We begin in Jerusalem today where dozens of protesters were killed as the U.S. inaugurates its new embassy in that city. International media is reporting that at least 52 people were killed in Gaza, with more than 2,000 injured when violence broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers protesting the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem. The death toll was expected to rise.
Palestinians have historically claimed Jerusalem as their capital and now feel that the U.S. cannot be a fair broker in the peace process with Israel.
Israel accuses many of the protesters of being members of Hamas and using Palestinians as pawns in the violent protests along the Gaza border which began March 30.
This violence comes on the 70th anniversary of what the Palestinians call “ al-Naqba” translated as “their catastrophe” when on May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. Palestinians commemorate, on this day, the expulsion of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and the destruction of over 400 Palestinian towns and villages to make way for the state of Israel. Today, May 15th, Palestinians will mark a moment of silence in commemoration of the Naqba.
In a statement released yesterday, Pax Christi International said it recognized the 70th anniversary of two historic events this year: the 70th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel and the Naqba.
"These two events”, the statement said, “are forever interconnected. Pax Christi members and partners will once again stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, especially those who, after 70 years, still remain, refugees, as they mark this solemn anniversary." Pax Christi is calling for the rightful return and/or compensation for Palestinian refugees as a prerequisite for a just and fair Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, for which Pax Christi said, an increased commitment from the international community is "urgently necessary."
And we go to Ireland now where the country is preparing for the upcoming referendum to determine if they should lift a constitutional ban on whether or not the rights of the unborn should continue to be enshrined in the country’s constitution. If not, abortions may be granted up to twelve weeks, with no restriction. CNS has this story.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow as I will have more on this story for you as Pro-life activists in that country prepare to rally as Ireland prepares to vote.
And that is all that we have time for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you more news and stories from the perspective of a Catholic lens.