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  • January 18, 2024

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers bring their cattle to graze on farmland in Deir Balut, causing damage to crops. Israeli settlers also fence off a tract of land and begin construction of a...

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In the West Bank, Israeli settlers bring their cattle to graze on farmland in Deir Balut, causing damage to crops. Israeli settlers also fence off a tract of land and begin construction of a settlement road in the Jordan Valley. Israeli forces fatally shoot 2 Palestinians and injure at least 3 others in Nur Shams refugee camp during the second day of its raid in Tulkarm, bringing the total number of casualties to 8 deaths and at least 26 injuries; Israeli soldiers also continue demolishing infrastructure, blow up 3 homes, and prevent medics from reaching wounded Palestinians. Israeli forces also shoot and injure 10 Palestinians, including 2 with live ammunition and 8 with baton rounds, during raids in al-Bireh and al-Am’ari refugee camp. Elsewhere, Israeli forces assault 4 Palestinians and injure others with tear gas during a raid in Husan. Israeli forces also demolish several homes and agricultural structures in Duma, displacing around 50 people. Israeli forces arrest 48 Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Hamala, Hebron, Deir al-Ghusun, Bayt Rima, Balaa, Nablus, Kafr ad-Dik, and Qalqilya. In Gaza, telecommunications services are down for the seventh day in a row. Israeli forces bomb Gaza City, Rafah, Beit Hanun, Beit Lahiya, al-Nuseirat refugee camp, Jabalia refugee camp, Maghazi, and Khan Yunis, killing at least 172 people, including 16 in an airstrike on a home in Rafah and al-Quds TV news director Wael Fanouneh in an airstrike on Gaza City. Israeli forces also demolish al-Israa University in a controlled explosion after using it as a military base. In Lebanon, Israeli forces bomb Aitaroun, Meiss Ej Jabal, Kfar Kila, and Odaisseh, causing damage. Lebanon’s National News Agency says Israel has used white phosphorus in Meiss Ej Jabal. In the Red Sea, the Houthi movement says it has attacked a ship 85 nautical miles off the coast of Yemen with “naval missiles,” causing damage. The U.S. military says it has bombed 2 anti-ship missiles ready to be launched in Yemen. In Iran, Pakistani forces bomb Baluchi separatists, killing 9 people, in what appears to be retaliation for an Iranian strike on Pakistan on 1/16. (NYT 1/17; AJ, AJ, AP, AP, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/18; AJ, AP, AP, NYT, REU, REU 1/19)

More than 24,620 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 10,600 children and 7,200 women, and around 61,830 have been injured since 10/7. At least 7,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 361 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 90 children. More than 4,252 people have been injured. Israel reports that 1,139 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured in Israel since 10/7, including Israeli soldiers. In addition, 191 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,178 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. At least 69,000 housing units have been destroyed and 290,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7, constituting over 60% of all housing units. 98 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza via the Rafah and Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossings. UNRWA says the population of Rafah has quadrupled to more than 1.2 million. (AJ, NYT, UNOCHA, UNOCHA 1/18; AP, HA 1/19)

Lebanese officials say Hezbollah has rejected a U.S. proposal to move its militants further north from the Blue Line to reduce tensions with Israel, but that Hezbollah remains open to U.S. diplomacy to avoid further escalation. (HA, HA, REU 1/18)

A Haaretz investigation reveals that no Palestinian community in Israel is listed as eligible to receive weapons from the National Security Ministry, even as some of the communities are closer to Israeli “borders” than Jewish communities that are deemed eligible. (HA 1/18)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will continue to control all territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, saying “it contradicts the idea of self-rule [for Palestinians]. So what? I tell this truth to our American friends.” Netanyahu adds, “[t]his conflict is not about a lack of a state, but about the existence of a state.” U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says in response that U.S. “support for Israel remains ironclad” despite disagreement on the issue. Miller also says that there is “no way” to solve Israel’s long-term security needs without the establishment of a Palestinian state. PA spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh says there will be no security and stability in the region without a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Reema bint Bandar Al Saud says any potential normalization agreement with Israel would be conditioned on a ceasefire and an “irrevocable” pathway for a Palestinian state. (AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AX, HA, NYT, WAFA 1/18; AP, AP, NYT, REU 1/19)

The Israeli cabinet discusses whether to transfer the responsibility of disbursing the PA tax revenue to either Norway or the U.S. The plan, which was brought forward by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, is opposed by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and is not voted on. Smotrich’s plan includes forcing the third-party country to also deduct tax revenue that is allocated to Gaza. (HA 1/19)

Israeli war cabinet minister Gadi Eisenkot tells Channel 12 that he helped prevent an Israeli “preemptive strike” on Lebanon on 10/11/2023 and says Israel will not be able to retrieve the captives held in Gaza alive without a deal with Hamas. The Times of Israel quotes National Security Minister Ben-Gvir as telling Israeli soldiers in the West Bank that “[w]hen your life is in danger or [you] see a terrorist – even if he does not endanger you – shoot.” Ben-Gvir’s office later says he told the soldiers to shoot “armed terrorists.”  (AJ, HA, REU, WAFA 1/18; AP, AP, AP, NYT 1/19)

U.S. president Joe Biden responds to a question about the efficacy of the U.S. attacks on Yemen saying “when you say working, are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes.” (AP 1/18; AJ, AP 1/19)

Mexico and Chile refer Israel’s attacks on Gaza to the ICC over possible war crimes. (AJ, AP, HA, REU 1/18; AP, WAFA 1/19)

The European Parliament votes in favor of a permanent ceasefire on the condition that Hamas is dismantled and all captives are released, and for an acceleration of humanitarian aid to Gaza in a symbolic vote that pass 312-131, with 72 members abstaining. (AJ, AP, REU, WAFA 1/18)

Politico reports that U.S. officials have told Israeli leaders to restore telecommunications services in Gaza. (AJ 1/18)

The Financial Times, citing unnamed “senior Arab officials,” reports that Arab states will present a plan that will see normalization of Saudi ties with Israel in exchange for Palestine becoming a full member of the UN, irreversible steps toward Palestinian statehood, and Israel ceasing its attacks on Gaza. (AJ, FT, HA 1/18)