The series of Palestinian protests that began on March 30 have up till now resulted in a total of 118 civilian deaths, including 15 children. However, the worst carnage was seen this past Monday, when Israeli troops blatantly fired on the crowd of protesters, killing 59 people.
The civilian protesters, for the most part, did not back down as they were bombarded. Rather, they fought back. In the process, 2700 civilians were injured.
It is being argued that the Palestinians have been senselessly shot down just for exercising their right to protest. The situation came to a head when the matter was taken up by UN Human Rights Council, which called for an investigation into what is now being labeled as a “war crime” on Israel’s part.
It is significant to note that the casualties on both sides are severely imbalanced, with only one Israeli soldier having been injured (by a stray stone) as compared to 59 Palestinian civilians dead. This fact was pointed out by UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein:
The stark contrast in casualties on both sides is also suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response.
29 countries voted in favor of the resolution proposed by the UN, calling a war crime investigation into the incident. Notably the US, however, voted against it. What’s more, this is what a member of the US envoy had to say: “The scale of violence is quite small compared to the worst human rights situations around the world.” This is in keeping with the overall stance of Trump’s administration which is of the opinion that there is too much focus on Israel’s “alleged” acts of violence.
These demonstrations which began way back in March were a response to the US decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem, the city which Palestinians envision to be their future capital. Monday was actually the day of the inauguration of the embassy.
Israel is of the opinion that it was only defending its borders in the face of the violence and blames the starting of the skirmishes on leading Palestinian group Hamas.
However, public opinion is largely siding with the Palestinians:
This difference in opinion is nothing new. Unfortunately, these clashes have been happening for a long time and this is for sure not the end. Someone needs to take responsibility, but regrettably, shoving the blame off onto the person next to you seems to have become the thing to do. Although there are many who think it is futile to hope so going by past investigations, hopefully, this one, set to report in March next year, will turn up something solid on what is now largely being cited as a ‘massacre’.