Friday, December 15, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian vehicles near Bruqin. Armed Israeli settlers also threatened Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley. Israeli forces attempted to assassinate 3 Palestinians traveling in a vehicle near Balata refugee camp, firing a missile at their car; no injuries were reported. Israeli forces also shot and injured 4 Palestinians, including 2 children, during raids in Tuqu’, al-‘Ayn, and Shuweika. Elsewhere, Israeli forces assaulted a Palestinian in Hebron. Israeli forces also punitively demolished the family homes of 2 Palestinians prisoners in ‘Urif. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces severely assaulted a journalist, hospitalizing him in Wadi al-Juz. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinians heading to the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, telecommunications remained cut off for the second day in a row, obfuscating reporting on the number of casualties. Israeli forces bombed Khan Yunis, Rafah, Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City, Jabalia refugee camp, Beit Lahiya, and Nuseirat refugee camp, killing at least 100 Palestinians, including Al Jazeera journalist Samer Abudaqa and Palestinian New Press journalist Ramy Budair and 3 civil defense workers during an airstrike that also wounded Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh in Khan Yunis. Abudaqa was reportedly left to bleed out for 5 and half hours while rescue teams tried to secure safe passage during Israeli shelling of the area. Several members of al-Dahdouh’s immediate family were killed in an Israeli air strike on 10/25. Israeli forces also shot and killed 3 Israeli captives that had either been freed or escaped captivity in the Shuja‘iya neighborhood of Gaza City, mistaking them for Palestinians. The 3 were shirtless and holding up a white flag. The Israeli military called the incident “a tragic error.” Separately, 2 Israeli soldiers were killed in combat. Rockets were fired at Israel, causing damage near Jerusalem. In Lebanon, Israeli forces attacked Ramiya, Beit Lif, and near Alma al-Chaab, saying shots were fired toward Israel. Israel also dropped leaflets in Kfar Shuba, threatening residents to stop Hezbollah from operating in the area for their own safety. In the Red Sea, projectiles fired from Yemen hit 2 cargo ships. (AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AX, HA, HA, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/15; AJ, HA, HA, NYT, REU 12/16; AP, REU 12/17; AP, NYT 12/18)

More than 18,897 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 7,729 children and 5,153 women, and around 51,000 had been injured since 10/7. At least 8,000 people were missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 280 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 72 children. More than 3,387 people have been injured. Israel reported that 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured since 10/7. 119 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 648 injured in Gaza since the ground invasion began on 10/27. Over 1.93 million Palestinians, nearly 85% of the population of Gaza, have been displaced since 10/7. There has been a complete electricity blackout in Gaza since 10/12 due to the Israeli blockade. As of 12/3, at least 52,000 housing units had been destroyed and 253,000 had been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7, constituting 60% of all housing units. 115 trucks carrying aid entered Gaza via the Rafah crossing. (UNOCHA, UNOCHA, WAFA 12/15)

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report, saying 476 Palestinians, including 112 children, have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in 2023. Of the 476, 276 have been killed since 10/7. 12,566 have been injured, including 1,841 children. Israeli forces have also demolished 1,010 structures since 1/1, displacing 1,884 people while settler violence has displaced 1,442. (UNOCHA 12/15)

Israel said it found the bodies of 3 Israeli captives in Gaza, including 2 soldiers and a civilian. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said 4,420 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7. (HA, NYT, REU 12/15)

The Israeli security cabinet approved the reopening of the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing for humanitarian aid after U.S. pressure. Haaretz reported that the Israeli military, with approval from Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit leader  Itamar Ben-Gvir, had allowed 10,000 Palestinians from the West Bank to work in Israeli settlements upon request from settlement leaders. (AJ, AJ, HA, HA, HA, HA, UNOCHA 12/15; HA 12/16)

The Foreign Press Association and Al Jazeera condemned the Israeli killing of Al Jazeera journalist Samer Abudaqa. Al Jazeera said it would refer the killing of Abudaqa to the ICC. U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby called Abudaqa’s death a “heavy loss” but said there was no indication that Israel deliberately targets journalists.  (AJ, AJ, HA 12/15; AJ, AJ 12/16; HA 12/17)

Israelis demonstrated in several places over the military’s killing of 3 Israeli captives in Gaza City. (HA 12/15; HA 12/16)

U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan met with PA president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the 2 discussed “governance possibilities” for after Israel’s war. Abbas told Sullivan that the U.S. must intervene to prevent the forceful displacement of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and to stop the bombing of Gaza. (AJ, AJ, HA, NYT, REU, WAFA 12/15)

Israeli heritage minister Amichai Eliyahu said Gaza must be “fully occupied.” (AJ, HA 12/15)

National Security Advisor Sullivan also met with Israeli officials for the second day in a row, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Mossad director David Barnea. Sullivan told the press that the U.S. expects the Israeli war to transition to a phase that is “focused on targeting the [Hamas] leadership, on intelligence operations.” The U.S. also criticized Israel for attacking the Lebanese army 34 times since 10/7. (AJ, AJ, AP, NYT, NYT 12/15)

The UK, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the EU, Australia, and Canada issued a joint statement calling on Israel to take steps to end settler violence in the West Bank, calling the violence against Palestinians unacceptable. The statement said that settler impunity had led to unprecedented levels of violence. (WAFA 12/14; AJ, AP, HA, HA, REU 12/15)

A court in the Netherlands rejected a petition by human rights organizations to halt transfers of F-35 parts to Israel. (AJ, AJ, AP, REU 12/15)