RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Israeli military shot and killed one Palestinian near the border fence with Gaza on Friday, an official in the territory said. The military said that he was part of a group that rushed the fence to try to damage it.
A military spokesman said soldiers warned the Palestinians to back off before firing first into the air and then toward the men's legs. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said one man was killed by the fire.
Such border incidents have been less common since eight days of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza militants at the end of last year that ended in a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the group that rules the coastal territory.
In the West Bank, meanwhile, activists pitched tents to protest Israeli plans to build a large Jewish settlement on a key route through the territory.
The group said in a statement they erected the tents to "establish facts on the ground," using a phrase often applied to Israeli settlement building, in a key area known as E-1.
The E-1 settlement would block east Jerusalem from its West Bank hinterland — both territories captured by Israel during the 1967 Mideast war.
The Palestinians want those areas, along with the Gaza Strip, for a future state. Critics say the E-1 settlement would be a major blow to Palestinian statehood hopes.
Police said the activists were informed they were trespassing.
Israel announced it is moving forward with the E-1 settlement after the U.N. recognized a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in November. The U.S. strongly opposes the E- 1 project.
Israeli officials have said actual construction on the project may be years away. Israeli critics have questioned whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actually intends to develop E-1, or is pandering to hard-liners ahead of Israel's Jan. 22 election.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinians' envoy to the U.N., sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council on Friday condemning settlement building. Mansour wrote that settlements are "gravely undermining the contiguity, unity and integrity of the land ... of Palestine and threating to make impossible the achievement of the two state solution for peace on the basis of the pre-1967 borders."