August 11, 2021

In the West Bank, 1 Palestinian succumbed to injuries inflicted by Israeli forces on 8/3 in Jenin. Israeli forces demolished 1 poultry farm in al-Walaja, 1 rainwater collection well in Khallet al-Dabe’, 1 car wash in al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, and 1 agricultural structure in al-Fakhit. Israeli forces also handed an evacuation order to Palestinians near Tuqu’ for their livestock, forcing them to remove their livestock and dismantle their agricultural structures within 14 days. Elsewhere, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians protesting Israeli construction at al-Ibrahimi Mosque, leading to tear-gas related injuries; 3 were arrested. 9 other Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Jaba‘, Huwwara, and Yatta. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces summoned 2 Palestinian activists for questioning after they protested the arrest of a local activist in Sheikh Jarrah on 8/10. In Israel, Israeli authorities said they shot down a drone entering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Lebanon, claiming the drone was operated by Hezbollah. Israel also said it had shot down a drone flying from Gaza into Israel, claiming it was operated by Hamas. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/11; HA, PCHR, REU 8/12; HA, MEMO 8/13)

The Israeli government gave its initial approval for the construction of more than 2,000 new settlement units in the West Bank and 863 housing units for Palestinian villages in Area C, including 150 units in Ma‘asara, 270 in Bir al-Basha, 223 in al-Masqufa, 160 in Khirbet ‘Aaba, and 50 in Khirbet Zakariya. Of the advanced settlement expansion plans, 908 are expected to get final approval next week, including 58 in Beit El, 285 in Har Brakha, and 105 in Alon Shvut. An Israeli official told Haaretz that the move was a “calculated risk” made by the government vis-à-vis the U.S. Biden administration. The Meretz party wrote a letter to Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz, calling the decision to expand Israeli settlements “a dangerous move.” The U.S. later criticized Israel’s decision to expand Israeli settlements, on 8/13, saying that settlement activity is an obstacle to a 2-state solution. (AA, AX, HA, REU 8/11; MEMO, WAFA, WAFA 8/12; HA, MEMO 8/13; JP 8/16)

IDF chief of staff Aviv Kochavi said the Israeli army will take harsher measures against Israeli soldiers who do not follow regulations, in response to the killing of 40 Palestinians by Israeli forces in the West Bank since May. The statement came after Chief of Staff Kochavi met with senior staff of the Israeli central command on 8/8 and urged them to take steps to reduce lethal shootings. Kochavi said the military will back soldiers who make mistakes in their judgements in relation to lethal shootings, but not if the soldiers act reckless. (HA 8/12)

Israel’s police commissioner Kobi Shabtai inaugurated a new police department focused on combatting crime in Palestinian Israeli communities, which seeks to increase the number of Palestinian Israeli police officers by 300%. 69 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed in Israel since 2021 and only 23% of the cases have been solved, whereas 71% of the cases involving Jewish Israelis have been solved by Israeli police. (HA 8/12)

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid visited Morocco to meet with his Moroccan counterpart and open the new Israeli mission to Morocco as part of the 2 countries’ normalization deal. The 2 foreign ministers signed cooperation agreements related to air travel, culture, sports, and youth. Foreign Minister Lapid said the 2 countries would open mutual embassies within 2 months. The leader of the PJD party in Morocco condemned the decision to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Part of the 2 countries’ normalization deal was for the U.S. to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara during the Trump administration, a controversial recognition that the Biden administration has not reversed. (MEMO 8/10; AJ, AJ, AX, HA, MEMO, REU 8/11; AJ, ALM, AX, HA, HA, MEMO, REU 8/12; ALM 8/13; MEE 8/16)

U.S. CIA director William J. Burns met with Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennet and other Israeli officials during a trip to Israel. Director Burns is expected to meet with PA president Mahmoud Abbas and other senior PA officials on 8/12. Axios reported that Director Burns voiced concern to Prime Minister Bennett about Chinese investment in Israel. (AX 8/9; HA, MEMO 8/10; ALM, HA, MEMO, MEMO, REU 8/11; AX, HA, HA 8/12; AX 8/18; MEE, MEMO, TOI 8/19)

The private equity firm KKR announced that it will be funding a server farm in Israel to be completed in the 2d quarter of 2023. The server farm will be located underground in Petah Tikva. (HA 8/11)

Palestinian Israeli NGO Combatants for Peace asked the ICC to open an investigation into potential war crimes committed by Israel in demolishing the bedouin village Khirbet Humsa on 7/7. (HA 8/11; MEMO 8/13)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said its investigation into the events of the Israeli assault on Gaza in May, dubbed Operation Guardians of the Wall, had showed that Hamas’s rockets fired at Israel “violated the laws of war and amount to war crimes.” HRW also said that Hamas’s rockets had killed 12 civilians in Israel and a misfired rocket had killed 7 Palestinians in Gaza. HRW released its investigation into Israeli actions during the assault on 7/27, finding that Israel had also committed war crimes. (HA, HRW 8/12; ALM 8/23)

France donated $575,000 to the UN World Food Programme for its programming in Gaza. (WAFA 8/11)