Wednesday, August 23, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli forces installed an iron gate at the northern entrance to Halhul. Israeli forces also razed an agricultural road in Khirbat al-Makhul near Ya’bad and placed dirt mounts on it, making it impassable. Elsewhere, Israeli forces took measurements for punitive demolitions of 2 homes in Hebron belonging to the family of 2 Palestinians who are accused of killing an Israeli settler on 8/21. 21 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Tulkarm, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, and Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian farmers east of Khan Yunis; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/23; PCHR 8/24; UNOCHA 9/11)

Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir told Israeli Channel 12 News’ Mohammad Magadli during a panel discussion that “my right, the right of my wife and my children to move around Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] is more important than freedom of movement for the Arabs [Palestinians]. The right to life comes before freedom of movement. Sorry, Mohammad, but that is the reality.” Ben-Gvir also said that he “is handing out arms to anyone who can defend themselves,” referring to settlers. The U.S. State Department later condemned Ben-Gvir’s remarks on Palestinians’ freedom of movement, calling them racist. (HA, MEE 8/23; AJ, HA, HA, HA, MEE 8/24; ALM, HA, MEE, QDS, WAFA, WAFA 8/25; HA 8/27)

United Arab List chairperson Mansour Abbas and Blue and White party chairperson Benny Gantz visited Tira, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire National Security Minister Ben-Gvir over the Israeli police’s inaction in solving crimes in Palestinian communities in Israel. (HA, WAFA 8/24)

Israel said it would increase its natural gas extraction from the Tamar offshore gas field in order to increase exports to Egypt by 38.7 billion cubic meters over the next 11 years. Israeli energy minister Israel Katz said the deal would strengthen diplomatic ties with Egypt. (REU 8/23; ALM 8/24)