Two Palestinians Dead in ‘Day of Rage’, US Isolated at UN

A Palestinian protester hurls a tear gas canister back towards Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 8, 2017. Photo: AFP

Clashes, Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes killed at least two people and wounded dozens of others on Friday in violence linked to U.S. President Donald J. Trump‘s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In the latest diplomatic fallout, the United States stood alone as, one after another, fellow U.N. Security Council members criticized Mr. Trump’s decision in an emergency meeting of the world body.

After a day of protests and clashes in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, at least three rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, including one shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, the army said.

Another appeared to have fallen in wasteland but the third landed in the southern Israeli city of Sderot although Israeli public radio said that rocket did not explode and did not cause any casualties.

Following the first two rockets, Israel responded with air strikes on two Hamas military facilities in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said 14 people were wounded from the strikes.

Earlier in the day, two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces along the fence dividing the Gaza Strip from Israel — the first deaths in the protests over Mr. Trump’s decision.

Dozens of others were wounded from rubber bullets or live fire in clashes in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem that followed the main weekly Muslim prayers.

Whether violence would further spiral in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere was being closely watched, with Friday marking a second day of unrest.

Tens of thousands also protested in a range of Muslim and Arab countries, including Jordan, Turkey and Malaysia.

Isolated

With Mr. Trump’s decision having drawn near universal condemnation, the United States saw itself isolated at the Security Council session in New York.

Five European countries on the council insisted the new U.S. policy was not consistent with past U.N. resolutions, including one that considers east Jerusalem to be Israeli-occupied.

But the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, told delegates that the White House was serious about the search for peace.

“Let me again assure you, the president and this administration remain committed to the peace process,” she said.

The meeting was convened by eight of the 14 members of the council but was largely symbolic — no vote on a resolution was planned, as the U.S. has veto power.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas hailed the international concern, according to a statement carried by official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, had called for a “day of rage” and its leader Ismail Haniya for the start of a new intifada, or uprising.

“We call on our people in all factions and resistances to continue in this blessed intifada until we achieve all our just demands,” it said in a statement late Friday.

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