United States Senator Bernie Sanders along with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Jewish-American activists have condemned the Israeli army's use of excessive force and live ammunition against Palestinian protesters in Gaza. The group of senators, members of Congress and activists also criticized president Donald Trump for moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city of Jerusalem.
On May 14, one day before Palestinians commemorate 70 years of ongoing Nakba, or catastrophe, U.S. and Israeli officials celebrated the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem as Israeli snipers shot and killed at least 61 Palestinian protesters, including eight children under 16 years old.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum said Monday the embassy move was fueled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agenda of occupation and oppression and criticized Donald Trump for “fueling the conflict.”
The human rights organization Amnesty International warned Monday that Israel’s response to Palestinian protesters in Gaza amounted to “war crimes.” Israeli snipers have opened fire on unarmed protesters since the Great March of Return began on March 30. In April Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced her office would conduct a preliminary examination to monitor the situation in Gaza.
On Twitter Sanders said, "The United States must play an aggressive role in bringing Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the international community together to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and stop this escalating violence."
However, since the Trump administration announced the U.S. was moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Palestinian authorities have argued the country can no longer serve as a peace mediator.
Sanders also said “Hamas violence does not justify Israel firing on unarmed protesters” as a response to claims by the Israeli and U.S. governments that place blame for the dozens of protesters killed “squarely on Hamas.”
Jewish-American activists also showed their solidarity with the people of Palestine and rejected Trump's "unilateral decision to move the embassy." On Monday, thousands of Jews marched in Washington D.C. to protest the decision. "We reject occupation; we reject Trump's reckless move," one protester said. Other carried a sign that reads "The Jewish future demands Palestinian Freedom."
As part of the demonstrations, Jewish groups built an embassy of freedom in the streets of D.C.