Gazan wounded in Israel border clashes last week said to die of injuries

Gazan wounded in Israel border clashes last week said to die of injuries

In all, 11 Palestinians reported killed since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Palestinian protesters carry a wounded comrade during clashes with Israeli soldiers near the border fence east of Gaza City on December 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)
Palestinian protesters carry a wounded comrade during clashes with Israeli soldiers near the border fence east of Gaza City on December 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

A Palestinian died on Saturday after being wounded by Israeli fire during a protest on the Gaza border against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said.

Sharaf Shalash, 28, sustained bullet wounds last Sunday during a demonstration east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, said ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

His death, if confirmed, would bring to 11 the number of Palestinians who have been killed since US President Donald Trump announced on December 6 that he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that he would move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. Two of the Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes on a Hamas base.

Two Palestinians were injured in clashes with the IDF along the Gaza Strip’s northern security fence on Saturday, as demonstrations continued.

A spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry said one Palestinian was moderately injured after being shot by an Israeli sniper. Another demonstrator was hit in the hand with a tear-gas canister and was lightly injured.

The army said it only used live fire when the lives of soldiers were in danger.

“Throughout the day along the Gaza Strip, there were approximately 140 Palestinian rioters. They were rolling burning tires and throwing rocks at soldiers as well as at the security fence. The violent riots were in four main locations. Our troops responded with riot dispersal means, which included live fire at one of the protesters who posed a danger to the IDF soldiers,” the army said.

On Friday, the Gaza health ministry said 24-year-old Zakaria al-Kafarneh and another unnamed protester were killed in clashes as thousands took part in riots in the coastal enclave and across the West Bank for the third straight week following Trump’s announcement.

The health ministry also said that five or six other Palestinian rioters were shot with live ammunition.

Hamas, the Islamist terror group that seized control of Gaza in 2007, has been encouraging thousands of Gazans to confront Israeli troops at the border fence since Trump’s declaration, and has urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers in order to liberate Jerusalem.

According to the IDF, some 2,000 Palestinians took part in the protests, throwing rocks and rolling burning tires at the fence and the soldiers on the other side.

In the West Bank on Friday, protesters threw rocks and rolled burning tires at IDF troops, who responded with less-lethal riot dispersal weapons, like tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades.

Palestinian protesters burn tires during clashes with Israeli border guards north of Ramallah in the West Bank on December 22, 2017. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

The fresh violence came a day after the UN General Assembly resolution denouncing Trump’s shift in US policy regarding Jerusalem.

The US and Israel had waged an intensive lobbying campaign against the UN measure, with US Ambassador Nikki Haley sending letters to over 180 countries warning that Washington would be taking names of those who voted against the US.

Trump went further, threatening a funding cutoff. “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” he posted on Twitter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CNN aired on Friday that Trump’s Jerusalem declaration recognizes “a historical truth.”

“Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years from the time of King David. It has been the capital of the state of Israel for 70 years, and it’s about time that the United States said, and I’m glad they said it, ‘This is the capital and we recognize it’ and I think that’s going to be followed by other countries,” Netanyahu said. He would not name the countries he was referring to but said that they are “seriously considering” following the US’s lead and moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, prepares to speak on the floor of the General Assembly on December 21, 2017 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Speaking in Paris, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared the US is “no longer an honest mediator in the peace process.”

Abbas also denounced the US threat to cut financial aid for countries who voted to back the UN resolution.

In a Christmas message, sent by his office as he met with French President Emmanuel Macron, Abbas said Trump’s move disqualified the US from continuing in its traditional role as mediator in peace talks.

“The US chose to be biased. Their future plan for Palestine will not be based on the two-state solution on the 1967 border, nor will it be based on International Law or UN resolutions,” Abbas said in the written message.

Trump’s announcement earlier this month was followed by violent Palestinian protests in the West Bank and Gaza, but the protests subsided considerably after the first week, and Israeli officials believe there is little likelihood of a full-fledged wave of violence developing.

Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, seeks to destroy Israel. It has been urging a new intifada since Trump’s announcement, and has encouraged thousands of Gazans to confront Israeli troops at the Gaza border fence, where there have been several fatalities in recent weeks.

Trump said his decision merely recognizes the fact that Jerusalem already serves as Israel’s capital and is not meant to prejudge the final borders of the city.

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