Israel may move memorial to fallen soldier in Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM, June 23 (JTA) — Israel is considering moving a soldier’s memorial after acknowledging that it was erected on Palestinian land in the Gaza Strip. The soldier, Yehuda Levy, was killed by Palestinian sniper fire during riots in September that were sparked by the opening of a second entrance to an archaeological tunnel in Jerusalem. Sixteen Israeli soldiers and at least 69 Palestinians were killed in the violence that erupted in the West Bank and Gaza. The erection of the memorial at the Gush Katif intersection in Gaza sparked tensions between Jewish settlers and Palestinians earlier this month. Palestinians said the memorial should be removed because it was on Palestinian land. The conflict was exacerbated by an ongoing dispute between Jewish residents of the Morag settlement and Palestinians over the settlement’s boundaries. Over the past few weeks, the two sides have been caught in a cycle of belligerent actions, in which Palestinians pull down the perimeter fences put up around the settlement’s green houses, and the settlers immediately reinstall them. Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai visited Morag Sunday and pledged to try to resolve the problem. During unrest near the settlement on Sunday night, a Palestinian was wounded when Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters near the settlement.

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