Hamas official, Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil is clear about terrorist involvement in the riots pic.twitter.com/p5My6JGQRr
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 16, 2018
Amid global condemnation of Israel for the deaths of Palestinians who tried to breach the Gaza border Monday on the day the U.S. opened a new embassy in Jerusalem, a Hamas official admitted in a television interview that 50 of the claimed 62 casualties were members of the terrorist organization.
The Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad already has acknowledged that three of the people killed Monday by Israeli forces were members of its Saraya al-Quds military wing.
That means at least 53 of the 62 people alleged to have been killed in border violence were, according to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, members of terror groups, the Times of Israel reported.
Speaking in his native Arabic, Hamas official Salah Bardawil said Wednesday in the TV interview that in “the last rounds of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas.”
The Israel Defense Forces, the IDF, tweeted a video clip of the interview, accompanied by English captions.
“This proves what so many have tried to ignore: Hamas is behind these riots, and the branding of the riots as ‘peaceful protests’ could not be further from the truth,” said IDF spokeman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, according to the Times of Israel.
Israeli officials have questioned the accuracy of the claim of the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry that 62 people were killed during border clashes on Monday and Tuesday.
The Times of Israel noted that Hamas claimed an 8-month-old baby died after inhaling Israeli tear gas. But a Gazan doctor told the Associated Press the baby had a pre-existing medical condition and he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas.
The Palestinian Authority, nevertheless, has declared three days of mourning for what it describes as a “massacre” of its people by Israeli forces.
South Africa and Turkey recalled their ambassadors to Israel, and Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara. Britain has called on the United Nations to investigate why “such a volume of live ammunition was used against what it described as unarmed protesters.
Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, said in a statement that the “policy of Israeli authorities to fire irrespective of whether there is an immediate threat to life on Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, caged in for a decade and under occupation for half a century, has resulted in a bloodbath anyone could have foreseen.”
Haley: ‘Hamas is pleased with the results’
In a United Nations Security Council meeting Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley blocked a call for an international investigation into Israel’s defense of its border.
In her remarks before the vote, Haley blamed Hamas for the deaths.
“Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday,” she said.
“I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council, who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would,” said Haley.
“No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has. In fact, the records of several countries here today suggest that they would be much less restrained.”
Haley said those who suggest that the Gaza violence has anything to do with the location of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem “are sorely mistaken.”
“Rather, the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location.”
On Monday, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah declared “the responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas.”
“Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,” he told reporters. “As the Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] said, Israel has the right to defend itself.”
Prior to the border clash Monday on what the Palestinians call “Nakba Day, the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding 70 years ago, dozens of social media posts called for Palestinians to bring guns and knives to the protest, knock down the border fence, kidnap Israeli civilians and hand them over to Hamas.
A spokesman for the IDF said Hamas deployed 12 separate terrorist cells to try to breach the border at different locations.
Video footage posted by the IDF shows Gaza rioters destroying the security fence on the border with Israel.
The IDF said Hamas also equipped “protesters” with burning tires and incendiary kites, fitted with Molotov cocktails. Women were intentionally sent to the front line and put in harm’s way, the IDF said, apparently to increase the propaganda value.
Why does Hamas want to destroy the security fence? pic.twitter.com/XCt04ZeJSm
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 15, 2018
“Today, today, the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, opened here,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony marking the event.
“God bless the United States of America and God bless Jerusalem, the eternal undivided capital of Israel,” he said.
Netanyahu praised President Trump for his decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy. When the date for the embassy opening was announced in February, coinciding with the founding of Israel, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat called the move a “flagrant violation of international law and agreements” signed between the Palestinians and Israel that will “destroy” the two-state solution.
The Arab League, meanwhile, held an extraordinary meeting Monday to discuss the United State’s “illegal” move of its embassy to Jerusalem.
Iran, denouncing Trump as “feeble-minded,” called on the Palestinians and the international community to engage in resistance, the Times of Israel reported.
First question at today’s White House press briefing is about the violence along the Gaza border https://t.co/00NCphiISU
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) May 14, 2018
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Muslims to take up arms and carry out jihad against the United States, saying the embassy move was evidence that negotiations and “appeasement” have failed the Palestinians, reported France 24
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday the United Kingdom had no plans to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Britain was one of 128 countries that voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution in December declaring Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “null and void.” Nine countries voted against it.
The Palestinian leadership, Fatah and Hamas, claims the Jewish people have falsified their 3,000 year-old history to lay claim to Jerusalem. The holy city, the Palestinians insist, is “Palestinian” and must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
After the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 was passed, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama signed every six months a waiver incorporated in the law allowing the president to delay its implementation for national security reasons.
Trump signed the waiver in June but decided in December finally to implement the law.
The three presidents who chose to delay enacting the Jerusalem Embassy Act nevertheless affirmed publicly when they were in office that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and two of them said they supported moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Obama, a Democrat, told AIPAC in 2008 that Jerusalem “will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided. I have no illusions that this will be easy.”
Bush, a Republican, promised during the 2000 campaign that “as soon as I take office I will begin the process of moving the U.S. ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital.”
And Clinton, a Democrat, entered office in 1993 saying he supported “the principle” of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.”