Friday, October 20, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers opened fire at Palestinians harvesting olives in Yasuf, forcing the Palestinians to flee; no injuries were reported. Israeli settlers also set fire to a home and vandalized water pipes in al-‘Awja. Israeli forces shot and killed 2 minors during raids in Huwwara and Beitunia. Israeli forces shot and injured 21 Palestinians with live ammunition during raids in al-Azza refugee camp, ‘Urif, Idhna, Beit Furik, al-Bireh, Bethlehem, al-Khader, Tura, and Beitunia. Elsewhere, Israeli forces punitively demolished a home with explosives in ‘Urif. 55 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus, Ramallah, and Jalazone refugee camp. In Gaza, Israeli airstrikes killed around 350 Palestinians, including Hamas member Muhammad Tzviach. Israeli airstrikes destroyed the Grand al-Omari Mosque in Jabalia. Rockets were fired at Israel; no fatalities were reported. At the Lebanese border, an Israeli soldier was killed and 3 others injured in anti-tank fire near Margaliot. Israeli forces also attacked Hezbollah camps with combat helicopters. (AJ, AP, HA 10/19; AJ, AP, AP, HA, NYT, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/20; AP, HA, REU 10/21)

The Gaza Ministry of Health said as of 5 p.m. at least 4,137 Palestinians had been killed, including at least 1,524 children, and 13,162 had been injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since 10/7, including 47 entire families consisting of 500 people. The UN said that about 70% of Palestinians killed in Gaza are children and women. 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. 83 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 25 children. More than 1,434 have been injured, including at least 350 with live ammunition. Israeli officials recorded no new fatalities, leaving the Israeli death toll at around 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals; 4,629 have been injured since 10/7. The UN reported that over 1.4 million Palestinians, more than half the population in Gaza, 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 Palestinian Red Crescent said Israel has told al-Quds Hospital to evacuate its 500 patients and the 12,000 people sheltering at the hospital. UNRWA said 16 of its staff members have been killed and 10 wounded in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7. The Committee to Protect Journalists said that 22 journalists have been killed since 10/7, including 18 Palestinians, 3 Israelis, and 1 Lebanese. (AJ 10/19; AJ, HA, NYT, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/20; WAFA 10/21)

Amnesty International said it has documented Israeli actions that should be investigated as war crimes, including indiscriminate attacks leading to mass civilian casualties. (AI 10/20)

Hamas released 2 American captives, a mother and her daughter, “on humanitarian grounds” after negotiations with Qatar. It was unclear if Hamas received anything in return. A Hamas statement also said the group had released the captives “to prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless.” (AJ 10/19; AJ, HA, HA 10/20; HA 10/22)

Forensic Architecture released a preliminary analysis of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital bombing saying the “[f]ragmentation patterns may indicate the projectile came from the northeast – the direction of the Israeli-controlled side of the Gaza perimeter – and not from the west [as Israel has claimed].” UK Channel 4 and Al Jazeera have also concluded that Israeli claims that the explosion at the hospital was caused by an errant rocket are dubious. (AJ 10/19; AJ, AJ 10/20) 

PA president Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Cairo for a summit on the Hamas-Israel war and humanitarian aid to Gaza. Representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UN, the UK, and the UAE will attend. In Cairo, Abbas met with UK prime minister Rishi Sunak. Abbas also spoke with French president Emmanuel Macron, Chilean president Gabriel Boric, and Pakistani caretaker prime minister Anwar al-Haq. (HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/20)

The Israeli prime minister’s office said, “[t]he prime minister has defined the objective – to obliterate Hamas, any talk of decisions to relinquish Gaza to the Palestinian Authority or any other authority is a lie.” (HA, HA 10/20)

The White House made a formal request to Congress for $10.6 billion in military aid to Israel, $3.7 billion in State Department financing to cover foreign military financing and embassy support, and $9.15 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza. U.S. president Joe Biden has publicly said $100 million will be allocated for Gaza. (AJ 10/16; HA 10/20)

The U.S. and EU issued a joint statement after the EU leadership met with President Biden in Washington D.C., expressing concern at the “deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” More than 800 EU officials wrote a letter to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, criticizing her “uncontrolled” support of Israel and calling the EU’s response to the massacres in Gaza “indifference.” (AJ 10/19; AJ, AJ 10/20)

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Israeli attacks on Gaza amounted to genocide and had to be stopped. (AJ 10/19; HA 10/20)

The New York Times reported that the President Biden urged the Israeli war cabinet not to attack Hezbollah in a “preemptive strike,” fearing that the U.S. and Iran would get directly involved. (HA 10/21)

McDonald’s franchises in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, and Turkey pledged $3 million in support for Palestinians in Gaza after McDonald’s in Israel said its franchises there would give free meals to Israeli soldiers. (AJ 10/19; AJ 10/20)

Meta apologized for inserting the word “terrorist” in the biographies of many Palestinian users on Instagram. (AJ 10/19)