Monday, August 7, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli forces issued a demolition order for 1 house under construction in Burin. 14 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Burqa, al-Mughayyir, Bayt Rima, Beit Furik, Jenin, al-Khader, and Beit Fajjar; 1 of the arrested was injured during the settler attack on Burqa on 8/4. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in al-Tur and Shu’fat refugee camp. (WAFA, WAFA 8/7; PCHR 8/10; UNOCHA 8/11)

In Syria, Israeli forces launched airstrikes killing 4 Syrian soldiers and injuring 4 others near Damascus. (AJ, AP, BBC, HA, JP, MEE, REU, TOI, WAFA 8/7)

Israel said it had accepted a U.S. demand to allow Americans living in Gaza to use Ben Gurion Airport and to grant them tourist visas to Israel for 3-month periods. The change in policy will start on 9/15. The policy change is part of Israel’s efforts to be included in the U.S. Visa Waiver program. (ALM, HA, MEE, REU 8/7)

After receiving a letter from Israeli interior minister Moshe Arbel demanding that $85 million earmarked to Palestinian municipalities in Israel be released by the Finance Ministry, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said he would not provide the funding, calling it a bribe to MK Mansour Abbas. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said Smotrich was only “mistreat[ing] Arab citizens simply because they are Arabs,” saying that “racism has become an official policy of the state of Israel.” Smotrich also canceled funding for preparatory programs for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem who want to study in Israel. (HA 8/7; MEE, REU 8/8 ALM, HA, HA 8/9; HA 8/10)

24 U.S. Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) met with PA prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah. Shtayyeh called on the delegation to recognize the State of Palestine, warned that the 2-state solution was slipping away due to Israeli actions, and asked that they pressure Israel to allow Palestinian elections in East Jerusalem. The congressional delegation also met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem earlier in the day. Jeffries claimed he had brought up the issue of settler violence with Netanyahu. The Democrats’ visit to Israel was arranged by AIPAC. (HA, HA, HA, WAFA 8/7; MDW 8/10; HA 8/13)

In an interview with Bloomberg, Prime Minister Netanyahu called reported Saudi demands for Israeli concessions on Palestine as a condition for normalization a “checkbox” he has to tick off but not a hinderance for Israel. Netanyahu also said he would not accept limits on settlement expansion as part of the deal. (BB, HA 8/7)