Saturday, October 21, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers injured 5 Palestinians in Yasuf, including 3 with live ammunition and 2 with stones. Israeli settlers also assaulted Palestinians harvesting olives in Deir Istiya and al-Khader. A Palestinian family of 16 fled their home in Khirbet ar-Ratheem, south of Hebron, after Israeli settlers raided the area, causing destruction to their property and threatening them with guns. Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian minor during a raid in Jericho. Israeli forces also shot and injured 10 Palestinians with live ammunition during raids in Askar refugee camp, Beita, and Deir as-Sudan. Elsewhere, Israeli forces punitively demolished the home of a Palestinian man in Aqabat Jaber refugee camp using explosives. Israeli forces also seized Hamas political bureau deputy leader Salah al-Arouri’s home in Bani Zeid al-Sharqiya, turning it in to a Shin Bet facility. Meanwhile, Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from harvesting olives in Duma, Burin, Zabbuba, and Sebastia. More than 120 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Aroura, Rantis, Bethlehem, Hebron, Deir Sammit, and Nablus. The Palestinian Prisoners Club said at least 1,070 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank since 10/7. In Gaza, around 250 Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes. Rockets were fired at Israel; no new fatalities were reported. In Lebanon, anti-tank missiles fired at Israel wounded an Israeli soldier and Israel attacked Hezbollah-linked sites. Hezbollah said 19 of its members have been killed by Israel since 10/7, including 6 today. In Cyprus, a small homemade bomb exploded near the Israeli embassy in Nicosia with no damage or injuries reported; 4 Syrians were arrested. (AJ, HA 10/20; AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, HA, REU, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/21; UNOCHA 10/22)

The Gaza Ministry of Health said as of 5 p.m. at least 4,385 Palestinians had been killed, including at least 1,524 children, and 13,561 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. 84 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 26 children. More than 1,653 have been injured, including at least 360 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 26,756 housing units have been destroyed and 139,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7. At least 42% of all housing units have been either destroyed or damaged in Israeli airstrikes. 43 unidentified Palestinians were buried in a mass grave in Gaza City. It was the second time Palestinians in Gaza were buried in mass graves this week. The Palestinian Health Ministry said 37 medical personnel have been killed since 10/7 and 7 hospitals no longer are operational. The first trucks carrying aid to Gaza arrived through the Rafah crossing. About 35 trucks carrying aid entered Gaza. Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said fuel will not enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing. UNRWA said 17 of its staff members have been killed and 35 of its buildings damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7. (AJ, HA 10/20; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, AP, HA, NYT, REU, UNOCHA, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/21; HA 10/22; HA 10/23)

Israel said it attacked several high-rise buildings in northern Gaza in recent days in preparation for a ground invasion. Israel also dropped leaflets over Gaza City, warning that Israel considers people who remain there collaborators with terrorists. (AJ 10/21; HA, HA 10/21; REU 10/22)

Hamas said it sought to release 2 additional captives for “humanitarian reasons,” but that Israel declined to receive them. Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (AJ 10/20; AJ, AJ, HA 10/21)

A PA official told Haaretz that Israel only allowed the aid that arrived in Gaza today to enter because of the release of 2 captives on 10/20 and that future aid will depend on the release of more captives. The official said that the U.S. and European countries have been trying to link aid to the release of civilian captives. (HA 10/21)

5 UN agencies released a joint statement calling the situation in Gaza “catastrophic.” (HA 10/21; WAFA 10/22)

Leaders from the PA, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, South Africa, the UAE, UN, and EU, and senior government officials from Kuwait, Germany, France, Japan, Norway, Russia, and China met at the Cairo Peace Summit on Israel’s war on Gaza. Jordanian king Abdullah II said “[t]oday Israel is literally starving civilians in Gaza but for decades Palestinians have been starved of hope, of freedom and of future,” complaining that Israel is never held accountable and calling its actions in Gaza a war crime. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said Hamas’ attack does not justify “collective punishment of the Palestinian people.” PA president Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas and Israel to release all captives and prisoners. The summit ended without agreement on a joint statement. Abbas met with Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez, EU high representative for foreign affairs Josep Borell, European Council president Charles Michel, Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni, Japanese foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa, and South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the summit. (AJ 10/20; AJ, AJ, AP, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/21)

Prime Minister Meloni arrived in Israel for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. HA 10/21)

U.S. forces shot down 2 drones flying near Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq. The U.S. deployed a THAAD missile defense system battery and multiple Patriot missile batteries in the Middle East to “increase force protection for U.S. forces in the region, and assist in the defense of Israel,” according to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III.  (AJ 10/21; HA, NYT 10/22)

The U.S. introduced a draft UN Security Council resolution, saying Israel has a right to defend itself, Iran needs to stop exporting arms to “militias and terrorist groups,” and calling for unhindered aid and protection of civilians. (HA 10/21)

AP said, based on videos, its experts have determined that it was likely an errant rocket that caused the explosion at al-Ahli Arab Hospital on 10/17. French and Canadian intelligence also suggested that an errant rocket fired by Palestinian militants caused the explosion. Investigations by UK Channel 4, Al Jazeera, and Forensic Architecture have concluded that it was likely an Israeli airstrike or artillery fire that caused the explosion. (AJ 10/20; AJ, AP 10/21; AJ, HA, HA 10/22)

Thousands of demonstrators attended pro-Palestinian rallies in many major cities throughout the world, including more than 100,000 in London. (AJ 10/20; AJ, AJ, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/21)