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  • December 18, 2023

    In the West Bank, an Israeli settler stabbed and injured a Palestinian and rammed his livestock with a car, killing 2 goats in Khirbet al-Farisiyya. Israeli settlers also threw stones at...

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In the West Bank, an Israeli settler stabbed and injured a Palestinian and rammed his livestock with a car, killing 2 goats in Khirbet al-Farisiyya. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles near Rawabi. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians with pepper spray at the Ibrahimi Mosque. Israeli forces shot and killed 4 Palestinians, including 2 children, during a raid in al-Fara’a refugee camp. Israeli forces also shot and injured 3, including a journalist near Jaffna and 2 others in Tell. Elsewhere, Israeli forces demolished a home under construction in Majdal Bani Fadel and electricity networks connecting Majdal Bani Fadel and Aqraba. An Israeli settler was shot and injured near the Ateret settlement. 35 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Tulkarm, Jericho, Ramallah, Hebron, Qalqilya, and Bethlehem. In Gaza, Israeli forces bombed Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Jabalia refugee camp, Dayr al-Balah, and Rafah; it was unclear how many casualties there were. Israeli forces also raided al-Ahli Arab Hospital, causing injuries and arresting dozens. 2 Israeli soldiers were killed in combat. In Lebanon, Hezbollah fired missiles at Kiryat Shmona and Israeli forces attacked a funeral in Aita al-Shaab. In Syria, Israeli forces fired tank shells at a Syrian army position, saying missiles had been launched at Israel. In the Red Sea, Houthi forces attacked 2 ships with drones, saying they failed to respond to calls. (AJ, AJ, AJ, HA, HA, HA, HA, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/18; AJ, UNOCHA 12/19)

As of 12/17 more than 19,453 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 7,729 children and 5,153 women, and around 54,000 had been injured since 10/7. At least 8,000 people were missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 294 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 74 children. More than 3,387 people have been injured. Israel reported that 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured since 10/7. 132 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 719 injured in Gaza since the ground invasion began on 10/27. Over 1.93 million Palestinians, nearly 85% of the population of Gaza, have been displaced since 10/7. There has been a complete electricity blackout in Gaza since 10/12 due to the Israeli blockade. As of 12/3, at least 52,000 housing units had been destroyed and 253,000 had been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7, constituting 60% of all housing units. 60 trucks carrying aid entered Gaza via the Rafah crossing and 64 entered via the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing. 55 injured people, accompanied by 56 others, and 548 dual nationals were evacuated to Egypt. (AJ, UNOCHA 12/18; UNOCHA 12/19)

Human Rights Watch issued a report saying Israel was using starvation as a weapon of war by deliberately denying civilians access to food and water. The report pointed out that 3 Israeli ministers have made statements confirming the policy. (AJ, HA, HRW, WAFA 12/18)

Hamas released a video of 3 elderly Israeli captives. (AJ, AJ, HA, HA, REU 12/18)

U.S. secretary of defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Israel for meetings with Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the meetings, Austin said the U.S. support for Israel was unshakeable but that the U.S. urged Israel to protect civilians and increase the flow of aid. Israeli and U.S. sources told Axios that Gallant and Netanyahu told Austin they want Hezbollah to move its forces 6 miles north of the Blue Line. CIA director William Burns met with Qatari prime minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Mossad director David Barnea in Warsaw. (AJ, AJ, AX, AX, HA, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU 12/18; REU 12/19; AJ 12/20)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on his re-election. Egypt’s National Election Authority said el-Sisi won with 89.6% of the vote and the voter turnout was 66.8%. (AP, NYT, WAFA 12/18; HA 12/19)

The U.S. launched a new patrol mission in the Red Sea to counter Yemeni attacks on commercial ships. The UK, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles, and Spain joined the U.S.-led mission. A Houthi spokesperson called the mission unnecessary, saying waters around Yemen are safe, except for Israel-linked ships or vessels traveling to Israel. The Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen said it has stopped accepting Israeli cargo. (AJ, HA, HA, REU, REU 12/18; AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, HA, REU 12/19)