The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they happened.
Palestinian said killed by Israeli fire in Gaza border clashes
The Palestinian health ministry says a Palestinian protester has been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza border clashes over US embassy move.
The ministry also says that over 20 people have been injured in the clashes which began earlier today.
Several thousand have gathered near the border, while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians were approaching the fence, with Israeli troops positioned on the other side.
Gaza residents streamed to the border area for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives.
Erekat says Trump administration ‘part of the problem, not part of the solution’
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat blasts the Trump administration ahead of today’s ceremony opening the US embassy in Jerusalem, saying Trump had violated a promise to hold off on moving the embassy to give peace talks a chance and that his administration is “based on lies.”
Erekat says the Trump administration has “become part of the problem, not part of the solution.” He suggested Trump’s Mideast team is unqualified, saying “the world needs real leaders, and those [White House officials] are real estate dealers, not leaders.”
Administration officials have dismissed Palestinian criticism, portraying the embassy opening as an essential step toward an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. However, they have not said how they will move forward without the Palestinians.
— with AP
Shaked compares Trump to Churchill
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked calls US President Donald Trump the “Churchill of the 21st Century” for relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem.
Speaking at a Orthodox Union event in Jerusalem ahead of the ceremony opening the embassy, Shaked says that with his move Trump has “reversed Chamberlain’s policy of capitulation” and shown the world that “the landowner has returned.”
Shaked appeared to be comparing that policy to British prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of the Nazis prior to World War II, suggesting Trump was like his successor, Winston Churchill, who led the war effort.
Shaked also bashes Europe for, in her words, not learning from history. She says it “closed its eyes to the strengthening of the Nazis; today it is choosing to close its eyes to the strengthening of Iran.”
Explosion in Aqaba as unconfirmed reports suggest rockets fired at Eilat
Initial unconfirmed reports suggest rockets have been fired at the southern Israeli city of Eilat from the Sinai peninsula, but missed and instead hit the Jordanian town of Aqaba.
Video footage shows smoke billowing from the Jordanian side of the border.
The IDF did not immediately comment on the reports.
Jordanians say Aqaba blast was planned construction explosion
Jordanian authorities quash reports of a rocket attack from Sinai aimed at the southern Israeli of Eilat, saying that an explosion in the adjacent Jordanian city of Aqaba was part of construction work on the port there.
Footage of the billowing smoke filed from Eilat led some in Israel to speculate that the blast was the result of a wayward rocket aimed at Israel from Egyptian territory.
Jordanian officials say it was instead a planned explosion, according to Israel Radio.
Iran funding Hamas efforts to foment border violence, Shin Bet says
Iran is funding Hamas’s efforts to promote violence and attacks against Israel under the cover of mass demonstrations at the border, the Shin Bet security service says in a statement.
Hamas has warned its members to stay away from the security fence during Gaza’s mass protests, lest they get shot, while actively encouraging Palestinian civilians — particularly children and teens — to approach the border, the Shin Bet adds, citing findings from a number of interrogations.
“There is a prohibition for Hamas operatives to approach the border, from a fear that they will be killed or captured by IDF troops, unless the security fence falls and then they must enter, armed, into Israel under the cover of the masses and carry out terror attacks,” the statement says.
Ted Cruz: Embassy move makes Trump like Truman
Texas Senator Ted Cruz says US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will go down in history as a moment akin to president Harry Truman recognizing Israel when it was established in 1948.
Trump’s former Republican presidential rival says Monday that it was “the right decision” and had already inspired Guatemala, Paraguay and perhaps others to follow suit. Cruz is in Israel as part of a congressional delegation for the embassy’s dedication in Jerusalem.
Previous US presidents of both parties, as well as nearly every other country, refrained from opening embassies in Jerusalem, arguing that the city’s final status should first be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Trump has been lauded by Israelis and condemned by Palestinians for moving the embassy to the contested city. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Palestinians raise Gaza wounded count to 90
The Gaza Health Ministry raises its estimate of people wounded in clashes on the Gaza border to 90.
The Hamas-run ministry also names Musaab Abu Leila, 29, as one of the two people it says have been shot dead by IDF troops in the clashes.
Abu Leila was said to have been killed east of Jabalia in northern Gaza shortly after a 21-year-old was killed in the south of the strip.
The IDF says some 10,000 people are currently taking part in the protests at five spots along the border.
IDf says ‘massively reinforced’ Gaza border will protect Israeli civilians
The IDF says it has set up several layers of security around the Gaza border in case of a massive breach by Palestinian protesters.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus says forces have been “massively reinforced” along the front lines of the border. But he says additional layers of forces have been stationed inside Israeli communities, and between communities, to defend Israeli civilians in case of a breach.
Conricus says that “even if the fence is breached, we will be able to protect Israeli civilians from attempts to massacre or kidnap or kill them.”
The Hamas organizers of the Palestinian protests have signaled that thousands of people may try to break through the fence.
Bennett says Trump to be remembered as ‘The Great Friend’ of Israel
On behalf of the Israeli People,
and the grateful & ancient Jewish Nation,
You will forever be remembered as הידיד הגדול—“The Great Friend” of the Jewish State.
God bless you, God bless America and Israel, and God bless Jerusalem!
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) May 14, 2018
Erdogan: US has lost ‘mediator role’ in Middle East
The US has lost its role as mediator in the Middle East, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says in London on Monday, as Washington prepares to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“With its latest step America has chosen to be a part of the problem, not a solution, and lost its mediator role in the Middle East peace process,” he tells the Chatham House international affairs think tank.
Arab League to convene to discuss ‘illegal’ US embassy move
The Arab League will hold emergency talks Wednesday to discuss Washington’s “illegal” decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a senior official says.
The meeting will focus on “ways of countering the illegal decision by the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem,” the organization’s deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs, Saeed Abu Ali, says.
He tells reporters the permanent representatives of members of the Cairo-based Arab League would meet “at the request of the state of Palestine.”
Jerusalem mayor thanks Trump for making city ‘great again’
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat hosts members of the US delegation for breakfast and thanks President Donald Trump for “making Jerusalem great again” by moving the American embassy to the city.
“Today is a historic day for the eternal capital of the Jewish people. When I began my work in public service for Jerusalem, our goal was to bring Jerusalem back to its former glory — to make Jerusalem great again,” says Barkat. “By taking the bold step of moving the US embassy to its rightful place in Jerusalem, President Trump is helping us make Jerusalem great again by recognizing 3,000 years of history.”
The breakfast is attended by Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and special peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, a statement from Barkat’s office says.
Hezbollah berates ‘worthless’ US embassy move
The Hezbollah terrorist organization says the US decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a unilateral step “that Palestinians will not accept and therefore it is worthless.”
The group’s deputy leader, Sheikh Naim Kassem, makes his comments in a speech in Beirut on Monday marking the 70th anniversary of what Arabs refer to as the “nakba” or catastrophe, of Israel’s creation.
Kassem adds that “God willing, the nakba that happened 70 years ago will be a motive for change and liberation.”
IDF: Hamas planning ‘violent terror attacks’ on troops
The Israel Defense Forces says the Hamas terrorist group is planning to carry out violent attacks on Israeli troops on the Gaza border.
He describes the violence at the Gaza border on Monday as “different from what we’ve encountered.”
“We have information about Hamas’ intention to carry out violent terror attacks against our troops and cross the border,” says IDF spokesperson Ronen Manelis. “We are determined to prevent this.”
At least 5 fires raging in fields in southern Israel
At least five wildfires are raging in southern Israeli fields after being set alight by fuel-carrying kites from the Gaza Strip.
Israeli firefighters are working to extinguish the blazes, with local farmers also joining the effort.
— with Judah Ari Gross
Trump says embassy opening a ‘great day for Israel’
US President Donald Trump tweets about the embassy opening, calling it a “great day for Israel.”
The inauguration is set to start at 4 p.m.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018
IDF: 3 armed Palestinians attempt to lay bomb on border, are killed
The Israeli army says it killed three armed Palestinians who were attempting to lay a bomb on the border fence with Gaza.
“Moments ago, an IDF patrol foiled a bomb-laying attack by a cell of three armed terrorists near Rafah, close to the border. This is a particularly violent protest point. The troops responded with fire at the terrorists. The terrorists were killed.”
The IDF also says an Israeli aircraft targeted a Hamas post in Jabaliya after shots were fired at Israeli troops stationed in the area. There were no Israeli casualties, the army says.
Israel says 35,000 Palestinians are protesting at a dozen locations along the Gaza border. “Rioters are hurling pipe bombs and firebombs at IDF troops, burning tires, throwing stones and burning objects, with the intention of setting fires in Israel and hurting IDF troops,” the army says.
Russia criticizes ‘shortsighted’ US embassy move to Jerusalem
A top Russian diplomat has criticized US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying it will further fuel tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
The US embassy is due to officially relocate to Jerusalem on Monday, after Trump recognized it as the capital of Israel in December.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Monday describes the relocation of the embassy as “shortsighted.”
Bogdanov says in an interview with the Interfax news agency that the decision “runs against the stance of most of the international community.”
He blames the US for “a sharp escalation around Gaza” and says the relocation of the US embassy “could spark large-scale confrontations between Palestinians and the Israelis and cause a rising number of casualties.”
Guests gather in Jerusalem ahead of US embassy opening
Amid violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border, in Jerusalem, guests are beginning to arrive at the US embassy opening.
The ceremony will begin in just over an hour.
Last-minute vacuum cleaning pic.twitter.com/z2TlR3z62v
— Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) May 14, 2018
First row at the embassy opening, from left to right: David Friedman, Tammy Friedman, Sara Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Reuven Rivlin, Steven Mnuchin, Sheldon Adelson.
Chief rabbis and cabinet ministers are seated in the row behind them. pic.twitter.com/jqg9RAX8so
— Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) May 14, 2018
Hamas vows to continue border protests
A senior figure in Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group says mass border protests against Israel will continue until Palestinians have achieved their rights.
Despite the rising death toll, Hamas was doubling down. Ismail Radwan says “we will continue on this path until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved.”
— with agencies
Violent clashes reported in Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem
Palestinians are rioting in Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel — known by the Palestinians as the “nakba,” or catastrophe — and an hour before the US embassy is opened in Jerusalem.
Irish, Dutch foreign ministers tsk-tsk US embassy move
European foreign ministers say the US decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem is unwise and likely to exacerbate tensions.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney says Monday that the move “is inflaming already a very tense situation, and the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.”
His Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, says “we don’t consider it a wise decision to move the embassy.”
Their comments come after the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania blocked the full 28-nation European Union from publishing a statement about the US move.
PA accuses Israel of carrying out ‘terrible massacre’ in Gaza
The Palestinian Authority government accuses Israel of committing a “terrible massacre” after Israeli fire kills 28 Palestinians in violent protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip border ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
Palestinian government spokesman Yusuf al-Mahmoud demands in a statement “an immediate international intervention to stop the terrible massacre in Gaza committed by the forces of the Israeli occupation against our heroic people.”
Turkey: US shares responsibility for ‘massacre’ on Gaza border
Turkey on Monday says the United States shares responsibility with Israel for a “massacre” along the Gaza border that left 28 Palestinians dead as a result of Israeli fire.
“The US administration is as responsible as the Israeli government for this massacre,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag writes on Twitter, saying the incidents were caused by “unjust and unlawful decisions” as the United States moves its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
TV: Considerable gunfire heard around Gaza during apparent breach attempt
Hadashot TV says a major effort appears to be taking place now to breach the Gaza border.
Considerable gunfire is heard around the enclave, it says.
The television report comes as Arabic media reports say an Israeli aircraft is carrying out another airstrike in the Gaza Strip.
There is no immediate IDF comment on the various reports.
Netanyahu arrives at Jerusalem embassy ceremony
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at the US embassy relocation ceremony and is met with considerable applause.
He pauses for photographs with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
President Reuven Rivlin is also at the ceremony and is spotted shaking hands with US special envoy Jason Greenblatt.
The embassy opening will begin shortly.
US embassy ceremony begins in Jerusalem
The ceremony marking the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem begins in the capital’s Arnona neighborhood, in the presence of senior American and Israeli officials.
The ceremony will feature speeches by the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and a special video message from US President Donald Trump.
Follow along here for live updates on the ceremony.
UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on Gaza violence
The United Nation’s Security Council is preparing to hold an emergency meeting to debate the ongoing violence on the Gaza-Israel border in which dozens have been killed on Monday as the US moves its embassy to Jerusalem.
The Security Council is expected to meet either this evening or tomorrow morning.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon says he expects the meeting to be “a particularly tough one,” Hadashot news reports.
Friedman hails Trump’s ‘vision, moral clarity’ in moving embassy
The embassy celebration begins with the singing of the American anthem and the presentation of colors by US Marines.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman takes the podium to open the event, to uproarious cheering and clapping. His opening remarks welcoming guests to Jerusalem are met with a standing ovation.
Noting the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, Friedman notes that Washington — which became the first country to recognize the State of Israel — has now taken “a step awaited, voted upon, and litigated and prayed for for all these years.”
“Again the United States leads the way,” in relocating the embassy, he says.
The move is the result of the “the vision, the courage, and the moral clarity” of US President Donald Trump, to whom we own an “enormous and eternal debt of gratitude,” says Friedman.
Chants of ‘Trump, Trump’ at embassy dedication
Participants at the US embassy relocation are cheering Trump at the ceremony.
Friedman is offering shout-outs to the high-level guests at the event, to enthusiastic whooping.
— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) May 14, 2018
Pastor Jeffress, Rabbi Wolowick offer blessings, laud Trump
Pastor Robert Jeffress delivers a blessing and praises Netanyahu for his “courageous leadership.”
He also thanks Trump for his “tremendous leadership” and for supporting “our most reliable ally in the Middle East.”
Trump “boldly stands on the right side of history” and on the “right side of you, God,” remarks Jeffress.
He is followed by Rabbi Zalman Wolowick, who also delivers a blessing and expresses hope for peace.
“This Jewish people’s attachment to this city has never waned or faltered,” says Wolowick referring to Jerusalem.
“We applaud and thank the United States of America and President Donald Trump for standing for this truth” and for supporting Israel “on the world stage,” he says.
UN head worried about ‘high number of people killed’ in Gaza
The head of the United Nations says he is worried about the news coming from Gaza, “with the high number of people killed.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his concerns as clashes were taking place along the Israeli-Palestinian border and senior aides to US President Donald Trump were in Jerusalem celebrating the opening of the new US embassy there.
Guterres says, “I’m particularly worried about the news coming from Gaza with the high number of people killed.”
— with AP
Sullivan says embassy opening a ‘step toward advancing peace’
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan takes the stage.
Sullivan thanks Friedman for his efforts “to ensure the strongest possible bond between Israel and the United States.”
He says he’s honored to speak on this “momentous occasion” which is “so steeped in history.”
“Jerusalem is indisputably the capital of Israel,” he says. The embassy move is “a step toward advancing peace in this city, this region, and throughout the world.”
The embassy move is a “magnificent tribute to peace,” says Sullivan, quoting Trump.
Trump says embassy move ‘a long time coming’
In a recorded message, Trump says the US embassy move is “a long time coming.”
“Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like any other sovereign nation, to designate its capital,” says the US president.
He stresses that Washington still seeks to clinch a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
The US embassy is opening “many, many years ahead of schedule,” says Trump.
“The United Sates remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement,” he says, also stressing US support for the status quo at the Temple Mount.
“This city and entire nation is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people,” says Trump.
“May there be peace. May God bless this embassy. May God bless all who serve there. And may God bless America.”
Army won’t comment on alleged Gaza airstrikes
The IDF says it will not comment on reports that air force planes carried out a series of airstrikes in Gaza in response to shots fired from the Strip during violent protests on the border.
Photos taken from the Israeli side of the border appear to show the smoke plumes from airstrikes.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) May 14, 2018
Ivanka, Mnuchin unveil seal on US embassy
Ivanka Trump and US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin unveil the seal on the US embassy in Jerusalem.
Mnuchin pulls the blue curtain away to reveal the large blue seal: Embassy of the United States, Jerusalem, ISRAEL.
Ivanka, on behalf of the president, issues a welcome “for the first time” to the Jerusalem embassy.
Says Ivanka: “On behalf of the 45th president of the United States of America, we welcome you officially, and for the first time, to the embassy of the United States, here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.”
Amnesty International calls Gaza bloodshed an ‘abhorrent violation’
Amnesty International says high death toll of Palestinians in violence along Gaza’s border with Israel is an “abhorrent violation” of human rights.
“We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law and human rights in Gaza…. This must end immediately,” the London-based human rights group says on Twitter.
We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights in #Gaza. 38 confirmed dead, including 6 children, with close to 2000 people injured. Many are reporting injuries to the head and chest. Over 500 injured with live ammunition. This must end immediately.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) May 14, 2018
Rivlin thanks Trump for keeping campaign promise
President Reuven Rivlin is up next.
He says Jerusalem — “who we never forgot and never will forget” — has been the capital of the people of Israel for 3,000 years.
“The obvious should be said from time to time, even could be written from time to time,” he remarks.
The president says Israel is committed to all of Jerusalem’s residents, Jews and Arabs alike.
Jerusalem is “a microcosm of our ability, Jews and Arabs, to live together,” says the president.
The president says all US presidential candidates tend to pledge the embassy move, but never follow through.
“Finally, we have a leader who promised this and also kept his promise,” he says to applause.
“President Trump, the Israeli people thanks you for keeping your word, for your courage, for your determination, and for your firm, unwavering stand alongside to the State of Israel. We hope and expect that other nations will follow your path and your leadership,” says the president.
“We will continue to safeguard Jerusalem as a city of peace, as a home to all those of faith,” he says, of all its residents and religions.
Kushner slams Iran deal, says peace with Palestinians still possible
Jared Kushner is addressing the US embassy ceremony.
“I am so proud to be here today in Jerusalem, the eternal heart of the Jewish people,” says Kushner to applause, calling it a “historic occasion.”
He thanks the attendees.
In December, Trump and the United States chose to “finally recognize the truth: That Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He also declared that we would soon move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and just five months later, we are standing on these grounds.”
Other American presidents “have backed down from their pledge,” says Kushner. But not Trump. “When President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.”
“Today also demonstrates American leadership,” adds Kushner, saying Washington has “shown the world, once again, that the United States can be trusted.”
The United States embassy move has shown it “will do what’s right, and so we have.”
“Our special bond in the envy of nations around the world,” he says of US-Israel ties, noting the shared values of freedom, rights, and democracy.
He says Trump “kept another promise” in exiting the “dangerous, flawed and one-sided Iran deal.” That statement is met with extensive clapping.
He berates Iran’s “aggression” and says “previously unimaginable alliances are emerging” in the region as a result of Tehran.
Kushner, a peace envoy, stresses the US administration is still committed to a peace deal.
The administration’s Jerusalem recognition and embassy move “do not reflect a departure to our commitment to lasting peace,” says Kushner. The challenges to peace are “numerous” but the “determination” of leaders in the region “remains steadfast.”
He also condemns Palestinian violence, amid ongoing riots on the Gaza border.
“Those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”
“The United States recognizes the sensitivity surrounding Jerusalem,” he continues. “Jerusalem must remain a city that brings people of all faiths together,” says Kushner. Israel has been a “responsible custodian” of Jerusalem since 1967, he adds.
“I believe that peace is within reach if we dare to believe that the future could be different than the past.”
“It will not be an easy road,” but peace can be achieved if we “dream big,” he says.
“The United States is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way we can. We believe it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give – to reach an agreement where all can live in peace, safe from violence, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams.”
Netanyahu: President Trump, you have made history
Netanyahu is addressing the confab, thanking all the attendees.
“We have no better friends,” he says.
He singles out Ivanka and Jared Kushner for praise.
“What a glorious day, remember this moment!” Netanyahu declares, to cheers. “This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved, all of us are deeply grateful.”
Switching into Hebrew, he reminisces about his Jerusalem childhood.
This is a “day that will be carved in our national memory for generations,” he says in Hebrew.
IDF confirms Gaza airstrikes
The IDF confirms it has carried out a series of airstrikes in Gaza “in response to the violent acts of the last few hours being carried out by Hamas along the security fence.”
“A short while ago, an IAF fighter jet struck five terrorist targets in a military training facility belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern Gaza Strip,” the army says in a statement.
“In addition, earlier today, an IAF aircraft and an IDF tank targeted two additional military positions belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern Gaza Strip. These strikes were conducted in response to the incident in which IDF forces were fired upon by Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip,” the statement adds, saying that 40,000 Palestinians are currently partaking in violent riots in 13 locations along the Gaza Strip security fence.
The Gaza health ministry says 41 Palestinians have been killed and over 5,000 injured in the clashes.
“The IDF operates with determination in order to prevent massive terror activities constantly being led by the Hamas terror organization in. Each act of terror will be met with a harsh response,” the army says.
Netanyahu says it’s a ‘great day for peace’
Netanyahu gets a standing ovation in declaring the opening of the American embassy in Israel’s capital.
“What a difference, what a difference,” he muses, upon launching into an overview of Jerusalem’s embattled history. “We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay,” he adds.
“We gather here today on another historic day in the life of this city, which I know will take its place alongside other momentous decisions in the history of our people,” says Netanyahu.
“Thank you President Trump for having the courage to keep your promises,” says the prime minister, to strong applause.
This is “a great day for Israel, it’s a great day for America,” says Netanyahu, “but I believe it’s also a great day for peace.”
“You can only build peace on truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state.”
He also notes Israeli troops who are serving on the volatile Gaza border.
“Our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak today,” says Netanyahu, saluting Israel’s security forces and the Mossad.
During embassy opening, Trump tweets congrats to Israel
During the US embassy opening, Trump tweets, “Big day for Israel. Congratulations!”
Big day for Israel. Congratulations!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018
Immediately after it concludes, Netanyahu also takes to social media with a “shehechiyanu” prayer of thanksgiving, which he earlier recited at the closing of his address.
ברוך אתה ה׳, אלוהינו מלך העולם, שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה!
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 14, 2018
EU urges ‘utmost restraint’ after deadly Gaza clashes
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday urges “utmost restraint” after dozens of Palestinians are killed by Israeli fire during violent protests marking the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians call the “nakba,” or “catastrophe” that resulted in the creation of the State of Israel.
“Dozens of Palestinians, including children, have been killed and hundreds injured from Israeli fire today, during ongoing mass protests near the Gaza fence. We expect all to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life,” Mogherini says in a statement.
“Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest and the principle of proportionality in the use of force. Hamas and those leading the demonstrations in Gaza must ensure that they remain strictly non-violent and must not exploit them for other means.”
Former Italian foreign minister Mogherini urges both sides to return to negotiations, saying that the European Union remained committed to its role in trying to foster peace in the region.
She warns that “any further escalation of an already extremely tense and complex situation would cause again further unspeakable sufferings to both peoples, and will make the perspective of peace and security even more remote.”
— AFP, with Times of Israel staff
Al-Jazeera says reporter injured by Israeli fire in Gaza
The pan-Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera says one of its reporters has been wounded while covering demonstrations in Gaza.
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera reports Monday afternoon that journalist Wael Dhadouh was “injured by live ammunition from Israeli forces.”
It does not elaborate in a tweet announcing Dhadouh’s injury.
Arab League blasts ‘shameful’ countries celebrating US embassy move
Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit blasts as “shameful” countries that are celebrating the opening of the US embassy in Israel in Jerusalem.
“It is shameful to see countries participating with the US and Israel in celebrating the former’s embassy move to occupied Jerusalem in a clear and grave violation of international law and (UN) Security Council resolutions,” says Abul Gheit.
Speaking in Cairo, where the Arab League is based, he calls on all countries to “refrain from taking any step that would harm the rights of the Palestinian people.”
Egypt condemns Israeli response to Gaza border protests
Egypt condemns the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli fire near the Gaza border.
Monday’s statement by the Foreign Ministry condemns what it said was “the use of force against peaceful marches.”
It has also warns of the “negative repercussion of such serious escalation in the Palestinian occupied territories.”
AIPAC cheers, J Street boos US embassy move
Pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is cheering the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Today is a momentous day for the US-Israel relationship. The opening of the US embassy in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, marks the fulfillment of a longstanding bipartisan commitment expressed through decades of US legislation,” AIPAC says, urging other countries to follow suit.
Its excitement is not shared by the dovish J Street.
“This move has only undermined the prospects for peace, exacerbated tensions and undercut US standing as an effective mediator,” says J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami in a statement. “This isn’t policy – it’s pandering to a narrow political base.”
Police: 14 protesters against US embassy move arrested
Police say 14 left-wing protesters who were demonstrating against the US embassy move to Jerusalem have been arrested.
The detainees “did not keep to the terms that the protesters had agreed upon with police,” a spokesperson says.
Police say some chanted “Allahu Akbar” during the Jerusalem demonstration.
Arab MK clashes with police at rally against embassy move
Joint (Arab) MK Jamal Zahalka clashes with police officers at a demonstration against the US embassy move to Jerusalem.
According to footage posted by Channel 10, the Arab lawmaker scuffles with police before being forced on the ground.
— חדשות עשר (@news10) May 14, 2018
Pompeo says US still committed to peace after embassy opening
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offers assurances Monday of Washington’s commitment to Middle East peace following the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
He does not mention the deadly protests on the Gaza border.
“We remain committed to advancing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he says.
IDF: Violence on border is ‘unprecedented,’ will likely continue tomorrow
The army’s spokesman on Monday evening calls the level of violence by Palestinians during protests along the Gaza border “unprecedented.”
However, despite the fierceness of the clashes, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis says the Hamas terrorist group, which rules the Gaza Strip, appears to have failed to bring out the numbers of protesters that would have signified a political victory.
Hamas — and the IDF — anticipated that over 100,000 people would participate in Monday’s demonstrations along the border fence. Ultimately, the army calculated that only 40,000 people took part, though Manelis acknowledges the final tally may be higher.
Manelis says Hamas attempted to convince and pressure Palestinians into coming to the border protests, tried to bribe them by offering “$100 per family that comes,” and also threatened residents by accusing them of being “collaborators” with Israel if they do not attend the protests.
Despite those efforts, Manelis says, “Hamas failed.”
Army officials say they were prepared for the protests to last into the night. Soldiers on the border, for instance, are outfitted with night vision equipment, and the military was ready to use flares to illuminate the area. Manelis says the IDF was expecting protests to continue on Tuesday and potentially for several additional days.
— Judah Ari Gross
Britain urges ‘calm and restraint’ in Gaza
Britain urges “calm and restraint” in the Gaza Strip on Monday after violent clashes ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters.
“We are concerned by the reports of violence and loss of life in Gaza. We urge calm and restraint to avoid actions destructive to peace efforts,” the spokesman says, adding that the embassy move was “unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”
Nasrallah: In ‘message’ to Israel, 55 rockets were fired at Golan last week
The leader of the Hezbollah terrorist group says 55 rockets were fired from Syria at the Golan Heights last week.
Israel has said 20 rockets were fired late last Wednesday, four of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the rest fell short and landed in Syria. Jerusalem blamed Iranian forces in Syria for the barrage.
While stopping short of claiming the attack, Hassan Nasrallah says, “Fifty-five rockets, some of them of large caliber, were fired at the military occupation posts in the occupied Golan, forcing all the residents in occupied Golan and some of north Israel to scramble to bomb shelters in panic,” according to the Lebanese Naharnet outlet.
“The message behind the rockets that were fired at the Golan is that Israel can no longer bomb Syria without facing a response,” says Nasrallah.
OIC condemns ‘deplorable’ US embassy move to Jerusalem
The world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations says it “strongly rejects and condemns” the White House’s “deplorable action” to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation said it considers the US move an “illegal decision” and “an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people.” The organization says the move Monday also represents “an affront to international peace and security.”
The OIC says the US administration has “expressed utter disdain and disrespect to Palestinian legitimate rights and international law” and shown disregard toward the sentiments of Muslims, who value Jerusalem as home to one of Islam’s holiest sites, the Al-Aqsa mosque complex.
Gaza protests apparently winding down for night
Gaza protesters appear to be clearing the border area for the night.
According to unconfirmed reports, the organizers are calling the demonstrators away from the border.
The area around Beit Hanoun in the northeastern Gaza Strip, where thousands of Palestinians were protesting earlier, has emptied out, a Times of Israel correspondent says.
— with Judah Ari Gross
Top Arab MK: Israel must be held accountable for ‘massacre’ in Gaza
MK Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint (Arab) List, condemns the Israeli response to the violent Palestinian clashes on the Gaza border, accusing the Israel Defense Forces of perpetrating a “massacre.”
“Those of us who believe in justice must hold the government to account for the brutal crime of killing unarmed protesters. Anyone concerned about the future of both peoples must raise their voice against this massacre and demand an end to the Gaza siege and the occupation,” Odeh says.
“The opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem and its grand ceremony is part of the same policy that has claimed the lives of dozens of Gazans. Today, there is nothing to celebrate,” he adds.
“The opening of the embassy is yet another provocative step that signals the destruction of the notion of peace. The Netanyahu-Trump alliance continues to deepen the conflict. Both leaders’ thuggish governance deploys the extreme right-wing as foot-soldiers, fanning the flames of racism, hatred, and violence.”
Abbas says embassy move a ‘new occupation,’ vows to snub US
After the US Embassy move, PA President Mahmoud Abbas vows the Palestinians will not engage in peace talks mediated by the United States.
He says the Palestinians will not enter US-led negotiations “in any way, shape or form.”
Abbas convenes an emergency meeting in Ramallah after the embassy move, which he brands “a new occupation,” and an “assault on our sovereignty, an assault on our established rights,” according to a translation from Al-Jazeera.
He also condemns the Israeli response to violence on the Gaza border, which saw 52 Palestinian protesters shot dead earlier on Monday during clashes.
“We call on the international community, and especially the Arab and Muslim states, to act and act swiftly” against the “massacres being perpetrated against our peaceful people,” Abbas is quoted as saying.
The PA leader calls for a three-day general strike to mourn the Palestinians killed in Gaza, Channel 10 reports.
Palestinian UN envoy: 8 Gaza fatalities under 16 years old
Israeli fire claimed the lives of eight Palestinian youths under the age of 16 on Monday, during violent clashes on the Israel-Gaza border, according to the Palestinian envoy to the UN.
“We condemn in the strongest terms these atrocities by the Israeli occupying forces, using this massive fire power against civilians who have the right to demonstrate peacefully — and they have been demonstrating peacefully,” says Ambassador Riyad Mansour.
The diplomat gave a toll of 45 Palestinian dead and more than 2,000 injured. The Gazan health ministry reported shortly afterward that the number killed had risen to 52.
Israeli security forces said they were responding to a deliberate attempt to overwhelm and breach the boundary fence to launch terror attacks in Israel.
— AFP, Times of Israel staff
Top Palestinian negotiator: New US Embassy an illegal ‘settlement outpost’
The chief Palestinian negotiator is accusing the Trump administration of “burying” Mideast peace hopes by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
Saeb Erekat called the new embassy an illegal “settlement outpost.”
“We also witnessed today a ceremony of the prime minister of Israel and the administration of President Trump burying the peace process, burying the two-state solution, killing the hope in the minds of the people of the Middle East as a whole with the possibility of peace,” Erekat says.
Hamas threatens more violence against Israel after deadly clashes
The Hamas terrorist group is threatening revenge against Israel in response to deaths of 52 Palestinians in violent Gaza border clashes earlier on Monday.
“We say clearly today to all the world that the peaceful march of our people lured the enemy into shedding more blood,” senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya says.
He adds that Hamas’s armed wing and other terror groups “will not prolong their silence over the crimes of the occupation.”
— With AFP
Netanyahu defends Israeli response to Gaza border clashes
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defends the IDF’s use of live fire against Palestinians clashing violently with Israeli troops on the Gaza border.
“Every country has the right to protect its borders. The Hamas terrorist organization declares its intentions to destroy Israel and sends thousands to break through the border fence for that purpose,” says Netanyahu. “We will continue to act with determination to defend our sovereignty and our citizens.”
— Raphael Ahren contributed
Minister wants ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ listed on American passports
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri urges Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with the Trump administration to recognize the birthplace of Jerusalem-born Americans as “Jerusalem, Israel” on official documents.
Deri pens a letter to Netanyahu encouraging him to seek a change in longstanding US policy, hours after the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.
“It’s important that the United States recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on its official documents,” the minister tweets.
Current US policy is that American citizens born in Jerusalem have only the city as their birthplace in their passports, unless they were born before Israel’s creation in 1948. In those cases, they can list “Palestine” as their birthplace. Some pro-Israel groups had hoped Trump’s recognition of the capital in December would herald a change in a long-standing US policy that bars American citizens born in Jerusalem from recording “Israel” as their place of birth. The State Department said in December it would not revise the policy, which had been upheld by the Supreme Court in 2015.
— AP contributed
Palestinians torch Kerem Shalom crossing for 3rd time
Palestinians have torched the Kerem Shalom border crossing for the third time, the IDF says.
The crossing, which ordinarily sees hundreds of cargo-bearing trucks pass into Gaza each day, has been closed as Israel repairs the extensive damage from the repeated Palestinian arson attacks.
On Friday, Palestinian rioters set fire to gas pipes serving the territory as well as electricity infrastructure and a conveyor belt used to transfer goods into the Strip, the Israeli military said. The IDF said dozens of protesters sabotaged infrastructure on the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom goods crossing, in a repeat of a similar incident the week before that.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards condemns Israel over Gaza violence
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards condemn the deaths of Palestinians on the Gaza border by Israeli fire during violent clashes.
A Guard statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency said the Guard also strongly condemns the US over moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Guard says the “harsh and vicious act … could start a new wave of combating America, anger and hatred against the supporters of this vicious move beyond the region.”
Iran is a longtime enemy of Israel. Israel says it targeted Iranian positions in Syria recently.
Israel threatens to assassinate Hamas leaders if border riots persist
Israel has conveyed to Hamas that it could assassinate the terror organization’s leaders if violent clashes — which Israel says Hamas is fueling — persist on the Gaza-Israel border.
“If the protests continue — the assassinations will be brought back,” Israel informs the Gaza rulers through an Egyptian intermediary, Hadashot news reports.
“If the violent protests continue, even the heads of Hamas are not immune,” the Israeli message reportedly says.
Macron condemns violence on Gaza border
The French presidency condemned “the violence” in Gaza on Monday, after 52 Palestinians, according to the count by Hamas’s Gaza Healthy Ministry, were killed in clashes with Israeli forces during protests on the Gaza border.
President Emmanuel Macron “will speak to all the actors in the region in the coming days,” his office says in a statement.
South Africa says it is recalling envoy to Israel over Gaza violence
South Africa says it is recalling its ambassador to Israel “until further notice,” in protest of the deaths of 52 Palestinians, as reported by Hamas’s Gaza Healthy Ministry, during violent clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza border.
But the Israeli Foreign Ministry says it has not received any official notice on the move.
“The South African government condemns in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border‚ which has led to the deaths of over 40 civilians‚” a statement from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says.
“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‚” it says.
Pretoria is also calling on Israel to “withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories.”
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
In a statement, Israel’s Foreign Ministry says, “As of this moment, there has been no official notice on the recalling of the ambassador.”
Saudi Arabia raps Israel over Gaza deaths, mum on embassy move
Saudi Arabia condemns Israel over the deaths of 52 Palestinians during violent clashes at the Gaza border, without mentioning the inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
“Saudi Arabia strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces’ gunfire against unarmed Palestinian civilians which has left dozens of dead and wounded,” a Saudi foreign ministry spokesperson says.
The spokesperson, quoted by the kingdom’s official SPA press agency, calls on the international community to “take responsibility and put an end to the violence against the Palestinians,” noting Riyadh’s support for the “rights of the Palestinian people.”
The spokesperson does not mention the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, which also took place on Monday.
Saudi Arabia and Israel have no formal diplomatic relations, but their ties have improved recently as the two close ranks with the US against their shared enemy — Iran.
— AFP, Times of Israel staff
White House blames Hamas for Palestinian deaths on Gaza border
The White House says the responsibility for the 52 Palestinian deaths on the Gaza border during violent clashes with Israel earlier in the day “rests squarely with Hamas,” AP reports.
The administration also supports Israel’s right to defend itself.
Hamas health ministry: Death toll from Gaza protests rises to 55
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reports that the death toll from today’s border clashes stands at 55, with dozens in critical condition.
According to IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, at least 10 of the Palestinians killed during the border riots were later identified as members of the Hamas terrorist group, which rules Gaza.
The Gaza ministry says 1,761 people have been taken to hospitals in the Strip for treatment, with injuries ranging from gunshot wounds to tear gas inhalation.
Another 1,011 are said to have received medical treatment from crews on the scene.