Palestinians buried their dead yesterday as thousands of people took part in protests to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba which accompanied the foundation of Israel.
At least 61 people were killed on Monday when Israeli troops fired on peaceful unarmed crowds who were protesting at the inauguration of the new US embassy in Jerusalem after the Trump administration moved its diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv.
Guatemala is following the US example and will open its embassy in Jerusalem.
However, South Africa withdrew its ambassador, calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) from the Gaza Strip and an end to its “violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories.
“Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
The late president Nelson Mandela once condemned Israel for creating “the worst type of apartheid system,” reflecting the long-standing affinity between South African progressives and the Palestinian liberation movement.
Neoliberals refused to blame Israeli aggression for the killings and made desperate attempts to link the violence to Iran, which has faced an escalation in hostile rhetoric from both Tel Aviv and Washington in recent weeks.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Danny Dannon, Israel’s representative at the United Nations, blamed Iran for the cold-blooded killings.
He suggesting that Tehran had funded Hamas, which he said had co-ordinated the “well-organised protests.”
Mr Netanyahu claimed soldiers had been acting in self-defence, while the army said it had fired at “targets of terrorist activity.”
Israeli ambassador to Belgium Simona Frankel branded all the Palestinians killed in Gaza “terrorists.”
She claimed: “I regret the loss of life of any human being who has died, regardless of their nationality, even though they are terrorists, 55 terrorists who tried to cross the fence to enter Israeli territory.”
The dead included eight children and a baby.
However, UN spokesman Rupert Colville said: “The mere fact of approaching a fence is not a lethal, life-threatening act, so that does not warrant being shot.
“How much threat can a double amputee be making from the other side of a large fortified fence?”
Protests took place in most major cities in the Palestinian territories, demanding the right to return to land stolen when almost one million Palestinians were dispossessed in the 1948 war that created the state of Israel.