Tuesday, December 25, 2018

In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 12 Palestinians during raids in and around Ramallah, Qalqilya, Jenin, Hebron, and Nablus; and patrol near Nablus, Jenin, Salfit, Qalqilya, and Hebron. Israeli forces bulldoze 70 dunams (approximately 17.3 acres) of Palestinian land near Qalqilya, apparently clearing the area for the expansion of a nearby settlement. They also confiscate a tractor from a Palestinian farm near Hebron. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles outside Burqa village near Nablus, damaging 1 windshield; and destroy the door to a nearby pharmacy, damage traffic signs, and uproot a number of trees in the area. They also uproot approximately 200 olive saplings from a Palestinian grove near Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 3 Palestinians during raids in Silwan. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp and Rafah, causing 2 fishing boats to drown. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Bayt Lahiya. (WAFA, WAFA 12/25; WAFA 12/26; PCHR 12/27)

Touring the Israel-Lebanon border area, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the IDF has done “extraordinary work” in detecting and demolishing tunnels built by Hezbollah into northern Israel since the launch of Operation Northern Shield. He also says that the operation is nearly complete. (HA, JP, TOI, YA 12/25; JP 12/26)

One day after the Israeli ruling coalition announced that early elections would be held on 4/9/19, the main Israeli television stations publish polls projecting that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party will win the most votes. According to one poll, 52% of the Israeli public wants Netanyahu to continue as prime minister. (HA, JP, TOI 12/26)

The High Planning Committee of Israel’s Civil Administration convenes for the first of 2 days of meetings to discuss new West Bank settlement expansion plans. (TOI 12/25; PCN, TOI 12/26)