At least two people were killed in clashes with Israeli troops on Friday when thousands of Palestinians demonstrated against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Palestinian president said Washington could no longer be a peace broker.
Across the Arab and Muslim worlds, thousands more protesters took to the streets on the Muslim holy day to express solidarity with the Palestinians and outrage at Trump’s reversal of decades of US policy.
Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man near the Gaza border, the first confirmed death in two days of unrest. Scores of people were wounded on the “Day of Rage”. A second person later died of their wounds, a Gaza hospital official said.
The Israeli army said hundreds of Palestinians were rolling burning tyres and throwing rocks at soldiers across the border.
“During the riots IDF soldiers fired selectively towards two main instigators and hits were confirmed,” it said.
More than 80 Palestinians were wounded in the occupied West Bank and Gaza by Israeli live fire and rubber bullets, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service. Dozens more suffered from tear gas inhalation. Thirty-one were wounded on Thursday.
As Friday prayers ended at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, worshippers made their way toward the walled Old City gates, chanting “Jerusalem is ours, Jerusalem is our capital” and “We don’t need empty words, we need stones and Kalashnikovs”. Scuffles broke out between protesters and police.
In Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers who fired back with tear gas.
In Gaza, controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, calls for worshippers to protest sounded over mosque loudspeakers. Hamas has called for a new Palestinian uprising like the “intifadas” of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, which together saw thousands of Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis killed.
“Whoever moves his embassy to occupied Jerusalem will become an enemy of the Palestinians and a target of Palestinian factions,” said Hamas leader Fathy Hammad as protesters in Gaza burned posters of Trump.
“We declare an intifada until the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Palestine.”
Protests largely died down as night fell. Rocket sirens sounded in southern Israeli towns near the Gaza border, and the Israeli military said it had intercepted one of at least two projectiles fired from Gaza. No casualties were reported.
Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a militant group linked to Abbas’s Fatah party, claimed responsibility for firing one of the rockets, and said it was in protest against Trump’s decision.
The military said another rocket hit the Israeli town of Sderot. No casualties were reported.
Israel’s military said that in response to the rocket fire, its aircraft bombed militant targets in Gaza 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. Witnesses said most of the wounded were residents of a building near the camp.
At the United Nations, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Washington still had credibility as a mediator.
“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.
But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appeared defiant.
”We reject the American decision over Jerusalem. With this position the United States has become no longer qualified to sponsor the peace process,” Abbas said in a statement. He did not elaborate further.
France, Italy, Germany, Britain and Sweden called on the United States to “bring forward detailed proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement”.
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