Protests along the Gaza-Israel border have been raging for weeks now as Palestinians are asking for a series of demands including allowing Palestinian refugees to return to Israel. As the United States Embassy opened in Jerusalem on Monday, dozens of protesters who tried to cross the border were killed by Israeli forces including a baby who died from tear gas.
According to The Washington Post, 61 people who attempted to cross the Gaza boundary fence died under the barrage of gunfire and tear gas. It came on the eve of “Nakba” or “Catastrophe,” the anniversary of the founding of Isreal which occurred 70 years ago. A large majority of Gazans are descended from displaced refugees who once resided in where Israel rests today. Although numbers aren’t officially known, it has been shared that around 27,000 Palestinians have been injured.
The dead will be buried Tuesday as Gazans were expected to continue their protests to coincide with the Nakba anniversary, and the Israeli military has promised to show force if necessary. However, Palestinians are saying that they do not intend to go full force with protesting today.
The violence at the Gaza-Israel border happened as the United States Embassy opened, an action that has been heavily criticized by Palestinians. Because East Jerusalem is seen as part of a Palestinian state, protestors and organizers view the move by the U.S. to help their ally nation take control of all of Jerusalem, which the country views as its capital.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views the protests as a direct attack from Hamas, the Islamist fundamentalist organization that is viewed as a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States among others. Netanyahu said that the nation has a right to defend its borders, but United Nation officials are condemning the use of force and noting that many of the protestors were not a threat to Israel.