Sunday, July 9, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers and American activists from the American Evangelical Archeological Institute carried out excavations at an archeological site at Jabal ‘Aybal in Area B and transferred soil and artifacts to the Shavei Shomron settlement. Israeli settlers also attacked 2 homes and let their cattle graze on Palestinian crops in Arab al-Kaabneh. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers set fire to crops and olive trees in al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya. Israeli settlers also demolished parts of the Old Market in Hebron, which has been closed off to Palestinians since 1983. 6 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Nablus, Hebron, Yatta, and Turmus ‘Ayya. In East Jerusalem, an Israeli settler shot and injured a 60-year-old Palestinian woman at a light rail station north of Sheikh Jarrah, claiming she had tried to stab him with a knife. Israeli settlers also toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. 2 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Shu’fat refugee camp. (HA, HA, MEE, TOI, WAFA ,WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 7/9; PCHR 7/13; UNOCHA 7/29)

Israel released senior Hamas member in the West Bank Sheikh Hasan Yousef from administrative detention after 21 months. (MEMO 7/10)

U.S. president Joe Biden criticized the Israeli government for being too extreme in its West Bank policies in an interview with CNN, saying that the U.S. is in regular contact with Israel to “tamp down what is going on,” and calling the Netanyahu government the “one of the most extreme” he has seen. Biden also said that the PA had lost its credibility. On normalization, he said Israel and Saudi Arabia are “a long way from” normalizing relations, saying that normalization depends on “what is asked of us for them [Saudi Arabia] to recognize Israel,” confirming that Saudi Arabia is asking for a civilian nuclear program and security guarantees. Haaretz reported that the Biden administration is seeking measures from Israel to strengthen the PA to help the normalization process. But U.S. officials told Haaretz that they think the far-right ministers in the Israeli government would oppose any gestures toward the Palestinians. The officials also said that the PA does not trust the U.S. to follow through on ensuring that the promises are kept. (CNN, HA, HA, REU 7/9)

The Israeli security cabinet approved measures to “act to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority,” but did not detail how Israel would prevent this. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich abstained in the vote and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir voted against the measures. In return for preventing the PA from collapsing, Israel is demanding that the PA “[r]efrain from acting against Israel in the international legal and political arena . . . from paying the families of terrorists and murderers, and from illegal building in Area C.” PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called the Israeli demands unacceptable. (HA, REU 7/9; MEE, QDS, QDS, WAFA 7/10)