Tuesday 25 June 2019

Palestinian man killed in renewed clashes over Jerusalem status

A Palestinian protester pushes a burning tyre during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Bethlehem (AP)
A Palestinian protester pushes a burning tyre during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Bethlehem (AP)

A Palestinian man has been killed in renewed clashes with Israeli forces, Gaza's health ministry said, as fallout over US president Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital continued.

The fresh violence comes a day after a UN General Assembly resolution denouncing Mr Trump's decision.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said a 24-year-old man was killed after being shot in the chest during clashes along the border with Israel.

Another four Palestinians sustained moderate wounds, he said.

The Israeli military said it is investigating the report.

Palestinians have been clashing with Israeli troops across the West Bank and along the Gaza border since Mr Trump's Jerusalem announcement on December 6.

Nine Palestinians have been killed and dozens more wounded in the clashes so far.

In Bethlehem on Friday, some Palestinian protesters held anti-Trump banners reading: "Mr Trump, it's not your land to decide to whom it belongs, Jerusalem is ours and it belongs to us," and: "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine".

On Thursday, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to denounce Mr Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, largely ignoring the US leader's threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him.

The non-binding resolution declaring US action on Jerusalem "null and void" was approved 128-9 - a victory for the Palestinians, but not as big as they had predicted.

Amid Washington's threats, 35 of the 193 UN member nations abstained and 21 were absent.

The Trump administration made it clear the vote would have no effect on its plan to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The US and Israel had waged an intensive lobbying campaign against the UN measure, with US ambassador Nikki Haley sending letters to more than 180 countries warning that Washington would be taking the names of those who voted against the US.

Mr Trump went further, threatening a funding cut: "Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care."

Trump's announcement departed from decades of US policy that the fate of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiations.

East Jerusalem is home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites and the fate of the territory is an emotionally charged issue at the heart of the conflict.

The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war from Jordan, as the capital of their future state.

Israel said the entire city, including east Jerusalem, is its eternal capital.

Mr Trump said his decision merely recognises the fact that Jerusalem already serves as Israel's capital and is not meant to prejudge the final borders of the city.


Press Association

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