Gazans mourn 7 killed in clashes; woman killed by Is­raeli set­tlers

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

GAZA CITY: Thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans at­tended fu­ner­als yes­ter­day for seven young men shot dead a day ear­lier by Is­raeli troops dur­ing fresh demon­stra­tions along the Gaza bor­der, an AFP cor­re­spon­dent said. Mourn­ers, in­clud­ing lead­ers of the en­clave’s Is­lamist rulers Ha­mas, chanted slo­gans con­demn­ing Is­rael for shoot­ing civil­ians and called on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to de­liver jus­tice. The Is­raeli army said five Pales­tini­ans had been killed dur­ing the protests Fri­day af­ter they broke through the heav­ily-guarded bor­der fence and at­tacked an army post.

Army spokesman Jonathan Con­ri­cus said around 20 Pales­tini­ans had crossed the bor­der in an “or­ga­nized at­tack” af­ter an ex­plo­sive de­vice de­stroyed a por­tion of the fence. About five of those who got through the fence as­saulted an Is­raeli army po­si­tion and were “re­pelled”, he wrote on Twit­ter. The en­clave’s health min­istry said seven Pales­tini­ans were killed by Is­raeli fire as thou­sands of pro­test­ers ap­proached the heav­ily-guarded Is­raeli bor­der.

Yes­ter­day, the min­istry named the vic­tims as: Ahmed Al-Taweel, 27, Mo­hammed Is­mail, 29, Ahmed Abu Naim, 17, Ab­dul­lah Daghma, 25, Afifi Atta Afifi, 18, Tamer Abu Ar­maneh, 25 and Mo­hammed Ab­bas, 21.

The army said ap­prox­i­mately 14,000 “ri­ot­ers and demon­stra­tors” took part in Fri­day’s protests. At least 205 Pales­tini­ans have been killed by Is­raeli fire in Gaza since protests be­gan on March 30. The ma­jor­ity were killed dur­ing bor­der demon­stra­tions, though oth­ers have died in airstrikes and tank shelling. One Is­raeli sol­dier has been killed.

The pro­test­ers are de­mand­ing to be al­lowed to re­turn to land now in­side Is­rael, from which their fam­i­lies fled or were dis­placed dur­ing the 1948 war sur­round­ing the cre­ation of the Jewish state. They are also call­ing for Is­rael to end its crip­pling block­ade of the strip. Is­rael ac­cuses Ha­mas of lead­ing the protests and us­ing them as a cover for at­tacks. There had been hopes the protests would ease af­ter a UN-bro­kered agree­ment to ease the strip’s en­ergy cri­sis took ef­fect this week. But thou­sands gath­ered once again on Fri­day at sites along the bor­der, AFP cor­re­spon­dents said. They added that Ha­mas leader Is­mail Haniya also at­tended the protests east of Gaza City and hailed the on­go­ing demon­stra­tions.

Sep­a­rately, a Pales­tinian woman died of her wounds af­ter Is­raeli set­tlers in the oc­cu­pied West Bank threw stones at the car she was trav­el­ling in, Pales­tinian se­cu­rity sources and me­dia said yes­ter­day. An Is­raeli po­lice spokesman con­firmed a car had been hit by stones but did not iden­tify the per­pe­tra­tors. He said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­der­way but did not give fur­ther de­tails. Pales­tinian of­fi­cial news agency Wafa iden­ti­fied the pas­sen­ger who died as 48-year-old mother of eight, Aisha Mo­hammed Rabi.

She died in hospi­tal in the north­ern West Bank city of Nablus from a head in­jury sus­tained in the stonethrow­ing in­ci­dent south of the city on Fri­day, Wafa said, cit­ing med­i­cal and Pales­tinian se­cu­rity sources. Her hus­band, who was driv­ing the car at the time, es­caped with mi­nor in­juries, the same sources said. Pales­tinian wit­nesses and se­cu­rity sources cited by the news agency said the stones were thrown by Is­raeli set­tlers.

Stone-throw­ing in­ci­dents im­pli­cat­ing Is­raeli set­tlers have risen of late, the Pales­tinian se­cu­rity sources added. The Is­raeli army has not com­mented on the at­tack. Ten­sions have been run­ning high in the West Bank over the past week with two at­tacks against Is­raelis. On Fri­day, Is­raeli forces said they had ar­rested

a Pales­tinian on sus­pi­cion of stab­bing and wound­ing an army re­servist on guard duty at a check­point south of Nablus the pre­vi­ous day. An­other wanted Pales­tinian, who is sus­pected of killing two Is­raeli col­leagues and wound­ing a third in the north­ern West Bank last Sun­day, re­mains on the run. Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces have iden­ti­fied him as Ashraf Naalwa, 23.

Mean­while, by sus­pend­ing badly-needed fuel de­liv­er­ies to the Gaza Strip af­ter deadly overnight clashes, Is­rael has cast doubts on the vi­a­bil­ity of the hard-won mea­sure aimed at help­ing the Pales­tinian peo­ple and eas­ing ten­sions. The deal, bro­kered by the United Na­tions and backed by the United States, Is­rael and oth­ers, had seen thou­sands of liters of Qatari-bought fuel trucked into Gaza daily to boost the im­pov­er­ished ter­ri­tory’s elec­tric­ity sup­ply. But only days af­ter be­ing brought into ef­fect, Is­raeli De­fense Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man late Fri­day or­dered the de­liv­er­ies to stop af­ter clashes on the Gaza-Is­rael bor­der.

The fuel deal had been reached without the agree­ment of the of­fi­cially rec­og­nized Pales­tinian govern­ment, in what diplo­mats said was a first for Gaza which is con­trolled by the ri­val Pales­tinian fac­tion, Ha­mas. And it had also raised ques­tions on whether Pales­tinian pres­i­dent Mah­mud Ab­bas is slowly be­ing side­lined. The Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity (PA) headed by Ab­bas has semi au­ton­omy in parts of the oc­cu­pied West Bank, but lost con­trol of Gaza to Ha­mas in a nearcivil war in 2007. But the PA has long been the only ad­dress for most in­ter­na­tional pow­ers and a se­nior of­fi­cial de­clared Thurs­day it would no longer work with the UN en­voy who bro­kered the deal.

The UN and other par­ties say they are merely seek­ing to im­prove the des­per­ate hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion in the strip, un­der a crip­pling Is­raeli block­ade for a decade. More than two thirds of Gaza’s two mil­lion res­i­dents rely on aid, while there are only four hours of mains elec­tric­ity a day. Great ef­forts were made to con­vince Ab­bas to agree to the fuel deal, UN and diplo­matic sources said, with a de­ci­sion ul­ti­mately made to work around him. “The hu­man­i­tar­ian im­per­a­tive is more im­por­tant than the re­la­tion­ship with the PA,” one diplo­mat said.

Un­der the lim­ited agree­ment which came into force on Tues­day Qatar, a long­time Ha­mas backer, was to pay $60 mil­lion for fuel to be brought into Gaza over six months to fuel the strip’s sole power plant. At least six trucks have en­tered the Gaza Strip since Tues­day, bring­ing more than 200,000 liters of diesel, and there had been plans for it to reach up to 15 trucks a day. On Thurs­day se­nior Pales­tinian of­fi­cial Ahmed Ma­j­dalani said UN en­voy Nick­o­lay Mlade­nov, ar­chi­tect of the deal, was “no longer ac­cept­able” to the PA, ac­cus­ing him of ex­ceed­ing his man­date. — Agen­cies


GAZA: Pales­tinian pro­test­ers carry a youth in­jured by Is­raeli forces on the Is­raelGaza bor­der on Fri­day.

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