Two Palestinians Killed in Clashes With Israeli Forces Along Gaza Border

Dozens of protesters wounded in Gaza and the West Bank day after UN overwhelmingly votes to reject Trump's recognition of Jerusalem

A Palestinian protester kicks a flaming tire during clashes with Israeli security forces north of Ramallah December 22, 2017.
ABBAS MOMANI/Bloomberg

Two Palestinians were killed Friday in clashes with Israeli forces on the Gaza border.

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The Palestinian health ministry said the two men, ages 24 and 29,  were shot dead. Around 40 people were wounded by Israeli security forces' live gunfire on the Gaza border. One of the wounded is in moderate condition while the rest were lightly hurt. 

Meanwhile, 17 Palestinians were hurt in clashes in the West Bank after being hit with live and rubber-tipped bullets, as well as tear gas inhalation.

Approximately 1,700 Palestinians took part in protests in the West Bank, throwing molotov cocktails and rocks at Israeli security forces. Some 2,000 took part in protests along the Gaza border.

Israeli border police arrest a Palestinian protester during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. West Bank, December 22, 2017.
REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Hamas called for protests and riots on Friday in both the West Bank and Gaza to protest Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Fatah also called for protests in the West Bank.

The clashes are taking place in Bethlehem and other areas of the West Bank. This is the third straight Friday of violence following the U.S. shift in policy on regarding Jerusalem's status.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas came out Friday against the American peace initiative and said the Palestinians would not accept any plan made by the Americans due to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem, a move that was widely rejected by the world in a UN vote Thursday.

In a Christmas letter to Christians, Abbas wrote that the Palestinians will not "accept any plan from the U.S." due to the White House's "biased" support of Israel and its settlement policy. He also said the American plan "is not going to be based on the two-state solution on the 1967 border, nor is it going to be based on international law or UN resolutions."

Abbas letter was sent as he met with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the end of talks he held in Saudi Arabia as part of the international contacts the Palestinians conducted in response to Trumps recognition of Jerusalem.

Protests along the Gaza-Israel border, December 22, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

During a news conference in Paris, Abbas urged France and Europe to play a stronger role in peace efforts, saying the U.S. "no longer an honest mediator in the peace process."

Macron was careful not to take sides, saying "the American mistake was to want to unilaterally manage from afar a situation whose solution is in the hands of the Israelis and Palestinians."

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On Thursday, Palestinians called on Trump to accept the UN General Assembly's vote that overwhelmingly rejected the American president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thanked the 128 countries that voted in favor of the resolution, "despite all the pressure exerted on them," making a nod to diplomatic efforts by Israel as well as direct threats by Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Niki Haley.

Abu Rdeneh said in a statement to the Palestinian news agency Wafa that the vote reflects the support the Palestinians enjoy in the international community. He said the Palestinians will continue their efforts in international forums to help create a Palestinian state.

The UN General Assembly voted 128-9 with 35 abstentions in favor of the resolution, a smaller margin than the Palestinians hoped for, likely reflecting U.S. threats to cut funding for those who voted "yes."