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December 22, 2017 8:22 am

Palestinian Riots Flare Up Again Following UN Vote on Jerusalem

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A Palestinian rioter dressed as Santa Claus on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, Dec. 22, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

Palestinians launched more anti-US demonstrations on Friday, after the UN General Assembly rejected Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital the day before.

At a protest on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, a 24-year-old rioter was killed and ten others were wounded by IDF gunfire, according to a Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman. The Israeli military said it was checking the report.

Protests erupted in all of the West Bank’s seven major cities and in eastern Jerusalem. Health officials said at least five Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets fired by Israeli security forces, who also used tear gas.

Defying US President Donald Trump on Thursday, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution calling for America to drop its Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem, a city revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians, as Israel’s capital.

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in a Christmas message, condemned Trump’s reversal of a decades-old US policy on Jerusalem “an insult to millions of people worldwide.”

Nine countries voted against the UN resolution on Thursday and 35 abstained. Twenty-one countries did not cast a vote.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the resolution as “preposterous” and branded the UN a “house of lies.”

Following Thursday’s vote, America’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, asked the 64 other countries who voted no, abstained or did not cast a vote to come to a Jan. 3 reception “to thank you for your friendship to the United States.”

On Friday, Michael Oren — a former Israeli ambassador to the US who currently serves as a Kulanu MK and deputy minister in Netanyahu’s office — seemed to play down the support for the resolution shown by many countries Israel considers friends.

“We have an interest in tightening our bilateral relations with a long list of countries in the world, and expect and hope that one day, they will vote with us, or for us in the United Nations,” Oren said on Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM.

“But I am not prepared to suspend all cooperation with important countries, such as India,” he said. Netanyahu, who hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July, is due to visit New Delhi next month.

In the run-up to the UN vote, Trump threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that supported the resolution. His warning appeared to have some impact, with more countries abstaining and rejecting the document than usually associated with Palestinian-related resolutions.

But most of the European Union, Israel’s biggest trading partner, and countries such as Greece, Cyprus and India, with which Netanyahu has pursued closer relations and economic ties, backed the resolution.

“I prefer we have tight bilateral relations over a situation in which we don’t have close bilateral relations, and they vote in our favor in the United Nations,” Oren said, describing India’s vote as “certainly disappointing,”

Asked if Israel wanted the United States to cut aid to countries that endorsed the resolution, Oren said: “I prefer … that if there’s room for revenge, it be directed towards the United Nations and not the UN’s members.”

He said he supported cutting US contributions to the UN and perhaps relocating its Manhattan headquarters, noting it occupies “some of the most valuable real estate in New York.”

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