The Latest: Australia blames Hamas for Palestinian deaths
Originally published Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 06:00a.m.
Originally published Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 06:00a.m.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The latest on the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and Palestinian protest (all times local):
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pastor Robert Jeffress says "it's sad" that former presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed out at him ahead of the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
Jeffress said "I think it's sad that Mitt feels the need to lash out in anger on such a historic day but it's not going to overshadow what is happening here."
Speaking to The Associated Press before he was set to deliver the blessing at the opening ceremony Monday, Jeffress said things attributed to him have been taken out of context.
Mitt Romney had previously denounced Jeffress as a "religious bigot."
Jeffress, leader of a Dallas-area Baptist church and a spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump, has drawn criticism for calling Islam and Mormonism "a heresy from the pit of hell" and saying Jews "can't be saved."
Amid deadly clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border, senior aides to President Donald Trump are in Jerusalem celebrating the opening of the new U.S. embassy there.
The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital.
As the Gaza Health Ministry announced that the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire had risen to 37, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News that Monday was an "incredible, momentous day" and said it was "great honor" to lead the dedication ceremony on Trump's behalf.
Mnuchin also said "it's not coincidental" that the opening of the new embassy coincided with Trump's announcement that he planned to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
Mnuchin has repeatedly said of Jerusalem: "This is the capital of Israel."
Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire amid mass protests near the Gaza border has reached 37, making it the deadliest day since a 2014 war with Israel.
The ministry says at least 448 Palestinians were shot and wounded Monday, while hundreds more suffered other types of injuries, including from tear gas.
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, and clouded the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
The deaths brought to 79 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers firing from across the border fence since mass border protests began in late March. More than 2,200 Gaza residents have been wounded in that time by Israeli fire.
Several dozen Palestinian stone-throwers are clashing with Israeli troops on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Witnesses say that in one area, north of Jerusalem, soldiers are firing live bullets, tear gas and rubber-coated steel pellets. A second clash was reported between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Earlier Monday, several thousand gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah to protest the inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem later that day.
Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as a capital and view the Trump administration's recognition of the city as Israel's capital as a show of pro-Israel bias.
Palestinians are also marking the 70th anniversary of the "nakba," or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were expelled or fled in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation.
European foreign ministers say the U.S. decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem is unwise and likely to exacerbate tensions.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Monday that the move "is inflaming already a very tense situation, and the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians."
His Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, said "we don't consider it a wise decision to move the embassy."
Their comments come after the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania blocked the full 28-nation European Union from publishing a statement about the U.S. move.
The U.S. is to formally inaugurate the embassy later Monday.
Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has reached 25.
This makes Monday the deadliest day in Gaza since the devastating cross-border war between the territory's Hamas rulers and Israel in 2014.
The deaths brought to 67 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers firing from across the border fence since mass border protests began in late March. More than 2,000 Gaza residents have been wounded in that time by Israeli fire.
The Hamas-led marches, fueled by growing despair in Gaza, are aimed at breaking a decade-long blockade of the territory by Israel and Egypt.
Monday's march also protests the inauguration of a U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem later in the day.
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 Islamic militant group launched a campaign in late March to break the decade-old blockade of the territory.
By mid-day Monday, 18 Palestinians had been killed and close to 500 wounded by Israeli soldiers firing from across the border fence. Israel has said it will block a possible breach of the border at any cost.
Despite the rising death toll, Hamas was doubling down. Radwan says "we will continue on this path until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved."
Since March, 60 Palestinians have been killed in the unrest along the border.
The Israeli military says troops shot and killed three Palestinians who were trying to place an explosive device by the border fence in Gaza during mass protests.
The shooting in the southern Gaza town of Rafah came as thousands of Palestinians protested at the border against the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and against a decade-long blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza by Israel and Egypt.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says at least 18 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
In a separate incident, the army says an Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli troops came under fire. No Israeli casualties were reported.
The Israeli military says over 35,000 protesters are taking part in demonstrations at 12 points along the Gaza border.
Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has risen to 18.
Monday's deaths bring to 60 the number of protesters killed since mass border protests against a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory began in late March.
The rising death toll is bound to overshadow the festive inauguration of a U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem later Monday. Palestinians say the embassy opening is a show of blatant pro-Israel bias by the Trump administration.
Monday's bloodshed will likely revive international criticism of open-fire rules that allow soldiers to use lethal force against unarmed protesters.
Israel says it has the right to defend its border and that it will block a border breach at any cost.
The Arab League and the top Sunni Muslim religious authority have criticized the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem.
The Cairo-based Arab League called on the international community to oppose what it considers an "unjust decision" and the ongoing "Israeli occupation" of the city.
It called the move a "blatant attack on the feelings of Arabs and Muslims," and a "grave violation of the rules of international law" that would destabilize the region.
The Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, have called for an urgent meeting at the Arab League on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
Egypt's Al-Azhar religious institution called on the international community to use "all peaceful means" to "dismiss positions of countries that sided with the Zionist entity," referring to Israel.
The U.S. is to formally inaugurate the embassy in Jerusalem later on Monday. The Palestinians are holding mass protests along the Gaza border to condemn the move, and to try to break a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory by Israel and Egypt.
A top Russian diplomat has criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem, saying it will further fuel tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
The U.S. Embassy is due to officially relocate to Jerusalem on Monday, after Trump recognized it as the capital of Israel in December.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Monday described the relocation of the embassy as "short-sighted."
Bogdanov said in an interview with the Interfax news agency that the decision "runs against the stance of most of the international community." He blamed the U.S. for "a sharp escalation around Gaza" and said the relocation of the U.S. embassy "could spark large-scale confrontations between Palestinians and the Israelis and cause a rising number of casualties."
Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has risen to 16.
Monday's deaths bring to 58 the number of protesters killed since mass border protests against a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory began in late March.
Israel has said it will prevent a border breach at any cost. A growing casualty toll Monday was bound to revive international criticism of open-fire rules under which soldiers are permitted to shoot anyone approaching the border fence.
Rights groups have said such rules are unlawful. Israel says it has the right to defend its border.
Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group says the U.S. decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a unilateral step "that Palestinians will not accept and therefore it is worthless."
The group's deputy leader, Sheikh Naim Kassem, made his comments in a speech in Beirut on Monday marking the 70th anniversary of what Arabs refer to as the "nakba" or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from what is now Israel during the 1948 war around Israel's creation.
Kassem added that "God willing, the nakba that happened 70 years ago will be a motive for change and liberation."
The U.S. is to formally inaugurate the embassy in Jerusalem later on Monday. The Palestinians are holding mass protests along the Gaza border to condemn the move, and to try to break a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory by Israel and Egypt.
Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has risen to seven.
Monday's deaths bring to 49 the number of Palestinians killed during mass border marches that began in late March and are aimed at breaking a decade-old blockade of the territory.
The ministry says 500 people were wounded Monday, including at least 69 by live fire.
Israel has said it would prevent a potential breach of the Gaza border at all costs. It has drawn international criticism for what rights groups say are unlawful open-fire rules. Israel says it has the right to defend its border.
Monday's protests also targeted the opening of the U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem later in the day.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz says President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital will go down in history as a moment akin to President Harry Truman recognizing Israel when it was established in 1948.
Trump's former Republican presidential rival says Monday that it was "the right decision" and had already inspired Guatemala, Paraguay and perhaps others to follow suit. Cruz is in Israel as part of a congressional delegation for the embassy's dedication in Jerusalem.
Previous U.S. presidents of both parties, as well as nearly every other country, refrained from opening embassies in Jerusalem, arguing that the city's final status should first be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Trump has been lauded by Israelis and condemned by Palestinians for moving the embassy to the contested city. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Gaza's Health Ministry says one Palestinian has been killed and 69 have been wounded by Israeli army fire in mass protests on the Gaza-Israel border.
The ministry said Monday that nine of the wounded are in serious condition. It says the man who was killed was 21 years old and was shot near the southeastern town of Khan Younis. It says several dozen other protesters were overcome by tear gas.
Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza's border with Israel, and the territory's Hamas leaders have suggested a border breach is possible. Israel has warned it would block such a breach at any cost.
The Israeli military says it has set up several layers of security around the Gaza border in case of a massive breach by Palestinian protesters.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus says forces have been "massively reinforced" along the front lines of the border. But he says additional layers of forces have been stationed inside Israeli communities, and between communities, to defend Israeli civilians in case of a breach.
Conricus said Monday that "even if the fence is breached, we will be able to protect Israeli civilians from attempts to massacre or kidnap or kill them."
The Hamas organizers of the Palestinian protests have signaled that thousands of people may try to break through the fence.
Israel's justice minister is calling President Donald Trump the "Churchill of the 21st Century" for relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem.
Ayelet Shaked says Monday that with his move Trump has "reversed Chamberlain's policy of capitulation" and shown the world that "the landowner has returned."
Previous U.S. presidents of both parties, as well as nearly every other country, refrained from opening embassies in Jerusalem, arguing that the city's final status should first be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Shaked appeared to be comparing that policy to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis prior to World War II, suggesting Trump was like his successor, Winston Churchill, who led the war effort.
Shaked, from the pro-settler Jewish Home party, bashed Europe for not learning from history. She says it "closed its eyes to the strengthening of the Nazis, today it is choosing to close its eyes to the strengthening of Iran."
Trump has been lauded by Israelis and condemned by Palestinians for moving the embassy to the contested city. The Palestinians seek its eastern sector as their future capital and say the move removes the U.S. as an impartial arbiter.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says it's a U.S. "national security priority" to relocate the Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Mnuchin was speaking Monday at an event in Jerusalem ahead of the opening ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy.
Trump's decision in December to go forward with a campaign promise to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem was welcomed by Israel and condemned by the Palestinians. Previous presidents had signed a waiver postponing the move, citing national security.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians seek the city's eastern half as capital of a future state and say the move shows the U.S. is not an impartial peace negotiator.
Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway.
Gaza residents streamed to the border area 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 that they are endangering their lives.
Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 meters (yards) from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs.
Protester Mohammed Hamami, 40, says the march is a "message to Israel and its allies that we will never give up on our land." Most Gaza residents are descendants of refugees from the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation.
Turkey's president has once again condemned the U.S. decision to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem.
In a statement published late Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the U.S. disregarded "rights and justice," ignoring the international community. The new embassy is to be officially inaugurated on Monday.
Erdogan says the move serves to "reward" the Israeli government despite it undermining efforts to resolve the decades-long conflict, while it "punished" Palestinians. Erdogan says: "History and humanity will never forgive the injustices done to our Palestinian brothers."
Erdogan has been vehemently critical of the U.S. decision and hosted an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in December to condemn the move.
The Turkish president called on Israel to act "responsibly and with moderation" during possible protests on Monday to ensure no one's killed.
Two prominent newspapers in the United Arab Emirates are criticizing America's decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The English-language, government-aligned Gulf News called Monday "a sad day" in a front-page headline over a cartoon by the slain Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali of a crying Palestinian woman behind barbed wire. Al-Ali, a critic of both Israeli and Arab governments, was fatally shot in London in 1987.
In an editorial, the Dubai-based Gulf News said: "This is a day when the United States and the administration of President Donald Trump should hang its head in shame." It called Trump's decision "a purely political move to appease his friends on the Manhattan party circuit" and said "Jerusalem's status is non-negotiable."
The Gulf News regularly datelines news reports as being from "Occupied Jerusalem."
In The National, an English-language, government-aligned newspaper in Abu Dhabi, editor-in-chief Mina al-Oraibi wrote: "Rather than ignoring history and historic rights, courage and immediate intervention is needed to save the heart of the Arab world.'"
The speaker of Iran's parliament is reportedly warning that moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will inflame tensions in the Middle East.
Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday quoted Ali Larijani as saying: "Definitely their measures on moving their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Iran's nuclear issue will not go unchallenged. These sorts of actions will increase tension in the region and the world."
Larijani urged Muslim countries to take more serious measures in response to President Donald Trump's "wrong and unwise decision" to move the embassy to Jerusalem. The city's future status is one of the most divisive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Larijani's comments come nearly a week after Trump pulled America out of the nuclear deal Iran struck with world powers in 2015.
Witnesses say Israeli drones have dropped incendiary materials, setting ablaze tires that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.
They say the drones set tires ablaze in two locations early Monday, releasing large clouds of black smoke.
In weekly protests since March, Gaza activists have been using the thick smoke from burning tires as a cover against Israeli snipers on the other side of the fence.
On Monday, the largest turnout yet is expected in a campaign, led by Gaza's Hamas rulers, to break the decade-old blockade of the territory.
Mosques called on people to head for the border. A general strike was observed, with shops and markets closed. Buses deployed outside mosques to pick up protesters.
Israel's military says it will stop any border breach.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has denounced the choice of a "religious bigot" to deliver the blessing at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Pastor Robert Jeffress, leader of a Dallas-area Baptist church and a spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump, is slated to deliver a blessing on Monday at the opening of the relocated embassy.
Jeffress has drawn criticism for calling Islam and Mormonism "a heresy from the pit of hell" and saying Jews "can't be saved."
Romney writes on Twitter that "Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem."
A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sharply criticized President Donald Trump over his decision to open a U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem, saying the American administration is "based on lies."
Saeb Erekat told the Voice of Palestine radio Monday that Trump violated a promise to hold off on moving the embassy to give peace talks a chance. Erekat says Washington "is no longer a partner."
In December, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, infuriating Palestinians who seek the Israeli-annexed eastern sector as a capital. The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem opens Monday.
Erekat says the Trump administration has "become part of the problem." He suggested Trump's Mideast team is unqualified, saying "the world needs real leaders, and those (White House officials) are real estate dealers, not leaders."
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary has expressed concern that the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel could escalate tensions in the Middle East.
Yoshihide Suga said Monday that "Japan is concerned that the move could make peace process in the Middle East even more difficult or escalate tension in all of the Middle East." He says Japan will watch the development with great interest.
Suga stopped short of criticizing the U.S., and said that Japan takes note of Washington's pledge that the issue of Jerusalem's status should be resolved between the concerned parties.
He stressed that Japan's position is that the disputes and Jerusalem's status should be resolved via negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Suga added that Japan hopes to contribute in its own way to the region's peace by promoting trust and dialogue between the two parties through various projects.
The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem has been welcomed by Israel but condemned by the Palestinians, who want their capital to be in east Jerusalem and view the decision as a blatantly one-sided move on one of the thorniest disputes in the conflict.
President Donald Trump's Mideast peace negotiator says moving the American embassy to Jerusalem is a "necessary condition" to a lasting peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
American officials are in Jerusalem for Monday's relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city, a move the Israeli government has embraced but the Palestinians have condemned.
Jason Greenblatt writes on Twitter that "the long-overdue step of moving our Embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal."
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. They view the relocation as a blatant, one-sided move that invalidates America's role as an impartial peace broker.
Israel has warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border during a planned mass protest.
The army says in the leaflets dropped by jets Monday that it will "act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians."
Gaza's ruling Hamas says it expects tens of thousands to join Monday's march, suggesting a possible border breach. The march is part of a campaign to break Gaza's decade-old border blockade. It's also a protest against the inauguration Monday of a U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem.
Since March, 42 Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 1,800 wounded by Israeli army fire.
With Israel and Hamas digging in, there has been concern about large numbers of casualties Monday.