Faed Mustafa, Palestine's ambassador to Turkey, says Israel committed a “massacre” on Monday against unarmed protesters on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border, urging the international community to hold it accountable.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, Mustafa spoke about the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment — an event Palestinians refer to as the “Catastrophe” — and Monday’s relocation of Washington’s Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“What happened yesterday [Monday] was murder: Israel’s murder of 60 Palestinians and a kind of political murder represented by the embassy’s relocation,” he said.
“Unarmed, our people are taking on military vehicles and heavy weapons,” he added. “Israel continues to murder us with impunity; it must be held accountable.”
Mustafa went on to praise Turkey and the Turkish people for their longstanding support of the Palestinian cause.
“[Turkish] President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government have always supported the Palestinian people and cause,” he said.
He also noted that Erdogan had spoken with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by phone while Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had called his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad al-Maliki.
According to Mustafa, the U.S. had forfeited its role as Middle East mediator after relocating its embassy to Jerusalem.
“By standing with the occupier [i.e., Israel], the U.S. is no longer on the right side of history; it has lost its credibility and violated international law,” he said.
Mustafa also pointed out that the U.S. administration had prevented the UN Security Council from issuing a resolution condemning Monday’s violence.
“Although 14 states were in favor [of the resolution], the U.S. shot it down, confirming Washington’s lack of credibility,” he said.
On Monday, thousands of Palestinians converged on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border to mark the passage of 70 years since the creation of Israel in 1948, when their forefathers were driven from their homes in historical Palestine.
They were also protesting the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which took place the same day.
Israeli forces deployed on the border responded to the peaceful protests with heavy gunfire, leaving at least 61 protesters dead and hundreds more injured.
*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara