May 15, 2018 was the 70th anniversary of Yawm an-Nakba, which translates from Arabic as "Day of the Catastrophe." It commemorates the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland when the state of Israel was established during the 1948 Palestine war.
Seventy years later, Yawm an-Nakba has taken on new sorrow and significance after violence at the border fence between Gaza and Israel on Monday left 60 Palestinian protesters dead and doctors struggling to keep up with the tide of Palestinians suffering gunshot wounds. Tensions had been building for many days leading up to the official relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which had a celebratory air in ghastly contrast with deadly events along the border.
Although the U.S. staunchly defended the actions of Israeli troops, international condemnation was strong and swift. UN Secretary-General António Guterres was "profoundly alarmed" by the killings. The International non-profit organization Doctors without Borders stated that the violence was "unacceptable and inhuman," and that "it is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time." Queen Rania of Jordan, a close U.S. ally, tweeted that it was "a dark and sad day in history, marked with more Palestinian sacrifices. When will the world's conscience mobilize to give Palestinians the rights so many of us take for granted? May God have mercy on those who lost their lives defending Jerusalem's proud Arab identity."
And so we pray this news . . .