Israeli troops shot dead at least two Palestinians and wounded about 60 with live fire on Friday, the Health Ministry in Gaza said, as protests intensified against Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
A UN General Assembly resolution passed on Thursday, rejecting US President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 Jerusalem declaration, did little to calm Palestinian anger over his reversal of decades-old US policy on the contested holy city, according to a Reuters report.
Instead, thousands of Palestinian protesters, many of them throwing rocks, confronted Israeli security forces along the Gaza border fence, in all of occupied West Bank’s seven cities and in East Jerusalem.
In Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, smoke from burning tires billowed in the street, just two days before Christmas celebrations.
Israeli gunfire killed two Palestinians in a confrontation in the southern Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry said, putting the number of wounded at 120, half of them shot with live ammunition and the rest struck by rubber bullets or hit by tear gas canisters.
In a statement, the Israeli military said some 2,000 Palestinians had faced off against the troops at the Gaza border fence. It said the crowd threw stones and rolled burning tires at soldiers, who responded with “riot dispersal” measures and “fired live rounds selectively towards main instigators”.
Protesters chanted “Trump is a coward. Trump is a fool”. Among the wounded was a man dressed as Santa Claus.
Palestinian health officials said at least one Palestinian suffered a live bullet wound in the West Bank and some 30 protesters were hit by rubber bullets. The military, putting the number of demonstrators at about 1,700 and the injured at six, said troops faced firebombs, rocks, and burning tires.
The protests died down after sunset. Demonstrations have been held daily since Trump’s announcement. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a Christmas message, called the US leader’s move “an insult to millions of people worldwide, and also to the city of Jerusalem”.
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