U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Florida Gov. Rick Scott finally
have one thing they can agree on – choosing to remain silent about the dozens of Gaza residents killed by Israeli troops during protests that coincided with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
The Washington Post
reports at least 60 people have died after Israeli soldiers fired at Palestinian protesters demonstrating against the economic blockades from Israel and Egypt that has caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and calling for the right of return to territory that is now part of Israel. At least six people killed were under the age of 18, and more than 2,700 people were injured. Most of the protesters were unarmed, though some threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, according to Vox
. On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the country's right to protect its borders and blamed Hamas, the group controlling Gaza that's considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., for inciting protesters.
Less than 60 miles away, hundreds of U.S. and Israeli officials were celebrating the contentious opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, almost six months after President Donald Trump made the decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv
Florida Gov. Rick Scott was one of dozens of American officials to attend the ceremony. Two Twitter accounts
affiliated with Scott tweeted several times about the embassy opening and even a photo with Netanyahu – but nothing about the bloody crackdown on Gaza residents mere miles away.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson criticized Scott for being out of state in Israel on a taxpayer-funded trip while Florida was preparing for a potential storm, according to the Orlando Sentinel
. On Nelson's Twitter account, he also celebrated the relocation of the U.S. Embassy and talked about securing a "lasting peace" between Israelis and Palestinians. But again, nothing about people gunned down by military forces not too far from that new, shiny embassy.
When asked if Scott planned to make a comment on the deaths in Gaza, the governor's office pointed to an appearance Scott made on a Fox News show with host Bill Hemmer.
The short clip
shows the governor thanking President Trump at length for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, but Scott says nothing specific about the people who died while he was at the embassy's celebration.
"We are watching the unrest on the Gaza border," Hemmer says in the video. "John Bolton is making the case that in order to establish a path to peace, one must recognize a reality – and the reality is that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital."
Hemmer then asks Scott, "In your view, how does it help the ultimate peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians?"
"I think America has to stand strong," Scott says as a video played of the violence in Gaza. "Tell everybody in the Middle East: America is going to stand with Israel. We're gonna fight for peace. We all believe in peace. Israel clearly believes in peace. And I think having a strong America that stands for something is going to make sure ...[we] have a greater chance to have peace here."
reached out to Nelson's office for a comment on the deaths in Gaza but did not receive an immediate response.
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