Hamas plans to continue protests along the Gaza border and hopes to see a mass demonstration on June 5 which will rival the size of this week’s protests, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Two days after Israeli forces killed more than 60 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,000, the Islamist group which controls the Gaza Strip said the demonstrations would keep going ahead of the June anniversary of the 1967 war.
“The protests will continue because they have not achieved their goals yet,” said Hazem Qasem, a spokesman for the group. “Our desire here is for June 5 to be as big as May 14.”
A senior Hamas leader also said on television that 50 of the 62 people killed on Monday were members of Hamas.
The comments by Salah Bardawil, a political leader in the group, were immediately seized on by Israel’s military as it tried to fend off widespread international criticism over the number of people killed by live fire on the border.
“The branding of the riots as ‘peaceful protests’ could not be further from the truth,” an Israeli military spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Guatemala became the first country to follow America’s lead and move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, called the move “the beginning of something extraordinary” and said he hoped other countries would soon follow the US by bringing their embassies to Jerusalem.
As Israel and Hamas continued to fight a battle of of narratives over the killings, Hamas refused to accept a medical shipment from the Israeli military, despite a severe shortage of hospital supplies with which to treat the wounded.
Mr Qasem dismissed Israel’s decision to send the aid as a propaganda stunt. “The occupation is trying to show that it has a human face, which is wrong. These trucks carrying these medical supplies are covered with Palestinian blood,” he said.
Israel said the Hamas refusal was proof that it did not care about the residents of Gaza. Several other aid shipments from the UN and the Palestinian Authority were allowed in.
Israel’s ambassador to Turkey left the country on Wednesday after Ankara ordered him to leave the country.
Turkish media filmed him facing an intensive security search at the airport, prompting Israel’s foreign ministry to lodge an official complaint over his treatment.