U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley walked out of a Security Council meeting on Tuesday when the Palestinian envoy began to speak, just hours after she praised Israel for acting with “restraint” in handling the protests in Gaza.
The Security Council was holding an emergency meeting to discuss the violence in Gaza. Israeli forces killed at least 62 Palestinians protesting along the border fence on Monday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. That number included several children, one of whom was just 8 months old. More than 3,100 others were wounded.
Haley told the Security Council that Hamas, with the help of Iran, was to blame for the violence and pointed to Molotov cocktails being flown into Israel via kites.
“I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council: who among us would accept this type of activity on your border?” she said. “No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
Haley did not mention the Israeli soldiers and snipers firing at the Palestinian protesters or the death toll from Monday. Less than two hours later, when Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour began to speak, she walked out of the meeting.
The Trump administration has repeatedly backed Israel’s response to the protests on Monday, which created the highest death toll on a single day since 2014.
As Israeli forces dropped drones with tear gas and shot at Palestinian protesters in Gaza on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner called the protesters “part of the problem and not part of the solution.” Kushner’s family has longtime ties to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and previously failed to disclose that he once led a group that funded West Bank settlements, which are illegal under international law.
Hours after Kushner’s speech, White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah also claimed that the Palestinian deaths on Monday were “an unfortunate propaganda attempt” by Hamas.
The United States unveiled its new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, the same day as Israel’s independence day, after having moved its location from Tel Aviv. The move has been roundly condemned by Palestinian leadership and other world leaders, as East Jerusalem — under Israeli occupation since 1967 — has been recognized as the capital of a future Palestinian state by the international community.
But the protests in Gaza were about more than the embassy move. Many of those involved were participating in the “March of Return” protests, which began on March 30, and involved tens of thousands of Palestinians marching to the Gaza border fence to demand the right to return to family homes lost in 1948.
“Our hardships induced this scream for life. The March of Return is a scream for life so that we may leave the walls of our prison,” Ahmad Abu Artema, the 33-year-old main organizer of the March of Return, told CNN. “Why would we die here in silence? We want our message to reach the world. We want to say to the world, ‘Here there is a people. A people searching for a life of dignity, human rights and freedom.'”