Deadly protests along the Gaza border marked the opening ceremony for the new US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday. Attending for the White House were Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. The Israeli military killed at least 58 Palestinians and wounded 2,700 others when protesters tried to cross the border fence with Gaza. Israeli and US officials blamed Palestinian leaders for the violence, saying they were sending people into a situation they knew would result in violence in order to attract media attention.
A White House spokesman said the deadly culmination of weeks of protests was “a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt” by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” said White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah.
“Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,” he told reporters. “As the Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] said, Israel has the right to defend itself.”
On the other hand, a Deputy Chief of Hamas blamed Washington for inciting violence by moving its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, reversing decades of American policy.
Moving the US Embassy fulfilled a campaign promise by President Trump, but it could complicate his stated goal of bringing peace to the Middle East. Palestinian officials say the US is no longer a reliable broker in the region.
Meanwhile, dozens of Marines have been added to the US security details in Israel, Jordan and Turkey and may be added to US embassies in seven other countries due to concerns of unrest linked to the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, according to five US defence officials.
The officials say the State Department and the Pentagon are considering more US military security at embassies in half a dozen other countries with histories of large-scale demonstrations, including Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan.