The world – except the United States and its allies – is mourning the death of at least 60 Palestinians killed by the Israeli military at the Gaza border on Monday as they demonstrated against the opening of the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
The opening of the embassy follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s December 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital which contravened the age-long peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.
The Palestinian state, which is fighting for independence and sovereignty, recognizes East Jerusalem as its capital while Israel, until yesterday, had Tel Aviv as its capital.
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The opening of the new U.S. embassy culminated into a celebration for the Israelis while Palestinian demonstrators were being killed on the others side of the border wall with thousands left injured.
The crackdown on protesters resulted in Turkey’s withdrawal of its ambassadors from Israel and the U.S., followed by South Africa which also withdrew its ambassador from Israel.
The U.S. blocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that would have called for an independent probe of the deadly violence on the Israel-Gaza border, the bloodiest since the 2014 Gaza War.
The African Union also released a statement condemning the use of force by the Israeli army on the Palestinian demonstrators and the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem.
“The relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem can only further heighten tensions in the region and complicate the search for a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as illustrated by today’s incidents,” the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said.
He also reiterated the AU’s solidarity with the Palestinian people “in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign State with East Jerusalem as its capital” and “calls for renewed and genuine international efforts to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict”.
The @AfricanUnion mourns the deaths of 52 Palestinians murdered on the #Gaza Strip +many more wounded.We strongly condemn this disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians. Read the Dec17 statement on US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem https://t.co/h39rsKbpXl
— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) May 14, 2018
This sentiment was equally shared by countries including China, Russia, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, South Africa, The Vatican and the Palestinian Authority. They boycotted the ceremony.
However, envoys of some 32 countries including 12 from Africa responded positively to the invitation of the United States to join in the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem.
Twenty-one countries attended the event including seven African countries despite the African Union’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and its authority. The Palestinian Authority has an observer status at the AU, while Israel hasn’t been granted one since 2002.
The African countries that joined the U.S. in opening the embassy are Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.
Countries that attended US embassy ceremony in Jerusalem:
– Czech Republic
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) May 14, 2018
Envoys from these countries toasted to the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel when the conflict has not been resolved and people are being killed for demanding sovereignty.
Interestingly, none of these countries supported the U.S. during a vote in December last year to back the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Rwanda and Cameroon abstained from voting. Only Togo backed the U.S. during the UN vote but were not on the list of envoys at the opening of the embassy.
The presence of these seven African countries at the opening of the embassy could be a result of the threat issued by the United States to withhold aid to countries that didn’t back their quest.
In 2016, the United States gave Africa a total of $13 billion in aid; and in 2017, $7.9 billion was given in aid as partially reported by the USAID.
Besides Eritrea, Seychelles and Mauritius, all African countries received aid from the United States last year. Ethiopia is the highest recipient of U.S. aid followed by South Sudan and then Nigeria.
This is how much the seven countries received from the United States in 2017: Cameroon ($74 million), Ethiopia ($921 million), Kenya ($642 million), Nigeria ($669 million), Rwanda ($108 million), Tanzania ($414 million) and Zambia ($276 million).
These are the countries Trump reportedly called “shithole” in January. They are helping “Make America Great Again” as innocent people are being killed in Gaza.