Thursday, August 17, 2023

In the West Bank, an Israeli settler rammed 1 Palestinian woman in Hebron, causing injuries. Israeli forces shot and killed 1 Palestinian and injured 1 other, a health worker, during a raid in Jenin; the mother of the dead Palestinian said he was executed after telling the Israeli forces he would turn himself in; 1 house and a bakery were severely damage during the raid. Israeli forces also demolished an EU-funded school in Ein Samia. Elsewhere, Israeli forces razed agricultural land in Qusra. Israeli forces also seized 1 bulldozer and confiscated materials for renovating a residential cave in the Masafer Yatta area. Meanwhile, Israeli forces demolished 1 blacksmith’s premises in Sarta. Israeli forces also seized a caravan in Khirbet Humsa al-Tahta. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces assaulted 4 Palestinians attempting to enter the Haram al-Sharif compound. (AJ, AP, HA, MEE, MEE, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/17; WAFA, WAFA 8/18; WAFA 8/19; PCHR 8/24; UNOCHA 8/28)

Hamas members in Israeli prisons warned they may go on strike in protest over harsher treatment by the Israel Prison Service, including increased use of solitary confinement. 50 rockets were fired from Gaza toward the sea in what Hamas called an equipment test but also a warning to Israeli authorities over the treatment of prisoners. (HA, WAFA, WAFA 8/17; WAFA 8/18)

Peace Now reported that a draft document from the Israeli government seen by the organization showed that the government will allocate at least $190 million to Israeli settlements and settlement outposts in the 2023-2024 budget. (PCN 8/17)

The U.S. approved the sale of Israel’s Arrow-3 missile defense system to Germany. Worth $3.5 billion, it is Israel’s largest military deal. It was reported that days before the deal was announced German chancellor Olaf Scholz blocked a foreign ministry statement on the German assessment of the legality of the Israeli occupation that was seen as too pro-Palestinian. The statement was meant to be made in relation to the International Criminal Court’s review of the occupation. (AJ, ALM, HA, REU 8/17; ALM 8/18 HA 8/23)

At a town hall event held by the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs to explain new polices related to Israel’s bid to become part of the U.S. Visa Waiver program, the chief of American Citizens Service at the U.S. embassy to Israel, Wilbur Zehr, referred to Israeli checkpoints as “pedestrian crossings.” Zehr said in response to questions that the new policies will not apply to U.S. citizens in Gaza until 9/15 and that separate rules apply for U.S. citizens living in the West Bank and U.S. citizens living in the West Bank but holding PA IDs, as the latter must enter Israel via checkpoints by foot. (MDW 8/17; HA 8/22)

Venezuela said it had upgraded the Palestinian representative office in Caracas to an embassy. (WAFA 8/17)

Israeli strategic affairs minister Ron Dermer met with U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken, National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk, and presidential envoy on energy security Amos Hochstein in Washington D.C., discussing the potential normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Blinken also spoke with Saudi foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud after the meeting. (REU 8/17; AX 8/21)