Thursday, December 13, 2018

In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces shoot and kill a Palestinian after he allegedly stabs and injures 2 Israeli police officers in the Old City. Separately, Israeli forces arrest 22 Palestinians allegedly involved in a Hamas-affiliated wedding in the Old City. In the West Bank, armed Palestinians open fire on IDF troops setting up a mobile checkpoint outside the Ofra settlement, killing 2 soldiers and critically injuring 2 more. After the shooting, the IDF shuts down all roads leading into Ramallah and conducts extensive raids in the area searching for the assailants; 40 Palestinians are arrested. Meanwhile, IDF troops shoot and kill a Palestinian driver after he allegedly rams a group of Israelis outside al-Bireh, lightly injuring 1. Some Palestinian witnesses say that the initial collision appeared to be an accident. IDF troops later conduct raids in al-Bireh, arresting 5 Palestinians and sparking clashes; 2 Palestinians are injured. They also arrest 28 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids in and around Hebron, Bethlehem, and Nablus; and patrol near Tulkarm, Hebron, Nablus, and Ramallah. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving near Nablus, damaging 7 and sparking minor clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinians in the area; there are no reported injuries. Later, the IDF shuts down several checkpoints south of Nablus to secure the area for a settler protest against recent Palestinian violence. Some of the settler protesters throw stones at Palestinian homes in the area; 2 Palestinians are injured and there is no major damage reported. Israeli settlers also throw stones and otherwise assault Palestinians and their property near al-Bireh, Ramallah, Qalqilya, Nablus, and Hebron; 2 Palestinians are injured, 1 Palestinian home is damaged, and 20 Palestinian vehicles are lightly damaged. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Bayt Lahiya. (HA, JP, JP, JP, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, YA 12/13; EI, MNA, TOI, YA 12/14; PCHR 12/20)

Amid an uptick in Israeli violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, PA president Mahmoud Abbas accuses Israel of creating a climate of incitement through repeated incursions into major Palestinian cities. “Our constant policy is to reject violence, incursions and settlers’ terror and that incitement should stop and not to create an atmosphere that contributes to the aggravation of the situation.” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, announces plans to promote the retroactive authorization of thousands of Israeli settler homes in the West Bank, the construction of 82 new homes in the Ofra settlement, and the establishment of 2 new settlement industrial zones in response to the violence. “They are thinking of uprooting us from our land, but they will not succeed,” he says. According to a senior Israeli official, Netanyahu also conveyed a message to Hamas threatening to break the cease-fire in Gaza if violence in the West Bank continues. In the evening, approximately 1,000 right-wing Israeli protesters gather outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem to call for his resignation, burn pictures of Abbas, and push for the IDF to “crush the terrorist authority,” as one protester puts it. (MNA, TOI 12/13; HA, HA, TOI 12/14)