Monday, March 19, 2018

In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct raids in Kafr Qaddum near Qalqilya as Palestinian students are returning home from school. The raids spark clashes, and 2 Palestinians are injured. They arrest 7 Palestinians during further raids near Jericho, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jenin; and patrol near Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Salfit, and Hebron. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian farmers working near Ramallah, injuring 1. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 8 Palestinians during raids in the Old City on the pretext that they failed to prevent the stabbing attack on 3/18. They arrest 6 more Palestinians during raids in al-‘Izzariya and al-Ram. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries. (WAFA 3/19; PCHR 3/22)

At the start of a PA cabinet meeting in Ramallah, PA president Abbas accuses Hamas of perpetrating the 3/13 assassination attempt on PA PM Hamdallah and threatens further punitive restrictions on Gaza. Hamas later responds in a statement: “[Abbas] is paving the way for chaos which will facilitate the approval of President Trump’s plan and Israel’s plans. We condemn these irresponsible statements by the PA chairman, who has already been trying for a while to subdue our people in Gaza in this difficult and dangerous moment in history.” In the same speech, Abbas criticizes the Trump administration’s peace efforts, specifically calling out U.S. ambassador to Israel Friedman. “Son of a dog,” he says of Freidman. “You are a settler and your family are settlers.” Friedman later responds, “Is that anti-Semitism or political discourse? I leave that up to you.” (HA, JP, TOI, WAFA, YA 3/19; HA 3/20)