Sunday, December 16, 2018

In the West Bank, IDF troops open fire at a Palestinian vehicle driving outside Silwad village near Ramallah, injuring the driver. They also shoot and critically injure a Palestinian minor during clashes sparked by an alleged stone-throwing attack outside Qalqilya. IDF raids in al-Khadir near Bethlehem and Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah spark additional clashes; 1 Palestinian is injured and 7 are arrested. IDF troops arrest 11 more Palestinians during further raids near Salfit, Ramallah, Hebron, and Tulkarm; and patrol near Hebron throughout the day. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving between Nablus and Ramallah, between Nablus and Tulkarm, and outside Hebron, causing minor damage to several. Three settler families set up makeshift homes on Palestinian-owned land outside the Kiryat Arba settlement in protest of the recent Palestinian attacks on their fellow settlers. Unidentified assailants throw stones at Israeli settlers driving near Nablus, moderately injuring 1 settler. In East Jerusalem, right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif in the morning. Meanwhile, an Israeli settler assaults a Palestinian near the Old City. Israeli forces then arrest the Palestinian victim of the assault and a 2d Palestinian during raids in Silwan. A Palestinian demolishes his own home in Jabal Mukabir to avoid paying Israeli demolition fees. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries. (TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/16; MNA, MNA 12/17; HA 12/18; PCHR 12/20)

Following a week of escalated tensions and violence across the West Bank, Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett leads a rally outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem calling for a stronger crackdown on the occupied Palestinian territories. Bennett accuses the “security establishment” of choosing “the rights of Palestinians over the security of Israelis.” The crowd chants slogans calling for Netanyahu to resign. Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet unanimously votes to back a piece of legislation, dubbed the “Young Settlement Bill,” which would direct the government to administer 66 illegal settlement outposts as it would legal settlements for a period of 2 years. During that time, the government would be directed to figure out a way to retroactively authorize the 66 outposts. (TOI 12/16; FMEP 12/21)

The IDF announces that it has discovered a fourth Hezbollah-built tunnel leading from southern Lebanon into northern Israel in the context of Operation Northern Shield. (HA, TOI, WP 12/16; TOI 12/18)