Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Israel to close key Gaza crossing heavily damaged by rioters

Israel to close key Gaza crossing heavily damaged by rioters

According to the Hamas health ministry, around 50 Palestinians have been killed since protests and clashes began along the Gaza border on March 30 and hundreds of others have been wounded by gunfire.

At least 53 Palestinians have been killed in the protests over the past weeks, including two journalists, while 1,900 were injured by Israeli fire.

The protests also took place at the contact points in different cities, including the northern entrance of Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Tensions were spiraling ahead of Monday, when the USA will relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial move condemned by the Palestinians. Nakba Day comes one day after the anniversary of Israel's independence, according to the Gregorian calendar; Israelis are celebrating the 70th anniversary of their country's founding this year.

Most of the deaths have resulted from the Israeli army firing upon Palestinians who approach the border fence.

It said thousands of Jordanians took part in protest marches in support of Jerusalem and the Palestinian people.

This will follow 6 weeks of protests on the Gaza border, in which dozens of Palestinians have been shot and killed by IDF forces while taking part in demonstrations. Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas volleys from the other side of the border fence.

In December 2017, Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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The Gaza Strip, home to 2 million people, is run by the Islamist group Hamas which has fought three wars against Israel in the past decade.

The army said its recommendation to shutter the crossing, which ordinarily sees hundreds of goods-bearing trucks pass into Gaza each day, was approved by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Gaza's Hamas leader, Yehiyeh Sinwawr, has said he expects tens of thousands to participate on Monday.

A report by the aid charity Save the Children, published on Friday, said that during the protests, at least 250 Gazan children had been hit with live bullets, among almost 700 children injured overall. More than two-thirds of Gaza residents are descendants of refugees.

Israel has repeatedly expressed concern over the possibility of a mass breach of the Gaza fence, in which Palestinians would stream across with terrorists among them, wreaking havoc.

However, unsurprisingly, Friday's attack did not make it to the online front page of either the New York Times or the Washington Post, which both only carried brief wire reports of the day's events.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Saturday strongly condemning the governments of Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic for blocking the release of a statement by the European Union (EU) that rejected United States plans to officially open its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, May 14th.

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