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Palestine envoy to Washington recalled over Jerusalem embassy move

Palestine envoy Husam Zomlot speaking at a J-Street conference in Washington [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 May, 2018

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At least 61 Palestinians died on Monday after Israeli forces fired at demonstrators protesting the new US embassy in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian envoy to Washington was recalled on Tuesday in protest over the US moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The official, Husam Zomlot, confirmed to AP that he is returning to Palestine. Foreign Minister Riad Malki said President Mahmoud Abbas instructed Zomlot to return to Ramallah.

Malki said: "When they (the US) opened their embassy in Jerusalem there was a need for a decision from our side and this was our decision".

The US relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday, with the inauguration coming just months after US President Donald Trump announced the decision in December.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem contravenes decades of US policy that the status of the city be decided in future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Most world leaders criticised Trump's decision, but it was welcomed and lobbied for by Israel's right-wing premier Binyamin Netanyahu.

Palestinians staged protests against the inauguration of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, which was attended by the president's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The inauguration was timed to coincide with Israel's 70th independence day, and went ahead despite the bloodshed on the Gaza border.

Israel responded to mass protests by shooting live fire at unarmed Palestinians. At least 61 Palestinians were killed on Monday and more than 2,400 wounded.

Palestinians mark May 15, the day after Israel's independence, as Nakba (the "catastrophe"), when 700,000 were expelled from their homes and made refugees. 

Also on Tuesday, the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blocked a UN resolution calling for an investigation into Israel's use of live fire and walked out before the Palestinian representative made his remarks.

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