Gaza protests spur major increase in terrorist attacks on Israelis


(JTA) — April saw the highest number of terrorist attacks this year against Israelis following a 60-percent increase from the 136 incidents recorded in March.

Of the 223 attacks recorded in April, 192 involved firebombs, the Israel Security Agency said in its monthly report, published this week. The bulk of the increase occurred along Israel’s border with Gaza, where attacks surged from five in March to 118 in April, the report also said. The tally for April is the second-highest on record since November 2015.

The attacks were part of weekly riots staged along the border as part of the Hamas-sponsored “march of return” in which civilians and militia members approached the fence and in some cases interfered with it. Several protesters were killed. No one on the Israeli side died as a result of the clashes, which led to the injury of two Israelis.

Palestinian activists and officials across the West Bank and east Jerusalem have called for coordinated demonstrations against the scheduled relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, Ma’an news reported Thursday.

Many Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority oppose this move because they feel it complicates peace talks that they say should determine and recognition of Israeli and Palestinian claims in Jerusalem.

But President Donald Trump in December said he was moving the embassy and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to “take it off the table.” The official ceremony is scheduled to take place on Monday in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona.

Monday is also the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Many Palestinians commemorate this date in a day of mourning and protests over what they call the  Nakba, or “catastrophe,” of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the Arab-Israeli fighting that broke out after Israel’s creation.

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