Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday criticized Israel for its atrocities toward Palestinians near the Israel-Gaza border, urging regional and international actors to stop the humanitarian crisis and violence in Gaza.
At least 52 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred on Monday — and hundreds more injured — on the day the U.S. embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The United States must play an aggressive role in bringing Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the international community together to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and stop this escalating violence,” the Vermont senator said on Twitter.
The only American lawmaker to openly address the Israeli violence so far, Sanders described the killing of dozens of Palestinians by Israel as “a staggering toll”.
“Over 50 killed in Gaza today and 2,000 wounded, on top of the 41 killed and more than 9,000 wounded over the past weeks. This is a staggering toll,” he noted, adding that Israel cannot fire on unarmed protesters using Hamas violence as a justification.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, the Secretary General of the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), Oussama Jammal, said the inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem ignores the rights of the Palestinian people and confirms that the U.S. approaches the Palestinian-Israeli issue on prejudiced and unequal conditions.
Noting that the U.S. withdrawal from international agreements has become one of its routine policies, Jammal said the U.S. once again disregarded those agreements by moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the country, also condemned the relocation of the U.S. embassy while slamming Israel for its “massacre of dozens of Palestinian civilians protesting”.
“We condemn this massacre of civilian protesters — including children, medical personnel and the disabled — who seek to shake the conscience of an international community that has long ignored or excused Israel’s past dispossession of the Palestinian people and its continuing occupation of those few who were able to survive in their ancestral land,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.
“Perhaps this tragic mass killing – played out in full view of the world’s media – will spark a new call for justice similar to that sparked by the Soweto uprising against Apartheid.”
Awad added that “the unjust, unwise and counterproductive symbolic giveaway” of Palestinian, Muslim and Christian rights in Jerusalem only serves to outrage the Muslim world and to eliminate any role that the U.S. plays as a neutral mediator in the conflict.
President Donald Trump sparked an international outcry last December when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowed to relocate the U.S. embassy to the city.
The embassy relocation coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment in 1948 — an event Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba” or the “The Catastrophe”.
Thousands of Palestinians have gathered on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border since early Monday morning to take part in protests aimed at commemorating the Nakba anniversary and protest the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.