Hamas vowed to keep protesters storming the Gaza border on Tuesday, a day after 59 Palestinians were killed in confrontations with Israeli troops, the bloodiest toll in the seaside territory since a 2014 war.
Monday’s casualties, which included more than 1,200 people wounded by live fire, were a stark contrast to the festivity of President Donald Trump’s inauguration of a US embassy in Jerusalem.
More than 100 Palestinians have been killed since Gazans began a campaign of weekly protests March 30 to draw attention to conditions in the enclave.
Gaza has been under Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas, considered a terrorist group by much of the West, took power in 2007.
The US decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv was a diplomatic victory for Israel but a blow to the Palestinians, who say it undermines their own claim to east Jerusalem as a future capital.
Direct peace talks have been stalled for years but Palestinians say the embassy move further hurts chances of a breakthrough.
“Jerusalem is a red line and for it we will continue our resistance,” Khalil al-Hayyah, the deputy leader of Hamas, said at a news conference in Gaza City.
“We must show respect to the martyrs who shed their blood to fight the transfer of the US Embassy.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas broke off all contact with the Trump administration after the embassy move was announced in December. On Monday, Abbas called the new embassy, located in west Jerusalem, an “American settlement.”
Egged on by loudspeakers and transported in buses, Gazans streamed to the border with Israel, where some threw rocks, burned tires, and flew kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs into Israeli territory.
Israel accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to attack the Jewish state, and has vowed to prevent any attempts to breach the border.
The Palestinians accuse the Israeli military, which reported no serious casualties, of firing indiscriminately.
Carnage and Celebration
Scenes of stone-throwing Palestinians surrounded by the black smoke of burning tires contrasted starkly with the celebratory atmosphere at the embassy inauguration in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona, where streets were draped with US and Israeli flags and posters saying, “Trump: Make Israel Great.”
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators waiting outside the embassy gave the finger to buses carrying guests to and from the event.
Palestinian leader Abbas’s ear surgery is successful
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas underwent minor, successful surgery on his ear on Tuesday, according to the Wafa news agency, an unannounced procedure that compounded worries about the 83-year-old leader’s health and the possibility of a fierce succession battle.
Abbas was already discharged from a West Bank hospital, Wafa said. The Palestinian leader’s health has become a cause of concern in recent months, and the absence of any clear successor has fuelled
concerns that his sudden death could leave a destabilising power vacuum in the West Bank. Abbas was elected in 2005 for a five-year term, but after the Hamas group wrested control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, he has maintained power without holding elections.
The Associated Press reported that a cardiologist had moved into the presidential compound to monitor Abbas, who has had longstanding heart problems.