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Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops in West Bank, Gaza

Gorkha Post



RAMALLAH — US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparked Palestinian protests, clashes and a call for a new intifada on Thursday as fears grew of fresh bloodshed in the region.

At least 31 people have been injured by Israeli army gunfire and rubber bullets, medics say, in Palestinian protests in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank cities of Hebron and Al-Bireh, thousands of demonstrators rallied with chants of “Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine”, according to media reports.

Soldiers had used “riot-dispersal gear” against hundreds of rock-throwers, a military spokeswoman said.

The Israeli military has deployed hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank amid uncertainty over the fallout, while clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces erupted in various areas.

Israeli forces dispersed several hundred protesters with tear gas at a checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah, while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported dozens wounded from tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire in the West Bank.

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In the Gaza Strip, dozens of protesters gathered near the border fence with Israel and threw rocks at soldiers on the other side.

Palestinian authorities called a general strike in protest at Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem on Wednesday.

The leader of the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza, called for a new armed uprising in a widespread show of anger, as the demonstrators torched American and Israeli flags.

Trump’s announcement also prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash that continued on Thursday, with fresh warnings from Turkey, the European Union and Russia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however lavished praise on Trump, saying his name would now be associated with Jerusalem’s long history and urging other countries to follow his lead.

In a speech in Gaza City, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a new intifada, or uprising.

Protests were held in West Bank cities including Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, as well as in the Gaza Strip.


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Britain, France and Germany propose new sanctions on Iran

Gorkha Post



BRUSSELS — Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria’s war, according to a confidential document, in a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran,according to a document seen by the Reuters news agency.

On March 16, Reuters reported the move would be aimed at satisfying demands made by US President Donald Trump and keeping him ‘committed’ to the 2015 nuclear pact that Tehran signed with world powers and from which Trump has threatened to withdraw.

All 28 members must agree to any such sanctions,according to EU rules.

The document, citing specifically Iran’s ballistic-missile tests and its role in supporting Syria’s government in the seven-year-old civil war against Western-backed rebels, said, “We will…be circulating in the coming days a list of persons and entities that we believe should be targeted in view of their publicly demonstrated roles”.

The proposal is part of an EU strategy to save the accord signed by world powers that curbs Tehran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, namely by showing US.President Donald Trump that there are other ways to counter Iranian power abroad.

Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories on Jan. 12. It said they must agree to ‘fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal’ which was sealed under his predecessor Barack Obama or he would refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran. US sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh ‘waivers’ to suspend them on May 12.

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The steps would go beyond what a U.S. State Department cable seen by Reuters last month outlined as a path to satisfy Trump: simply committing to improving the nuclear deal.

European Union foreign ministers will discuss the proposal at a closed-door meeting on Monday in Brussels, diplomats said.

Analysts say the nuclear agreement, touted at the time as a breakthrough reducing the risk of a devastating wider war in the Middle East, could collapse if Washington pulls out.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif struck a defiant note towards Washington on Friday.

“If the United States makes the mistake of pulling out of the JCPOA, it will definitely be a painful mistake for the Americans,” Iranian state television quoted Zarif as saying. The JCPOA is the formal name of the nuclear deal.

Zarif did not refer to the possibility of new EU sanctions.

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