Palestinian Teen Said Killed by Israeli Gunfire in Gaza Border Clashes

13 Gazans wounded, five by live fire, Gaza ministry says ■ Deadly Gaza border clashes a response to failed Israel-Hamas talks, Palestinians say

A protester hurls stones while others burn tires during a protest at the entrance of Erez border crossing between Gaza and Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, on September 18, 2018.
AP Photo/Adel Hana

A 15-year-old Palestinian teenager was killed and five others were wounded by live Israeli gunfire on the Gaza border on Wednesday, Gaza's Health Ministry reported. The teen, Moamen Ibrahim Abu Eyada, was killed east of Rafah as Israeli forces opened fire during clashes with protesters at the border.

Earlier the ministry said that 13 Palestinians were wounded in the clashes. The Israeli military said hundreds of Palestinians took part in the clashes, and some 20 of them crossed the security fence. The military said it arrested two Palestinians, while the rest returned to the Strip.

In similar clashes on Tuesday, two Palestinians were shot to death by the Israeli military during clashes between Palestinians and IDF forces near the Erez crossing, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Clashes along the Gaza-Israel border over the past few days have been no accident, and are a message from Hamas in light of the crisis in the reconciliation talks between Hamas and its Palestinian rival, Fatah, Palestinian sources said Wednesday night.

The clashes are also a response to the lack of progress toward a cease-fire deal between Hamas and Israel, the sources added.

A Fatah delegation headed by Azzam al-Ahmad has been in Cairo for the past few days holding intensive talks with Egyptian intelligence officials on the reconciliation deal. But reports from Cairo say that Fatah, which heads the Palestinian Authority, continues to insist on receiving full authority in Gaza as a condition for progress, whereas Hamas is demanding a partnership and a fixed timetable for creating a national unity government.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, said at a conference in Gaza on Tuesday that the demonstrations along the border, known as the March of Return, will continue until Israel’s partial blockade of Gaza is fully lifted.

He also implied that Hamas would continue seeking to trade a cease-fire for a lifting of the blockade regardless of what happens in the internal reconciliation talks.

>> Read more: The Bad News: Israel-Hamas Deal Stalls. The Good News: No One Wants Another War | Analysis

“We’re marching without hesitation for the lifting of the siege, and it’s impossible to turn Gaza residents into hostages because the reconciliation isn’t progressing,” he said.

In Ramallah, Haniyeh’s statements were seen as a clear threat that Hamas is heading toward a cease-fire deal with no connection to the reconciliation. Consequently, associates of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas predicted that he would increase pressure on Gaza through increased sanctions and funding cuts. However, these steps won’t take effect until after Abbas returns from the UN General Assembly at the end of September.

Also on Wednesday amid clashes, the army informed the family of the assailant who killed Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky in May that it plans to demolish the four-story building where the assailant lived. Lubarsky was killed during an operation in the West Bank’s Al-Am’ari refugee camp.

The army had informed the family of plans to demolish two of the building’s stories three weeks ago. But after further consideration, it decided to demolish the entire building.

Lubarsky, 20, an Israeli soldier from the elite unit Duvdevan, died from critical injuries he sustained during a military raid on a West Bank refugee camp near Ramallah. He was critically injured when a heavy stone slab was thrown from the third floor of a building during arrests at the al-Am’ari refugee camp.