Israeli troops kill Palestinian teen at Gaza protest

Relatives and friends of a Palestinian teenager who was killed near the border fence react as they mourn outside a hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 29, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2019

Israeli troops kill Palestinian teen at Gaza protest

  • At least 348 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since weekly protests began in March 2018

GAZA CITY: Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager near the border fence with the Gaza Strip on Friday, according to Palestinian officials.

Israel’s military said soldiers had been fending off Palestinians who had approached and tried to sabotage its security fence. The military also said the demonstrators threw a number of explosive devices.

Residents in Gaza said a few dozen Palestinians had approached the border fence, an area in which Israel’s military, citing security concerns, enforces a “no go” zone. 

Some in the crowd hurled stones at the barrier, residents said. One 16-year-old was killed and four other people were wounded by live fire, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers had “identified a number of attempts to approach the fence as well as a number of attempts to sabotage it.”

“Troops responded with riot dispersal means and 0.22 caliber rounds,” the spokesman said. “A report regarding the death of a Palestinian is being looked into.”

Israeli soldiers have been confronted by frequent Palestinian protests that often turn violent along the Gaza border. They have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators who the military said hurled rocks or petrol bombs at them.

The organizers of those protests said they had called off this week’s mass-demonstration, but a smaller crowd still gathered.

Egypt, Qatar and the UN have been working to keep the border calm. “We are looking into information about the death of a Palestinian,” an Israeli army spokesman told AFP. 

At least 348 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since weekly protests began in March 2018, more than half of them during demonstrations. Others have been killed in airstrikes or by tank fire.

The often violent protests are demanding that Israel ease its blockade of the Strip and that Palestinians be allowed to return to their ancestral homes now inside Israel.

Israel accuses Hamas of orchestrating the protests. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

Israel accuses the coastal enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas of orchestrating the protests and using them as cover to carry out attacks.


British MPs urge UK government to recognize Palestine

Updated 21 January 2020

British MPs urge UK government to recognize Palestine

  • Palestinian envoy welcomes cross-party call ahead of visit by Prince Charles

LONDON: A group of British MPs has called for the UK to recognize the state of Palestine ahead of a visit by Prince Charles to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

In a letter to The Times, the MPs, along with figures from think tanks and pressure groups, said the move was long overdue and would help fulfill Britain’s “promise of equal rights for peoples in two states.” 

The call comes as the heir to the British throne travels on Thursday to Israel and the occupied West Bank. 

During the visit, he will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. 

Prince Charles will also attend the World Holocaust Forum to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

The letter said since 2014, no meaningful progress has been made in the peace process, and Israel’s actions are pushing a two-state solution beyond reach.

“Illegal Israeli settlements, described by the Foreign Office as undermining peace efforts, are expanding,” the letter said.

Among the signatories are Emily Thornberry, a candidate for the Labour Party leadership, and Crispin Blunt, chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council.

Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian envoy to the UK, welcomed the move but said full recognition from the British government should have happened many years ago.

“Recognition doesn’t contradict peacemaking and negotiations,” Zomlot told Arab News, referring to the main argument used by the UK against taking such a step. 

“It reinforces the vision (of a Palestinian state) and a negotiated two-state solution. It should happen now because of the threat of annexation (of Palestinian territory) and the killing of the two-state solution.”

FASTFACT

Prince Charles will also attend the World Holocaust Forum to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

Alistair Carmichael, a Liberal Democrat MP who signed the letter, told Arab News that the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government toward Palestine “makes the achievement of a two-state solution more and more remote with every week that passes.”

He said: “The UK has historic and political obligations toward Israelis and Palestinians. There’s now no longer any good reason not to recognize the state of Palestine.”

A spokesman for Labour MP Fabian Hamilton, who also signed the letter, told Arab News: “The fact that this has cross-party support shows the growing desire across Parliament for the recognition of a Palestinian state and a two-state solution.”

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said the international community needs to finally stand up for the solution that it has had on the table for decades.

Doyle, an Arab News columnist, said the letter is an “indication that many people in British politics think we should be doing this, we should be standing up for the Palestinian right to self-determination, the legal rights, at a time when the state of Israel is doing everything to stop this, to take more land from the Palestinians.”

The letter was timed to coincide with a meeting of European foreign ministers on Monday, who discussed the Middle East peace process.

The Palestinian Authority, which runs parts of the West Bank, has been increasing calls for European countries to recognize the state of Palestine as the US has shifted to a more pro-Israel stance, including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.

Writing in The Guardian on Monday, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Europe could strengthen its role in the peace process if it recognized Palestine.

“European recognition of this state is not only a European responsibility but a concrete way to move towards a just and lasting peace,” he said.

Only nine out of the 28 EU countries have so far recognized Palestine as a state, compared to 138 out of the 193 UN member states.

In 2011, the UK’s then-Foreign Minister William Hague said the British government “reserves the right” to recognize Palestine “at a time of our own choosing, and when it can best serve the cause of peace.”

In 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to that of “nonmember observer state.”