A Palestinian was killed by an Israeli settler on Thursday during a clash near the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry and security sources said.
The clash near a military post erupted when an Israeli settler in a car attempted to cross a crowd of Palestinian protesters, with the settler and Israeli soldiers opening fire, Palestinian security sources said. The Palestinian killed was identified by the health ministry as Muataz Bani Shemsay, 23, from a village near Nablus. He was shot in the head, it said.
Hundreds of Palestinians had gathered at an Israeli military checkpoint at Huwara, south of Nablus and the regular site of clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian stone-throwers. The protest was held in support of hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails on hunger strike since April 17.
A wave of unrest that broke out in October 2015 has claimed the lives of 264 Palestinians, 41 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP count. Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, the Israeli authorities say. Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.
President Donald Trump has been more sympathetic to Israel's settlement policies than the fiercely critical Obama administration. Since Trump took office last month, Israel has announced plans to build over 6,000 settler homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — occupied territories claimed by the Palestinians. The former U.S. administration of Barack Obama was deeply opposed to Israel's expansion of the settlements and in December withheld its veto from a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the policy.
In a jolt to Netanyahu and his allies, senior administration officials said on Wednesday that Trump had ruled out any immediate relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a campaign promise that had pleased Israelis but if implemented would upend decades of U.S. policy and make it all but impossible for the Palestinians to re-enter talks. The decision would break a major campaign promise from Trump who vowed to
make the highly controversial move, but would likely stave off a major diplomatic crisis.
Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did so on the campaign trail only to have the diplomatic realities of the move prevent any follow-through. Congress mandated the move in 1995 under the Jerusalem Embassy Act, but successive presidents have used a six-month waiver to perpetually stave off the relocation on national security grounds. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that Trump is "being very careful" about the decision.
The international community regards all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace. The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory and Palestinians there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote.
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