JERUSALEM: Two Palestinians were shot dead and 60 suffered bullet wounds on Friday when Israeli troops opened fire on protesters demonstrating against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Thousands of Palestinian protesters confronted Israeli security forces along the Gaza border fence, in all the occupied West Bank’s seven cities and in East Jerusalem. In Bethlehem, smoke from burning tires billowed in the street.
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Kidra said a 24-year-old and a 29-year-old were shot dead in clashes along the border with Israel. He said 120 people had been wounded, half of them shot with live ammunition and the rest struck by rubber bullets or tear-gas canisters.
Palestinian health officials said at least one Palestinian suffered a live bullet wound in the West Bank and about 30 protesters were hit by rubber bullets.
Amnesty International called on Israeli authorities to stop using excessive force. “The fact that live ammunition has been used during protests in Gaza and the West Bank is particularly shocking,” it said.
Friday’s deaths raised to 10 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops since Dec. 6, when the Jerusalem decision was announced.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a Christmas message, called the US move “an insult to millions of people worldwide, and also to the city of Jerusalem.”
Abbas also said Palestinians would reject new Middle East peace proposals to be unveiled by US President Donald Trump early next year.
“The United States has proved to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from it,” he told a joint press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron repeated his earlier condemnation of the US decision, but he also ruled out recognizing Palestine as a state, which France has considered before.
“The Americans have marginalized themselves and I am trying to not do the same thing,” Macron said.
Abbas praised Macron at the news conference, which was notable for the warmth of the exchanges and the relaxed body language.