Death, division and denial as US embassy opens in Jerusalem

Trump applauds ‘a great day for Israel’ as hail of bullets kills dozens of Palestinian protestors

By Simone Tisall | The Guardian | May 14, 2018

 

Israel rained bullets on its own parade – and furnished a murderous metaphor for a divided age. On one side of the fence, or barrier, or wall, or call it what you will, American and Israeli dignitaries lined up in best bibs and tuckers to salute the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem. The pompous grandiosity of this tacky ceremony conveyed the essence of Trump-ism: all sound and symbolic fury, lacking substance or sense.

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On the other side of the gulf, down the road in besieged and impoverished Gaza, Palestinians – young men, mostly, but middle-aged women and children, too – gathered to protest, then ran for their lives in a screaming chaos of burning tyres, dust, sand, teargas and army live-fire.

In the world according to Donald Trump, schism, self-contradiction and paradox are the new normal. Naftali Bennett, Israel’s hardline education minister, had already put what the foreign ministry called the “murderous rioters” on notice. By taking part in the demonstrations, Palestinians were self-identifying as terrorists, he said. If they were shot dead, Bennett implied, it was their own fault.

“What a glorious day! Remember this moment,” shouted Benjamin Netanyahu to the assembled guests at an over-the-top embassy handover. Israel’s prime minister should rest assured: the day will be remembered – but for all the wrong reasons. Palestinians already had one Nakba (catastrophe) to memorialise and mourn. Now they have another.



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Palestinians killed as US opens embassy in Jerusalem – video report


Trump himself, architect of what most Arab and European governments see as an incendiary and unnecessary provocation at a dangerous moment, tweeted it was “a great day for Israel”. But Trump was not present to witness the trouble he had caused.