White House claims Palestinian deaths are ‘propaganda’

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah claimed that Hamas was to blame for Israeli soldiers killing at least 55 Palestinian protesters.
Melanie Schmitz May 14, 2018, 4:28 pm
The White House this week claimed that Hamas was simply using Palestinian deaths for ‘propaganda’ purposes. (CREDIT: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah on Monday blamed Hamas for the scores of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers during protests along the border fence in Gaza, as the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem.“We’re aware of the reports of continued violence in Gaza today,” Shah said during Monday’s press briefing. “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response. As the secretary of state said, Israel has the right to defend itself.”Pressed on whether the White House believed Israel should “shoulder the blame” for the 55 Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers, or rein in its military’s response, Shah stated, “This is a propaganda attempt. This is a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt. I think the Israeli government has spent weeks trying to handle this without violence. And we find it very unfortunate.”  Israeli soldiers on Monday killed at least 55 Palestinians and injured thousands more, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, marking the highest single-day death toll since 2014. Amnesty International noted that the fatalities include at least six children.The protests were part of the “March of Return” demonstrations, which began on March 30, and also occurred on the same day that the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli Defense Forces claimed the protesters were “leading a terrorist operation under the cover of masses of people,” and that “firebombs and explosive devices” were being hurled at Israeli soldiers.Palestinian protesters say that’s not the case.  “It is shocking. We didn’t expect this huge number of martyrs and injuries,” Hadeel Louz, 25, a Palestinian human rights activist in Gaza, told ThinkProgress. “Most of the martyrs who are killed are just normal citizens — we are not following Hamas party or Fatah party, [the two Palestinian factions]. Even those who follow those parties, they are not in an army — they don’t have guns.”The violence against Palestinian protesters comes one day prior to Nakba, or Catastrophe Day, which marks Palestinians’ expulsion from what is now modern-day Israel in 1948. During that eviction, 700,000 Palestinians were uprooted from their homeland and forced to flee.“…The Nakba is not just about the past, as Palestinians are still displaced and brutalised by Israeli authorities today,” The Independent’s Ben White wrote on Monday. “The Palestinians being gunned down by Israeli snipers in Gaza – including more than 250 children hit with live fire since 30 March, according to Save the Children – live under a devastating blockade.”  Israel kills at least 55 Palestinians for protesting in Gaza as new U.S. embassy opens
The decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem last December was met with criticism from foreign policy experts and human rights groups alike. Palestinian authorities have said the move constitutes a non-starter and crushes any hopes for a two-state solution, to which the Trump administration has claimed it is still dedicated.

“We will not accept for the U.S. to be a mediator, because after what they have done to us — a believer shall not be stung twice in the same place,” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said in January, shortly after the decision was made. He accused Trump’s move of killing the 1993 Oslo Accords, a set of agreements meant to pave the way for a future peace.East Jerusalem is typically recognized as the future home of a Palestinian state, although it has been under Israeli occupation since 1967. Currently, some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and as Reuters reported in October, the Israeli government recently gave its approval for an additional 176 new housing units.




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Haley: ‘The US will be taking names’ when UN votes on Jerusalem decision

By Max Greenwood – 12/19/17 05:41 PM EST

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned the international body on Tuesday that the U.S. “will be taking names” when the U.N. General Assembly votes this week on a resolution urging the Trump administration to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more,” Haley wrote on Twitter. “So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”

The General Assembly is set to hold an emergency session Thursday regarding President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The body is expected to vote on a resolution calling on the U.S. to reverse the move.
The anticipated General Assembly vote comes days after Haley vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would seek to nullify any move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That resolution did not specifically mention Trump or the U.S., but was a clear effort to rebuke the president.
Haley defended the veto on Monday, saying that the Security Council resolution was an affront to U.S. sovereignty.
“What we witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult,” she said. “It won’t be forgotten.”
While the U.S. is among the five countries that wield veto power on the Security Council, it has no such veto power in the General Assembly.
The resolution on Jerusalem would not be legally binding, so the vote is largely symbolic.
Haley’s tweet on Tuesday was not her first time warning that the U.S. would be “taking names” at the U.N. She similarly used the line in January, shortly after taking office, when she advised countries not to cross the U.S.
Trump’s Jerusalem decision upended decades of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, and has threatened to derail future peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians — talks that Trump has vowed to broker.
Israel has long considered Jerusalem its capital, but Palestinians have aspired to establish the eastern sector of the city as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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