Palestinians say one killed as Israeli troops fire on Gaza protest

A teenager was killed and dozens of other Palestinians injured by Israeli fire at a border protest, Gaza officials said. (File/AP/Felipe Dana)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Palestinians say one killed as Israeli troops fire on Gaza protest

  • The border between Gaza and Israel has been the scene of weekly Palestinian demonstrations since March 30
  • The Israeli army says it is defending its border against rioting protesters who have sought to breach the fence and enter Israel

GAZA: Israeli forces opened fire during a demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing a Palestinian youth, the Palestinian health ministry said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops came under attack on the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip, stones and firebombs were thrown at them and they responded with “riot dispersal means.” Live rounds were fired according to “open-fire regulations,” she said.
Ashraf Al-Qidra, a spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry, said 15-year-old Moamen Ibrahim Abu Eyada was shot dead by Israeli soldiers east of the town of Rafah, which lies at the southern end of the Gaza Strip and borders Egypt.
The border between Gaza and Israel has been the scene of weekly Palestinian demonstrations since March 30 and protests have recently taken place late at night, as was the case on Wednesday.
The Israeli military said earlier there had been several incidents along the Gaza-Israel border on Wednesday “with the participation of hundreds of rioters” who rolled burning tires and hurled firebombs and rocks at soldiers. It said there were no Israeli casualties.
At least 182 Palestinians have been killed in the protests, according to Palestinian health officials.
The Israeli army says it is defending its border against rioting protesters who have sought to breach the fence and enter Israel.
Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but maintains tight control of its land and sea borders and has fought three wars there in the past decade against Hamas Islamist militants who control the territory.
With Egypt, Israel has imposed a blockade that the World Bank says has brought Gaza’s economy to crisis, leaving its 2 million people with limited access to health care, clean water and electricity.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled since 2014.


First Arab-EU summit billed as chance to cooperate in troubled region

Updated 22 February 2019
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First Arab-EU summit billed as chance to cooperate in troubled region

  • President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will host the two-day summit in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh
  • EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the gathering is about much more than migration
CAIRO: European and Arab leaders are to hold their first summit Sunday, in what the top EU diplomat sees as a chance to boost cooperation across a troubled Mediterranean region.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will host the two-day summit in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss topics like security, trade, development and migration.
Wars and conflicts in places such as Syria and Libya are on the agenda at a summit guarded by the security forces who are fighting a bloody jihadist insurgency a short distance to the north.
But analysts voiced doubts over how much progress can be made, with Europe split over migration and Arab countries still grappling with the fallout from Arab Spring revolutions.
European leaders first mentioned the summit in Austria in September amid efforts to agree ways to curb the illegal migration that has sharply divided the 28-nation bloc.
But checking migration is only part of Europe’s broader strategy to forge a new alliance with its southern neighbors.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini insists that the gathering in Egypt of more than 40 heads of state and government is about much more than migration.
“We will have frank, open discussions, not only on migration, definitely not,” Mogherini told journalists in Brussels on Monday.
“We will have first of all discussions on our economic cooperation, on our common region,” she said.
“That is a troubled region but also full of opportunities.”
Attending will be Donald Tusk, president of the European Council of EU member countries, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.
EU officials said 25 European heads of state and government will attend.
These include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who could also discuss the stalemate over Brexit on the sidelines.
Apart from El-Sisi, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri will attend from the 22-member Arab League, which is based in Cairo. It is not yet clear who else will be present.
A UN official warned that Europe’s failure to bridge divisions on migration “risks blocking all the other discussions” at the summit.
“How do you discuss an issue if you can’t even mention it!” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
He said EU countries like Hungary refuse to mention migration because they oppose asylum seekers and migrants, particularly from Muslim countries.
The EU has struck aid-for-cooperation agreements with Turkey and Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli, which has sharply cut the flow of migrants since a 2015 peak.
But the official said broader cooperation with the Arab League, which includes Libya, is limited without the EU being able to speak in one voice.
Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Tunisia and Libya, said the summit will struggle “to establish a dialogue between two sides who are confronted with their own challenges.”
The meeting comes as “the Arab countries are still feeling the effects of the revolutions started in 2011,” Pierini told AFP.
“Arab League unity is in trouble,” said Pierini, now an analyst with the Carnegie Europe think tank.
With expectations low for EU-Arab progress, the focus may shift to EU efforts to break the logjam over Britain’s looming exit from the bloc on March 29.
Britain’s Philip Hammond said May would have an “opportunity” in Egypt to discuss Brexit with her EU counterparts who have balked at her requests for concessions to sell the divorce to her parliament.
But officials in Brussels and London have played down the prospect of a Brexit “deal in the desert” to try to ensure an orderly departure.