First published on The New Arab
May 15, 2018
Sixty-one Palestinians were killed on the Gaza border on Monday – the bloodiest day in the besieged territory since 2014 war.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered to protest against the deeply controversial opening of the US embassy in the contested capital of Jerusalem in Gaza with Israeli troops opening fire on the demonstrations.
As the inauguration ceremony went ahead in Jerusalem with a White House delegation, Israeli snipers continued their brutal suppression of the demonstrations and fired into the crowds – wounding over 2,400 Palestinians.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney “summoned the Israeli ambassador to Ireland… to express Ireland’s shock and dismay at the level of death and injury yesterday on the Gaza Strip”, the ministry said in a statement.
Coveney also asked for “restraint from Israel in the hours and days ahead”, the foreign ministry said.
“The ambassador has been informed of Irish demands for an independent international investigation into yesterday’s deaths led by the UN,” it added.
The ministry said Irish officials in Ramallah reported that health services in Gaza, already stretched because of a lack of equipment and essential medicines, were “overwhelmed with the level of casualties”.
“As well as the death and mass injury, Ireland is also very disturbed by the injuries suffered by health workers as reported by the WHO (World Health Organization).”
Russia joined international opposition to the massacre, and expressed “deep concern” at Israel’s behaviour.
“The situation, particularly the deaths of many dozens of Palestinians, cannot but provoke the deepest concern,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
“Moscow expressed concern from the start over the actions of the US that could lead to provoking tensions in the Middle East,” Peskov said. “Unfortunately, that’s how it worked out.”
Many countries – including France, the UK and Russia – had already slammed the US decision to move their embassy. A UN resolution condemning the White House recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was backed by 128 nations but was blocked by the US.
South Africa and Turkey also recalled their ambassadors from Israel.
“What Israel has done is a genocide,” said Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
South Africa’s foreign ministry said: “Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice.”
“The victims were taking part in a peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem,” it said, condemning “violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces”.