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    A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip May 14, 2018

    Belgium Summons Israeli Envoy Over Situation in Gaza - Israel Foreign Ministry

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    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)

    Belgium has summoned Israeli ambassador Simona Frankel for a meeting with a top diplomat official on Wednesday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The move is connected with the situation in the Gaza Strip, which has significantly intensified in the last few days.

    The Belgian Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador Simona Frankel on Tuesday over her statement, in which she compared the people killed during protests on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip to terrorists, the ministerial press service said.

    "The comment that consisted of saying that all killed or hurt were terrorists — that we can obviously not accept," Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said as quoted by The Times of Israel.

    As the the top diplomatc official specified, that Brussels does not support the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem adding that this move put obstacles to the efforts of reaching peace between Israel and Palestine.

    At least three countries - South Africa, Ireland and Turkey - have expelled their Israeli envoys following the recent spike of tensions in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing riots, which have claimed the lives of at least 61 protesters, injuring over 2,000 others.

    The Reaction of Other EU States

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel in phone talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday expressed concern over the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.

    "Germany understands Israel's security concerns. The right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest must not be abused to provoke riots," the statement said.

    Another key EU figure, French President Emmanuel Macron, has also expressed his position on the issue in a phone call with Netanyahu on Tuesday, condemning the violence in Gaza.

    "He expressed his very deep concern about the situation in Gaza, condemned the violence and underlined the importance of protecting civilian populations and of the right to protest peacefully," the Elysee said in a statement.    

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has urged Israel to show restraint in the Gaza Strip amid the rallies. The day before she had expressed her opposition to the US decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem and stated that London had no plans to do the same.

    Israel-Turkey Rift

    The situation in the Gaza Strip has had a negative influence on the relations between Turkey and Israel: Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador to Turkey amid the rift between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Israel, in its turn, summoned the Turkish consul in Jerusalem and has advised him to return to Turkey "for consultations for a period of time."

    READ MORE: Israel Expels Turkish Consul in Jerusalem Amid Erdogan-Netanyahu Rift Over Gaza

    The wave of Palestinian rallies along the Israel-Gaza border started on March 30, raging until the day of Nakba, the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian exodus after Israel's declaration of independence in 1948, intensified on Monday over the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

    READ MORE: Turkey Urges Muslim States to Review Ties With Israel Amid Gaza Violence

    The decision to relocate the US Embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem, thus recognizing it as the Israeli capital, was announced in December and provoked mass protests and condemnation in Muslim countries, as well as criticism of states backing a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.    

    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)
    protests, Great March of Return, Gaza Strip, Palestine, Israel
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