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  • January 22, 2019

    Hundreds of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border to continue the Great March of Return near Gaza City. Amid the protests, armed Palestinians shoot and injure an Israeli soldier. Israeli...

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  • January 20, 2019

    In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 21 Palestinians during late-night raids near Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Qalqilya, and Tulkarm; and patrol near Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya. Israeli...

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  • January 17, 2019

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces carry out the punitive demolition of a Yatta-area apartment belonging to a Palestinian who stabbed and killed an Israeli settler on 9/16/18. The demolition sparks...

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  • January 16, 2019

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian home and a makeshift Palestinian residence in Fasayil village near Jericho. IDF troops arrest 1 Palestinian during a raid in Tulkarm refugee...

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  • January 13, 2019

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian greenhouse and another agricultural structure in Bayt Iksa near Jerusalem. IDF troops arrest a Palestinian who opens fire on an IDF post...

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  • January 6, 2019

    Unidentified Palestinians fly an incendiary device from Gaza into southern Israel attached to a cluster of balloons, where it lands in an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. IDF troops...

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  • January 4, 2019

    Approximately 10,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border to continue the Great March of Return. IDF troops violently disperse the demonstrations near Gaza City, Rafah, Khan Yunis, al-Bureij...

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  • January 3, 2019

    Hundreds of right-wing Jewish activists visit Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus overnight, sparking clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinian residents of the area; 1 Palestinian journalist and 1...

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  • December 31, 2018

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces uproot 50 olive trees and demolish a Palestinian agricultural structure outside Yatta near Hebron. IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during a late-night raid near...

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  • December 30, 2018

    In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 22 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids in and around Ramallah, Hebron, Jenin, and Bethlehem; and patrol near Hebron, Bethlehem,...

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  • December 26, 2018

    In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian driver after he allegedly attempts to ram a group of Israeli settlers at Huwwara checkpoint. They also arrest 5 Palestinians during...

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  • December 25, 2018

    In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 12 Palestinians during raids in and around Ramallah, Qalqilya, Jenin, Hebron, and Nablus; and patrol near Nablus, Jenin, Salfit, Qalqilya, and Hebron. Israeli...

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  • December 24, 2018

    Hundreds of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border fence near Jabaliya refugee camp to continue the Great March of Return and to cheer on a number of Palestinian fishing boats sailing in a...

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  • December 16, 2018

    In the West Bank, IDF troops open fire at a Palestinian vehicle driving outside Silwad village near Ramallah, injuring the driver. They also shoot and critically injure a Palestinian minor during...

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  • December 13, 2018

    In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces shoot and kill a Palestinian after he allegedly stabs and injures 2 Israeli police officers in the Old City. Separately, Israeli forces arrest 22 Palestinians...

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  • December 10, 2018

    In the West Bank, hundreds of right-wing Jewish activists visit Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus overnight, sparking clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinian residents of the area; 4 Palestinians...

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  • December 6, 2018

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces seize a concrete pump and 2 mixers from a Palestinian construction site in Bayt Dajan near Nablus. IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during raids near Hebron and...

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  • December 4, 2018

    IDF troops shoot and kill a Palestinian amid clashes sparked by an overnight arrest raid in Tulkarm (a video of the incident will circulate later in the week showing that Israeli soldiers shot the...

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  • December 3, 2018

    Hundreds of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s north coast to continue the Great March of Return and to cheer on approximately 30 Palestinian boats sailing in a symbolic challenge to the Israeli...

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  • November 27, 2018

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian residential structure in Suba village near Hebron and deliver a stop-work order to a Palestinian home under construction outside Yatta....

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  • November 18, 2018

    Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmers, shepherds, and bird-hunters working near Khan Yunis and Gaza City; there are no reported injuries. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval...

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  • November 16, 2018

    Approximately 8,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border fence to continue the Great March of Return. IDF troops violently disperse them near Rafah, al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza City, Khan...

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  • November 15, 2018

    In East Jerusalem, approximately 35 right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif. In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 7 Palestinians and confiscate NIS 500,000 (approximately $134,731) during...

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  • November 14, 2018

    Along Gaza’s northern border, IDF troops shoot and kill a Palestinian fisherman working from the shore near Bayt Lahiya. The incident comes hours after the Israeli authorities informed their...

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  • November 10, 2018

    Dozens of Palestinians gather in central Hebron to call for the Israeli authorities to return the corpses of their loved ones who were killed in confrontations with Israeli troops. The Israeli...

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  • October 29, 2018

    Approximately 3,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s northern border to continue the Great March of Return and to cheer on approximately 15 Palestinian boats setting sail in a symbolic protest of...

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  • October 25, 2018

    Along Gaza’s border, Israeli firefighters put out a large fire in Kissufim Forest that was reportedly sparked by an incendiary balloon flown from Gaza. In the evening, an Israeli aircraft conducts...

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  • October 21, 2018

    In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest the PA’s governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, during a raid in Bayt Hanina. They accuse him of an undisclosed “violation” in the West Bank. Israeli forces...

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  • October 14, 2018

    An Israeli drone bombs a site east of Bayt Hanun in Gaza in the evening, moderately injuring 1 Palestinian. An IDF spokesperson says that the strike targeted a group of Palestinians who were...

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  • October 9, 2018

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish 3 Palestinian residential structures and confiscate solar panels from Khirbet al-Halawa near Hebron. They also deliver stop-work orders to 2 Palestinian...

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Hundreds of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border to continue the Great March of Return near Gaza City. Amid the protests, armed Palestinians shoot and injure an Israeli soldier. Israeli artillery and air forces then strike a number of Hamas sites near al-Bureij refugee camp, Rafah, and Jabaliya refugee camp, killing 1 Palestinian and injuring at least 4 others. The incident comes hours after a similar exchange near Jabaliya, during which armed Palestinians fired on IDF positions along the border fence and Israeli tanks shelled and destroyed a Hamas post in the area. No injuries are reported in that earlier incident. Meanwhile, IDF troops stationed along the border fence open fire on Palestinian farmers working near Gaza City and Rafah, causing no damage. In 2 separate incidents off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct raids in al-Khadir village near Bethlehem, sparking clashes with stone-throwing residents; there are no reported injuries. The IDF then temporarily seals off all the entrances to the village. IDF troops shoot and injure 3 Palestinians during similar clashes in Tell and Burin near Nablus; arrest a Palestinian minor in central Hebron when he is found to be in possession of a knife; arrest 5 more Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Hebron, Nablus, and Bethlehem; and patrol near Hebron and Nablus. Israeli forces uproot 60 olive trees in a Palestinian grove near Jerusalem and 30 more in a Palestinian grove outside Bayt Umar near Hebron. (HA, HA, JP, JP, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, YA 1/22; EI, MNA, MNA 1/23; PCHR 1/24)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspends the planned transfer of $15 million in Qatari funds to Gaza in response to the shooting of an Israeli soldier along Gaza’s border earlier today (see above). The transfer was originally set to go forward last week, but it was temporarily postponed in response to another incident of violence along the border fence. Meanwhile, Haaretz reports that Islamic Jihad in Palestine fighters were responsible for both shooting attacks and that they were motivated, in part, by an ongoing disagreement with Hamas. Later, a Hamas official says that Netanyahu’s order to suspend the transfer constitutes a “crime” that could spark an “explosion” of violence. (TOI 1/22; HA, JP, MNA 1/23)

One day after reports of violent protests at Ofer Prison, the Israeli press reports that a number of Palestinian prisoners at Ofer are refusing meals in protest of conditions in the prison. Later in the day, Israeli prison guards raid a number of cells in Ofer, sparking a 2d day of violence; more than 100 Palestinians are injured. (EI, MNA, TOI 1/22)

UN special coordinator Nickolay Mladenov reports that UNIFIL peacekeepers have not been given access to any of the tunnels the IDF uncovered in the context of its Operation Northern Shield in late-12/2018 and earlier this month. He does not say whether or not the Lebanese government or Hezbollah is responsible for the delay. (JP 1/22; AP, HA 1/23)

The Italian government pledges €1.5 million (approximately $1.7 million) to UNRWA to support Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.  (MNA 1/22)

In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 21 Palestinians during late-night raids near Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Qalqilya, and Tulkarm; and patrol near Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya. Israeli settlers cut down 2 olive trees in a Palestinian grove near Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 4 Palestinians during a raid in Silwan. Along Gaza’s coast, IDF troops violently disperse a few hundred Palestinians gathering near al-Bureij refugee camp to continue the Great March of Return for a 3d day in a row; 1 Palestinian minor is injured. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries (1 fisherman is arrested). In Israel, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian home for the 2d time in Lod. (MNA, WAFA 1/20; MNA, MNA 1/21; PCHR 1/24)

A Qatari diplomat says that the $15 million that was supposed to be transferred to Gaza last week is set to go through this week, following a relatively quiet day of protests on 1/18. “Due to the violence on the border, the Israeli government postponed it,” he says. “The agreement is subject to there not being too much violence, so last Friday they approved to do the third tranche.” (HA, JP, REU, TOI, YA 1/20)

YNet reports that PA prime minister Rami Hamdallah formally informed U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo that the Palestinians have decided to reject future U.S. financial assistance, including that which supports the PA security forces, in response to the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, which the U.S. passed into law in 10/2018 (see *S. 2946 of 5/24/18 at congressionalmonitor.org for details). That law, which is set to go into effect at the end of the month, forced the Palestinians to either accept future U.S. aid or open themselves up to terrorism lawsuits from individual U.S. citizens, inter alia. (JP, TOI, YA 1/20)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu lands in Chad to renew the diplomatic ties between Israel and Chad that were severed in 1972. At a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Chad’s President Idriss Déby says, ‘The purpose of your visit is to bring our two countries closer and to cooperate.” Netanyahu calls it the renewal of ties a “breakthrough” and a sign of Israel’s “rising standing” in the Muslim world. (HA, JP, TOI, TOI 1/20)

After unverified reports of Syrian air defenses intercepting an Israeli air strike near Damascus, several ground-to-ground projectiles are fired from Syria into northern Israel. They are all intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Late at night, Israeli forces strike approximately 10 government weapons depots, intelligence sites, and other targets in Syria, killing 21 people, including 12 member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. An IDF spokesperson says that Iranian forces were responsible for the projectile launched into Israel earlier in the day. “This was planned in advance as an attempt to deter us from continuing to act against them,” he says. (HA, JP, TOI, YA, YA 1/20; JP, TOI 1/21; HA 1/22)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces carry out the punitive demolition of a Yatta-area apartment belonging to a Palestinian who stabbed and killed an Israeli settler on 9/16/18. The demolition sparks clashes in the Hebron-area village; there are no reported injuries. IDF troops patrol near Hebron and Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, 3 days after Muslim worshippers blocked an Israeli police officer wearing a yarmulke from entering Haram al-Sharif, Israeli forces enter the sanctuary in force. Their presence raises tensions for several hours, but they eventually leave without incident. Off Gaza’s coast late at night, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries (1 fisherman is arrested and his boat is confiscated). (MNA, WAFA 1/17; HA, JP, WAFA, YA 1/18; PCHR 1/24)

Haaretz reports that the Israeli authorities are planning to decide whether or not to allow the next tranche of Qatari money into Gaza after the planned protests along Gaza’s border fence on 1/18. Some foreign diplomats are reportedly concerned that any further delay in the transfer of $15 million could spark another escalation of violence. One senior Hamas official says that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended the transfer because it wouldn’t help his chances in the upcoming 4/9 election. “The transfer of the Qatari money does not serve him well at the moment,” the official adds. “He will try or is trying to extort something from Hamas. At the end of the day, the continued pressure on the Gaza Strip could blow up in Netanyahu's face.” (HA 1/17)

A former USAID official confirms that the agency is planning to end all of its projects and programs in the West Bank and Gaza on 1/31, calling it “another example of the end of the 2-state solution.” The move comes after the Trump administration slashed several Palestinian aid programs in 2018. It specifically stems from the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (see *S. 2946 of 5/24/18 at congressionalmonitor.org), which President Trump signed on 10/3/18 and which forced the PA to either accept liability in certain areas or reject U.S. aid. (JP 1/17; MNA 1/18)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian home and a makeshift Palestinian residence in Fasayil village near Jericho. IDF troops arrest 1 Palestinian during a raid in Tulkarm refugee camp; and patrol near Jenin and Hebron. Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmland near al-Maghazi refugee camp and Dayr al-Balah, causing no damage. Meanwhile, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion into Gaza to level land near Bayt Hanun. (MNA, WAFA 1/16; MNA 1/17; PCHR 1/17; PCHR 1/24)

After Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu again called on Iran to withdraw its forces from Syria on 1/15, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, says that Iran has no intention of doing so. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will keep its military advisors, revolutionary forces and its weapons in Syria,” he says. “You should be afraid of the day that our precision-guided missiles roar and fall on your head.” (HA JP, REU, YA 1/16)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian greenhouse and another agricultural structure in Bayt Iksa near Jerusalem. IDF troops arrest a Palestinian who opens fire on an IDF post outside the nearby Ma’ale Adumim settlement; arrest 2 Palestinians during raids near Bethlehem and Hebron; and patrol near Bethlehem, Hebron, and Qalqilya. Israeli settlers cut down approximately 1,000 tree saplings from a Palestinian nature reserve outside Burqa village near Nablus. Settlers also uproot a number of olive trees in the courtyard of al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Separately, unidentified assailants open fire on a Palestinian police station in al-Ram near Jerusalem, sparking a firefight between PA police and the armed assailants; 1 Palestinian is killed (it’s unclear if he was a bystander or one of the assailants). Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmers and shepherds working near Bayt Hanun, causing no injuries. An Israeli drone bombs a Hamas post near Khan Yunis, causing extensive damage. (MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/13; PCHR 1/17)

A Palestinian succumbs to injuries sustained when IDF troops violently dispersed Palestinian protesters gathering along Gaza’s border several weeks ago. This brings the death toll stemming from the Great March of Return to 197. (WAFA 1/13; PCHR 1/17)

The IDF announces the conclusion of Operation Northern Shield, the operation formally launched on 12/4 to discover and demolish cross-border tunnels allegedly built by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon to northern Israel. An IDF spokesperson also announces the 1/12 discovery of a 6th major tunnel and says preparations are underway to demolish it. He says that this is the largest and most important tunnel discovered during the operation. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Ambassador to the UN Amal Mudallali files a formal complaint with the UN Security Council over Israel’s construction of a concrete wall along the Israel-Lebanon border. Mudallali contends that the wall is a violation of UNSC Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war. (HA, HA, JP, TOI, YA 1/13)

At the weekly meeting of Israel’s cabinet, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirms that Israel was responsible for the air strikes in Syria on 1/11. “The wave of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to act against Iran in Syria,” he says, marking a rare instance of the Israeli government taking credit for an individual strike in Syria. Meanwhile, satellite photos depicting a demolished storehouse at the Damascus International Airport circulate in the Israeli media. (JP, YA 1/13; TOI 1/14)

Unidentified Palestinians fly an incendiary device from Gaza into southern Israel attached to a cluster of balloons, where it lands in an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. IDF troops detonate the device, causing no damage or injuries. In response, the Israeli Air Force conducts 3 air strikes on Hamas sites in Khan Yunis, Gaza City, and Bayt Hanun, causing extensive damage. Also along Gaza’s border, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinians gathering to continue the Great March of Return near al-Bureij refugee camp; 1 Palestinian is injured. They also open fire on Palestinian farmland near Rafah, Gaza City, Bayt Hanun, and Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, following the shooting attack on an Israeli settler vehicle at the nearby Beit El checkpoint on 1/5, IDF troops conduct raids in al-Bireh overnight, confiscating surveillance tapes and sparking clashes with stone-throwing residents of the area throughout the day; several Palestinians are injured (1 critically). They also arrest 5 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids near Ramallah, Jenin, Hebron, and Tubas; and patrol near Hebron and Nablus. Israeli settlers uproot 60 olive and almond trees from a Palestinian grove near Hebron. (HA, JP, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, YA 1/6; PCHR 1/10)

Following a week of increasing tensions between Fatah and Hamas, the Fatah-dominated PA announces plans to remove its staff from the Rafah border crossing on 1/7. “This decision comes in the light of recent developments and brutal practices of the de facto gangs,” reads the PA statement. “Since we took over the Rafah crossing, Hamas has been obstructing the work of our crew there. We had to bear a lot in order to give the opportunity for the Egyptian effort to end the division.” The PA took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing in the context of the 10/12/17 Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement, which was never fully implemented. (JP, REU, WAFA 1/6)

U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman says that the Trump administration’s long-awaited Palestinian-Israeli peace plan will likely not be released for at least several more months. “We want to release it a way that gives it the best chance of getting a good reception,” he says, adding that the upcoming Israeli elections on 4/9 are “a factor, but not the only factor.” Meanwhile, U.S. national security advisor John Bolton meets with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Following the meeting, Bolton says that the U.S.-Israel relationship has never been stronger than it is now under Netanyahu and U.S. president Donald Trump. (HA, JP, JP, TOI 1/6)

In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi says that Egypt’s military coordination with Israel is at its “closest ever.” He adds, “We have a wide range of cooperation with the Israelis.” (AJ, CBS, HA 1/6)

Approximately 10,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border to continue the Great March of Return. IDF troops violently disperse the demonstrations near Gaza City, Rafah, Khan Yunis, al-Bureij refugee camp, and Jabaliya refugee camp; at least 15 Palestinians are injured. Also along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Rafah. Five unidentified assailants raid the Gaza City office of the PA-run Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation and destroy much of the technical equipment on site. The assailants flee before the police arrive on the scene. Later, a PA official says, “We hold the Hamas authorities fully responsible for this crime.” In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during a raid near Ramallah; and patrol near Nablus, Jenin, Hebron, Salfit, and Qalqilya. They also violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists at Friday protests against the Israeli occupation in al-Mughayyir near Ramallah; 2 Palestinians are injured. Israeli settlers throw stones at a Palestinian school in Urif village near Nablus, sparking minor clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinians in the area; 1 Palestinians is injured and another is arrested (AFP, MNA, TOI, TOI, WAFA 1/4; MNA 1/5; PCHR 1/10)

Following a complaint from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the IDF formally censures Colonel Avi Bluth for failing to pass along the Netanyahu’s order to postpone the evacuation and dismantlement of 2 makeshift residential structures at the site of the former illegal settlement outpost Amona on 1/3. In the context of a disciplinary hearing, IDF Chief of Staff Eisenkot reportedly “made it clear to Colonel Bluth that he had erred in handling the incident and that it would have been expected that he would have conducted himself more professionally.” (HA, JP, TOI, YA 1/4)

Hundreds of right-wing Jewish activists visit Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus overnight, sparking clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinian residents of the area; 1 Palestinian journalist and 1 paramedic are injured. Elsewhere in the West Bank, IDF troops fire tear gas at Palestinian students leaving a high school in Tell village near Nablus, causing no serious injuries. They also patrol during the day near Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem. Israeli forces uproot or otherwise damage 50 olive trees in a Palestinian grove near Salfit. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving near Ramallah, causing minor damage to 1 windshield. Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmland near Rafah and shepherds near Dayr al-Balah, causing no damage or injuries. (MNA, MNA, WAFA, WAFA, YA 1/3; MNA 1/4; PCHR 1/10)

Israeli forces surround and prepare to dismantle 2 makeshift residential structures that Israeli settlers established at the site of the former illegal settlement outpost Amona on 12/14/18. When approximately 300 settler-activists barricade themselves inside the structures and throw stones at the demolition crews, IDF troops use riot dispersal tactics to take control of the area and proceed with the evacuation and dismantlement (4 settlers and 23 Israeli troops are injured and 7 settlers are arrested in the ensuing clashes). Hours later, the Israeli press reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming that he ordered the indefinite postponement of the evacuation this morning, but that his order was not carried out. Netanyahu later calls on IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot to hold a disciplinary hearing for the officer reportedly responsible for failing to relay his order quickly enough, Colonel Avi Bluth. (JP, HA, HA, JP, TOI, YA, YA 1/3)

Hours after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu departs Brasilia, where he attended Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration yesterday, Bolsonaro confirms that he intends to uphold his campaign promise to move the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. “The decision is taken,” Bolsonaro says. “It’s only a matter of when it will be implemented.” (JP, REU 1/3; TOI 1/4)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces uproot 50 olive trees and demolish a Palestinian agricultural structure outside Yatta near Hebron. IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during a late-night raid near Hebron; and patrol near Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya. An Israeli settler driver rams his vehicle into a herd of Palestinian sheep near Ramallah, killing 12 and injuring 18 others. Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmlands near Dayr al-Balah and al-Maghazi refugee camp, causing no damage. They also fire on Palestinian shepherds near Rafah for a 4th day in a row, causing no injuries. (MNA, WAFA, WAFA 12/31; PCHR 1/3)

At a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the Trump administration is unlikely to circulate its long-awaited Palestinian-Israeli peace plan before Israel’s elections on 4/9. “In their estimation elections are the time when it will have the least chance of succeeding,” he says. (AX, JP 12/31)

A Fatah spokesperson accuses Hamas of arresting 500 Fatah activists and officials in Gaza as Fatah’s Gaza branch prepares for celebrations marking the party’s 54th anniversary. The Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza rejects the accusation, claiming that only 38 Fatah leaders have been summoned “to maintain order.” Later, Hamas security forces in Gaza prevent Fatah activists from symbolically lighting a torch at an anniversary celebration. (AP, JP, TOI, WP 12/31)

In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 22 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids in and around Ramallah, Hebron, Jenin, and Bethlehem; and patrol near Hebron, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 11 Palestinians during raids in Jabal Mukabir, Issawiyya, al-Tur, Shu‘fat refugee camp, and the Old City. (WAFA 12/30; PCHR 1/3)

After PA Agriculture Minister Sufian Sultan sends a message to Israel’s Agriculture Ministry informing them of his intention to reverse the PA’s 12/2 ban on imports of lamb from Israel, Israel’s Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel lifts his 12/17 ban on imports of Palestinian produce. “In light of the Palestinian agriculture minister’s notification that he is allowing the free entry of Israeli-bred lamb [into Palestinian markets], I cancel my order to block the transfer of produce from the PA to Israel,” Ariel says in a statement. Shortly after Ariel’s statement, the PA Agriculture Ministry cancels the ban on imports of Israeli produce that the PA cabinet approved on 12/27. (TOI, WAFA 12/31)

One day after Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announce the formation of their new political party, Israeli polls project that their Hayamin Hehadash will win between 6 and 14 seats in the Knesset in the upcoming election on 4/9. Hosen L’Yisrael, the new party led by former IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz, is projected to win between 13 and 15 seats, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud is projected to win between 27 and 31. (HA 12/30)

In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian driver after he allegedly attempts to ram a group of Israeli settlers at Huwwara checkpoint. They also arrest 5 Palestinians during raids near Bethlehem, Tulkarm, and Nablus; and patrol near Hebron throughout the day. Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian car repair shop near Nablus. Israeli settlers assault and injure a Palestinian shepherd working his land near Nablus. In East Jerusalem, a number of right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif. Israeli forces arrest 1 Palestinian during a raid in Silwan. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Bayt Lahiya. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries. (HA, JP, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/26; PCHR 12/27; PCHR 1/3)

PA foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki says that he plans to initiate an application for the State of Palestine to obtain full membership at the UN during his next visit to New York City in 1/2019. The application, if accepted by the UN Security Council, would see Palestine’s status upgraded from non-member observer state. Later, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon says that Israel and the U.S. are already working together to “stop the [new Palestinian] initiative.” (JP, WAFA 12/26; TOI 12/27)

PA security forces seal off the entrances to the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Ramallah, preventing Hamas officials from holding a planned press conference. A PA official says that although Hamas claims they were attempting to hold a press conference, their true intention was to open a session of the PLC in protest of the 12/22 announcement of a new round of PLC elections. (JP, TOI 12/26)

The High Planning Committee of Israel’s Civil Administration meets for a 2d day to discuss proposals to expand Israel’s West Bank settlements. Between today and yesterday, they have advanced plans for 2,191 new residences in various settlements, 3 new industrial zones, and the retroactive authorization of 2 illegal settlement outposts. Separately, Israel’s Civil Administration announces plans to put together a new proposal for as many as 2,500 new settler residences at the site of the Givat Eitam outpost near Bethlehem, which is within the municipal boundaries of the Efrat settlement, but not contiguous to any of that settlement’s buildings. According to the Israeli NGO Peace Now, an expanded Givat Eitam would “block Bethlehem from the south, and prevent any development in the only direction that has not yet been blocked by settlements.” (HA, PCN, TOI 12/26)

Haaretz reports that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the IDF to declare an end to Operation Northern Shield, but to continue detecting and demolishing the cross-border tunnels allegedly built by Hezbollah. Some senior defense sources say that Netanyahu no longer has a political reason for a formal operation in the north now that he is running for re-election. Meanwhile, the IDF announces that it has uncovered and demolished a 5th cross-border tunnel and the Knesset votes to dissolve itself, officially triggering snap elections. (HA, JP, TOI 12/26; MNA 12/27)

In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 12 Palestinians during raids in and around Ramallah, Qalqilya, Jenin, Hebron, and Nablus; and patrol near Nablus, Jenin, Salfit, Qalqilya, and Hebron. Israeli forces bulldoze 70 dunams (approximately 17.3 acres) of Palestinian land near Qalqilya, apparently clearing the area for the expansion of a nearby settlement. They also confiscate a tractor from a Palestinian farm near Hebron. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles outside Burqa village near Nablus, damaging 1 windshield; and destroy the door to a nearby pharmacy, damage traffic signs, and uproot a number of trees in the area. They also uproot approximately 200 olive saplings from a Palestinian grove near Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 3 Palestinians during raids in Silwan. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp and Rafah, causing 2 fishing boats to drown. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Bayt Lahiya. (WAFA, WAFA 12/25; WAFA 12/26; PCHR 12/27)

Touring the Israel-Lebanon border area, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the IDF has done “extraordinary work” in detecting and demolishing tunnels built by Hezbollah into northern Israel since the launch of Operation Northern Shield. He also says that the operation is nearly complete. (HA, JP, TOI, YA 12/25; JP 12/26)

One day after the Israeli ruling coalition announced that early elections would be held on 4/9/19, the main Israeli television stations publish polls projecting that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party will win the most votes. According to one poll, 52% of the Israeli public wants Netanyahu to continue as prime minister. (HA, JP, TOI 12/26)

The High Planning Committee of Israel’s Civil Administration convenes for the first of 2 days of meetings to discuss new West Bank settlement expansion plans. (TOI 12/25; PCN, TOI 12/26)

Hundreds of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border fence near Jabaliya refugee camp to continue the Great March of Return and to cheer on a number of Palestinian fishing boats sailing in a symbolic challenge of the Israeli blockade. IDF troops and Israeli naval forces violently disperse the demonstrations, as well as similar protests along the border fence near Khan Yunis and Gaza City; at least 25 Palestinians are injured. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinians gathering outside Ofer Prison to demonstrate in support of the Palestinians imprisoned inside; there are no serious injuries reported. IDF troops also arrest 2 Palestinians during raids in Jenin and Tulkarm; and patrol near Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 10 Palestinians during raids in Jabal Mukabir, al-Tur, and Shu‘fat refugee camp. (MNA, WAFA, WAFA 12/24; PCHR 12/27)

The heads of the parties in Israel’s ruling coalition announce their decision to dissolve the current Knesset and hold early elections on 4/9/19. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the decision was unanimous and that he intends to bring new parties into the current coalition after the elections. Netanyahu reportedly made his decision to push for early elections on 12/22 after consulting with his lawyers and top aides about a variety of issues, including several stalled legislative initiatives and the percolating corruption case against him. Netanyahu also says that the IDF has asserted control over the northern border and that this is the “perfect” time for early elections. Later, the ruling coalition agrees with the opposition to suspend work on all legislation that they don’t agree on until the Knesset is dissolved. Meanwhile, a senior White House official says that Israel’s early elections are “one of many factors we are considering in evaluating the timing of the release of [the Trump administration’s long awaited Palestinian-Israeli] peace plan.” (HA, HA, MNA 12/24; HA, HA 12/25)

In the West Bank, IDF troops open fire at a Palestinian vehicle driving outside Silwad village near Ramallah, injuring the driver. They also shoot and critically injure a Palestinian minor during clashes sparked by an alleged stone-throwing attack outside Qalqilya. IDF raids in al-Khadir near Bethlehem and Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah spark additional clashes; 1 Palestinian is injured and 7 are arrested. IDF troops arrest 11 more Palestinians during further raids near Salfit, Ramallah, Hebron, and Tulkarm; and patrol near Hebron throughout the day. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving between Nablus and Ramallah, between Nablus and Tulkarm, and outside Hebron, causing minor damage to several. Three settler families set up makeshift homes on Palestinian-owned land outside the Kiryat Arba settlement in protest of the recent Palestinian attacks on their fellow settlers. Unidentified assailants throw stones at Israeli settlers driving near Nablus, moderately injuring 1 settler. In East Jerusalem, right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif in the morning. Meanwhile, an Israeli settler assaults a Palestinian near the Old City. Israeli forces then arrest the Palestinian victim of the assault and a 2d Palestinian during raids in Silwan. A Palestinian demolishes his own home in Jabal Mukabir to avoid paying Israeli demolition fees. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries. (TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/16; MNA, MNA 12/17; HA 12/18; PCHR 12/20)

Following a week of escalated tensions and violence across the West Bank, Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett leads a rally outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem calling for a stronger crackdown on the occupied Palestinian territories. Bennett accuses the “security establishment” of choosing “the rights of Palestinians over the security of Israelis.” The crowd chants slogans calling for Netanyahu to resign. Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet unanimously votes to back a piece of legislation, dubbed the “Young Settlement Bill,” which would direct the government to administer 66 illegal settlement outposts as it would legal settlements for a period of 2 years. During that time, the government would be directed to figure out a way to retroactively authorize the 66 outposts. (TOI 12/16; FMEP 12/21)

The IDF announces that it has discovered a fourth Hezbollah-built tunnel leading from southern Lebanon into northern Israel in the context of Operation Northern Shield. (HA, TOI, WP 12/16; TOI 12/18)

In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces shoot and kill a Palestinian after he allegedly stabs and injures 2 Israeli police officers in the Old City. Separately, Israeli forces arrest 22 Palestinians allegedly involved in a Hamas-affiliated wedding in the Old City. In the West Bank, armed Palestinians open fire on IDF troops setting up a mobile checkpoint outside the Ofra settlement, killing 2 soldiers and critically injuring 2 more. After the shooting, the IDF shuts down all roads leading into Ramallah and conducts extensive raids in the area searching for the assailants; 40 Palestinians are arrested. Meanwhile, IDF troops shoot and kill a Palestinian driver after he allegedly rams a group of Israelis outside al-Bireh, lightly injuring 1. Some Palestinian witnesses say that the initial collision appeared to be an accident. IDF troops later conduct raids in al-Bireh, arresting 5 Palestinians and sparking clashes; 2 Palestinians are injured. They also arrest 28 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids in and around Hebron, Bethlehem, and Nablus; and patrol near Tulkarm, Hebron, Nablus, and Ramallah. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving near Nablus, damaging 7 and sparking minor clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinians in the area; there are no reported injuries. Later, the IDF shuts down several checkpoints south of Nablus to secure the area for a settler protest against recent Palestinian violence. Some of the settler protesters throw stones at Palestinian homes in the area; 2 Palestinians are injured and there is no major damage reported. Israeli settlers also throw stones and otherwise assault Palestinians and their property near al-Bireh, Ramallah, Qalqilya, Nablus, and Hebron; 2 Palestinians are injured, 1 Palestinian home is damaged, and 20 Palestinian vehicles are lightly damaged. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Bayt Lahiya. (HA, JP, JP, JP, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, YA 12/13; EI, MNA, TOI, YA 12/14; PCHR 12/20)

Amid an uptick in Israeli violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, PA president Mahmoud Abbas accuses Israel of creating a climate of incitement through repeated incursions into major Palestinian cities. “Our constant policy is to reject violence, incursions and settlers’ terror and that incitement should stop and not to create an atmosphere that contributes to the aggravation of the situation.” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, announces plans to promote the retroactive authorization of thousands of Israeli settler homes in the West Bank, the construction of 82 new homes in the Ofra settlement, and the establishment of 2 new settlement industrial zones in response to the violence. “They are thinking of uprooting us from our land, but they will not succeed,” he says. According to a senior Israeli official, Netanyahu also conveyed a message to Hamas threatening to break the cease-fire in Gaza if violence in the West Bank continues. In the evening, approximately 1,000 right-wing Israeli protesters gather outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem to call for his resignation, burn pictures of Abbas, and push for the IDF to “crush the terrorist authority,” as one protester puts it. (MNA, TOI 12/13; HA, HA, TOI 12/14)

In the West Bank, hundreds of right-wing Jewish activists visit Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus overnight, sparking clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinian residents of the area; 4 Palestinians are injured. Dozens of IDF troops raid the Ramallah headquarters of the PA’s Wafa News and Information Agency, detaining a number of employees, firing tear gas inside the building, and confiscating tapes from surveillance cameras in the building. The raid sparks minor clashes in central Ramallah; 5 Palestinians are injured. Israeli soldiers also shoot and injure 7 Palestinians during clashes sparked by IDF raids in Tubas and Nabi Salih village near Ramallah late at night. Meanwhile, IDF troops arrest 13 Palestinians during further raids near Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya; and patrol in and around Tulkarm and Hebron. Israeli settlers puncture the tires of 3 Palestinian vehicles and leave racist graffiti on nearby walls in Beytin near Ramallah. A separate group of settlers throws rocks at Palestinian vehicles on a road outside Nablus, causing minor damage. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 2 Palestinians during a raid in Jabal Mukabir. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Gaza City. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Rafah, causing no damage or injuries (2 fishermen are arrested and their boat is confiscated). Later in the day, hundreds of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s northern border to continue the Great March of Return and to cheer on a number of Palestinian boats sailing in a symbolic challenge to the Israeli blockade. IDF troops and Israeli naval forces violently disperse the demonstrations; 27 Palestinians are injured. (HA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/10; MNA, MNA 12/11; PCHR 12/13)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the Omani government has given permission for Israeli planes to fly through Omani airspace. “Therefore, only one small thing remains for us to do,” he adds, pointing to Saudi Arabia on a map. “We need to [make it so] that El Al can fly over this, and that’s it—we open new markets.” (AP, JP, TOI, YA 12/10)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces seize a concrete pump and 2 mixers from a Palestinian construction site in Bayt Dajan near Nablus. IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during raids near Hebron and Ramallah; and patrol near Nablus, Hebron, and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 1 Palestinian during a late-night raid in Hizma. (MNA 12/6; PCHR 12/13)

In response to the IDF’s Operation Northern Shield, Lebanese prime minister Sa‘d Hariri tweets, “The developments in the southern Lebanon border are no reason for escalation. This is what the Lebanese government wants and is acting towards.” Hariri also says that representatives of UNIFIL, Lebanon, and Israel met on 12/5 to discuss the operation, and that the Lebanese officials affirmed that Israel’s “consistent infiltration of Lebanese territory and airspace is an obvious violation of [UNSC Resolution 1701] and its principles.” Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says there is a “reasonable possibility” that the IDF will have to expand Operation Northern Shield to activities in southern Lebanon. “We are denying our enemies the tunnels weapon in a systematic, determined manner and we will do whatever it takes,” he says. In the evening, an IDF spokesperson announces that Israeli forces have discovered another major cross-border tunnel built by Hezbollah and that Israeli officials have asked for UNIFIL’s support in destroying it from the Lebanese side of the border. (HA, HA, JP, TOI, TOI, YA, YA 12/6)

Vehicles bearing $15 million in Qatari money enter Gaza via the Erez border crossing. This marks the 2d shipment of Qatari funds into Gaza with the purpose of paying the salaries of civil servants of the Hamas-run government and supporting families not able to cover basic needs in Gaza. The first shipment of Qatari money into Gaza occurred on 11/8. Israeli security officials say that the shipments have opened a window of opportunity for Israel to propose humanitarian solutions for Gaza and possibly to secure a long-term cease-fire. (JP, TOI 12/6; HA, JP, TOI 12/7)

The UN General Assembly votes down a U.S.-proposed resolution condemning Hamas “for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk,” with only 87 votes in favor (a two-thirds supermajority is required to approve this type of measure). Israeli prime minister Netanyahu tweets, “While it did not achieve a two-thirds majority, this is the first time that a majority of countries have voted against Hamas and I commend each of the 87 countries that took a principled stand against Hamas.” (AP, BBC, HA, JP, MNA, TOI, TOI, YA 12/7)

IDF troops shoot and kill a Palestinian amid clashes sparked by an overnight arrest raid in Tulkarm (a video of the incident will circulate later in the week showing that Israeli soldiers shot the man in the back). Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish 5 Palestinian commercial buildings in Haris village near Salfit. IDF troops arrest 10 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids near Bethlehem, Salfit, Ramallah, Tulkarm, Jerusalem, and Tubas; and patrol near Bethlehem and Hebron. Israeli forces demolish 4 Palestinian makeshift commercial structures outside Haris village near Salfit. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian home under construction in Jabal Mukabir, another in Sur Bahir, and 2 small commercial facilities in Bayt Hanina. A Palestinian demolishes his own small parking garage in Silwan to avoid paying Israeli demolition fees. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Bayt Hanun. They also open fire on a Hamas border security post near Dayr al-Balah, causing no damage or injuries. (HA, JP, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/4; PCHR 12/6)

Hours after the IDF announces that it yesterday launched Operation Northern Shield to uncover and demolish “attack” tunnels built by Hezbollah and leading into northern Israel, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says there has already been “operational successes” in the operation. “Whoever tries to harm the State of Israel will pay a heavy price,” he says. “We will continue with further actions—public and clandestine—in order to safeguard the security of Israel.” IDF officers predict it will likely take several weeks to locate and demolish all of the tunnels. Meanwhile, Lebanese president Michel Aoun calls on the Lebanese army to “closely monitor” the IDF activity along the border. (MEMO, HA, HA, HA, JP, JP, TOI 12/4; HA, MNA, MNA 12/5)

Hundreds of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s north coast to continue the Great March of Return and to cheer on approximately 30 Palestinian boats sailing in a symbolic challenge to the Israeli blockade. IDF troops and Israeli naval forces violently disperse the demonstrations; at least 30 Palestinians are injured. Meanwhile, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion across Gaza’s border fence to level land near Dayr al-Balah and open fire on a Palestinian bird-hunter approaching the border fence near Bayt Hanun. In East Jerusalem, Israeli MK Yehuda Glick leads a group of 40 right-wing Jewish activists on a tour of Haram al-Sharif. A Palestinian demolishes his storehouse, parking area, and staircase in Silwan to avoid paying Israeli demolition fees. In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish 2 Palestinian homes and a sheep barn in Fasayil village near Jericho. IDF troops shut down the main street in Bayt Umar while they conduct raids in the village, sparking clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians; there are no reported injuries. They also arrest 20 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids near Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tubas, Hebron, Nablus; and patrol in and around Nablus, Jenin, and Hebron. (MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/3; MNA 12/4; PCHR 12/6)

The IDF launches a major military operation, dubbed Operation Northern Shield, aimed at exposing and demolishing tunnels stretching from southern Lebanon into northern Israel. Hezbollah has reportedly built a network of such tunnels since 2006. Kicking off the operation, Israeli forces uncover a tunnel stretching 40 meters into Israel and booby-trap it to prevent anyone from entering from the Lebanese side. (HA, JP, JP, TOI, YA 12/4)

Hours before the launch of Operation Northern Shield, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo in Brussels to discuss recent developments in the Middle East, including Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu reportedly tells Pompeo about Operation Northern Shield and asks him to tell the Lebanese government that they need to stop Hezbollah from acquiring precision-guided missiles. (HA, JP, TOI, TOI 12/3)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian residential structure in Suba village near Hebron and deliver a stop-work order to a Palestinian home under construction outside Yatta. Unidentified assailants throw rocks at an Israeli settler vehicle driving near Ramallah, causing minor damage and lightly injuring 1 settler. IDF troops arrest 14 Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Hebron, Tubas, and Nablus; and patrol near Qalqilya, Tulkarm and Nablus. In East Jerusalem, Israeli police disperse a small protest against the detention of the PA’s governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, outside a police station near the Old City; several Palestinians are arrested. Israeli forces also arrest a Palestinian during a raid in the Old City. (TOI, WAFA 11/27; MNA 11/28; PCHR 11/29)

Haaretz reports that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is planning to lay off more than half of its employees in the West Bank and Gaza in the coming weeks, following U.S. president Trump’s decision to slash U.S. aid to the Palestinians earlier this year. (HA, TOI 11/27)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announces that the prime minister is planning to visit Chad soon to re-establish diplomatic ties. The announcement comes hours after Netanyahu meets with Chadian president Idriss Déby in Jerusalem. “The two discussed shared threats and the struggle against terrorism, increased cooperation between the nations in the areas of agriculture, counter terrorism, border security, technology, solar energy, water, health and more,” the prime minister’s office statement reads. (HA, JP, TOI 11/27)

Czech president Milos Zeman formally inaugurates the new Czech House, a cultural center in Jerusalem that he has described as the “first step” toward moving the Czech embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. In a joint press conference with Zeman, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu says, “We have no greater friend than the Czech Republic in the eastern hemisphere.” (HA, JP, TOI 11/27)

In a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post, U.S. president Donald Trump says that Israel is the “one reason for the U.S. to remain in the Middle East.” He is responding to a question about the future of the U.S. military presence in the Middle East specifically. “Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we’re producing more oil now than we’ve ever produced.” Meanwhile, Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon says that the Trump administration is planning to release its long-awaited plan for Palestinian-Israeli peace in early 2019. (WP, YA 11/27; HA, MNA, MNA, TOI 11/28)

The Israeli authorities announce the seizure of 66 acres of Catholic Church-owned land in the northern Jordan Valley for “military purposes.” In response, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem says, “The Patriarchate is looking into the aspects of this decision in order to address it in the appropriate manner, have it contested and to stop further damage.” (MNA 11/27; FMEP 12/7)

Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmers, shepherds, and bird-hunters working near Khan Yunis and Gaza City; there are no reported injuries. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian during clashes sparked by an arrest raid in Abu Qash near Ramallah. Separately, IDF troops open fire on a Palestinian vehicle driving outside Dayr Abu Mash‘al near Ramallah; 3 Palestinian minors are injured (1 critically). Meanwhile, IDF troops arrest 16 Palestinians during raids near Ramallah, Qalqilya, Salfit, Jenin, and Nablus; and patrol in and around Hebron. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian homes in Urif village near Nablus, sparking a minor confrontation with residents of the area; there are no major injuries or damage reported. In East Jerusalem, dozens of right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif in the morning. Israeli forces arrest 2 Palestinians during late-night raids in Qalandia refugee camp. (MNA, MNA, WAFA 11/18; HA, MNA, MNA 11/19; PCHR 11/22)

At a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces that he is taking on the position of defense minister following Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation on 11/14. He also says it would be “irresponsible” to force early elections during “one of our most difficult security periods.” (HA, JP, JP, MNA 11/19)

A U.S. State Department official says that the Trump administration is considering retaliatory measures against the Palestinians following PA president Abbas’s “premature” and “counterproductive” decision to sign accession documents for 11 international treaties and conventions on 11/15. “The U.S. continues to make clear, both with the parties and with international partners, that the only realistic path forward is through direct negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace,” the official says. “We are currently reviewing possible consequences of the Palestinians’ recent actions.” (TOI, USSD 11/18)

Approximately 8,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border fence to continue the Great March of Return. IDF troops violently disperse them near Rafah, al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza City, Khan Yunis, and Jabaliya refugee camp; 1 Palestinian is killed and 18 are injured (3 seriously). This brings the death toll stemming from the Great March of Return to 190. Also along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmers working their fields near al-Qarara, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists at Friday protests against the occupation in 2 villages near Ramallah (Bil‘in and Ras Karkar) and Kafr Qaddum near Qalqilya; 4 Palestinians are injured. (HA, JP, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 11/16; PCHR 11/22)

Amid rumors of early elections in Israel, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Education Minister Naftali Bennett. Netanyahu reportedly rejects Bennett’s demand to be appointed defense minister. After the meeting, Bennett says that they agreed to call for early elections. Netanyahu then contradicts Bennett, warning against the idea and saying that he “trusts the ministers not to topple a right-wing government and not to repeat the historic mistake of ‘92, when they toppled a right-wing government, put the left in power and brought the Oslo disaster on the state of Israel.” Later, a source close to Netanyahu says the prime minister hopes to maintain his ruling coalition for at least another 6 weeks. (HA, HA, HA, JP, JP, TOI 11/16)

At an event in Khan Yunis honoring the Palestinians killed in the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, warns Israel not to test Hamas again, referring to the 11/11 undercover operation that sparked the escalation. “This time you managed to leave with dead and wounded; next time we will release our prisoners from the jails and there will even be soldiers left in our hands.” (HA, TOI 11/16)

In East Jerusalem, approximately 35 right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif. In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 7 Palestinians and confiscate NIS 500,000 (approximately $134,731) during raids near Jenin, Tulkarm, Hebron, and Nablus; and patrol near Hebron, Tulkarm, and Salfit. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Khan Yunis and open fire on Palestinian shepherds and agricultural lands near Dayr al-Balah, causing no damage or injuries. (MNA, MNA, WAFA, WAFA 11/15; PCHR 11/22)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas signs accession papers for the State of Palestine to join 11 international organizations and conventions, including the Universal Postal Union, Convention on the Nationality of Married Women, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Basel Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Damage Resulting from Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, Vienna Convention of Road Traffic, Protocol concerning countries or territories at present occupied, Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, Agreement Establishing the Common Fund for Commodities, and the International Convention on the Arrest of Ships. (MNA, TOI, WAFA 11/15)

One day after Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to reach a cease-fire with the armed Palestinian groups in Gaza, both Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri call for snap elections to be held as soon as possible. Meanwhile, hundreds of Israelis from communities near Gaza gather in central Tel Aviv to protest the government’s response to the recent rocket fire from Gaza. Many call for Netanyahu to resign. Netanyahu, for his part, presents to a group of leaders from the border communities a NIS 500 million (approximately $135 million) plan to support them over the next 2 years. (HA, HA, JP, YA 11/15; HA, MNA, TOI 11/16)

UNRWA commissioner general Pierre Krähenbühl says that the agency has almost entirely made up for the budget shortfall caused by U.S. president Trump’s decision to slash U.S. support for UNRWA earlier this year. He says that UNRWA has raised an addition $382 million, bringing the deficit to just $64 million. “I’ll be very honest in saying, I don’t think many people believed that we would be able to overcome a $446 million shortfall at the beginning of the year,” he says, crediting the EU, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE for each upping their pledges of support this year. (AFP, TOI 11/15)

Along Gaza’s northern border, IDF troops shoot and kill a Palestinian fisherman working from the shore near Bayt Lahiya. The incident comes hours after the Israeli authorities informed their Palestinian counterparts in Gaza that fishermen were allowed to return to the sea today. As ordered by Israeli defense minister Lieberman on 10/31, the fishing zone is limited to 6 nautical miles from Gaza’s northern shore and 9 nautical miles from its southern shore. (EI, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA 11/14; PCHR 11/15)

Also along Gaza’s border, IDF troops shoot, injure, and arrest a Palestinian approaching the border fence near Jabaliya refugee camp The IDF claims he was throwing grenades at Israeli posts. Dozens of right-wing Israeli activists stand in the road leading to the Kerem Shalom border crossing for several hours, blocking the entry of goods and fuel into Gaza in protest of the recent rocket fire. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces shoot and injure a Palestinian outside a police station in Jabal Mukabir after he allegedly stabs and lightly injures 4 Israeli police officers (the Palestinian will succumb to his injuries on 11/20). The Israeli police deploy in force in the neighborhood after the incident, conducting arrest raids and blocking off several roads. In the West Bank, Israeli settlers torch a Palestinian-owned vehicle and spray racist graffiti on nearby walls in Urif village near Nablus. IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during raids in Tubas and near Hebron; shoot and injure a Palestinian during clashes sparked by further raids near Nablus; and patrol near Hebron and Salfit. (HA, HA, MNA, TOI, TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 11/14; HA, MNA, PCHR 11/15; PCHR 11/22)

In response to the Israeli security cabinet’s 11/13 decision to agree to a cease-fire with the armed Palestinian groups in Gaza, Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman announces his resignation and calls for snap elections. Lieberman takes specific issue with both the cease-fire and the decision to allow Qatari money into Gaza to pay the civil servants of the Hamas-run government. “There is no other definition, no other significance, but a capitulation to terror,” he says. “What we are doing now as a country is buying short-term quiet at the cost of our long-term security.” Without Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu in the ruling coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bloc still holds a majority of the seats in the Knesset (61–59). (BBC, HA, HA, IHY, TOI, TOI, TOI, YA 11/14; HA 11/15)

Israel Television News Company publishes a poll showing that 74% of the Israeli public is dissatisfied with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu’s handling of the recent conflict with Hamas. The poll was reportedly taken in the hours after Defense Minister Lieberman resigned earlier today. The results also show that Netanyahu’s Likud party would only win 29 seats in the Knesset if elections were held today, marking the weakest Likud has polled since 3/2018. Meanwhile, dozens of right-wing Israelis gather in Sderot for a 2d day in a row to protest Netanyahu’s handling of the recent escalation of violence. (HA, JP, TOI 11/14)

Dozens of Palestinians gather in central Hebron to call for the Israeli authorities to return the corpses of their loved ones who were killed in confrontations with Israeli troops. The Israeli authorities are reportedly withholding 33 such corpses. Elsewhere in the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during raids near Bethlehem; and patrol near Jenin, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya. After sealing the entrances to Tuqu‘ near Bethlehem, Israeli forces fire tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets toward Palestinian students at a high school in the village, 8 Palestinians are injured. (MNA, WAFA 11/10; PCHR 11/15)

A Palestinian succumbs to injuries he sustained when the IDF violently dispersed Friday protests in al-Mazra‘a on 10/26. He has been in a coma since he was hit in the head with a bullet during those clashes. (WAFA 11/10; PCHR 11/15)

Al-Akhbar reports that Israel and Qatar have agreed to establish a trade route between Cyrpus and Gaza to be monitored by international forces. Hamas reportedly consented to the same surveillance system as is used at the Rafah border crossing, including cameras, international inspectors, and computer networking. No party to the alleged deal confirms any of the reported details. Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu defends his decision to allow Qatari funds into Gaza to pay civil servants in the Hamas-run government. “I am doing what I can in coordination with the southern communities to restore peace and prevent a humanitarian crisis,” he says. “Right now, this is the right step. For every step, without exception, there is a price. When you take steps as a leader, there is always a price, if you cannot bear the cost, you cannot lead.” (AKH, HA, HA, TOI, YA 11/10)

Approximately 3,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s northern border to continue the Great March of Return and to cheer on approximately 15 Palestinian boats setting sail in a symbolic protest of the Israeli blockade. Israeli naval forces fire warning shots at the boats, forcing them to turn back to shore, and IDF troops along the border fence open fire on the other protesters; 1 Palestinian is killed and 34 are injured, including 3 paramedics. This brings the death toll stemming from the Great March of Return to 186. Also along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Bayt Lahiya. In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian home under construction in Atana refugee camp near Ramallah and uproot approximately 550 Palestinian trees outside Bayt Ula near Hebron. IDF troops arrest 14 Palestinians during late-night raids near Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, and Tulkarm; and patrol in and around Nablus and Hebron. (EI, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, YA 10/29; MNA 10/30; PCHR 11/1)

The PLO Central Council (PCC) convenes for a 2d day of meetings in Ramallah and reaches a non-binding decision to suspend all PLO and PA agreements with Israel, including those that govern the PA’s security coordination with the IDF, until the Israeli government recognizes the State of Palestine. PA president Mahmoud Abbas vows to implement the decision, a move he has not taken in response to similar PCC decisions in the past. (HA, JP, MNA, WAFA, YA 10/30)

Senior Israeli security officials speculate that the uptick in violence along Gaza’s border fence this weekend stemmed from a power struggle in Gaza between PIJ and Hamas over the ongoing Great March of Return and the potential benefits to come from a cease-fire agreement with Israel. Separately, a senior Israeli political source says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is focused on the ongoing negotiations on a cease-fire, rather than preparations for another assault on Gaza. “We can reoccupy Gaza and remove Hamas from power, but there are no volunteers to take Gaza off our hands,” the source says. “If there was someone willing to take responsibility for the strip, we would have taken over it tomorrow.” (HA, YA 10/29)

Along Gaza’s border, Israeli firefighters put out a large fire in Kissufim Forest that was reportedly sparked by an incendiary balloon flown from Gaza. In the evening, an Israeli aircraft conducts a retaliatory air strike on a Hamas site near Khan Yunis, causing no injuries or damage. In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct raids in Dahaysha refugee camp near Bethlehem overnight, arresting 1 Palestinian and sparking clashes; 3 Palestinians are injured. They also arrest 3 Palestinians during raids in and around Tulkarm and patrol near Hebron. Israeli forces deliver stop-work orders to several Bedouin homes and barns under construction near Jericho. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces shoot and injure 11 Palestinians during clashes sparked by an arrest raid in Abu Dis. They also arrest 8 Palestinians during late-night raids in Ras al-Amud and the Old City. (MNA, MNA, WAFA 10/25; MNA 10/26; PCHR 11/1)

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman says that Egypt and the UN have requested that Israel give them one more chance to de-escalate the situation in the context of the ongoing talks on a potential Israel-Hamas cease-fire agreement. He says that they are asking Israel to ease restrictions on Gaza in exchange for Hamas imposing limitations on resistance activities along the border fence. (JP, MNA 10/25)

The Israeli government approves the construction of more than 20,000 new housing units for Israeli settlers in Ma’ale Adumim, a settlement east of Jerusalem. The move comes in the context of a new agreement signed by Israel’s Construction and Housing Ministry and the Ma’ale Adumim Municipality. Also in that context, the government permits the immediate construction of 470 previously approved housing units. “In addition to the new housing units, public and educational institutions will also be established, and will include synagogues, schools, parks, community centers and sports arenas,” says Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant. “We must continue to establish [our] hold on the Jerusalem area.” (IHY, MNA 10/28; FMEP 11/2)

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi insists that the Jordanian government is still committed to its 1994 peace treaty with Israel, despite King Abdullah’s 10/21 decision not to renew 2 annexes therein “We acted within the provisions of the peace treaty,” he says. “This is an indication of our commitment to the peace treaty. There has never been a question of our solid commitment to the treaty.” (EI, JP, REU, TOI, YA 10/25)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara fly to Oman to meet with Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Because Oman and Israel have no formal diplomatic ties, the visit is seen as an indication of a growing relationship between Israel and Oman. After Netanyahu meets with the sultan, his office states that they discussed ways to achieve “peace and stability in the Middle East” and that the visit marks a “significant step in implementing the policy outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu on deepening relations with the states of the region while leveraging Israel’s advantages in security, technology and economic matters.” (AP, JP, NYT, REU 10/26; HA 10/27)

 

In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest the PA’s governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, during a raid in Bayt Hanina. They accuse him of an undisclosed “violation” in the West Bank. Israeli forces also arrest 1 Palestinian during a late-night raid in Kafr 'Aqab. Meanwhile, approximately 50 right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif. In the West Bank, IDF troops deliver stop-work orders to 3 Palestinian homes under construction in al-Wajala village near Bethlehem; arrest 7 Palestinians during late-night raids near Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, and Tulkarm; and patrol near Nablus, Hebron, and Tulkarm. (MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA 10/21; PCHR 10/25)

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman orders the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings with Gaza to be re-opened, days after he ordered them closed in response to escalating violence along Gaza’s border on 10/17. He also says he will consider re-allowing transfers of Qatari-funded fuel for Gaza’s only power plant (he ordered them to halt after a bout of violence on 10/12). Today’s decision reportedly comes after Lieberman conferred with top security officials and verified Hamas’s efforts to limit the violence along Gaza’s border in recent days. (HA, MNA, TOI 10/21)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu postpones for “a short time” the planned evacuation and demolition of Jerusalem-area Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar. According to sources in Netanyahu’s office, the prime minister wants to give more time for the ongoing negotiations on relocation sites, including a new proposal from the residents. The residents reportedly offered to move 500 meter north to the outskirts of Anata refugee camp “The amount of time to achieve this consent will be determined by [Israel’s cabinet],” he says. “I will convene it today. It will make a decision. The timetable will be short. I believe the evacuation will also be consensual.” Israeli defense minister Lieberman says that the Netanyahu made this decision “despite [his] strong objections.” (HA, HA, HA, JP, MNA, TOI 10/21)

Jordan’s King Abdullah announces that earlier today he informed the Israeli government that he does not intend to renew 2 annexes of the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty. The annexes specifically stipulated that Jordan would lease 2 areas of land along the Israel-Jordan border to Israel for a period of 25 years. Netanyahu responds that he intends to negotiate with Jordan on extending the lease. “There is no doubt the agreement is an important asset,” he adds. (HA, JT, TOI 10/21; JP 10/22)

An Israeli drone bombs a site east of Bayt Hanun in Gaza in the evening, moderately injuring 1 Palestinian. An IDF spokesperson says that the strike targeted a group of Palestinians who were throwing firebombs across the border fence into Israel earlier in the day. Separately, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian at a Great March of Return tent camp near Gaza City. In the West Bank, Israeli settlers uproot or otherwise destroy approximately 370 grape vines and 30 olive trees outside al-Khadir village near Bethlehem, 50 olive tree saplings outside Tell village near Nablus, 22 olive trees from a grove near Qalqilya, and 100 olive trees outside al-Mughayyir near Ramallah. Separately, an Israeli settler driver runs over 2 Palestinians near Qalqilya, injuring both. Meanwhile, IDF troops arrest 16 Palestinians during late-night raids near Ramallah, Tulkarm, Bethlehem, Qalqilya, and Hebron; and patrol near Hebron, Salfit, Qalqilya, and Tulkarm. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers uproot dozens of Palestinian trees in Silwan. Israeli forces arrest 1 Palestinian during a raid in Abu Dis. (HA, MNA, MNA, MNA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/14; MNA, MNA, MNA 10/15; PCHR 10/18)

Amid escalating violence along Gaza’s border fence, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that if the attacks from Gaza don’t stop, Israel will offer a “different” response. “Hamas apparently didn’t get the message,” he says, referring to the last round of Israeli air strikes in Gaza. “If they don’t stop the attacks against us, they will be stopped in a different way and it will be painful—very painful.” Later, Israel’s security cabinet reportedly decides to wait and see if Hamas will heed Netanyahu’s warning before ordering a broader assault on Gaza. (HA, JP, TOI, TOI, YA 10/14; MNA 10/15)

The Israeli cabinet approves NIS 22 million (approximately $6.1 million) to expand the Israeli settlements in Hebron. The plan calls for the construction of 31 housing units, 2 new kindergartens, a daycare center, and a public park on the site of a former IDF post. (HA, JP, MNA, TOI 10/14)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish 3 Palestinian residential structures and confiscate solar panels from Khirbet al-Halawa near Hebron. They also deliver stop-work orders to 2 Palestinian homes under construction near Hebron; patrol near Nablus and Hebron; and arrest 13 Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Tulkarm and Nablus. Israeli settlers uproot approximately 40 olive trees in a Palestinian grove near Hebron. Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops violently disperse dozens of Palestinians gathering along the border fence near Dayr al-Balah to continue the Great March of Return; 5 Palestinians are injured. Separately, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Bayt Lahiya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 1 Palestinian during a raid in Abu Dis. (MNA, WAFA, WAFA 10/9; MNA 10/10; PCHR 10/11)

The first shipment of Qatari-funded diesel fuel—450,000 liters on 6 trucks—enters Gaza to supply the region’s only power plant. The shipment was previously blocked on 10/4, allegedly due to PA president Abbas’s interference, and it is reportedly going forward today without PA approval. A UN spokesperson says that 7 more truckloads of fuel are set to enter Gaza on 10/10, with the goal of 15 truckloads entering per day. “In addition to other long-term efforts underway to increase the energy supply, additional fuel for the Gaza Power Plant remains the fastest and most immediate way to increase electricity and help alleviate the humanitarian and related public health needs on the ground,” the spokesperson says. Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames PA president Mahmoud Abbas for “suffocating” Gaza. “I am trying to find a solution that will restore quiet and security,” he says. “I am not interested in getting into needless wars.” A Hamas spokesperson rejects allegations that Hamas will benefit from the $60 million that Qatar recently pledged to support Gaza. “The funds that came from Qatar through international associations are directed to the Gaza power plant in a move to partially ease [the burden] on Gazans in terms of electricity,” he says. “Hamas has absolutely nothing to do with the money.” (MNA, HA, HA, JP, TOI, YA 10/9)

A U.S. State Department spokesperson comments on the case of U.S.-Palestinian student Lara Alqasem, who the Israeli authorities denied entry to Israel and have detained since 10/2. “We are aware of her case. Our embassy is providing consular access as we would to all American citizens,” she says. “Ultimately it is up to the government of Israel to decide who it wants to let into the country.” Later, Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan says he would reconsider allowing Alqasem entry if she publicly condemns the BDS movement. (HA, HA, TOI 10/9)