Saturday, April 6, 2019

In the West Bank, an Israeli soldier assaulted a Palestinian shepherd in Hadidiya in the Jordan Valley. Elsewhere in the West Bank, a 17-year-old Palestinian was injured after being hit in the head by an Israeli fired rubber-coated bullet. The attack happened as Israeli forces raided Muthalath al-Shuhada south of Jenin; Palestinians in the village responded to the raid by throwing stones at the soldiers. At least 4 Palestinians were detained in late-night raids in and around Hebron, Hizma, and Tulkarm. In East Jerusalem, a Palestinian family demolished their own home to avoid the excessive Israeli demolition fees. Along the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen. (MNA, MNA, WAFA, WAFA 4/6; MNA 4/7)

The Israeli Higher Planning Committee approved the construction of 770 new housing units in the Bitar Elit settlement west of Bethlehem. (WAFA 4/6)

Hamas political leader Yahya Sinwar said Israel and Hamas had reached an agreement through Egyptian mediators that included expanding the list of items allowed into Gaza and easing restrictions on import and export and passage of traders. (HA 4/6)

In a controversial interview with Israeli Channel 12, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if he wins the upcoming Israeli elections, he “will extend sovereignty but I don’t distinguish between the settlement blocs and the isolated ones, because each settlement is Israeli and I will not hand it over to Palestinian sovereignty.” Netanyahu further stated, “I will not divide Jerusalem, I will not evacuate any community and I will make sure we control the territory west of Jordan.” Netanyahu also said that the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar “it will happen, I promised and it will happen at the soonest opportunity.” Netanyahu’s statements were largely understood as a pledge to annex the West Bank. Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki responded that Netanyahu would face a “real problem” if he is serious, adding that Palestinians would resist such policy. (WAFA 4/6; AJ, HA, HA 4/7)

At the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan, the Omani foreign minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said at a panel that Palestinians should reassure Israel that it is not under threat in the Middle East. Yusuf bin Alawi’s comment was quickly rebuked by Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi, stating that the Arab Peace Initiative stipulates that normalization with Israel is based on Israeli withdrawal of occupied Palestine. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas discussed the situation in Palestine with representatives from around the Middle East, including Yusuf bin Alawi. (HA, WAFA 4/6; AJ, MNA 4/7)

In a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, NV, President Donald Trump told the audience that in the lead-up to announcing that U.S. was moving its embassy to Jerusalem, he ignored calls from world leaders. Trump further referred to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister” to the largely Jewish-American audience. (MDW, 4/7)