Monday, September 20, 2021

US blames Hamas for violence after embassy inauguration

Washington, May 14 (EFE).- The White House directly blamed the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement for the violence that has erupted surrounding the inauguration in Jerusalem of the new US Embassy to Israel, protests that have resulted in more than 50 Palestinian deaths.

“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rest squarely with Hamas,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said on Monday, adding that “Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response.”

“As … Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo) said, Israel has the right to defend itself,” he added.

Shah referred to remarks Pompeo made in April in Amman during a Middle East tour, when he said that Israel has the right to defend itself in the face of the protests that began in March along the border with Gaza.

When asked whether the US was asking Israel to moderate its actions and if he believes that the Jewish State bears any responsibility in the matter, Shah said only “No.”

Shah said that the Islamist Hamas is involved in cynical actions that have resulted in this situation, which it has provoked for propaganda purposes and he rejected the idea that opening the new embassy hurts the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“I don’t think it hurts the peace plan,” he said. “The peace plan will be introduced at the appropriate time, but what today is about is following through on what … President (Donald Trump) promised and believes. And it’s also recognition of reality.”

“I think we for decades walked on egg shells pretending Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel when it obviously is,” he added.

The US on Monday became the first country since 2006 to locate its new embassy in Jerusalem after other nations gradually moved their diplomatic seats to Tel Aviv after the international community requested it following Israel’s 1980 annexation of occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestinians have considered the US move to be a provocation that disqualifies the Trump administration from acting as an honest broker in the peace process.

Since then, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other PNA representatives have refused to meet with the US negotiating team.

The inauguration of the embassy sparked a wave of protests in the Gaza Strip during which Israeli security forces have killed at least 52 Palestinian demonstrators and wounded some 2,000 as a massive and angry crowd approached the fence dividing Gaza and Israel.

Hamas, which administers the Gaza Strip, is considered by the US government to be a terrorist group.