Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The IDF continues its assault of the Gaza Strip, killing 64 Palestinians, primarily in the s. Khan Yunis area. The IDF says that it is hitting “concealed rocket launchers, terror tunnels, militant compounds, and terror activity posts located within the premises of al-Wafa hospital.” Severe shortages in electricity, water, and medical supplies continue to affect Palestinians in Gaza, with the UN estimating that the total number of displaced has risen to 118,300. Palestinians kill 3 Israeli soldiers inside the Gaza Strip, and severely wound another 2, in an attack claimed by al-Quds Brigades. Armed Palestinian groups fire rockets into s. Israel at a diminished rate relative to previous days, causing no damage and killing 1 Thai worker nr. the border fence. In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and kill 1 Palestinian man during clashes that break out after a protest in Husan village nr. Bethlehem. Clashes also break out in Silwad, and IDF troops injure 2 Palestinians with rubber-coated metal bullets. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Nablus. (AFP, AP, JP, MNA, REU, YA 7/23)

The FAA extends the previous day’s ban on U.S. airline flights to Ben-Gurion Airport for an additional 24 hours. (AFP, AP, JP 7/23)

In a televised speech from Doha, Hamas leader Mish‘al responds to the international calls for a cease-fire, saying that Hamas “cannot accept any proposal that does not include the lifting of the siege.” Mish‘al also calls for a “humanitarian truce” of a few hours “to evacuate the wounded and assist in the relief.” (AFP, AP, HA, MNA 7/23)

In response to an Israeli request on 7/20, the U.S. Defense Dept. agrees to resupply the IDF with arms from the War Reserves Stockpile based in Israel. Details of the sale are not reported until 7/30. (AFP, AP 7/23; Guardian 7/30)

U.S. Secy. of State Kerry holds talks with UN Secy.-Gen. Ban in Jerusalem, their 2d meeting of the week. Kerry says afterward that “we have certainly made some steps forward, but there is still work to be done.” Kerry also meets with Pres. Abbas in Ramallah and then with Israeli PM Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, before returning to Cairo with no sign of an imminent breakthrough that might enable a cease-fire. (HA, JP, MNA, YA 7/23)

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva passes a res., 29–1–17, condemning Israel’s occupation and the current assault on Gaza, as well as commissioning an investigation into potential war crimes committed during the current Gaza conflict, with the U.S. casting the sole “no” vote. Israeli PM Netanyahu calls the vote a “travesty,” while Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni responds on Facebook with the comment: “Get lost.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says that there is a “strong possibility” Israel is committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip. (AFP, AP, HA, JP, MNA, YA 7/23)