Thirty-eight Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces at the Gaza border this morning and another 1,500 were injured in demonstrations marking the "Great March of Return", which coincided with today's opening of the United States (US) embassy in Jerusalem - a move that infuriates Palestinians and which stands to prompt more violence in the Middle East.
For six weeks, Palestinians have been demonstrating at the border fence in Gaza in the "Great March of Return" - to demand Palestinian return to ancestral lands lost to Israel at its founding, March 14, 1948. Israel has occupied that land and has shown no signs of ceding it back to the Palestinians. Many Palestinian deaths and injuries have been recorded in the weeks-long protests.
Today's new violence, with rising death and injury tolls, coincides with the US opening of an embassy in Jerusalem - a move condemned by much of the international community, since both Palestinians and Israelis claim the old Holy City as capital. Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war.
For many years, the international community has not recognized Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. But in December, 2017, US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced the establishment of an embassy there.
Trump's decision has done nothing to bring peace to an already tense region. But it has certainly sparked violence and opened the likelihood for wider conflict in the Middle East, especially in light of the president's additional action to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran remains a major proxy in the Middle East.
Today's stark violence, deaths and injuries against Palestinians, are indicative of Israel's too often utilized heavy-handedness against the primitively-armed Palestinians, who for decades, have used stones and flambeaus against the modern equipped Israeli army, in their fight to reclaim ancestral lands.
But the violence in Gaza should not continue perpetually. Prospects to peace appear even farther away today that they were a-year-ago. Yet, some common ground to stability, should be agreed upon by all privy parties to allow for the coexistence of all the peoples on the old Biblical lands. Until some realistic peace is forged, sadly, more Palestinians will die.