Palestinians inspect a classroom of a United Nations-run school that was damaged by Israeli shelling, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians, one of them an 11-year-old boy, and wounded at least 248 others taking part on Friday in weekly protests at the fortified Gaza Strip border, Palestinian medical officials said. Image Credit: Reuters

Occupied Jerusalem (AP & Reuters) A Palestinian official has accused the US administration of pursuing “irresponsible” policies after President Donald Trump’s Mideast adviser defended punitive measures against the Palestinians.

The adviser, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, told The New York Times this week that he believes aid cuts and the closure of the PLO mission in Washington stripped away “false realities” in the Middle East and did not harm chances of advancing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas halted contacts with the Trump administration in December, after the US recognised occupied Jerusalem as Israeli regime’s capital.

Kushner did not explain how he could promote a peace deal without Palestinian participation.

Abbas spokesman Nabeel Abu Rudainah said Friday that Kushner’s statement indicates he is “unaware of the reality of the conflict,” including the history of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation soldiers killed three Palestinians, one of them an 11-year-old boy, and wounded at least 248 others taking part on Friday in weekly protests at the fortified Gaza Strip border, Palestinian medical officials said.

The Israeli regime’s military said it used force necessary to repel 13,000 Palestinians who massed at several points at the fence.

Friday’s dead brought to 177 the number of Palestinians killed since the sometimes violent demonstrations were launched on March 30 to press demands against Israeli regime. The 11-year-old, Shadi Abdullah, is the youngest fatality from Israeli regime gunfire.

“He used to go every Friday to the marches like thousands of other people. This Friday was his destiny to die as a martyr,” the boy’s father, Abdul Aziz Abdullah, told Reuters.

Another Palestinian, 28-year-old Hashem Hassan, said he saw Abdullah being shot 70 metres from the fence: “He threw a few stones, which flew just a few yards. He posed no threat.” Asked about Abdullah’s death, an occupation military spokeswoman said only that troops had kept to their open-fire regulations.

Israel’s tactics against the protests have drawn international condemnation.

The protesters want rights to lands Palestinians lost during the 1948 war of Israel’s foundation, as well as the easing of a crippling blockade that Israeli regime, with the help of neighbouring Egypt, has placed on Gaza to isolate Hamas and deny it weaponry.

UN and Egyptian mediators have been trying to reach a deal to calm Gaza, where Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the last decade. The brokering efforts have been complicated by Hamas’s feuding with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has restricted funding to Gaza.