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Arab Foreign Ministers Condemn Killings in Gaza, US Embassy Move

By Edward Yeranian May 17, 2018

Arab foreign ministers used harsh language to condemn the killings of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces along the border with Gaza, with some calling for an independent international investigation.

Many of those attending the Arab Foreign Ministers meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, also blasted the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with some calling it a "provocation."

Arab League head Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the gathering that the U.S. move flouts international law, adding that it is rejected both internationally and by the Arab world.

Aboul Gheit also said the U.S. decision would "encourage Israeli violence," after the recent shootings of Palestinian protesters along the border between Gaza and Israel. U.S. officials blamed the militant group Hamas for the violence.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyadh Maliki blasted what he called "U.S. bias" in favor of Israel and branded the U.S. decision to move its embassy "an historic mistake."

He called the violence along the Gaza border cold-blooded killings of peaceful demonstrators who were demanding their right to return to villages that are now inside Israel proper. He said Arab diplomats will lose credibility with their people if they don't take concrete action regarding the killings.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, whose country has a large percentage of citizens of Palestinian origin, mounted a verbal onslaught against Israel and the U.S.

He urged the international community to take moral responsibility for what he called the unacceptable killings of peaceful protesters. He also said that Jerusalem is occupied territory and that the city's fate will only be decided by independence.

Safadi added that the region is "at a critical juncture" and that the "desperation" of the Palestinian people has "erupted into violence."

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, who chaired the foreign minister's meeting, told reporters at a press conference afterward that Arab diplomats will now "take their case to the U.N.," and that they would "try to transform their resolutions into political action."

Aboul Gheit added that Arab diplomats would specifically approach the U.N. General Assembly, given that the U.S. will probably veto any resolution at the U.N. Security Council that condemns Israel. He insisted that Arab states would approach the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, as well.

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