Israeli troops shoot 17 Palestinians during protests

A number of people have been shot. (AFP)
Updated 01 March 2019

Israeli troops shoot 17 Palestinians during protests

  • Demonstrators have been calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes now inside Israel

GAZA CITY: Israeli troops on Friday shot and wounded 17 Palestinians during a protest on the Gaza-Israel border, where rallies have been held for nearly a year, the enclave’s Health Ministry said.

A ministry statement reported “17 injuries by the Israeli occupation forces with live ammunition,” without giving details on the condition of those shot.

It said that three paramedics and one journalist were hurt by tear gas grenades. The Israeli army told AFP that troops used live fire “according to the rules of engagement” with violent demonstrators.

“There are close to 8,000 rioters who are throwing stones, who are burning tires and throwing explosive devices and grenades at troops and at the (border) fence,” a spokeswoman said.

“In response we are using riot dispersal means and also firing, according to the rules of engagement of course,” she said.

The conclusions of a UN probe published on Thursday said Israeli forces responding to protests on the Gaza border had committed “violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

“Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity,” said the report, by a commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council. Protests and clashes began along the Gaza border on March 30 last year.

Demonstrators have been calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes now inside Israel, which Israeli officials say is akin to calling for their country’s destruction.

Israel accuses Gaza’s rulers Hamas of using the protests as cover for infiltrations and attacks, while rights groups and Palestinians say protesters posing little threat have been shot by Israeli snipers.

At least 251 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March 2018, the majority shot during weekly border protests and others hit by tank fire or air strikes in response to violence from Gaza.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.

Israeli leaders strongly condemned the findings of the UN inquiry, which investigated possible violations from the start of the protests last March through to Dec. 31.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “rejects outright the report.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz called it “hostile, deceitful and biased” and insisted that “no institution can negate Israel’s right to self-defense.”

Israel and Hamas, which has controlled the blockaded Gaza Strip for over a decade, have fought three wars since 2008.

Trump plan calls for Palestinian state, settlement freeze

Updated 41 min 49 sec ago

Trump plan calls for Palestinian state, settlement freeze

  • The US president will be joined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the press conference in Washington scheduled for 5pm GMT

WASHINGTON: US officials said Tuesday President Donald Trump's long-awaited Middle East peace plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in portions of east Jerusalem, ending speculation as to whether his administration, in preparing a proposal without input from Palestinian leaders, would abandon a “two-state resolution" to the conflict. The officials said the plan to be unveiled on Tuesday more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, although it also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something to which the Palestinians will almost certainly object. The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal, accusing Trump of being biased in favor of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense. The plan does call for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Trump's announcement. However, it was not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years. The 50-page political outline goes further in concessions to the Palestinians than many analysts had believed was likely. However, it would require them to accept conditions they have been previously unwilling to consider, such as accepting West Bank settlements. It builds on a 30-page economic plan for the West Bank and Gaza that was unveiled last June and which the Palestinians have also rejected, Under the terms of the “peace vision" that Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working on for nearly three years, the future Palestinian state would consist of the West Bank and Gaza, connected by a combination of above-ground roads and tunnels, according to the officials. The officials said that both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political challenger in March elections, Benny Gantz, had signed off on the plan. Netanyahu will be beside Trump as he unveils the plan at the White House. The event comes as Trump's impeachment trial continues in the Se

Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed to meet in the West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss a response to Trump.

The Arab League said it will convene an urgent meeting on Saturday in response to the peace plan.

Hossam Zaki, the pan-Arab body’s deputy secretary, said Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas would attend to discuss the “so-called Deal of the Century.”

*With Wires