Monday, March 18, 2024

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers raid Burin and Madama, throwing stones at homes and vehicles. Israeli forces demolish 2 homes in al-Matar near Jericho. Israeli forces also raze 15 dunams (3.7 acres) of land, uprooting around 150 olive trees in Husan. Elsewhere, Israeli forces arrest 15 Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Dheisheh refugee camp, Tell, Arura, as-Samu, Tulkarm, and Attil, including a Palestinian prisoner exchanged during the ceasefire deal in November 2023; 13 Palestinians released in the prisoner exchange have been rearrested. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 20 Palestinians during raids in Isawiya. In Gaza, Israeli forces bomb Rafah, Khan Yunis, Gaza City, Nuseirat refugee camp, and Jabalia refugee camp, killing at least 81 people. Israeli forces also raid al-Shifa Hospital, killing 20 people, including the person in charge of coordinating humanitarian aid to northern Gaza, Fayeq al-Mabhouh, and arresting more than 80 people, including Al Jazeera journalist Ismail al-Ghoul, who is released 12 hours later. An Israeli soldier is killed in combat. In Lebanon, Israeli forces bomb buildings in Adissa, Ramyah, and Kafr Kila. Hezbollah forces attack Israeli facilities in Shebaa Farms, al-Tahyat Hill, and al-Bayad Bilda. In Yemen, U.S. forces bomb 13 sites, saying they are targeting weapon storage facilities, drones, and anti-ship missiles. (AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, HA, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/18; AJ, HA 3/19)

More than 31,726 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 13,400 children and 8,900 women, and around 73,792 have been injured since 10/7/2023. At least 7,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 426 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7/2023, including 111 children. More than 4,665 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, 249 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,482 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. 125 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza. (UNOCHA, UNOCHA, WAFA 3/18; UNOCHA 3/20)

A UN report says famine is expected in northern Gaza in May. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls the imminent famine “an entirely manmade disaster” that can be halted. EU high commissioner for foreign affairs Josep Borrell says Gaza is in a “state of famine, affecting thousands of people,” adding that the Israel is using “[s]tarvation as a weapon of war.” Israel denies UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini entry to Gaza. (AJ, AJ, AP, AX, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/18; NYT 3/19)

Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi says Palestinian prisoner and prominent politician Marwan Barghouti has been beaten by Israeli guards while in solitary confinement on 3/6 and 3/12, adding his life is in danger. PLO secretary-general Hussein al-Sheikh calls for international protection of Palestinian prisoners, citing the “isolation, torture and attempts to coerce, humiliate and beat” Barghouti. (AJ, HA, WAFA 3/18)

Israeli hands over the body of the 13-year-old Palestinian boy killed by Israeli forces in Shu’fat on 3/12 on the conditions that he is buried at night with no more than 50 people in attendance and that he is buried in ‘Anata rather than at a cemetery adjacent to the Old City where his relatives are buried. (WAFA 3/18)

Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir says Israel has approved 100,000 new gun licenses since 10/7/2023. (HA 3/18; AJ 3/19)

Israel responds to South Africa’s request to the ICJ to order additional measures against Israel, calling it “morally repugnant.” (AJ, AJ, AP, REU 3/18; HA 3/19)

Reuters reports that the Israeli delegation, led by Mossad director David Barnea, that arrived in Doha today will suggest a 6-week ceasefire during which 40 captives will be released by Hamas. Multiple outlets report that the negotiations are expected to take 2 weeks and will be done with the direct but remote participation of Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Siwnar. (AJ, AX, HA, HA, NYT, REU 3/18)

U.S. president Joe Biden speaks with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time since 2/15. The 2 agree to have Israel send a team of officials to Washington D.C. to discuss “alternative approaches” to Israel’s planned Rafah invasion. Biden calls on Netanyahu to increase the flow of aid to Gaza. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirms Israel assassinated Hamas member Marwan Issa on 3/11 and that the U.S. will help Israel bring “justice” for the rest of the Hamas leadership. (AJ, AJ, AP, AX, AX, HA, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU 3/18; AJ, HA, NYT 3/19)

The EU foreign ministers unanimously agree to sanction violent Israeli settlers. Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich says Israel will respond by “strengthening and entrenching settlements in all parts of the land of Israel.” (AJ, HA, HA, REU, WAFA 3/18; WAFA 3/19)

The Canadian House of Commons passes a non-binding motion calling for an end to arms exports to Israel, an immediate ceasefire, the release of all captives held in Gaza, and working toward a 2-state solution. Language, proposed by the New Democratic Party, calling for Canada to recognize the State of Palestine was removed from the motion. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz, voicing concerns over the Israeli plans to invade Rafah. Gantz tells Trudeau that Canada should not unilaterally recognize the State of Palestine. (HA, NYT, REU 3/18; AJ 3/19)

The UN Security Council condemns the Houthi movement’s attack on the ship True Confidence on 3/6 which killed 3 crew members. (AJ 3/18)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says “any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion. They hate everything about Israel and they should be ashamed of themselves.” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates calls Trump’s comments “vile and unhinged antisemitic rhetoric.” (HA, HA, NYT 3/18; AP, HA 3/19)