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Turkey withdraws Ambassador to US and Israel

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced today he’s pulling out the country’s ambassador to Israel and to the United States after today’s Israeli massacre of at least 55 Palestinians at the Gaza Strip while Ivanka Trump – daughter to U.S. president Donald Trump – inaugurated the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

“The United States has chosen to be a part of the problem rather than the solution with its latest step and has lost its mediating role in the peace process,” said Erdogan today. The president is also calling for an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to be held on Friday, according to Reuters.

South Africa also recalled its Israeli ambassador.

The United Nations Security Council will hold its own emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss the Palestinian killing on part of Israeli military forces today. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement today that the multinational organization is “profoundly alarmed by the sharp escalation of violence” along the Gaza-Israel border. “Israel security forces must exercise maximum restraint in the use of live fire,” the U.N. leader said.

So far, Israeli security forces have killed at least 104 Palestinians and wounded about 12,000 others during this year’s annual Palestine Great March of Return that began March 30. The march, also named ‘the Catastrophe’, calls for refugees’ right to return to the Palestinian land they were forcibly expelled from in 1948, also by the Israeli military.

The European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, called for “utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life,” referring to the massive amount of Palestinian deaths at the Gaza strip.

Middle East division of Human Rights Watch was less subtle in its statement about today’s bloodshed. “The policy of Israeli authorities to fire irrespective of whether there is an immediate threat to life on Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, caged in for a decade and under occupation for a half-century, has resulted in a bloodbath that anyone could have foreseen,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of the organization.

The UK’s Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, released a longer statement regarding the indiscriminate killings. “The violence today in Gaza and the West Bank has been shocking. The loss of life and the large number of injured Palestinians is tragic, and it is extremely worrying that the number of those killed continues to rise.”

The minister added: “Such violence is destructive to peace efforts. We have been clear that the UK supports the Palestinians’ right to protest, but these protests must be peaceful.

“It is deplorable that extremist elements may have been seeking to exploit these protests for their own violent purposes. We will not waver from our support for Israel’s right to defend its borders. But the large volume of live fire is extremely concerning. We continue to implore Israel to show greater restraint.”

Burt ended by saying that the UK wants to find a “two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital.”

In a phone call to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah of Jordan, French president Emmanuel Macron said they must find a peaceful situation to the increased violence on part of Israel. Macron told his counterparts he’s opposed to the killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli military members and the U.S.’s move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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