(CBS)–Protests were intensifying along the Israeli-Palestinian border Monday and more than 40 people were killed amidst the controversial inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
The violence broke out as U.S. and Israeli leaders celebrated the historic transition of the U.S. Embassy’s move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Before Ivanka Trump could declare the embassy’s official opening, thousands of Palestinians closed in on Israel’s border to protest the divisive decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Palestinians have historically pushed to claim East Jerusalem as their capital.
Speaking in a video message, President Trump confirmed his commitment to Middle East peace.
“We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors—may there be peace,” he said.
Representatives from 86 different countries were invited to send delegations to the official opening of the embassy, but less than half attended. The low attendance underlies the controversy of the embassy’s move.
During mass protests along the Gaza border Monday, Israeli drones fired tear gas toward Palestinian protestors. Several dozen Palestinians were reportedly shot and killed during the protests.
Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, noted he’s the grandson of holocaust survivors. Kushner said Trump had the courage to act on what America has wanted for a long time.
“While Presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once in office, this President delivered,” Kushner said. “Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.”
Palestinians have been demonstrating for weeks, and have said the U.S. is no longer a partner in the peace process.