As the new United States embassy was inaugurated in Jerusalem on 14th May, violence broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers.
International media reported that in Gaza, at least 52 people were killed, including five under the age of 18, and some 2,000 were injured. The death toll was expected to rise.
Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and now feel that the US cannot be a fair broker in the peace process with Israel.
Many Israelis see opening the embassy as the long-awaited official recognition of Jerusalem as their capital and the fulfilment of a promise made by numerous US presidents to move the building from Tel Aviv.
At St Joseph Parish in Jifna, West Bank, on 14th May, Fr Firas Aridah tolled bells at noon to mourn those injured and killed in clashes, to mark the commemoration of the day Palestinians call al-Naqba – their catastrophe – and to lament the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is at the heart of the conflict,” he said. “Opening the American embassy without resolving the conflict is going to the extreme. They can resolve the conflict of Jerusalem and then do whatever they want. But why just move the embassy to Jerusalem without resolving the conflict?”
Picture: Palestinians run for cover from Israeli fire and tear gas at the Israel-Gaza border during a protest against the US embassy move to Jerusalem on 14th May. (CNS photo/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Reuters).