Home International One martyred, dozens wounded in “Day of Rage” protest in Gaza

One martyred, dozens wounded in “Day of Rage” protest in Gaza

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Day of Rage - Gaza
Palestinians call for a "Day of Rage" in response to US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital — near Beit El, Ramallah, West Bank, December 8, 2017. Credit @ REUTERS

GAZA: Israel’s military said its aircraft bombed militant targets in Gaza on Friday and the Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 25 people were wounded in the strikes, including six children.

The Israeli military said it had carried out the strikes on a militant training camp and on a weapons depot in response to rockets fired earlier from Gaza at Israeli towns.

At least one Palestinian was martyred in clashes with Israeli troops earlier on Friday and dozens wounded in “day of rage” protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The diplomatic fallout from the deeply controversial declaration also continued, with suggestions Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas could refuse to meet US Vice President Mike Pence on his visit to the region later this month.

The UN Security Council was meeting Friday in an emergency session to discuss Trump’s move, which has drawn near-universal condemnation, including from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Palestinian movement Hamas — which runs the Gaza Strip — had called for a “day of rage” after its leader Ismail Haniya said a new Intifada, or uprising, should begin.

The Palestinian martyred in clashes along Israel’s border with Gaza was the first death linked to protests since Trump’s declaration on Wednesday.

The Israeli army said around 4,500 Palestinians “participated in protests at six locations along the border with the Gaza Strip”.

“During the protests, soldiers fired selectively towards dozens of participants and hits were confirmed,” an English-language statement said.

“During the course of the day, 28 protesters were arrested and approximately 65 were injured,” it said, without elaborating.

Tens of thousands of people also took to the streets of Muslim and Arab countries across the world in protest, including in Jordan, Turkey and Malaysia.

Trump’s announcement has been met by a worldwide diplomatic backlash, though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lavished praise on the president and called the declaration “historic.”

For Jewish Israelis, the declaration is a simple recognition of reality and validation of their view that Jerusalem is their 3,000-year-old capital.

Trump said his defiant move — making good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge — marks the start of a “new approach” to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel has long claimed all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector of the city as the capital of their future state.

Its status is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and international consensus has been that it must be negotiated between the two sides.

“It’s empty talk,” said a 20-year-old man who gave his name only as Omar as he walked towards Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site and located in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Trump’s declaration and intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem are moves that may help him domestically since they were long-sought by US evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters — key parts of his electoral base and important financial donors.

European Union (EU) diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the decision could take the region “backwards to even darker times”.

Muslim and Middle Eastern leaders, including key US allies, have expressed alarm over Trump’s decision to break with decades of precedent with unpredictable consequences.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would put the region in a “ring of fire.”

Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior Palestinian official who has been involved in past peace talks, questioned what was left to negotiate.

“If these are the signs of the ultimate deal, God knows what the deal is going to be,” he said, referring to Trump’s pledge to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

“Maybe the expulsion of the Palestinians — God knows where.”

He was due to meet the Palestinian president in the second half of December on a regional tour, but a senior member of Abbas’s Fatah faction said this would not now happen.

“The American vice president is not welcome in Palestine. And President Abbas will not welcome him,” Jibril Rajoub said.

Nikki Haley — United States ambassador to the United Nations — speaks with Permanent Observer to the State of Palestine to the UN, Riyad Mansour before the start of a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, US, December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
 

A White House aide said Pence “still plans to meet with Abbas as scheduled”, and “believes it would be counterproductive for him to pull out of the meeting”.

Interestingly, however, Haley said Friday the US still has credibility as a mediator with both Israel and the Palestinians, after President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision as Israel’s capital.

“The United States has credibility with both sides. Israel will never be, and should never be, bullied into an agreement by the United Nations, or by any collection of countries that have proven their disregard for Israel’s security,” Haley told the UN Security Council.

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