Thursday, April 27, 2017

Israeli forces shell a Hamas military post along Gaza’s border nr. Dayr al-Balah, causing no injuries, in response to shots fired at an IDF patrol in the area earlier in the day. In the West Bank, hundreds of Israeli settlers visit Joseph’s Tomb nr. Nablus overnight, sparking clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinian youths from nearby Balata r.c.; there are no serious injuries. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers assault and moderately injure a Palestinian nr. Jenin and damage his car. Israeli forces demolish water pipelines serving Bardala village in the n. Jordan Valley as well as 3 structures in illegal settlement outposts nr. Ramallah. IDF troops arrest 5 Palestinians during late-night raids nr. Bethlehem and Jenin, and patrol nr. Hebron during the day. (HA, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA 4/27; PCHR 5/4)

Public and private Palestinian institutions across the West Bank and Gaza observe a general strike in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike since 4/17. Approximately 500 mbrs. of PIJ declare a 1-day hunger strike in solidarity as well. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers open fire on Palestinian protesters marching through al-Bireh in solidarity with the prisoners; there are no serious injuries. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently disperse Palestinians at a sit-in in Issawiyya and a solidarity march in Shu‘fat r.c.; there are no serious injuries. (JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA 4/27; MNA 4/28)

The PA informs the Israeli govt. that it will no longer be paying for the electricity that Israel supplies to the Gaza Strip, marking a major change in the PA’s policy toward Hamas’s control over Gaza. The move comes amid an escalating electricity shortage in Gaza, and also follows reports that PA pres. Abbas has been planning to increase pressure on Hamas to give up control of the Gaza Strip. The PA generally pays Israel about NIS 40 m. (approx. $11 m.) per mo. to provide Gaza with around 30% of the electricity it requires. Israel takes the electricity fees out of the taxes it collects on behalf of the PA. Meanwhile, UN coordinator for humanitarian aid and development activities Robert Piper approves the release of $500,000 to buy emergency power for hospitals in the Gaza Strip. (BBC, HA, JP, MNA, TOI 4/27)

Five missiles strike ammunition depots nr. the Damascus International Airport overnight, causing damage but no reported injuries. Syria’s official news agency blames Israel for the strike. The IDF does not comment. Later in the day, Israeli forces shoot down an unmanned aircraft that flew into Israeli airspace from Syria. (HA, JP, NYT 4/27)