Israeli fire wounds 14 as thousands of Palestinians protest at Gaza border

A wounded Palestinian is evacuated during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip January 18, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 18 January 2019

Israeli fire wounds 14 as thousands of Palestinians protest at Gaza border

GAZA CITY: Thousands of Palestinians have gathered for a weekly protest along the fence between Gaza and Israel.
The Palestinian Health Ministry says that Israeli gunfire wounded 14 Palestinians and that three medics suffered from a barrage of tear gas that targeted their ambulance.
The protest appeared subdued compared to last week’s violence, in which one woman was killed and more than two dozen Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were wounded, prompting retaliatory Israeli air strikes.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel would decide whether to allow the latest delivery of economic aid from Qatar to flow into Gaza based on the level of escalation Friday.
Israel has been allowing Qatar to transfer batches of $15 million in aid, intended for the salaries of Gaza’s civil servants, directly to Hamas since November. But the shipment was delayed earlier this month after a rocket was fired from Gaza that caused no casualties but threatened to spike tensions between the bitter enemies.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers have orchestrated the weekly protests, in part to call for the lifting of a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade imposed when the group seized power in 2007. The blockade has devastated the local economy in Gaza, where unemployment exceeds 50 percent.
Israeli forces have killed more than 185 Palestinians and wounded thousands since the demonstrations began last spring. An Israeli soldier was killed in July.
Earlier Friday, Israeli forces demolished the family home of a Palestinian charged with fatally stabbing an American-Israeli settler several months ago.
Israeli soldiers surrounded Khalil Jabarin’s home in the southern West Bank village of Yatta and destroyed the apartment with explosives after his family cleared out.
Jabarin, 17, was accused of killing the US-born settler activist Ari Fuld at a mall near a West Bank settlement in September. Footage showed Fuld firing at his attacker before collapsing.
The military says dozens of Palestinians protesting the demolition hurled rocks toward the forces, who responded with “riot dispersal means,” which usually refers to rubber-tipped bullets and tear gas.
While Israel claims home demolitions serve as a deterrent to potential attackers, critics say the tactic amounts to collective punishment that inflames hostility.


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 12 min ago

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”