- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2018

The White House on Monday blamed the political and militant group Hamas for the deadly violence on the Gaza border as the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests solely with Hamas,” said White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah.

Israeli troops shot dead at least 52 Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border against the U.S. embassy location, which officially recognized the divided city of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

It was the bloodiest single day for Palestinians since the Gaza conflict in 2014 and included more than 2,200 protesters injured either by gunfire, tear gas or other means.

Mr. Shah said Hamas provoked the violence in a “propaganda attempt.”

“Their cynical exploitation of these issues is what is leading to these deaths,” he said, adding that it was a “dire situation.”

The Palestinian leadership broke off involvement in the Trump administration’s attempt to broker a peace deal when Mr. Trump announced the embassy move in December.

Mr. Shah said the violence and deaths Monday did not signal the peace deal had derailed.

“I don’t think it hurts the peace plan,” he said. “The peace plan will be introduced at the appropriate time.”

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