Gaza mourns: The death toll from demon­stra­tions rises to 60.

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY LOVEDAY MOR­RIS AND RUTH EGLASH loveday.mor­ris@wash­ ruth.eglash@wash­ Eglash re­ported from Jerusalem.

gaza city — Gaza res­i­dents buried their dead Tues­day as the death toll of Pales­tini­ans killed by Is­raeli forces at the Gaza bound­ary fence climbed to at least 60 after sev­eral suc­cumbed to in­juries overnight, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal health of­fi­cials.

Mon­day’s demon­stra­tions, which co­in­cided with the open­ing of the U.S. Em­bassy in Jerusalem, were marked by a level of blood­shed not seen in Gaza since the 2014 war with Is­rael. Is­rael’s use of live am­mu­ni­tion has drawn wide­spread con­dem­na­tion, no­tably from Turkey, which ex­pelled the Is­raeli am­bas­sador Tues­day after re­call­ing its en­voys to Is­rael and the United States.

Gun­fire rang out over Gaza City on Tues­day as rounds were fired dur­ing funeral pro­ces­sions.

Fur­ther protests were planned as res­i­dents at­tended fu­ner­als and pre­pared to mark the an­niver­sary of Is­rael’s found­ing, known to Pales­tini­ans as the “Nakba,” or “Catas­tro­phe.” More than two-thirds of Gaza’s pop­u­la­tion is de­scended from refugees who fled or were ex­pelled at the time of Is­rael’s cre­ation 70 years ago.

How­ever, crowds at the bor­der were thin after the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee for the demon­stra­tions called for a day of mourn­ing to bury the dead. Demon­stra­tors were asked to go home early as the death toll climbed.

Mon­day’s killings more than dou­bled the num­ber of Pales­tini­ans slain in Gaza dur­ing six weeks of demon­stra­tions, dubbed the “March of Re­turn.” More than 2,700 peo­ple were in­jured, the Pales­tinian Health Min­istry in Gaza said, about half of them from live am­mu­ni­tion. At least six of the dead were un­der age 18, the min­istry said, in­clud­ing a girl whose fam­ily said she was 14.

The Health Min­istry also re­ported that a baby died after in­hal­ing tear gas at the main protest area in Gaza. An uniden­ti­fied doc­tor told the As­so­ci­ated Press on Tues­day that the baby, Layla Ghaben, had a pre­ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion and that he did not think her death was caused by tear gas.

One more per­son was killed in demon­stra­tions Tues­day, the Health Min­istry said.

Spec­u­la­tion was rife that crowds were thin­ner be­cause Egypt had pres­sured Ha­mas to or­der peo­ple home. Ha­mas leader Is­mail Haniyeh was sum­moned to Cairo on a last-minute trip Sun­day night, and se­nior lead­ers were no­tice­ably ab­sent from Mon­day’s demon­stra­tions.

Egypt con­trols Gaza’s south­ern bor­der, which opens only spo­rad­i­cally, while Is­rael has block­aded its bound­ary with the ter­ri­tory for the past 10 years. Ahmed Yousef, a for­mer se­nior ad­viser to Haniyeh, said it was likely that Egypt had warned Ha­mas to pre­vent an es­ca­la­tion.

He said Ha­mas may have se­cured some short-term con­ces­sions from Egypt in re­turn, such as a sus­tained open­ing of the Rafah cross­ing point with Egypt, which has been open in re­cent days.

“This is the min­i­mum they can ask,” Yousef said of Ha­mas.

Is­raeli of­fi­cials jus­ti­fied the mil­i­tary’s tac­tics as nec­es­sary to stop Pales­tini­ans from break­ing through the bor­der into Is­rael, which block­aded Gaza after Ha­mas took con­trol of the en­clave in 2007.

Ru­pert Colville, spokesman for the Of­fice of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights, said Tues­day that while Is­rael has a right to de­fend it­self, lethal force should be a last re­sort and was not jus­ti­fied against peo­ple who were sim­ply ap­proach­ing the fence. He con­demned Mon­day’s “ap­palling deadly vi­o­lence.”

Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas con­demned a con­tin­u­ing “mas­sacre” of the Pales­tinian peo­ple.

South Africa joined Turkey in an­nounc­ing that it was re­call­ing its am­bas­sador from Is­rael.

Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim called on Mus­lim coun­tries to re­view their ties with Is­rael in the wake of the vi­o­lence.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu later at­tacked Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan on Twit­ter, say­ing that he “is one of the great sup­port­ers of Ha­mas, and there is no doubt that he un­der­stands ter­ror and the mas­sacres well, and I sug­gest that he not preach moral­ity to us.”

Is­raeli news­pa­pers Tues­day con­trasted the up­beat in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony for the U.S. Em­bassy in Jerusalem with pic­tures of the vi­o­lence on the bor­der but char­ac­ter­ized the Is­raeli re­sponse to the demon­stra­tions in terms of self-de­fense.

“Every coun­try must pro­tect its bor­ders,” Ne­tanyahu wrote in a tweet. “Ha­mas is a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion that states its in­ten­tion to de­stroy Is­rael and it sends thou­sands of peo­ple to breach the bor­der fence to re­al­ize this goal. We will con­tinue to act firmly to pro­tect our sovereignty and our ci­ti­zens.”

He was backed by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, which blamed Ha­mas for the loss of life.

Yaakov Amidror, Is­rael’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser and a se­nior fel­low at the Jerusalem In­sti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies, said peo­ple around the world con­demn­ing the vi­o­lence need to un­der­stand that the Gaza demon­stra­tions are not like protests in Europe.

“They do not take into con­sid­er­a­tion that this is a cover for a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion that is at­tempt­ing to stop Is­rael from build­ing a sys­tem that would stop their un­der­ground ter­ror tun­nels,” he said.

Asked if Is­rael could have used less-lethal meth­ods to con­tain the pro­test­ers, most of whom were un­armed, Amidror said that such a ques­tion was a good ex­am­ple of those who “can sit in an air-con­di­tioned of­fice, drink­ing cof­fee, and give ad­vice to the Is­raeli army that is fac­ing off against many thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans.”

Tens of thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans had gath­ered on the edges of the en­clave from mid-morn­ing Mon­day. Many came to demon­strate peace­fully, but some pro­test­ers ap­peared to be more ag­gres­sive than in pre­vi­ous weeks.

Is­raeli snipers opened fire, os­ten­si­bly to pre­vent any breach of the bor­der fence, and pro­test­ers be­gan to fall. No Is­raeli sol­diers were in­jured.

In Gaza, Ha­mas backed the demon­stra­tions, called to protest the loss of Pales­tinian homes and vil­lages when Is­rael was formed in 1948.

Com­ment­ing in the Is­raeli daily Ye­dioth Ahronoth, how­ever, jour­nal­ist Ben-Dror Yem­ini said the sit­u­a­tion was “self-in­flicted” and called on Pales­tini­ans to get over the events of 70 years ago.

“There was a Nakba. The Arabs of Pales­tine un­der­went ex­pul­sion. Tens of mil­lions of peo­ple through­out the en­tire world, in­clud­ing Jews, un­der­went sim­i­lar ex­pul­sion. But only the Pales­tini­ans adopted an ethos of re­jec­tion­ism, vic­tim­hood, suf­fer­ing and death,” he wrote. “They aren’t look­ing to im­prove things for them­selves.”

“There is no doubt that he un­der­stands ter­ror and the mas­sacres well, and I sug­gest that he not preach moral­ity to us.” Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, crit­i­ciz­ing Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan on Twit­ter


Pales­tini­ans pray at the funeral of an in­fant in Gaza City. Gaza of­fi­cials blamed her death on tear gas, though oth­ers dis­puted that claim.

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