Wednesday, October 4, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with a military escort toured Solomon’s pools near Bethlehem and an archeological site near Qarawat Bani Hassan. Israeli settlers with a military escort also raided Jalbun, leading to tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces closed Route 60 near Huwwara for 3 hours, claiming stones were thrown at settler vehicles. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. Israel closed the compound to young Palestinians during the incursion and Israeli forces prevented some Waqf employees from entering. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/4; AJ, HA, PCHR 10/5)

Israeli police arrested 5 Israelis for spitting on Christians and churches in the Old City of Jerusalem. 4 of the 5 were arrested shortly after a spitting incident at a church and the other was arrested for an incident earlier in the week. (AJ, HA, HA, WAFA 10/4; HA 10/7)

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 84 Palestinians had fled their homes in the Masafer Yatta area since July due to Israeli restrictions on their movement after the 2022 Supreme Court decision to allow Israel to forcefully transfer Palestinians living in the “firing zone.” (HA 10/4)

Haaretz reported that Israeli minister at the Defense Ministry Bezalel Smotrich has been excluding the military advocate general official Eli Levertov from discussions on settlement expansion reportedly over Levertov’s objections to decisions made by Smotrich on settlements. (HA 10/4)

Jordan sent a letter to the Israeli embassy in the country complaining of Israeli settler tours at the Haram al-Sharif compound and settler attacks on Christians in Jerusalem. (WAFA 10/4)

Haaretz also reported that Qatar is considering providing additional aid to Gaza and that Israel is considering increasing the quota for Gazans to work in Israel. (HA 10/2; HA 10/4)

U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken overrode a Republican block on the dispersal of $75 million in food assistance to Palestinians hours before a clause would have seen the funds dispersed elsewhere. The State Department did not publish the outcome, which was instead announced by UNRWA-USA. (HA 10/4)

National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz met with U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan at the White House for a briefing on the Saudi-Israeli normalization deal negotiations. It was reported that the White House is seeking to have Gantz’s party and other opposition parties replace the Religious Zionist Party and the Jewish Power Party if Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir oppose concessions to Palestinians as part of the normalization deal. (HA 10/5; ALM 10/6)

20 U.S. senators wrote a letter to U.S. president Joe Biden urging his administration to preserve the option of a two-state solution in a potential Saudi-Israeli normalization deal. The senators said Israel should commit to not annexing any of the West Bank; halt settlement expansion; dismantle illegal settlements, including those retroactively legalized; allow natural growth in Palestinian towns and cities; and allow Palestinians to travel within the West Bank without interference. The senators were led by Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Peter Welsh (D-VT). (HA 10/4; WAFA 10/5)