The Latest: Australia blames Hamas for Palestinian deaths

The Latest: Australia blames Hamas for Palestinian deaths

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The latest on the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and Palestinian protest (all times local):

3:40 a.m.

Australia’s prime minister has blamed the militant group Hamas for the deaths of more than 50 Palestinians under Israeli fire along the Israel-Gaza border.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Melbourne Radio 3AW: “Hamas’ conduct is confrontational. They’re seeking to provoke the Israeli defense forces.”

Turnbull says: “They’re pushing people to the border. In that conflict zone, you’re basically pushing people into circumstances where they are very likely to be shot at.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called on Israel in a statement to be proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force.

Turnbull says Australia will not follow the U.S. lead by moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The U.N. Security Council is set to meet Tuesday to discuss the deadly violence along the Israel-Gaza border.

Kuwait called for the session after more than 50 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire amid mass protests Monday. It was the deadliest day in Gaza since a 2014 cross-border war.

The Palestinian U.N. envoy wants the Security Council to condemn the killings.

Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador is calling on the council to condemn Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the coastal Gaza Strip and led the protests.

It’s not immediately clear what will come out of the discussion. At an emergency meeting after similar protests in March, council members urged restraint on both sides but didn’t decide on any action or joint message.

The Israeli military says it is reopening the Gaza Strip’s main cargo crossing.

The Kerem Shalom crossing was closed over the weekend after Palestinian protesters damaged the facility.

The crossing is used to deliver food, medical supplies, fuel and building materials into the Gaza Strip. The military says it will reopen Tuesday, but it is not expected to operate at full capacity.

Israeli officials say protesters caused millions of dollars of damage to a fuel pipeline and conveyor belt that could take weeks to repair.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington says the Turkish ambassador to the United States is being called home over the Trump administration moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Turkey is also recalling its ambassador to Israel for consultations. Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Ministry says it strongly condemns the decision to move the embassy and deems the move “legally null and void.”

Turkey says the move “disregards the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” and “will not serve peace, security and stability in the region.”

In a statement, Turkey is also criticizing Israel for the death of Palestinians who were protesting along the Gaza-Israel border. Turkey calls it a “massacre.”

A senior official says the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership has decided to file a war crimes complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court over its settlement construction on occupied lands.

Saeb Erekat says the decision was made late Monday in a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior PLO officials. It came after the U.S. moved its embassy in Israel to contested Jerusalem on Monday and Israeli forces killed 55 people in Gaza protests.

Erekat says a decision was made to sign the ICC referral “immediately.” Seeking a war crimes prosecution of Israel would signal a sharp deterioration in increasingly tense relations between the two sides.

The Palestinians have had standing at the court since the U.N. General Assembly recognized a “state of Palestine” as a non-member observer in 2012.

Erekat says that in that capacity, “Palestine” will also join several international organizations. Previous decisions of this nature were sharply opposed by the U.S. and Israel.


10 p.m.

The White House says responsibility for dozens of deaths in Gaza coinciding with the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem “rests squarely with Hamas.”

White House spokesman Raj Shah was responding to reports of Israeli soldiers shooting and killing at dozens of Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border on Monday.

It’s been the deadliest day there since a devastating 2014 cross-border war.

Shah says that “Israel has the right to defend itself” and is blaming Hamas for the “dire situation.”

He’s also calling Monday “a great day for Israel and the United States.”


9:55 p.m.

Israel says South Africa has recalled its ambassador amid violence along the Gaza border.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the ambassador was recalled for consultations. He said that Sisa Ngombane returns home Monday night.

South Africa’s relations with Israel have long been frosty. The South African government is a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause.

The diplomatic move came after 52 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire along the Gaza border in mass protests led by the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules the territory.

Israel says the level of violence at the border was “unprecedented” and that some Palestinians opened fire at troops and planted explosives.


9:50 p.m.

Thousands have gathered in Istanbul to condemn the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, burning American and Israeli flags, and protesting deadly clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border.

Demonstrators carried banners that read: “Al Quds belongs to the Muslims,” the Arabic name of Jerusalem. They chanted “God is great” and slogans calling for holy war and martyrdom. One speaker called Americans “dogs” as people shouted “Jerusalem is ours, it will be ours.”

The rally was called by pro-Islamic Humanitarian Relief Foundation or IHH. In 2010, Israeli commandos stormed an IHH-organized aid flotilla to Gaza, killing nine Turks.

Turkey has been vehemently critical of the U.S. and Israel for the embassy relocation. Speaking in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed the two countries for celebrating the move while “innocent and defenseless Palestinians are martyred.”


9:25 p.m.

Syria’s foreign ministry says it condemns “in the strongest terms” what it called “the brutal massacre” committed Israel against the unarmed Palestinians in Gaza.

Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 43 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border on Monday against the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. It was the deadliest day there since a devastating 2014 cross-border war.

In a statement Monday, the Syrian foreign ministry held the U.S. administration responsible for the bloodshed, calling its decision to move the embassy “criminal and illegitimate.”

The ministry said the battle of the Palestinian people against Israel is “Syria’s battle,” adding that Israel also supports “terrorists” that operate in Syria.

The statement said Syria support the Palestinians struggle to get back their legitimate rights, mainly its right to self-determination, refugees to return and establishing its independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.


8:40 p.m.

Kuwait is seeking an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on the violence along the Gaza border, where Israeli soldiers shot and killed dozens of Palestinians during mass protests Monday.

Kuwait’s U.N. mission is requesting a meeting Tuesday on the developments.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour urged the council Monday to condemn the killings. Speaking to reporters, Mansour called the Israel military response a “savage onslaught” and an “atrocity.”

Gaza’s Health Ministry says over 50 Palestinians were killed Monday in the deadliest day in Gaza since a 2014 war with Israel.

Israel says it has the right to defend its border.

The council held an emergency meeting when the protests began in March. Members then urged restraint on both sides but couldn’t agree on any action or joint message.


8:20 p.m.

Iran’s hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has condemned Israel’s killing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

A Guard statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency said the Guard also strongly condemned the U.S. over moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Guard said 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 opponent of Israel. Israel says it targeted Iranian positions in Syria recently.


8:20 p.m.

Qatar is condemning Israel for opening fire and killing Palestinians protesting in the Gaza Strip today.

A statement Monday night quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lolwah al-Khater expressing the Gulf Arab nation’s “condemnation and denunciation of the brutal massacre and systematic killing committed by the Israeli occupation forces against unarmed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

She said Qatar “calls on all international and regional powers that have a voice in Israel to act immediately to stop the brutal killing machine.”

Since a 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, natural gas-rich Qatar has been a leading player in internationally backed reconstruction efforts in Gaza.


8 p.m.

The Lebanon’s Hezbollah says the creation of Israel, just like the violence against Palestinians protesting in Gaza today, is “a mark of shame” for all humanity.

Hassan Nasrallah was speaking Monday. He said the Palestinians and the region are facing a major challenge, which is that the U.S. plans to propose a new peace plan between Palestinians and Israelis. Nasrallah said the expected plan aims to erode Palestinians rights and urged them not to accept it. He said only the resistance axis, in reference to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, can change the “equation” and will hold on to the right of Palestinians to statehood and the right of return.

Nasrallah said Israel and the United States are pressuring Iran, with sanctions and withdrawing from the nuclear deal, not only because of its use of nuclear energy but also because of its support for the Palestinians and resistance movements.


7:40 p.m.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has lashed out after the U.S. moved its embassy to contested Jerusalem, saying he “will not accept” any peace deal proposed by the Trump administration.

Abbas told PLO officials Monday that “this is not an embassy, it’s a U.S. settlement outpost in Jerusalem,” in a reference to Israeli settlements on war-won lands sought for a Palestinian state.

The Palestinian president also urged the international community to condemn what he said were “massacres” carried out by Israeli troops. On Monday, 52 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,200 wounded by Israeli army fire in Gaza border protests.

The high death toll and wall-to-wall Arab condemnation of Monday’s U.S. Embassy move cast new doubt on the Trump administration’s assertions that it can still broker a Mideast peace deal.


7:35 p.m.

The Israeli military says there were no border breaches during Monday’s Gaza demonstrations, despite an “unprecedented” level of violence.

The army says it used airstrikes and tank fire against Hamas targets in Gaza after squads of gunmen opened fire and tried to plant bombs along the border.

“We saw more than five explosive devices. We saw shooting at forces,” said Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the chief army spokesman.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, another army spokesman, said hundreds of protesters carried out “concerted, coordinated” attacks on the border fence in an attempt to infiltrate.

Palestinian health officials says 52 people were killed by Israeli fire — the deadliest day of violence since a 2014 war.

The military accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out attacks.


7:30 p.m.

The chief Palestinian negotiator is accusing the Trump administration of “burying” Mideast peace hopes by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Saeb Erekat called the new embassy an illegal “settlement outpost.”

The Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital and bitterly opposed the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Although President Donald Trump says Monday’s opening of the new embassy does not prejudge the final borders of the city, the move was perceived as taking Israel’s side.

“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 said.


7:15 p.m.

The U.N. human rights chief says on Twitter that “Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now,” demanding respect for human life.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein decried the “shocking killing of dozens” and the injury of hundreds by Israeli forces in the Palestinian areas amid a crackdown against protests over the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

Zeid, a Jordanian prince who is leaving his post in August after a single term, said the international community needs to ensure justice for the victims.

He added Monday on the U.N. human rights office’s Twitter feed that perpetrators of “outrageous human rights violations” must be held to account.


7:10 p.m.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire has risen to 52, making it the deadliest day in Gaza since a 2014 war with Israel.

It says 1,204 Palestinians were shot and wounded Monday in mass protests near the Gaza border fence with Israel. The ministry says this includes 116 who were in serious or critical condition.

The statement says about 1,200 others suffered other types of injuries, including from tear gas.

The steadily climbing death toll was bound to fuel international criticism of the military’s open-fire policies against unarmed protesters. Rights groups have said the rules are unlawful.

Israel says it is defending a sovereign border and accuses Gaza’s Hamas rulers of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of the protests


6:20 p.m.

The world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations says it “strongly rejects and condemns” the White House’s “deplorable action” to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation said it considers the U.S. move an “illegal decision” and “an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people.” The organization said the move Monday also represents “an affront to international peace and security.”

The OIC said the U.S. 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.

The statement comes as at least 41 Palestinians, including five minors, were killed by Israeli forces Monday. More than 770 Palestinians were wounded in protests in the Gaza Strip


5:45 p.m.

A top Turkish official has condemned Israel for deadly clashes along the Israeli-Gaza border, while the foreign ministry blasted the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.

Taking to Twitter, the spokesman to the Turkish president called Monday’s clashes that killed at least 41 Palestinians “another dark spot, another crime added to Israel’s wall of shame.”

Ibrahim Kalin criticized the international community for its silence “in the face of this systematic barbarism.” He tweeted: “Palestine is not alone. Jerusalem is not alone.”

The Turkish foreign ministry condemned in a statement the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, saying it violated international law and damaged the peace process. It also slammed Israel: “We curse the massacre carried out by Israeli security forces encouraged by this step on the Palestinians participating in peaceful demonstrations.”

The foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, called Israel’s actions “state terror.”


5:40 p.m.

Egypt has condemned the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli fire near the Gaza boarder.

Monday’s statement by Foreign Ministry condemned what it said “the use of force against peaceful marches.”

It has also warned of the “negative repercussion of such serious escalation in the Palestinian occupied territories.”

The statement did not mention today’s relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire amid mass protests near the Gaza border has reached 41, making it the deadliest day since a 2014 war with Israel.

The violence made it the deadliest day in Gaza since the devastating cross-border war between the territory’s Hamas rulers and Israel four years ago.


5:30 p.m.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief is calling on Israel to respect the “principle of proportionality in the use of force,” after Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 41 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border.

Federica Mogherini said Monday that all should act “with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life” and added that “Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest.”

At the same time, she insisted that Hamas must make sure demonstrators in Gaza are peaceful and “must not exploit them for other means.”


5:25 p.m.

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 reported Monday afternoon that journalist Wael Dhadouh was “injured by live ammunition from Israeli forces.”

It did not elaborate in a tweet announcing Dhadouh’s injury.


5:20 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister says Jerusalem will always be the “eternal, undivided” capital of Israel.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “glorious” day.

Netanyahu thanked President Donald Trump for showing the “courage” to keep a key campaign promise and says relations with the U.S. have never been stronger.

He says Mideast peace must be founded on what he says is the “truth” recognized by the U.S.

“The truth is that Jerusalem has been and always will be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state,” he said.

The Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital and have strongly objected to Trump’s move.


5:15 p.m.

Israel’s military says it has carried out five airstrikes in Gaza after militants exchanged fire with soldiers.

Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the military struck training camps of the militant Islamic group Hamas that rules Gaza and has been leading protests along the border with Israel.

He said troops exchanged fire with militants on 3 separate occasions.

Manelis said turn out by Monday afternoon was about 40,000. He said the army views that number as a “failure for Hamas.”

He said the army noticed there were more women at the front of the protest than in past rallies and accused Hamas of paying people to protest.

At least 41 Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire Monday making it the bloodiest day there since a 2014 war with Israel


5:10 p.m.

Jared Kushner says Palestinians participating in Gaza border protests are “part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son in law and chief Mideast adviser, expressed hope for forging Mideast peace as he addressed the opening ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

As he spoke, deadly protests continued along Gaza’s border with Israel. With over 40 dead, it was the deadliest round of cross-border violence since a 2014 war and left Kushner’s peace efforts in tatters.

“As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” he said.

He says the “journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth.”


5 p.m.

Hundreds of Arab citizens of Israel, including five members of parliament, are staging a protest near the site of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem.

The protest coincided with the inauguration of the embassy Monday afternoon, attended by a high-powered delegation from the Trump administration.

Dozens of police blocked the street near the compound, preventing the protesters from getting closer.

The demonstrators raised Palestinian flags and held signs reading “No to moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.”

The embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. The decision infuriated Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital.

In Gaza, at least 41 Palestinian were killed by Israeli fire Monday in a mass protest against the embassy move.


4:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. remains “fully committed” to pursuing a Mideast peace deal as it opens its controversial new embassy in Jerusalem.

In a videotaped message to the opening ceremony Monday, Trump said the new embassy has “been a long time coming.” Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv was one of Trump’s key campaign promise that was welcomed by Israel.

But the move has infuriated the Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as their capital and have said that the move disqualifies the U.S. as a Mideast peace mediator.

Trump said his “greatest hope” is for peace. He said the United States “remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement.”


4:30 p.m.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri calls the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem a “provocative” act that closes the doors for any attempts to reach peace between the Israel and Palestinians.

Hariri in a series of tweets Monday said he regrets “this decision that is igniting the anger of millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians.” He said Lebanon denounces the “provocative” decision that is deepening the conflict and allowing the “Israelis to spill more blood of innocent Palestinians and increases the intensity of extremism that threatens the world community.”

The embassy move comes on day marking Israel’s creation 70 years ago, a day Arabs call the “nakba” or catastrophe, in reference to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from what is now Israel. Lebanon was one of the Arab countries to receive many of the Palestinian refugees. Today, there are more than 170,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon.


4:25 p.m.

Iran’s foreign minister is calling today’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem “a day of great shame.”

Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday wrote on Twitter: “Israeli regime massacres countless Palestinians in cold blood as they protest in the world’s largest open air prison. Meanwhile, Trump celebrates move of U.S. illegal embassy and his Arab collaborators move to divert attention.”

Zarif likely was referring to Gulf Arab countries, which so far haven’t commented on Israeli fire killing at least 37 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border as officials marked the opening of the embassy.

Zarif wrote the tweet as he’s traveling abroad to try to keep other world powers in the Iran nuclear deal following Trump’s decision last week to pull America from the 2015 accord.


4:20 p.m.

American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. “Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,” he said to warm applause.

Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, both top aides to President Donald Trump, are leading a high-powered American delegation that also includes the treasury secretary and four Republican senators.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also in the audience.

The ceremony was taking place as Palestinians are holding a mass protest on the Gaza border with Israel. Some 37 people were killed on Monday, in the deadliest day of cross-border violence since a 2014 war.


4:15 p.m.

The head of the United Nations says he is worried about the news coming from Gaza, “with the high number of people killed.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his concerns Monday in Vienna, as clashes were taking place along the Israeli-Palestinian border and senior aides to U.S. President Donald Trump were in Jerusalem celebrating the opening of the new U.S. embassy there.

Guterres said, “I’m particularly worried about the news coming from Gaza with the high number of people killed.”

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

The Gaza Health Ministry announced Monday afternoon that the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire had risen to 37.