Community leaders weigh in on US Embassy move and ensuing conflict


A man holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel, east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, following the the controversial move to Jerusalem of the United States embassy. – Fifty-two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during violent clashes on the Gaza-Israel border coinciding with the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, the health ministry in the strip announced. (Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- At least 55 people died in Gaza on Monday in one of the deadliest days the area has ever seen. Miles away, U.S. representatives celebrated the American Embassy move to Jerusalem.

When the U.S. announced it was moving its embassy in Israel from the capital to Jerusalem it sparked Palestinian protest at the border. Since then, hundreds of people have been killed on both sides.

Monday, American politicians, including President Trump said this is a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting has been requested on the situation in Gaza for Tuesday morning.

This conflict goes back decades and is not confined to the Middle East. There are people here in the north Alabama community with families in both Israel and Gaza. People of Islamic and Jewish faith in north Alabama are reacting to the chaos.

The U.S. Embassy was officially moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv Monday morning.

Inside, President Trump's daughter and Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner unveiled the embassy seal.

"For it to happen today is very special, especially for Jews around the world, especially for Jews in Israel,"  said Rabbi Moshe Cohen of Chabad of Huntsville.

Outside, protests erupted along the Gaza Israeli border in response to the formal change of American foreign policy.

"We want to have the Jews, our brothers and sisters in Israel to live there with peace and harmony without any conflicts, without any fighting or disagreements," said Cohen.

Dr. Nauman Qureshi, spokesperson for the Huntsville Islamic Center responded in part saying, "We condemn the loss of life. Lives need to be taken seriously. Whenever people are overwhelmed and the underdogs, when you see loss of life on their part the international community has to step forward and help."

He went on to say, "This conflict has been going on for almost 70 years and to my knowledge, the sovereignty of Jerusalem was not determined. It was up to the peace talks to determine what would become of Jerusalem."

Peace talks that it seems are severely damaged in the eyes of the Palestinians.

We witnessed a ceremony of the Prime Minister of Israel and the administration of President Trump burying the peace process, burying the two-state solution," said Saeb Erekat, Senior Aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar at Temple B'Nai Israel also shared her thoughts saying:

"Our thoughts are very much with Israel as it celebrates its 70th anniversary and prayerful for the peace of Jerusalem as it welcomes the American Embassy into its capital. My thoughts are also with the Palestinians whose loss of life during the protest is saddening. It is my firm hope that a two-state solution is still a viable option going forward as a solution to this very deep, old, far-reaching conflict."

"We look for something that honors the dignity of all citizens of the area, Israeli's and Palestinians," added Qureshi.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, "We remain committed to advancing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians."

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