Four Palestinians were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes with Israeli forces as tens of thousands of Palestinians demonstrated on the “Friday of rage,” which was called for by the Palestinian political factions against US President Donald Trump's recent decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The Palestinian health ministry said that two Palestinians died in clashes at the Israeli-Gaza border, while a third was killed in clashes north of Jerusalem after being shot in the chest by Israeli forces.
The fourth was shot near a checkpoint on the outskirts of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
The ministry also said that 367 civilians were injured in Gaza and the West Bank, with seven in serious condition.
"Since the clashes erupted last week after Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, 10 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, eight in clashes and two in airstrikes,” the ministry said, adding that “2,468 civilians were injured;152 by live ammunition and dozens others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.”
Shortly after Friday prayers, protests erupted across the West Bank and Gaza, with thousands clashing with Israeli forces along different parts of the border.
Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital ended a 37-year-old US foreign policy position of not recognising – along with the international community – Israel's 1980 decision to annex occupied East Jerusalem and designate a "unified Jerusalem" as the “eternal capital” of Israel.
The US president's decision comes is the fulfillment of a promise he made in 2016 while a candidate on the presidential campaign trail.
The decision has stirred global condemnation, as well as demonstrations throughout Arab and Muslim countries.
World leaders and public figures have warned that the decision threatens the prospect of a peace deal, where Palestinians seek their own state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The clashes in Palestine come days before US Vice President Mike Pence is due to visit Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pulled out of a planned meeting with Pence in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in protest against the US decision.
"We understand that the Palestinians may need a bit of a cooling off period, that's fine," a senior White House official said on Friday. "We will be ready when the Palestinians are ready to re-engage."
US administration officials have said that Pence will try to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward after he lands in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
"Obviously the last couple of weeks in the region have been a reaction to the Jerusalem decision," said a second senior administration official.
Jerusalem’s status has been a central issue in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Palestinians have vowed to continue protesting Trump’s unprecedented decision, which Palestinian and Arab leaders warned would cause instability and unrest in the region," Palestinian news agency Ma’an has said.