Jared Kushner delivers a speech
© MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images
Jared Kushner delivers a speech during the opening of the U.S embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.
The opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem turned into a major diplomatic fiasco Monday when Israeli forces killed more than 50 protesters and injured over 1,200 along the Gaza Strip during the festivities.

The White House laid the blame for the violence at the feet of Hamas, the fundamentalist Islamic group, but the international community condemned President Trump's decision to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv.

The President and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the architect of Trump's Middle East policy, maintained it was a "great day" for Israel.

Kushner; his wife, Ivanka Trump; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and about 800 well-dressed guests attending the opening at the former U.S. Consulate compound in southeastern Jerusalem that was rededicated as the new embassy.

About 50 miles away, more than 40,000 protesters at the Israel-Gaza border clashed with Israeli troops before, during and after the embassy kickoff.

Kushner, in his address at the ceremony, blamed the protesters, many of whom were hurling rocks, for the violence.

"Those provoking problems like we see today in Gaza are part of the problem and not part of the solution," Kushner said.

The commencement came on the 70th anniversary of Israel's independence. It was also the single deadliest day in the territory since the 2014 war with Israel.

Despite the bloodshed, Kushner told the embassy crowd that he still held hopes for peace, saying that the "journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth."

Gaza strip
© MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images
Palestinian protesters run for cover as tear gas is released during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel.
The White House defended the embassy relocation and shrugged off the bloodshed.

"I don't think it hurts the peace plan. The peace plan will be introduced at the appropriate time, but what today is about is following through on what the President promised and believes," White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

"I think we for decades walked on eggshells pretending Jerusalem isn't the capital of Israel when it obviously is."

The relocation of the embassy - a campaign promise of Trump's - was hugely controversial because Palestinians consider the Holy City their capital as well.

Palestinians carry a demonstrator
© THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images
Palestinians carry a demonstrator injured during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on Monday.
"What a glorious day for Israel!" said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We are in Jerusalem, and we are here to stay."

The Israeli military estimated that more than 40,000 Palestinians took part in the protests at a dozen sites along the Gaza border fence, and said its soldiers were following "standard operating procedures" to push back Palestinians seeking to break through the fence.

At least 55 protesters were killed.

Israeli Army spokesman Ronen Manelis told reporters that there was "unprecedented violence" in the protests and that three groups of gunmen were operating under the cover of the demonstrations. Three of the dead were Palestinians who were killed while attempting to plant an explosive device along the border fence, the Israeli Army said.

inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
© MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images
Staff members prepare the stage ahead of the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar blamed Trump for the bloodshed. "Trump, who is moving today his country's embassy to Jerusalem without any concerns or deterrence, is the first and only one responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people's blood shed today," Zahar said.

Turkey and South Africa withdrew their ambassadors from Israel and the United States in protest.

The United Nations human rights chief demanded an end to the killing, which he called "outrageous human rights violations."

"Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now," said Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad, UN high commissioner for human rights.

Palestinians run for cover
© MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images
Palestinians run for cover from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Monday.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri called the embassy opening a "provocative" act that closes the door to any hope of peace between the two peoples.

"This decision that is igniting the anger of millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians," Hariri tweeted Monday.

The new embassy allows "Israelis to spill more blood of innocent Palestinians and increases the intensity of extremism that threatens the world community," he posted.

Russia's top diplomat called the move "shortsighted."

Trump did not mention the violence in a Monday morning tweet about the embassy opening. He plugged the coverage of the conservative-leaning network Fox News.

Secretary of State Pompeo jumped into the fray, expressing the U.S.' hope for peace in the region, but he didn't mention the violence or the deaths.

"We remain committed to advancing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians," he said.

With New Wire Services