Sunday, February 18, 2024

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers spray racist graffiti on walls and set vehicles on fire in Turmus ‘Ayya. Israeli forces shoot and kill 2 Palestinians and injure 3 others during a raid in Tulkarm refugee camp, an Israeli soldier is injured during the raid. Israeli forces also shoot and kill a member of the PA security forces near Beit Furik. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces seal off the family home in Shu’fat of a Palestinian who was shot dead on 2/16 after allegedly killing 2 Israelis. In Gaza, Israeli forces bomb Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Dayr al-Balah, Rafah, Nuseirat refugee camp, and Beit Lahiya, killing at least 126 people. Israeli forces also fire tank shells at al-Amal Hospital in Khan Yunis. Israeli attacks render the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis inoperative as an eighth patient dies due to the lack of power at the hospital. 1 Israeli soldier is killed in combat. In Lebanon, Hezbollah fires an anti-tank missile at a building in Kibbutz Yir’on, causing damage. In the Red Sea, Houthi forces fire a missile at a UK-owned ship, causing damage. (AJ, AJ, HA, HA, NYT, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/18; AJ, AJ, HA, HA, NYT, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA 2/19; AP 2/20)

More than 28,985 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 12,000 children and 7,200 women, and around 68,883 have been injured since 10/7/2023. At least 8,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 393 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7/2023, including 100 children. More than 4,499 people have been injured. Israel reports that 1,139 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured in Israel since 10/7/2023, including Israeli soldiers. In addition, 232 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,361 injured in Gaza since the ground invasion began on 10/27/2023. Over 1.93 million Palestinians, nearly 85% of the population of Gaza, have been displaced since 10/7/2023. There has been a complete electricity blackout in Gaza since 10/12/2023 due to the Israeli blockade. At least 70,000 housing units have been destroyed and 290,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7/2023, constituting over 60% of all housing units. 38 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza. (WAFA 2/18; UNOCHA, UNOCHA 2/19)

PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh addresses the Munich Security Conference, saying the PA and Egypt will not allow Israel to push Palestinians into the Sinai. Shtayyeh also says the PA is prepared to cooperate with Hamas to achieve national unity. EU high commissioner for foreign affairs Josep Borrell highlights the plight of Palestinians in the West Bank during a speech at the conference. (AJ, HA, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/18)

The Israeli High Court of Justice dismisses a request for Israel to disclose the whereabouts of 62 Palestinians from Gaza who have been taken to Israel by Israeli forces and for them to be allowed to meet a lawyer. (HA 2/18)

The Israeli cabinet unanimously approves a declaratory decision to reject any unilateral recognition of the state of Palestine. Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz says Israel will limit the number of people entering the Haram al-Sharif compound during Ramadan. Channel 13 reports that the proposal was made by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The PA calls the decision “racist incitement against Palestinians.” The Supreme Fatwa Council of Palestine warns Israel of a “religious war” if Muslims are denied access to the compound during Ramadan. The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee says Ben-Gvir is organizing his own war against Palestinian citizens of Israel. (AJ, HA, HA, HA, NYT, REU 2/18; AJ, AJ, HA, HA, NYT, REU, WAFA, WAFA 2/19; HA, HA, REU 2/20)

Norway says an agreement has been reached on the transfer of PA tax funds from Israel to the PA via Norway. Norway will withhold the part of the tax revenue Israel considers is for Gaza. Prime Minister Shtayyeh says after a meeting with Norwegian foreign minister Espen Barth Eide that the funds will not be transferred to the PA. (WAFA 2/18; AP, REU 2/19; WAFA 2/20)

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva addresses the African Union Summit, calling Israel’s war on Gaza “genocide” and compares the attacks to the Holocaust, saying it has happened before “when [Adolf] Hitler decided to kill the Jews.” Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz summons the Brazilian ambassador. (AJ, AJ, AP, HA, HA, NYT, REU, WAFA 2/18)

UK Labour party leader Kier Starmer calls for a lasting ceasefire. (AJ, HA, REU 2/18; AJ 2/19)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Biden administration is looking at ways to give direct financial support to the PA to prevent it from running out of funds. (HA, WSJ 2/18)