Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hundreds of right-wing Jewish activists visit Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus overnight, sparking clashes between their IDF escort and Palestinians in the area; 2 Palestinians are killed and 12 more are injured. The IDF later says that an explosive device was thrown at a patrol, prompting the fatal shooting. Elsewhere in the West Bank, IDF troops open fire on Palestinians in a vehicle outside al-Khadir near Bethlehem; 1 Palestinian is killed and another is injured. The IDF later says that the men were throwing stones at Israeli vehicles. The local authorities in Bethlehem declare a general strike in protest of the killing. Meanwhile, IDF troops also shoot and injure a Palestinian youth in Bayt Sira village near Ramallah; arrest 3 Palestinians during late-night raids near Jenin; patrol in and around Tulkarm and Hebron; and violently disperse Palestinian students gathering in al-Bireh to protest the Israeli occupation (there are no serious injuries reported). Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian home and dismantle 3 Palestinian makeshift residential structures south of Hebron. Unidentified assailants open fire on an Israeli settler bus near Salfit, causing minor damage. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles near Nablus, damaging several. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest a Muslim worshipper and an Islamic Waqf guard at Haram al-Sharif. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries (2 fishermen are detained). Along Gaza’s border, hundreds of Gazans gather near al-Bureij refugee camp to set tires on fire, throw stones, and otherwise continue the Great March of Return late at night. After unidentified Gazans fly an incendiary balloon into southern Israel, the Israeli Air Force conducts an air strike near the protesters near al-Bureij refugee camp, causing damage. Meanwhile, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Gaza City and open fire on Palestinian farmlands near Khan Yunis, causing no major damage. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Rafah, causing no damage or injuries. (EI, HA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/20; MNA, MNA, WAFA 3/21; PCHR 3/28)

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo meets with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. They discuss a range of issues, and in a press conference after the meeting Netanyahu calls on the international community to recognize Israel’s control over the Golan Heights. (HA, JP, TOI 3/20)