Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish 2 residential buildings in the Beit El settlement, despite the govt.-backed petition from the developer. Around 200 Israeli settlers gather in Beit El to protest the demolition, throwing stones at the Israeli troops and setting small fires. For the 2d day in a row, settlers also gather in the Sa-Nur settlement outpost that was evacuated in 2005, and they verbally assault Palestinians in the area. Late at night, IDF troops evacuate the outpost and the surrounding area; no violence is reported. Meanwhile, IDF troops conduct late-night raids in Aida r.c. nr. Bethlehem, arresting 3 Palestinians. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish a wedding hall and several other Palestinian buildings in Bayt Hanina. They also patrol in Issawiyya, sparking minor clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian youths; 3 Palestinians are arrested. (HA, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA 7/29; HA, JP, PCHR, YA 7/30; PCHR 8/6)

Israeli PM Netanyahu approves the “immediate” construction of 296 settler residences in Beit El, and 500 in East Jerusalem. Israel’s COGAT Mordechai signs a permit to immediately sell land for the construction, and the municipality will be allowed to issue construction permits within 15 days. The UN, EU, U.S. State Dept., Egyptian Foreign Ministry, and PLO all criticize the settlement announcement. (HA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 7/29; MNA, WAFA, YA 7/30)

In Syria, an IAF drone launches an air strike nr. the border with Israel, killing 2 Hizballah fighters and 3 Syrian soldiers. The IDF does not comment on the incident, and reports differ on the nature of the attack. Separately, according to the PFLP-Gen. Command, an ally of the Syrian govt., Israeli jets strike an arms depot used by the group in Lebanon nr. the border with Syria, injuring 6. (HA, JP, YA 7/29; HA 7/30)