Thursday, October 19, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinians harvesting olives in the Masafer Yatta area, injuring 2. Israeli settlers also attempted to kidnap a child in Khirbet al-Farisiyya. Elsewhere, armed Israeli settlers posing as soldiers vandalized a mosque in Menizel. Israeli forces raided Nur Shams refugee camp and attacked it with drones, killing 13 Palestinians, including 5 children, banned movement in and out of the refugee camp, and uprooted pavement with bulldozers. An Israeli soldier was killed in an IED explosion and 9 others were wounded. Israeli forces also shot and killed 3 Palestinians, including 2 minors, during raids in Budrus, Tulkarm, and Dheisheh refugee camp. Elsewhere, Israeli forces shot and injured 16 others during a raid in Budrus and al-Arroub refugee camp. Israeli forces also demolished the family home in Qibya of a Palestinian alleged to have killed a settler before he was shot and killed by Israeli forces near Kafr Qaddum on 7/6. Around 184 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Hebron, Ramallah, Dheisheh refugee camp, Tubas, Beita, Qalqilya, al-Eizeriya, Umm Safa, and Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, including 50 Palestinians workers from Gaza staying in Dheisheh refugee camp who had been expelled to the West Bank. In Gaza, around 285 Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes. Israeli forces also assassinated the first female member of the Hamas political bureau Jamila al-Shanti, the head of the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committee Rafat Harb Hussein Abu Halal, and Hamas’ Jehad Mheisen. Israeli airstrikes also bombed the 12th century Church of Saint Porphyrius, killing at least 8 people sheltering in it and targeted 5 bakeries, killing many people waiting to purchase bread. Rockets were fired at Israel; no fatalities were reported. In Lebanon, Israeli forces shot and killed a journalist and injured 1 other in Hula. Israeli forces also attacked parts of South Lebanon with combat helicopters and killed 3 people it claimed were firing anti-tank missiles at Israel. Israel said 30 rockets were fired at Israel. (AJ, HA 10/18; AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, AP, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/19; AJ, HA, NYT, REU, WAFA, WAFA 10/20)

The Gaza Ministry of Health said as of 5 p.m. at least 3,785 Palestinians had been killed, including at least 1,524 children, and 12,500 had been injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since 10/7, including 47 entire families consisting of 500 people. It is estimated that hundreds are still trapped in rubble. In addition, Israeli media reported that 1,500 Palestinian militants have been killed near Gaza. 81 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 22 children. More than 1,434 have been injured, including at least 300 with live ammunition. Israeli officials recorded no new fatalities, leaving the Israeli death toll at around 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals; 4,562 have been injured since 10/7. The number of Israelis killed rose from 10/18 as Israel released the names of Israelis killed on 10/7. The UN reported that over 1 million Palestinians have been displaced since 10/7 and that since 11 p.m. on 10/12 there has been a complete electricity blackout due to the Israeli blockade. At least 21,900 housing units have been destroyed and 121,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7, constituting around 30% of all homes in Gaza. The Committee to Protect Journalists said 21 journalists have been killed since 10/7, including 17 Palestinians, 3 Israelis, and 1 Lebanese. (AJ, HA 10/18; AJ, HA, UNOCHA, WAFA 10/19)

The UN reported that 74 Palestinian households, comprised of 545 people, have been displaced from Bedouin communities in Area C of the West Bank due to settler violence and access restrictions. (BTselem, UNOCHA 10/19)

Haaretz reported that on 10/12 a group of 20-25 Israeli settlers and soldiers abducted 3 Palestinians from the depopulated Wadi al-Seeq community before assaulting, undressing, and urinating on 2 of them, putting 1 of their faces in feces, and attempted to sodomize 1 of them. The 3 Palestinians were abused for 6 hours before they were dropped off at an abandoned building and photographed. The settlers and soldiers also stole their phones, a car, and $544 in cash. The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident and 1 commander of the military unit was suspended. (HA 10/19; MEMO, TOI 10/20)

Palestinian officials said that Israeli authorities have warned that Israeli forces will target the Gaza Power Plant if it tries to resume operations. (UNOCHA 10/19)

Palestinian officials also said Israel has arrested 4,000 workers from Gaza, holding them in military bases, and have arrested 1,070 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, doubling the total number of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. (AJ 10/21)

An Al Jazeera investigation into the bombing of al-Ahli Arab Hospital found that evidence presented by Israel misrepresented the event, ruling out that footage used by Israel showed a misfired rocket hit the hospital and saying that no footage from live streams suggest that rockets were fired from Gaza at the moment of the bombing. (AJ 10/19)

The U.S. said it had intercepted 3 cruise missiles and several drones fired by Houthi forces in Yemen. The Defense Department said the missiles and drones were heading north in the Red Sea, potentially toward Israel. Rockets and drones also attacked the U.S. Ain al-Asad air base and another compound hosting U.S. military forces near Baghdad International Airport. It was unclear who attacked the bases. (AJ 10/18; HA, NYT, REU, REU, REU 10/19; AP, HA 10/20)

Egyptian machinery reportedly entered Gaza to repair roads near the Rafah crossing to facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid. However, Hamas denied that repairs had begun. Israel has bombed the Rafah crossing at least 4 times since 10/7. At least 100 trucks are waiting to enter Gaza near the crossing while others are waiting at El Arish Airport. UN officials said UN observers will inspect aid to Gaza before it enters through the Rafah crossing (AJ, AP, REU 10/19)

Israel said Hezbollah has granted Hamas permission to fire rockets at Israel and “will bear the consequences.” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told soldiers near the Gaza fence to get ready for a ground invasion. (AP, HA, REU 10/19)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. (WAFA 10/19)

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak traveled to Israel for meetings with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. Sunak said upon his arrival that he “stands with Israel” and that the UK is on the forefront of the effort to avoid further escalation of the conflict. 6 UK nationals were killed in Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and 9 are still missing. Sunak also met with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, who called Israel’s targeting of civilians in Gaza “a heinous crime and brutal attack.” Sunak will later travel to Egypt, Turkey, and Qatar. (AJ 10/18; AJ, HA, HA, REU, REU, REU 10/19)

In an Oval Office address, U.S. president Joe Biden compared Hamas to Russian president Vladimir Putin and his attack on Ukraine, saying both want to annihilate their neighbors. Biden further claimed that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields and said he had told President Abbas he supports the Palestinian people. Biden also said he will send an “unprecedented” aid package for Israel to Congress for approval. The package was reportedly worth $14 billion. Israel had asked the U.S. for weapons, including precision-guided munitions, JDAMs, Iron Dome replenishment, and mortar shells. The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted a resolution affirming Israel’s right to self-defense and condemning Hamas and Iran. 10 Republican senators said they will introduce legislation to redirect $100 million in planned humanitarian aid to Palestinians to replenishing the Iron Dome. House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries said he had received a briefing that suggested the al-Ahli Arab Hospital bombing was caused by a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad. California governor Gavin Newsom said he was traveling to Israel. (AJ, AJ, HA, NYT, REU, REU 10/19; HA, REU 10/20)

Turkish media reported that the Israeli ambassador and other Israeli diplomats have left the country. (HA 10/19)

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said the PA should take control of Gaza after Israel concludes its attack. (AJ 10/18)

Russia said it will deliver 27 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Gaza via Egypt. Germany said it would donate $52.91 million to the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and UNWRA to help Palestinians in Gaza. (AJ 10/18; HA 10/19)

AP reported that Hamas may have used North Korean weapons during Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, including F-7 rocket-propelled grenades. (AP 10/19)

A CBS News/YouGov poll found that 53% of U.S. Democrats and 55% of Independents believed that the U.S. should not send additional weapons and supplies to Israel, while 56% of all those polled disapproved of President Biden’s handling of the war. (HA 10/19)

More than 400 U.S. congressional staffers signed a letter saying they were “profoundly disturbed” by the lack of humanity extended to the Palestinian people by the U.S. Congress. Huffington Post reported that State Department officials were preparing a letter of dissent to the Biden administration’s approach to the war. (HA 10/19)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Israel has been included in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program effective immediately, despite Israel’s entry to the program being scheduled for 11/30. (AP, HA, NYT 10/19)

Many countries urged their citizens to leave Lebanon as soon as possible. (AJ, AJ, HA 10/19)

The Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria in Texas said it had determined that it cannot host the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights’ (USCPR) national conference, citing security risks to its staff and guests. Texas governor Greg Abbot called USCPR “Hamas supporters.” The Council of American-Islamic Relations canceled a banquet at the Marriott Crystal Gateway hotel in Arlington, Virginia, after receiving bomb threats. (AP, HA 10/19)