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Two Palestinians shot dead in Israel-Gaza border clashes: ministry

Gaza has been subjected to three military assaults and a continuous and crippling blockade [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 September, 2018

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A 14-year-old was among two people shot dead by Israeli fire in new clashes along the Gaza border on Friday, the health ministry said.

Two Palestinians, including a 14-year-old, were shot dead by Israeli fire in new clashes along the Gaza border on Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

The teenager was shot east of Jabalia in northern Gaza, the ministry said, while a medical source named him as Mustafa Abed Rabbo.

A second Palestinian, who was not immediately identified, was killed near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

At least another 12 people were injured, the ministry added, as Palestinians again demonstrated in different spots along the border.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army said an estimated 13,000 people were involved in "riots" at different locations, some of them burning tires and throwing Molotov cocktails.

Since often violent protests began on March 30, at least 178 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, the majority during demonstrations. One Israeli soldier has been killed.

Israel maintains a crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip it says is necessary to isolate Hamas, which whom the Jewish state has fought three wars since 2008.

Critics say it amounts to collective punishment of the impoverished strip's two million residents.

Crippling blockade

On Wednesday, the UN said the situation in Gaza was "catastrophic" after 11 years of "economic siege" and warned that Washington's decision to halt assistance to Palestinian refugees would create "more misery."

"The situation in Gaza is becoming less and less livable," said Isabelle Durant, the deputy head of the United Nations development agency (UNCTAD).

"It is catastrophic," she told reporters in Geneva.

In a new report, the UN agency said the Palestinian economy, long stifled by the Israeli occupation, was being hit hard by a sharp drop in international support to the Palestinians, even before Washington's dramatic cuts.

Last year, international development assistance to the Palestinians shrunk by more than 10 percent compared to a year earlier.

And at $720 million, it stood at just a third of the $2 billion received a decade earlier, the UNCTAD report showed.

That dramatic drop in support came before US President Donald Trump's government decided to completely halt its funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), which had previously stood at around $350 million a year.

The Trump administration has also scrapped around $200 million in payments by USAID to the Palestinians, and at the weekend said it would cut $25 million more in direct aid to six hospitals that primarily serve Palestinians in Jerusalem.

The widespread restrictions on the movement of people and goods, confiscation of land and natural resources, and the accelerating expansion of Israeli settlements were also damaging, it said.

Wednesday's report slammed the shackling of the economy in the Palestinian territories, which are struggling with the world's highest unemployment rate – of more than 27 percent overall and around 44 percent in Gaza alone.

Women and youth are disproportionately impacted by the lack of jobs, it said, with half of Palestinians under the age of 30 out of work, while only 19 percent of women participate in the labor force.

In the past decade, Gaza has been subjected to three major military operations and a continuous and crippling air, sea and land blockade, which have "eviscerated" its productive capacity, it said.

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