Israel faces diplomatic fallout after dozens killed in Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel faced a growing backlash Tuesday and new charges of using excessive force, a day after Israeli troops firing from across a border fence killed 59 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,700 at a mass protest in Gaza.
Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador, while Ireland and Belgium summoned Israeli envoys.
Leading European countries and the U.N. human rights office called for an investigation of the bloodshed.
Israel says it has the right to defend its border against a possible mass breach and accuses Gaza’s Hamas rulers of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of the protests.
A military spokesman said Tuesday that 14 of those killed a day earlier were involved in attacks.
Monday marked the deadliest day in Gaza since a 2014 cross-border war with Israel and was part of a high-stakes campaign by the Islamic militant Hamas to break a decade-long border blockade.
Gaza Health Ministry, which provided the toll from Monday’s violence, said a 9-month-old girl died from tear gas exposure, but medical officials later cast doubt on that claim, saying the infant had a pre-existing medical condition.
It remained unclear Tuesday where and how the child died.
In jarring contrast to the Gaza bloodshed, the U.S. held a festive inauguration ceremony for a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem at the same time Monday, just several dozen miles (kilometers) away.
The juxtaposition of violence on the Gaza border and festivities attended by a Trump administration delegation — captured on split screens in TV broadcasts around the world — briefly drew attention to the plight of Gaza and its 2 million people.