Four Palestinians Killed as Protests Flare Over Jerusalem Shift

(Bloomberg) -- Four Palestinians were killed and scores of others wounded during a day of clashes with Israeli forces, as protests flared over the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Two Palestinians died after being shot in the head by Israeli soldiers in separate incidents near the border area between the Gaza Strip and Israel, Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman for Gaza’s Health Ministry, said on Friday. Two others were killed around Ramallah on the West Bank, one dying from his wounds in hospital after he tried to stab an Israeli soldier.

More than 200 people were wounded across the Palestinian territories, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, with six in a critical condition. Palestinian factions, including the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, had called for a “day of rage” after Friday prayers. Protests also took place across neighboring Jordan, the Petra news service reported, as well as in some Palestinian camps in Syria and Lebanon.

It was one of the bloodiest days of demonstrations since President Donald Trump last week made his Jerusalem declaration, which included starting the process of moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. The international community regards Jerusalem’s eastern sector as occupied territory and says the city’s final status must be negotiated, not unilaterally declared. Palestinians have been stung by Trump’s decision, which they see as adopting Israel’s position without regard for their own.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will travel to the Middle East next week, but Palestinian leaders have canceled meetings with him and a visit to Bethlehem in the West Bank has been scrubbed from the itinerary. Pence was one of the foremost proponents in the Trump administration for the shift in policy on Jerusalem.

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