By Arab News
By Daoud Kuttab
Israel faces mounting regional and international pressure over the deaths of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border, with South Africa, Turkey, Belgium and Ireland withdrawing their ambassadors from Tel Aviv and the UN Commission on Human Rights calling for an independent inquiry.
Almost 60 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops during protests to mark the 70th anniversary of Nakba — the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes — and the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet on Tuesday reaffirmed the Kingdom’s rejection of the decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, a day after its official opening.
“This step represents a significant bias against the historical, permanent rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem,” an official statement said.
Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinian leadership would file a legal case against Israel with the International Criminal Court over settlement activity on occupied Palestinian territory.
Former Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher, now senior vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Arab News that the killing of Palestinian protesters, coupled with the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, shows why “Israel cannot be trusted” to bring about peace in the region.
“I believe Jordan’s preferred course of action is the adoption of a policy that would keep Palestinians on their soil and that would not cooperate with Israel in any way,” he said.
Nour Al-Emam, a lawyer and member of the Palestine National Council, said the US was now complicit in the killings of unarmed Palestinians by the Israeli occupiers.
Media coverage of the killings in Gaza has also been criticized. Writing on his personal Twitter account, media specialist Mureed Hammad said that the “world media has shown a different face to dealing with Palestinian blood.”
James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor-at-large of the Jesuit magazine America, condemned The New York Times for saying that Palestinians had “died” rather than Palestinians were “killed.”
Some Arab voices are also objecting to the silence of many Arab leaders. Mohammad Ersan, the host of a Radio Al-Balad talk show in the Jordanian capital, ended his program on Tuesday by asking if the Israeli ambassadors in neighboring countries would be sent home. His comment followed a decision by Turkey to order Israel’s ambassador to leave.
Veteran Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin told Arab News that the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem “is harmful to chances of peace and goes against international accepted positions that the future of Jerusalem must be decided and resolved by Israel and Palestine together.”