14 P.M. Two Palestinians moderately wounded from live gunfire in West Bank

Two Palestinians were moderately wounded from live gunfire when clashes erupted in the West Bank city of Hebron. One suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach, while the other was shot in the shoulder. Both were evacuated to the governmental hospital in Hebron in moderate condition.

Confrontations were also reported near the Beit El security barrier near the town of El Bireh. (Jack Khoury)

12:33 P.M. The day Donald Trump was crowned king in Jerusalem | Opinion

For Jews around the world, the opening of the U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem should have been an occasion for jubilation and pride. And while for some it was, many of the rest of us watched the ceremony feeling a combination of nausea and cognitive dissonance. (Debra Shushan) Read full op-ed

12:26 P.M. Israel needs to directly threaten lives of Hamas chiefs, says minister

Israel needs to directly threaten the lives of the Hamas chiefs which are causing the bloodshed, said Public Defense Minister Gilad Erdan on Tuesday. 

Speaking to the Israeli news website Ynet, Erdan stressed he speaks solely for himself, and that it is his position Israel should return to its former policy of preempting Hamas' aggression by assassinating its leaders. According to Erdan, they are the ones causing the grievous harm to Israel and the Gaza Strip. (Haaretz)

12:19 P.M. Kremlin is 'very concerned' by Gaza deaths, monitoring situation closely

The Kremlin on Tuesday urged countries, especially those in the Middle East quartet of mediators, to avoid action that might inflame tensions in the region.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that Moscow was very concerned by the deaths of dozens of Palestinians and said the Kremlin was closely monitoring the situation. (Reuters)

12:15 P.M. Muslim countries should examine their ties with Israel, says Turkish Prime Minister

Muslim countries should review their ties with Israel, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday, a day after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians during protests on the Gaza border. 

Turkey has called for a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Friday. It has been one of the most vocal critics of the violence in Gaza, as well as the U.S. move to open its embassy in Jerusalem. (Reuters)

11:59 A.M. Ireland summons Israeli ambassador over Gaza deaths

The Irish government summoned the Israeli ambassador in Dublin, Zeev Boker, to express its shock and dismay over Monday's events, the Irish Times reported. Boker was also informed of Ireland's demand for an independent UN investigation of the deaths in Gaza.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeperson confirmed Boker was summoned for a brief conversation and refused to divulge its contents. (Noa Landau)

11:30 A.M. General strike declared in East Jerusalem

A general strike in the commerce and educational systems was declared Tuesday in East Jerusalem in protest of the killing of Gazans during Monday's border confrontations. (Nir Hasson)

11:24 A.M. Stop the bloodbath | Haaretz Editorial

The black smoke that rose above Gaza yesterday and the number of casualties that climbed by the hour did not interfere with the celebratory opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem, highlighting the wanton Israeli treatment of Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular. Read the editorial

11:20 A.M. Six must-reads on deadly Gaza protests and U.S. Embassy's Jerusalem move

Get Haaretz correspondents' top takes on the latest round of battles between Israel and the Palestinians, and – at the same time – on Trump moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Read the top takes here 

11:05 A.M. Gaza death toll rises to 60

A Palestinian succumbed to his wounds after being shot during clashes east of Gaza on Monday, the Gaza Health Ministry reports. (Jack Khoury)

10:38 A.M. Israeli army confirms rocket sirens as false alarm (Haaretz)

10:26 A.M. Rocket alarm sirens sound in Gaza border communities in southern Israel

Rocket alarm sirens were heard in Eshkol Regional Council, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. The army is looking into the matter, though local residents did not report hearing explosions. (Yaniv Kubovich and Almog Ben Zikri)

10:19 A.M. Israeli Justice Minister: we're not afraid of The Hague Court

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Israel is not afraid of the International Justice Court in Hague because it operates by international law. Speaking on Israeli radio, Shaked said "Israel Defense Forces are acting very very well, acting by the open-fire protocols and it is all within the boundaries of judiciary and law."

Regarding the condition of the Gaza Strip, shaked said that if Israel doesn't want a terrorist organization to control it anymore, "there's no escape but to occupy. I'm not saying this is what should be done today." (Haaretz)

10:02 A.M. It's not a 'Hamas March' in Gaza. It's tens of thousands willing to die | Analysis

Everyone in the Gaza Strip knows the hospitals are way over capacity and that the medical teams are unable to treat all the wounded. Al Mezan reported on a medical delegation that was supposed to arrive from the West Bank but was prevented from entering by Israel.

Everyone knows that wounded people who were operated on are being discharged too soon and that there’s a shortage of essential drugs for the wounded, including antibiotics. Even when there are drugs, many of the wounded cannot pay even the minimum required to obtain them, and so they return a few days later to the doctor with an infection. This is all based on reports from international medical sources. (Amira Hass) Read the full analysis here

9:52 A.M. South African embassy sends official statement recalling ambassador

The South African embassy sent an official statement to the Israeli Foreign Ministry notifying of its ambassador leaving Israel. The statement said that "until the ambassador's return" he would be replaced by the embassy's consultant. 

South Africa said Monday that due to the death toll in Gaza, the country would be recalling its ambassador to Israel. (Noa Landau)

9:42 A.M. Dozens dead in Gaza didn't disturb Netanyahu's 'great day for peace' | Analysis

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, the number of dead and wounded rising at a dizzying pace, than like an elegant event in the rejected Israeli capital whose honor was restored, if only in part. (Yossi Verter) Read the full analysis here

9:15 A.M. Hamas reportedly dismantles tents along Gaza border as Israel prepares for funeral rage

Hamas is dismantling the tent compound along the border fence and calling civilians not to protest on Tuesday, according to Palestinian reports. The Israeli army assumes this is because the organization achieved its goal by having the high number of casualties on Monday bring the Strip back into the international discourse.

The Israeli army is bracing for the large numbers expected to march on the fence following the funerals, as well as massive rallies expected in the West Bank in solidarity. (Yaniv Kubovich)

9:04 A.M. Former CIA chief blasts 'utter diregard' for Palestinian lives

Former CIA chief John O. Brennan condemned President Donlad Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for their "utter disregard" for Palestinian rights and homeland on Tuesday, saying Trump's decision to relocate the U.S. embassy destoryed its peacemaker role.

Brennan, who acted as CIA chief under Barack Obama, said "new generation of Israelis/Palestinians need to isolate extremists to find path to peace." (Haaretz)

8:10 A.M. Israeli army deploying forces in Gaza border communities

The Israeli army is deploying soldiers inside communities along the Gaza Envelope as part of the regional defense scheme. (Almog Ben Zikri)

07:59 A.M. Members of Congress condemn 'shocking' Gaza death toll

Five members of the U.S. Congress condemned Israel's use of live fire against unarmed protesters in a statement released Monday overnight. 

Signed by Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, Keith Ellison, Henry C. Johnson Jr. and Raul Grijalva, the statement said they were "shocked and dismayed by the lethal force used by Israeli troops against mostly unarmed protesters" at the Gaza border, and urged soldiers to abide by international law and refrain from live gunfire.

The statement commended Israeli human rights groups and civil society leaders for doing the same. It held President Trump's "provocative decision" to relocate the U.S. embassy reponsible for emboldening Israeli reactions to the protesters, saying it culminated "in some of the highest levels of violence experienced in the area in weeks."

"We ask that Netanyahu’s government show utmost restraint," concluded the statement, "allow for unfettered medical attention for those who have been wounded, and ease a 12-year blockade on Gaza, which has contributed to grave food insecurity, unemployment and a humanitarian crisis for Gaza’s two million inhabitants. We believe the people of Gaza must be shown compassion and relief, and we remain steadfastly committed to ensuring Israel’s security." (Noa Landau)

7:55 A.M. 8-month-old baby dies from gas inhalation

An 8-month-old infant, Laila al-Ghandour, died from gas inhalation in the eastern Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Her death raises the protest death toll from Monday to 59. No further details were given. (Jack Khoury)

6:37 A.M. U.S. blocks Security Council statement calling for investigation into Gaza violence

The Trump administration on Monday blocked a UN Security Council statement that was intended to call for an investigation of the events on the Israel-Gaza border.

The statement, circulated by Kuwait, was supposed to include an expression of rage and sorrow on behalf of the Security Council over Monday's death toll. However, the U.S. blocked it from being adopted and published.

The Kuwaiti statement also included a call for the creation of an "independent and transparent investigation" into Israel's actions on the border. It wasn't the first time that the U.S. has blocked an action at the Security Council related to Israel's actions in Gaza, but was notable in light of the high death toll yesterday in Gaza –  the highest since the end of the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. (Amir Tibon) Read the full story here