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
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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.


China, Iran meet amid efforts to preserve nuclear deal

Updated 14 min 11 sec ago
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China, Iran meet amid efforts to preserve nuclear deal

  • Germany, Britain, France, China, Russia and the EU have been trying to preserve the 2015 deal
  • The deal was meant to keep Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but the US withdrew from it last year

BEIJING: The foreign ministers of China and Iran met in Beijing on Tuesday amid efforts to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
No details were immediately released about the discussions between China’s Wang Yi and Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is leading a delegation that includes parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani and the ministers of finance and petroleum, as well as the CEO of the country’s central bank.
Germany, Britain, France, China, Russia and the European Union have been trying to preserve the 2015 deal meant to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief after the unilateral withdrawal of the US last year.
Zarif told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday that a barter-type system known as INSTEX set up last month by France, Germany and Britain to allow businesses to skirt direct financial transactions with Iran, and thereby evade possible US sanctions, fell short of commitments to save the nuclear deal.
Zarif addressed the conference a day after US Vice President Mike Pence prodded Germany, France and Britain to follow Washington in withdrawing from the deal and to “stop undermining US sanctions.”
Prior to Larijani’s departure from Tehran, China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted him as saying Iran and China have “close and amicable” relations in diverse areas, and that both sides have enjoyed the support of each other in the international arena.