Wednesday, May 17, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers vandalized 1 water well, 120 olive tree saplings, and wheat and barley crops in the Masafer Yatta area. Israeli forces shot and injured 6 Palestinians, including 1 with live ammunition and 5 with baton rounds during a raid in Nablus to clear the area around Joseph’s Tomb for a large settler tour. Israeli forces also demolished 1 agricultural structure in Nabi Ilyas and issued a demolition notice for a commercial structure in Deir Balut. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. Israeli forces demolished 1 residential building in Wadi Qaddum, displacing 50. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen west of Beit Lahiya; no injuries were reported. (ALM, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/17; PCHR 5/18; UNOCHA 6/2)

The subcommittee for settlements under the Higher Planning Committee in the Civil Administration approved 552 housing units for construction in the Givat Ze’ev settlement. The Israeli Ministry of Construction and Housing also issued a tender for the construction of 58 housing units in the planned new settlement Ariel West. (PCN 5/17; WAFA 5/20)

The Knesset approved a preliminary vote to ban flying the flag of a “hostile entity,” including the Palestinian flag. If enacted the flying of the Palestinian flag could be punishable by up to 1 year in prison. The bill will have to pass 3 readings in the Knesset to become law. (QDS 5/17; JDF, MEE 5/18: HA 5/25)

Ahead of the Jerusalem Day march in Jerusalem, Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said that his policy is “to allow the complete freedom of movement for Jews in Jerusalem.” (HA 5/17)

Jordanian member of parliament Imad al-Adwan was charged in a state security court in Amman for smuggling weapons to the West Bank. Al-Adwan was arrested by Israeli forces on 4/22 and later handed over to Jordan. (AP, MEE 5/17)

Israeli Foreign Ministry director general Ronen Levy met with U.S. officials in Washington D.C. to discuss ways to expand the normalization deals the U.S. has been brokering for Israel, particularly the prospect of normalizing ties with Saudi Arabia. Among the U.S. officials were White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk, presidential envoy on energy security Amos Hochstein, and White House senior director for African affairs Judd Devermont. Hochstein and McGurk met with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on 5/7. Axios also reported that the White House was considering appointing former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro as the State Department normalization envoy. (AX 5/15; ALM 5/16; ALM, AX 5/17; ALM 5/19)