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Nikki Haley Blames Hamas for Gaza Violence, Praises Israeli ‘Restraint’

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the Crisis in the Middle East at the UN headquarters in New York, April 17, 2018. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley unequivocally blames Hamas for the violent protests that erupted in Gaza Monday in response to the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Speaking before the United Nations Security Council, Haley said the deaths of more than 60 Palestinian protesters were the fault of Hamas, and accused Israel’s detractors of applying a “double standard” in blaming the state for using force to defend its border.

“Let’s remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy,” Haley said. “This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday.”

Haley urged the security-council members present to consider whether they would have responded with similar force if a comparable level of violence erupted on their own border. “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has,” she said. “In fact, the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained.”

Following her remarks, Haley walked out of the the security council session when the Palestinian envoy, Riyad Mansour, began to speak.

Dozens of Palestinian protesters were shot by Israeli forces Monday as they approached the border fence dividing Israel from the Gaza Strip. In criticizing Hamas for organizing the deadly protests, Haley cited reports that the group compelled protesters to approach the fence by incorrectly telling them that Israeli forces had begun to retreat. She went on to describe tactics employed by the protesters, including the hurling of projectiles and the use of balloons to carry Molotov cocktails over the border fence.

The images of intense violence differed sharply from the triumphant embassy-opening ceremony occurring simultaneously in Jerusalem. The event, attended by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, featured a speech by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called it “a glorious day.”

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