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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

US embassy opens in Jerusalem amid Palestinian deaths in Gaza

American officials are in Jerusalem for the controversial relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv

Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the dedication plaque as the US embassy opened in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, but in Gaza, protests against the embassy's relocation from Tel Aviv to the holy city left more than 55 dead, as Israeli armed forces fired and dispersed tear gas against demonstrators. Ronen Zvulun and Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters
Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the dedication plaque as the US embassy opened in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, but in Gaza, protests against the embassy's relocation from Tel Aviv to the holy city left more than 55 dead, as Israeli armed forces fired and dispersed tear gas against demonstrators. Ronen Zvulun and Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

Inauguration took place at 5pm UAE time

• The move has triggered widespread protests, with mass Gazan casualties from Israeli fire - read more here

• United States President Donald Trump addressed inauguration via video conference; Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan among US delegation

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04:30: Britain urges all sides to show caution

The UK’s minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said:

“The violence today in Gaza and the West Bank has been shocking. The loss of life and the large number of injured Palestinians is tragic, and it is extremely worrying that the number of those killed continues to rise.

“Such violence is destructive to peace efforts. We have been clear that the UK supports the Palestinians’ right to protest, but these protests must be peaceful.

“It is deplorable that extremist elements may have been seeking to exploit these protests for their own violent purposes. We will not waver from our support for Israel’s right to defend its borders. But the large volume of live fire is extremely concerning. We continue to implore Israel to show greater restraint.

“The UK remains committed to a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital. All sides now need to show real leadership and courage, promote calm, refrain from inflaming tensions further, and show with renewed urgency that the path to a two-state solution is through negotiation and peace.”

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01:30: US vetoes Security Council statement

The United States on Monday blocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that would have called for an independent probe of deadly violence on the Israel-Gaza border, which erupted as the new US embassy in Jerusalem was opened, diplomats said.

"The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest," read a draft of the statement, a copy of which was seen by AFP.

"The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability," read the text.

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23:15: South Africa recalls ambassador

South Africa has recalled its ambassador following the violence along the Gaza border. Ambassador Sisa Ngombane was recalled for consultations and was leaving on Monday night, Israel's foreign ministry said.

The South African government is a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause.

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21:20: Kuwait calls for Security Council meeting

Kuwait has requested a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday to discuss the violence along the Gaza-Israel border, diplomats said.

Kuwait currently holds one of the 10 non-permanent seats on the 15-member council.

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20:16: OIC condemns embassy move

The 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation says it "strongly rejects and condemns" the White House's "deplorable action" to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling it an "illegal decision" and "an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people".

It said the US move showed "utter disdain and disrespect to Palestinian legitimate rights and international law" and disregard toward the sentiments of Muslims.

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20:11: UN rights chief demands halt to live fire

The UN high commissioner for human rights has said Israeli must immediately stop live fire that has killed dozens in Gaza and called for the international community to bring those responsible to justice.

“Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein wrote in a message carried on the UN human rights Twitter account.

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19:57: Gaza death rises to 52

Gaza health officials say a total of 52 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire on protesters along the Gaza-Israel border, with more than 1,200 wounded.

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18:50: Israeli air strikes on Hamas

Israel has carried out five air strikes in Gaza after militants exchanged fire with soldiers. Israeli Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said the military struck Hamas training camps after troops exchanged fire with militants on three separate occasions.

He put the protester turnout on the Israel-Gaza border at about 40,000 by Monday afternoon, which the army viewed as a "failure for Hamas".

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18:14: The embassy plaque unveiled

President Trump's daughter Ivanka and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveiling the new plaque at the US embassy in Jerusalem.

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18:09: EU urges "utmost restraint" after Gaza deaths

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday urged "utmost restraint" after at least 37 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during protests against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

"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," Ms Mogherini said in a statement.

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18:05: Israel's Netanyahu speaks as embassy opens

Netanyahu speaks at the embassy ceremony after US ambassador David Friedman, President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"What a glorious day. Remember this moment. President Trump: by recognising history, you have made history," he said.

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18:02: Israeli strikes in Gaza

An Israeli warplane has hit a Hamas facility in Gaza during the bloody protests over the relocation of the US embassy, the Israeli military said.

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17:58: Clashes outside the new US embassy between Israeli protesters and police. Several protesters reportedly detained.

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17:54: Lebanese PM Saad Hariri joins condemnation

Mr Hariri, the Sunni PM of Lebanon, has expressed the country's condemnation of Israel's firing on protesters in Gaza.

“On the eve of Nakba Day on May 15, the U.S administration declares another catastrophe day, May 14," he said, in reference to the Palestinian day of "catastrophe" that followed the creation of Israel in 1948.

"On this day, we reaffirm our rejection of the decision to consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel," he added.

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17:48: US officially opens embassy

The US has officially opened its new embassy in Jerusalem.

Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has delivered a speech, in which he said that the president had delivered on his promise to relocate the diplomatic mission and shown that "the United States can be trusted". He calls Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel.

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17:42: Trump tweets after pre-recorded video

Mr Trump took straight to Twitter after his pre-recorded message played at the embassy inauguration ceremony.

"Big day for Israel. Congratulations!" he wrote.

In his video message, he said that the US remains "full committed" to facilitating a Middle East peace deal.

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17:36: Amnesty says Gaza shootings "abhorrent"

The bloodshed along Gaza's border with Israel is an "abhorrent violation" of human rights, Amnesty International said on Monday after 41 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.

"We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law and human rights in Gaza.... This must end immediately," the London-based human rights group said on Twitter.

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17:33: Embassy inauguration ceremony in full swing

The ceremony to inaugurate the United States' controversial embassy in Jerusalem began on Monday after deadly clashes along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel earlier in the day.

The ceremony moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem began with the US national anthem.

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman then spoke and President Donald Trump was given a standing ovation when he mentioned him.

Friedman referred to the embassy's location as "Jerusalem, Israel" drawing wild applause.

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17:29: Death toll rises to 41

The new death toll of 41 includes five minors, the Gaza Health Ministry said. One of the minors was identified as a girl.

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16:58: Trump aides celebrate in Jerusalem amid Gaza shootings

Amid fatal clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border, senior aides to President Donald Trump are in Jerusalem celebrating the opening of the new US embassy there.

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek East Jerusalem as a future capital.

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16:53: Gaza injuries caused by various means

Gaza's health ministry says at least 448 Palestinians were shot and wounded Monday, while hundreds more suffered other types of injuries, including from tear gas.

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16:41: Gaza death toll rises to 37

Gaza health officials say the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire on the Gaza border has risen to 37.

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16:32: Turkey joins "massacre" call, accuses US

Turkey on Monday said the United States shared a responsibility with Israel for the "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 wrote on Twitter, saying the incidents were caused by "unjust and unlawful decisions" as the US moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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16:27: Israel accused of "massacre" in Gaza

The Palestinian Authority government accused Israel of committing a "terrible massacre" after Israeli fire killed 28 Palestinians in protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip border ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Palestinian government spokesman Yusuf Al-Mahmoud demanded 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".

The PA government is based in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

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16:08: Gaza protests become deadliest day since 2014

Twenty-eight Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire Monday as tens of thousands protested and clashes erupted along the Gaza border against the US transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem, the Gazan health ministry said.

It was the deadliest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war between the Jewish state and Gaza's rulers Hamas.

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16:08: The man has spoken

US President Donald Trump has tweeted ahead of the embassy move, calling it a "great day for Israel!"

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16:03: Hamas vows to continue protests

A senior figure in Gaza's ruling Hamas group says mass border protests against Israel will continue until Palestinians have achieved their rights.

Ismail Radwan spoke as thousands rallied near the border fence Monday in the largest protest since his militant group launched a campaign in late March to break the decade-old blockade of the territory.

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15:58: Gaza death toll rises again

The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed at least 25 protesters. It had earlier said Israeli fire had wounded more than 1,000 people.

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15:54: Gaza death toll up to 18

The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed at least 18 protesters, wounding more than 1,000. Casualty numbers are rising fast.

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15:06: Gaza death toll up to 16

Israeli troops killed at least 16 Palestinians along the Gaza border on Monday, health officials said, as demonstrators streamed to the frontier on the day the United States prepared to open its embassy in Jerusalem.

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15:03: Gaza death toll up to 12

Gaza's Health Ministry says number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has risen to 12 in what is becoming the deadliest clash on the shared border in weeks.

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14:52: Gaza conditions ripe for unrest

According to new figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, unemployment in Gaza stands at 49.1 per cent. Among young people it is 64.8 per cent.

"Young people in Gaza aren't unique in needing economic and other forms of security, as well as hope and freedom," tweeted Tania Hary, executive director at Israeli NGO Gisha - Legal Centre For Freedom Of Movement.

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14:45: Israeli drones drop tear gas on Gaza protesters

The Israeli military is using its full arsenal of technology in a bid to quell protesters on the day that US President Donald Trump moves Washington's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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14:34: Britain will not follow Trump's decision

British Prime Minister Theresa May has reiterated that the country has no plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Her spokesman said the British government disagreed with the planned move.

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14:24: Palestinian death toll now seven

The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Gaza border clashes has risen to seven, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. At least 512 people have been wounded.

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14:16: Second Palestinian death identified

Musaab Abu Leila, 29, was shot dead east of Jabalia in northern Gaza, the territory's health ministry said, shortly after a 21-year-old was killed in the south of the Gaza Strip.

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13:58: Second Palestinian death confirmed

The Gazan Health Ministry has confirmed a second death from Israeli fire in the coastal enclave. The victim was a 29-year-old Palestinian man, officials said.

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13:54: More Erdogan comments on embassy move

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the US has lost its Middle East mediating role with US embassy move to Jerusalem.

He had earlier said the US has disregarded "rights and justice," ignoring the international community through its move.

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13:40: First Gaza death confirmed

A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire along the Gaza border on Monday as thousands gathered to protest the US transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem, the Gazan health ministry said, and clashes erupted.

Anas Qudeih, 21, was shot dead east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, according to the ministry. The clashes broke out as thousands gathered in five spots near the border.

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13:25: Is Trump the new Churchill?

Israel's justice minister is calling US President Donald Trump the "Churchill of the 21st Century" for relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem.

Ayelet Shaked said on Monday that with his move, Trump has "reversed Chamberlain's policy of capitulation" and shown the world that "the landowner has returned".

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13:22: Reports of first Gaza death from Health Ministry

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13:16: Breaches of the Gaza barrier

Unconfirmed reports from Gaza indicate that hundreds of protesters have breached Israel's border fence with the coastal enclave in several areas.

The Israeli military has threatened to stop any breach of the barrier.

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13:06: Israeli army says Gazans risking their lives

Several thousand protesters have gathered near the border, while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians are approaching the fence, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side.

Israel's military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters they are endangering their lives.

It is the culmination of a campaign, led by Hamas and fuelled by despair among Gaza's two million people, to break the decade-old border blockade of the territory by Israel and Egypt. Since weekly border marches began in late March, 42 Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 1,800 wounded by Israeli army fire.

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12:55: Not all Israelis support the embassy move

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12:44: Gaza unrest

Clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel on Monday between Palestinians and Israeli forces ahead of the controversial inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Gaza's health ministry said 12 Palestinians have been wounded.

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12:37: Arab League to meet over "illegal" embassy move

The Arab League will hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the United States' "illegal" move of its embassy to Jerusalem, state news agency Mena reported on Monday, citing an Arab diplomat.

Mena said the meeting will be held on Wednesday at the level of permanent representatives to the Arab League, "to counter the illegal decision taken by the United States of America to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem".

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12:31: Trump team says the embassy move is in the US' interests

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says it is a US "national security priority" to relocate the Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Mr Mnuchin was speaking on Monday at an event in Jerusalem ahead of the opening ceremony for the new US embassy.

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12:21: Erdogan condemns US decision to move embassy

In a statement published late Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US disregarded "rights and justice," ignoring the international community. The new embassy is to be officially inaugurated on Monday.

Erdogan said the move serves to "reward" the Israeli government despite it undermining efforts to resolve the decades-long conflict, while it "punished" Palestinians. Erdogan said: "History and humanity will never forgive the injustices done to our Palestinian brothers."

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12:13: Israeli troops shoot and injure two Gazans

Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets under way.

Gaza residents streamed to the border area on Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel's military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters they are endangering their lives.

Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 metres (yards) from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the leg.

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12:01: Ultranationalist Israel football team honours Trump

Jerusalem premier league football club Beitar Jerusalem has said it is renaming itself "Beitar Trump Jerusalem".

“For 70 years has Jerusalem been awaiting international recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognised Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel”, read a statement on Beitar Jerusalem’s official Facebook page.

The club is known for its ultranationalist position. It has never signed an Arab player, and when the club bought two Chechen Muslim players in 2013, fans protested the move and even walked out of the stadium when one of them scored a goal.

“President Trump has shown courage, and true love of the Israeli people and their capital, and these days other countries are following his lead in giving Jerusalem its rightful status,” the club's statement continued.

The move comes as some companies in the US are removing the president’s name from their buildings. In Israel, Trump is broadly seen as more supportive than his predecessor Barack Obama, who clashed repeatedly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, at the end of his term, allowed the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution slamming Israeli policy in Jerusalem.

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11:55: Trump to address ceremony via video conference

Trump, who vowed during his campaign to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, will address invitees to Monday’s opening ceremony via video conference. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan are among the US delegation.

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Read more:

Jerusalem embassy move will boost peace process, US officials say

Nakba generations: preserving the past, present and future

Why Jerusalem is vastly different to the fantasy city described in my youth

Comment: US embassy opening in Jerusalem should not overshadow Nakba Day

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