Clashes in Gaza Strip claim 2 more lives

A Palestinian protester slings a stone towards Israeli soldiers during clashes on the Israeli border with Gaza, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (AP)
Updated 09 December 2017

Clashes in Gaza Strip claim 2 more lives

GAZA CITY: Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli troops on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip continued for a second day on Saturday, as Hamas called on Palestinians to continue the escalation.

Two Hamas militants were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Saturday after rocket fire from the enclave hit an Israeli town, and the death toll in violence linked to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital rose to four.

In a separate strike on a military facility in a built-up area on Saturday night, 15 people were injured, including a child, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The ministry of health also reported that 30 protesters were injured in clashes along the border between Gaza and Israel.

The Israeli military said it had responded to rocket fire by striking four facilities belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It said one of the rockets fired at Israel hit the town of Sderot, but no casualties were reported.

A day earlier, two protesters were shot dead and over 150 injured near the border during a “day of rage” against Trump’s decision, which the American president announced on Wednesday.

There have been widespread protests following the contentious White House announcement, with tens of thousands gathering across the region to show their anger. In the occupied West Bank the Israeli military has used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to break up demonstrations. However, the sharpest escalation has been in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, has called for a third intifada against Israel in the wake of Trump’s decision.

The armed wing of Hamas continued its military parade inside Palestinian cities in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, with masked fighters carrying rifles and ammunition, in an attempt to demonstrate its power to the public.

Hazim Qasem, a spokesman for Hamas, said Israel will suffer the consequences of the escalation, and placed the death of the demonstrators and airstrikes in the context of “ongoing crimes” against the people of Gaza. Hamas accused the US of giving Israel “cover for these crimes.”

“The spark of the Jerusalem uprising was launched on Friday and will continue until its objectives are achieved in the freedom of Jerusalem,” Qasem said. “The occupation bears the consequences of the escalation in the Gaza Strip.”

He added, “Palestinian people are ready to redeem Jerusalem with their blood, and their families will not surrender in their confrontation with the occupation.”

Mustafa Ibrahim, a political analyst from Gaza, told Arab News the escalation may continue. “But it depends on the possibility of Palestinians continuing to go where the Israeli occupation forces are, whether in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank,” he said.

Christian leaders urge Israeli PM to nix church lands bill

Updated 25 min 59 sec ago

Christian leaders urge Israeli PM to nix church lands bill

JERUSALEM: Christian leaders in Jerusalem are urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop a bill that the churches say would allow the state to appropriate land sold to buyers.
Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian church leaders wrote a letter to Netanyahu on Friday saying the vote “constitutes a flagrant disregard” of his earlier assurances to block the legislation. The government’s Ministerial Legislation Committee will reportedly vote on the bill on Sunday.
The bill’s sponsor, lawmaker Rachel Azaria, has said the questionable sales of these properties have plunged thousands of Jerusalem residents into uncertainty over their living conditions.
Earlier this year, the churches shut Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, for three days after the municipality tried to levy taxes on church properties.