Tuesday, March 19, 2024

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers shoot and kill a Palestinian man during a raid in Aqraba. Israeli settlers also seize 20 residential structures from Palestinians who were displaced in November 2023 in al-Ma’ajat near Jericho. Israeli forces shoot and kill a Palestinian man near Beit Fajjar, claiming he shot and injured 2 Israeli soldiers. Israeli forces arrest 4 Palestinians in and around ‘Azzun, Kafr Thulth, and Hebron. In East Jerusalem, more than 50 Israeli settlers tour the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, Israeli forces bomb Rafah, Dayr al-Balah, Khan Yunis, Gaza City, Nuseirat refugee camp, and Jabalia refugee camp, killing at least 93 people, including 30 people involved in securing the safe passage of aid to Gaza City at the Kuwait Roundabout in Gaza City, 27 people in a building in Nuseirat refugee camp, and the director of police investigations in northern Gaza Raed al-Banna. Israeli forces continue the siege of al-Shifa Hospital after raiding it on 3/18 and bombing adjacent buildings, killing at least 20 people and arresting 150 during the raid. An Israeli soldier is killed in combat. In Lebanon, Hezbollah forces fire missiles at Israeli forces in al-Tayhat Hill and al-Malikiyah, injuring 2. In Syria, Israel bombs several military sites near Damascus. (AJ, AP, HA, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/19; AJ, NYT, UNOCHA, WAFA 3/20; UNOCHA 3/22)

More than 31,819 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 13,400 children and 8,900 women, and around 73,934 have been injured since 10/7/2023. At least 7,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 428 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7/2023, including 111 children. More than 4,665 people have been injured. Israel reports that 1,139 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured in Israel since 10/7/2023, including Israeli soldiers. In addition, 250 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,482 injured in Gaza since the ground invasion began on 10/27/2023. Over 1.93 million Palestinians, nearly 85% of the population of Gaza, have been displaced since 10/7/2023. There has been a complete electricity blackout in Gaza since 10/12/2023 due to the Israeli blockade. At least 70,000 housing units have been destroyed and 290,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7/2023, constituting over 60% of all housing units. 147 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza. (UNOCHA, WAFA 3/19; UNOCHA 3/21)

Mossad director David Barnea leaves ceasefire negotiations Doha to brief the Israeli war cabinet, while the rest of the Israeli delegation remains for continued talks. Israel’s Channel 13 reports that Israeli national security and finance ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich say they will resign and leave the government if Israel releases “dozens of terrorists with blood on their hands” as part of the ceasefire deal. The Qatari Foreign Ministry says there is cautious optimism regarding a ceasefire deal. Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh says Israel is trying to sow chaos and sabotage the ceasefire negotiations by assassinating police officers and Hamas officials. The deputy chairperson of Hamas’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzook reportedly meets UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Tor Wennesland. (AJ, HA, NYT 3/19; AJ 3/20)

Newly appointed PA prime minister Mohammad Mustafa says in a mission statement that he will appoint a “non-partisan, technocratic government that can gain both the trust of our people and the support of the international community” and that will have a “zero tolerance” policy toward corruption. Mustafa also says he will create an independent agency to oversee the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza. The PA issues a statement saying Israel has quietly begun its attack on Rafah by systematically destroying the city. (AJ, AP, WAFA 3/19)

The UN high commissioner for human rights Volker Turk says Israeli restrictions on humanitarian aid for Gaza may be war crime as it could amount to a starvation tactic. (AJ, AJ, HA, NYT, WAFA 3/19)

Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly says Canada will implement the parliamentary resolution from 3/18 and cease further arms exports to Israel. Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz says “[h]istory will judge Canada’s current action harshly.” (AJ, HA, HA, WAFA 3/19; AJ, REU, WAFA 3/20)

Reuters reports that U.S. congressional leaders and the White House have agreed to continue blocking UNRWA funding until March 2025 as part of a deal to secure a spending bill. U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel tells reporters that the U.S. has “not yet seen conclusive evidence indicating that Israel is using starvation as a weapon in the Gaza war.” (AJ, WAFA 3/19; AJ, NYT 3/20; AJ, HA 3/21)