Monday, August 21, 2023

In the West Bank, Palestinian militants shot and killed 1 Israeli settler and wounded 1 other during a drive-by shooting near Hebron; 2 Palestinians were arrested on 8/22 in relation to the killing. Israeli settlers threw stones and Molotov cocktails at a Palestinian home in Burin and set fire to nearby beehives. Israeli forces shot and wounded 8 Palestinians with live ammunition during a raid in Beita, including 1 man who was filmed walking away from the Israeli soldiers unarmed when he was shot in the back. Israeli forces also closed all entrances to Hebron and some of the surrounding villages and raided Hebron, causing tear-gas related injuries. Elsewhere, Israeli forces demolished 1 house and 1 brick factory in Biddu. Israeli forces also demolished 4 homes in al-Diyouk al-Tahta and issued demolition notices for 5 others. 12 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Kafr ‘Aqab, Marah Rabah, Beit Fajjar, Hebron, and Tulkarm. In Gaza, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters near the Gaza fence, injuring 15, including 1 with live ammunition. In Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian citizens of Israel protesting at the Foreign Ministry against the withholding of funds allocated for Palestinian communities in Israel. Hadash-Ta’al leader Ayman Odeh was photographed being grabbed by his throat by a police officer. The protest coincided with a 2-hour strike called by the National Council of Arab Mayors in Israel. (HA 8/20; AP, BBC, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, MDW, MEE, MEE, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/21; ALM, ALM, HA, MEMO, NYT 8/22; HA 8/23; PCHR 8/24; UNOCHA 8/28; BBC 9/2)

In response to the attack that killed 1 Israeli settler (see above), Otzma Yehudit party MK Yitzhak Kroizer wrote on social media, “We want revenge!” Otzma Yehudit leader and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to place checkpoints, enforce blockades, deny work permits, and conduct assassinations in the West Bank. Netanyahu claimed that Iran was encouraging, guiding, and funding the Palestinian assailants. (AJ, HA, REU, TOI 8/21)

The PA foreign ministry issued a statement saying that President Mahmoud Abbas had informed a number of Palestinian ambassadors that they will have to retire. The statement did not specify which ambassadors would be forced to retire. (MEMO, WAFA 8/21)

In Syria, Israeli forces carried out airstrikes, injuring 1 soldier and causing damage near Damascus. (AJ, AP, HA 8/21; ALM 8/22)

UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland told the UN Security Council that Israel had killed more than 200 Palestinians this year while nearly 30 Israelis had been killed by Palestinians, saying the number of Palestinians killed was the highest since 2005. Wennesland said the rise in violence was related to the lack of a political horizon to end the conflict. Wennesland also criticized Israeli settlement expansion and demolitions of Palestinian homes. (AP, UN 8/21; AJ, AN 8/22)

Axios reported that U.S. president Joe Biden is considering meeting Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit in New York to discuss the potential Saudi-Israel normalization deal. (AX 8/21)