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Haley's UNSC speech disconnect with reality: PLO official

  UNITED NATIONS, May 16 (Xinhua) -- A senior Palestinian official on Wednesday criticized U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley's speech at the Security Council the day before as "a total disconnect" with the reality.

  "If the supreme provocation of extracting Jerusalem from the heart of Palestine ... if that is not the cause for protest, will the Palestinians see the end of any chances of peace?" said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

  On Monday, thousands of Palestinians participated in demonstrations in Gaza to protest the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At least 61 protestors were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

  At Tuesday's UNSC emergency meeting dedicated to the issue, Haley said, "Those who suggest that the Gaza violence has anything to do with the location of the American embassy are sorely mistaken. Rather, the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location," in reference to the instigation by Hamas, which controls Gaza.

  "To claim that the protests have nothing to do with the American decision (to relocate its embassy) means that there is a total disconnect with the reality," said Ashrawi, who heads the PLO's culture and information department.

  In addition, she accused Israel and the United States of "constantly finding Hamas a convenient scapegoat" for the deaths of the Palestinians "at the hands of Israeli military," saying the Palestinians' protests are "grassroots" and "spontaneous" moves and that they are not a "push button" people who act on behalf of Hamas.

  Since Dec. 6 when U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to move the U.S. embassy, some 155 Palestinians have been killed and 12,000 injured protesting the move by Israeli forces, she said.