Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In the West Bank, Palestinian farmers discover that Israeli settlers have stolen the pickings from at least 450 of their olive trees in orchards east of Qalqilya. Israeli forces bulldoze 200 m of walls around a Palestinian’s agricultural land near Nablus, and patrol near Hebron. Late at night, IDF troops raid 8 branch offices of 3 Palestinian media companies— PalMedia, Ram Sat, and Trans Media—in Nablus, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Hebron. They confiscate what they claim are inciting materials and arrest at least 2 Palestinians. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish 2 homes in Silwan, displacing 9 Palestinians. Off Gaza, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Bayt Lahiya and Khan Yunis, causing no damage or injuries. (MNA, WAFA 10/17; EI, HA, YA 10/18; PCHR 10/19)

Israeli PM Netanyahu’s office announces that the security cabinet has decided to set a series of conditions concerning the 10/12 Palestinian national reconciliation agreement for the Palestinians to meet before the Israeli government would consent to any “political” talks with a new Palestinian consensus government. They include Hamas recognizing Israel, ceasing all so-called terrorist activity, disarming fighters, dismantling its military infrastructure and bureaucracy in the West Bank, severing ties with Iran, returning to Israel the remains of the 2 IDF soldiers and the Israeli civilians allegedly being held in Gaza, and relinquishing security control of Gaza to the PA. A senior Israeli official says that the cabinet also authorized PM Netanyahu to impose punitive sanctions on the PA, including deductions from the monthly transfers of tax revenues Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf. Shortly after the statement is released, PA pres. Abbas’s spokesperson says that the Israeli government will not be allowed to stand in the way of Palestinian reconciliation. (HA, YA 10/17)

The Higher Planning Commission of Israel’s Civil Administration advances plans for 1,292 new housing units in West Bank settlements, including the approval of 296 homes for sale in Beit El (PM Netanyahu has promised to make these homes available to the residents of the illegal Ulpana outpost, which was evacuated in 2012). The committee is expected to advance more plans on 10/18. (TOI 19/17)