EDITORIAL: Hold Israel to account

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Palestinians' blood on Trump's hands, too

We condemn strongly Israel for its brutal killing of 58 unarmed Palestinians. More than two thousand others have been wounded, and the casualty is mounting. They were protesting in Gaza against shifting the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the annexation of the holy city by Israel.

It is remarkably ironic that while Israelis and their American guests were celebrating with wine and champagne in Jerusalem, marking the opening of the embassy, dozens of unarmed Palestinian civilians were shot by Israeli marksmen just a few kilometres away.

The slaughter follows weeks of protests in which scores of Palestinian civilians were killed who were demanding their right of return. This flagrant cruelty does not only warrant categorical condemnation from the international community but also actions to hold those responsible to account.

The US president may have taken the decision to move the embassy to appease his base, but it seems he—knowingly or unwittingly—threw a match into a cauldron with no plan to extinguish the fire. He's equally, if not as much, responsible for the current bloodbath in Gaza.

Trump's decision validates Israel's illegal occupation and stands in stark contrast with international norms that do not recognise annexation by force. And this embassy, according to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, constitutes an American settlement outpost.

We also note pathetic White House and Israeli responses that Hamas was somehow responsible for the deaths. Such logic-defying statement omits the fact that it was Israel, not Hamas, that pulled the trigger, and the US that made the biggest provocation by shifting its embassy.

The damage that the US president caused to the peace process is irreparable. The future role of the US in the peace process as an honest broker has lost any moral authority. The world community should be prepared to continue to work on peace in the region with the US on Israel's side.

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