Turkey’s government on Tuesday ordered the Israeli ambassador to leave the country, retaliating for Israel’s killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and underscoring the growing international fallout from the bloodshed.
The Turkish decision marked one of the strongest diplomatic responses after Monday’s deadly confrontations along the border fence separating Israel and Gaza, which has been under Israeli blockade for more than a decade.
Here are 17 things you need to know about the Gaza killings:
1. Israeli forces killed 58 Palestinians on the boundary fence with Gaza on Monday, local health officials said, a level of bloodshed not seen since the most violent days of Israel’s 2014 war in the territory.
2. The death toll more than doubled the number of Palestinians killed during six weeks of demonstrations, dubbed the “March of Return,” and came on the same day that a new U.S. Embassy opened in Jerusalem.
Palestinians murdered for participating In a legitimate protest – for exercising their HUMAN RIGHTS. Israel is a TERROR state. Long live Palestine💔🇵🇸 #القدس_عاصمة_فلسطين_الأبدية #GazaUnderAttack #PalestinianLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/JptcOdhjtB
— noora ♡ (@__njxxx) May 14, 2018
3. Tens of thousands of Palestinians had gathered on the edges of the fenced off blockaded territory from mid-morning. Many came to peacefully demonstrate, bringing their children, carrying flags. Food stalls sold snacks and music blared.
4. The protests appeared to have a more violent edge than in previous weeks. Some young men brought knives and fence cutters. At a gathering point east of Gaza City, organizers urged protestors over loudspeakers to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them.
5. Israeli snipers were determined not to allow a breach, and ambulances soon began screaming back and forth from the fence, as gunshots rang out over the crowd. No Israeli soldiers were injured, though, and Israel drew widespread condemnation for an excessive use of force.
6. More than 2,700 people were injured, according to the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza, including 1,359 from live ammunition. The dead included six children under the age of 18, among them a 15-year-old girl, and a medic, the ministry said.
7. The United Nations said that “those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account,” and Human Rights Watch described the killings as a “bloodbath.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned a continuing “massacre” of the Palestinian people. Both Turkey and South Africa announced they were recalling their ambassadors from Israel.
8. The Trump administration, however, blamed Hamas for the loss of life. “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah told reporters at a briefing. “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
9. The violence was a jarring contrast to the opening ceremony for the embassy in Jerusalem, which drew first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.
— ✊Pueblo Socialists (@PCOSocialist) May 14, 2018
10. In Gaza, Hamas has given its backing to the demonstrations, which have galvanized people around a call to protest the loss of Palestinian homes and villages when Israel was formed in 1948.
11. Palestinians mark that day – known as the “nakba” or “catastrophe” – on Tuesday, when more demonstrations are planned. More than two-thirds of Gaza’s population is descended from refugees who were displaced at the time of Israel’s creation.
12. At Gaza City’s main al-Shifaa hospital, medics said they were overwhelmed.
13. Increasing economic hardship has fuelled frustrations in Gaza, along with wider despair across Palestinian territories amid moves by a U.S. administration seen as wholeheartedly on Israel’s side of the decades-old conflict.
14. At least 110 Gazans have been killed over the past six weeks, according to health ministry figures. At the demonstrations east of Gaza, some said the force used by Israel would only bring further unrest.
15. The diplomatic pressures on Israel also grew on other fronts as officials around the world denounced the Gaza killings and called for inquiries. In Paris, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the situation in the Middle East as increasingly “explosive.”
I am often 1 day behind on the news because I read the print paper. Yesterday: Death toll in Gaza was 49 (since protests erupted). In one day: 58 people were murdered by Israeli snipers & 2,771 wounded in Gaza. Call it what it is: a massacre #GazaUnderAttack
— Jackie Wang (@LoneberryWang) May 14, 2018
16. Kuwait’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mansour al-Otaibi, said he planned Wednesday to propose a U.N. Security Council resolution on “protection of the Palestinian civilians.” He said the plan does not include peacekeeping forces, but he gave few other details. Any possible Security Council action against Israel would likely face a veto by the United States.
17. A draft statement circulated late Monday would have expressed the Security Council’s “outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest” and would have called for a “transparent” investigation. But the United States blocked it.
Heartbroken and bereaved …
An agonized Palestinian father cries with sorrow in farewell of his son who was shot dead by Israeli forces along Gaza-occupied Palestine border yesterday.#GreatReturnMarch#GazaUnderAttack#EmbassyMove pic.twitter.com/iOe4OWF6c0
— #FreePalestine 🇵🇸 (@Taghreeba) May 15, 2018
– Washington Post