Thursday, January 10, 2019

In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct raids in southern Ramallah, confiscating surveillance footage and sparking clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian minors (4 Palestinians are injured). Another Palestinian is injured in similar clashes in Bil‘in near Ramallah. IDF troops arrest 7 Palestinians during additional raids near Jenin and Ramallah; and patrol near Bethlehem and Hebron. Israeli settlers uproot more than 30 olive, grape, and almond trees from a Palestinian farm near Hebron. Settlers also assault and injure an elderly Palestinian in Hebron. The IDF then arrests the Palestinian for unclear reasons. In East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities issue an eviction notice to a Palestinian residential building in Shaykh Jarrah, forcing 5 Palestinian families from their homes. In 3 separate incidents off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp, Bayt Lahiya, and Rafah, causing 1 boat to catch fire (2 fishermen are arrested). Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire at Palestinian farmers working near Gaza City, causing no injuries. (MNA, WAFA 1/10; MNA, MNA 1/11; PCHR 1/17)

The Israeli authorities open a new highway, dubbed Route 4370, northeast of Jerusalem. Critics call it the “Apartheid Road” because it features a concrete wall that divides Israeli settler traffic from Palestinian traffic. Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan calls it “an example of the ability to create coexistence between Israelis and Palestinian while guarding [against] the existing security challenges.” (AP, HA, TOI, YA 1/10; AJ 1/11)

Senior Egyptian officials say that senior Israeli security officials have expressed concern that a sustained closure of the Rafah border crossing could spark an escalation of violence in Gaza. The Egyptians have kept the crossing mostly closed since the PA withdrew its crossing guards amid escalating tensions with Hamas on 1/7. (JP, TOI, YA 1/10; AFP 1/11)

A senior Hamas official says that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s planned trip to Moscow next week has been indefinitely postponed due to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s “busy state of affairs.” Lavrov was set to discuss a new Russian effort to facilitate the Palestinian reconciliation process. This announcement comes after a week of rising tensions between Hamas and Fatah, sparking rumors that the postponement had more to do with the Russians no longer seeing an opportunity to break the impasse. (JP, TOI 1/10)