The month was marked by Israel’s killing of Palestinian children and the first use of attack drones and helicopters in the West Bank since the Second Intifada. Israel also shortened the settlement approval procedure, advanced more than 5,700 new settlement housing units, and allowed Israeli settlers to launch large-scale attacks on Palestinians and their property in Umm Safa, al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, Turmus ‘Ayya, and Huwwara.

On the first day of June, Israeli forces opened fire at a vehicle parked outside a home in Nabi Salih, killing a two-year-old Mohammed Tamimi who was sitting in the car with his father. At first Israel claimed that it was responding to shots fired in the area; Palestinians in Nabi Salih said the only shots they heard were the ones that killed the toddler. Israel later stated that the Israeli soldiers who killed the boy mistook Israeli fire from elsewhere as emanating from the vehicle the toddler was in. After the family buried the child, Israeli forces raided Nabi Salih, injuring 2 Palestinians with live ammunition and a baton round. On 22 June, the UN released its annual report “Children and Armed Conflict,” which omitted Israel from the list of parties committing grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict, despite noting that in 2022 as many as 42 Palestinian children were killed and 933 were injured by Israeli forces.

Israeli forces also escalated their use of advanced weaponry in the West Bank this month by deploying combat helicopters and drones in Jenin and Jalama. On 19 June, Israeli forces raided Jenin, killing 7 Palestinians, including 2 children, and injuring 91. Israeli vehicles were damaged, and 7 soldiers were injured as the raid unfolded and Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians from helicopter gunships while extracting soldiers and some of the vehicles. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said 4 of their ambulance were damaged by Israeli live ammunition and several clearly marked medics were injured. Israel’s use of advanced weaponry further intensified on 21 June when Israeli forces used a drone to assassinate 3 Palestinians in Jalama. It was the first time since 2006 that Israel had used attack drones in the West Bank.

Israeli settler attacks also escalated this month. Four major attacks occurred in Umm Safa, al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, Turmus ‘Ayya, and Huwwara. Although Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians and their property are daily occurrences, these four attacks stand out in scale. On 20 June, Israeli settlers set fire to 30 vehicles and 10 homes in al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya and 20 vehicles in Huwwara. The following day some 250 settlers with military escort raided Turmus ‘Ayya, killing one Palestinian, injuring 12 others with live ammunition, and setting fire to 60 vehicles, 30 homes, and dozens of trees. Many of the residents and homeowners are US citizens or permanent residents. On 24 June, around 100 Israeli settlers with military escort attacked Palestinians in Umm Safa, injuring several Palestinians, including journalists from Palestine TV and setting fire to vehicles and homes, including 1 ambulance. One soldier was later arrested for participating in the attacks. The UN said it had counted 570 settler attacks between 1 January and 26 June 2023.

While Israeli settlers terrorized Palestinians, the Israeli cabinet approved changes to the settlement approval process, and the Israeli Higher Planning Council approved 5,700 new settlement housing units and retroactively legalized 3 settlement outposts. On 18 June, the Israeli cabinet transferred the responsibility of approving settlement expansion from the Minister of Defense to Bezalel Smotrich, who is a minister within the Defense Ministry and changed the process so the Prime Minister would no longer have to approve settlement advancement, bringing Smotrich’s settlement decisions directly to the Higher Planning Council. On 26 June, that Council approved 5,700 new settlement units, including 818 housing units for final validation, the final stage of the approval process before construction begins. The Council’s decision set the total number of Israeli settlement units advanced in 2023 at more than 13,000, which is a 10-year high.

Explore the Palestine Chronology to learn more about daily developments relating to Palestine and the Israeli occupation dating back to 1982.