1 dead, dozens injured in Gaza protests after Trump's Jerusalem announcement

A 30-year-old Gazan was killed and dozens more were wounded in skirmishes between Israeli forces and protesters along Gaza’s border with Israel on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Mohammed Al-Masri died after being struck by live fire east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and that more than 35 Palestinians were injured, two seriously, the ministry said.

It was the first death since clashes erupted across the Palestinian territories after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Israeli military said in a statement that during clashes along the border fence soldiers “fired selectively at two main instigators” and confirmed hitting them.

Israeli police has deployed reinforcements in and around Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, in anticipation of Palestinian protests over the Trump administration’s recognition of the contested city as the Israeli capital.

Palestinian political groups have called for massive demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem after Friday prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week. Separately, the Gaza-based leader of the Islamic militant Hamas has agitated for a third uprising against Israel.

Though Trump insisted that the move was meant to acknowledge the current reality and not prejudge negotiations on Jerusalem’s status, it carried deep symbolic meaning and was seen by the Palestinians as siding with Israel.

Trump’s seismic policy shift on Jerusalem, announced earlier this week, also provoked outrage elsewhere in the Arab and Muslim world, including among U.S allies such as Jordan and Egypt. Hundreds of Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia protested outside U.S. embassies, while thousands of Yemenis protested in the capital, Sanaa, as well as other areas held by Iran-backed Shia rebels known as Houthis.

Protests in other countries

For decades, the United States had professed neutrality on the fate of Jerusalem, in line with an international consensus that the fate of the holy city should be determined in negotiations.

Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, is sought by the Palestinians as a future capital. It is also home to major Muslim, Jewish and Christian shrines. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital.

The opposing claims lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have often precipitated deadly violence.

After Trump’s announcement Wednesday, Palestinian groups had called for three “days of rage” as a response.

Dozens of Palestinians were slightly injured in the clashes, mostly from tear gas inhalation. An Israeli military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said troops were instructed to use minimal force and avoid using live fire to avoid escalating the situation.

The U.S. also announced its embassy would eventually move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says it will likely take several years before an embassy in Jerusalem.

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-JERUSALEM

Palestinians take part in a Hamas rally in Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp on Friday in response to the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Speaking from Paris in a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Tillerson said it will “take some time” to acquire a site for the embassy, develop building and construction plans, obtain authorizations from the Israeli government and actually build the embassy, which would seem to rule out the existing U.S. consulate in Jerusalem as a site.

Tillerson said it probably wouldn’t happen until 2019 at the earliest.

He also said Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital “did not indicate any final status for Jerusalem.”

The U.S. is making clear that Jerusalem’s borders will be left to Israelis and Palestinians to “negotiate and decide,” Tillerson said.

Israel map

(CBC)

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