Friday, July 21, 2017

Tensions stemming from new Israeli security measures at Haram al-Sharif boil over, with mass protests and clashes erupting across the oPt throughout the day; 3 Palestinians are killed (all in East Jerusalem), 235 are injured, and 27 are arrested (at least 2 Israelis are injured as well). The Islamic Waqf calls on all imams in Jerusalem to conduct their sermons outside Haram al-Sharif, and thousands of Muslim worshippers gather at the sanctuary. The Israeli police deploy heavily across Jerusalem and bar Palestinian men under the age of 50 from the Old City. In the evening, they cut off electricity to a large swathe of East Jerusalem and close the sanctuary to all visitors (it will remain closed through 7/23). (EI, MNA, NYT, WAFA 7/21; HA, MNA 7/22; WAFA 7/23; HA 7/24; PCHR 7/27)

In light of the crisis at Haram al-Sharif, PA pres. Abbas suspends all PA contacts with Israel, including security coordination. He also calls on Hamas to dismantle its new administrative comm. in Gaza and to turn the collective Palestinian struggle toward Israel. Abbas also phones senior U.S. advisor Kushner urging the U.S. to intercede and push Israel to remove the new security measures at the sanctuary. (MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 7/21; HA 7/22)

In the evening, a Palestinian enters the Halamish settlement nr. Bethlehem and stabs 4 Israeli settlers, killing 3 and seriously injuring the 4th. An off-duty IDF soldier hears the attack, then shoots and moderately injures the Palestinian assailant. Hours before the attack, the alleged assailant had posted to Facebook, “I’m going to die for al-Aqsa.” Late at night, the IDF raids the alleged attacker’s hometown, Kobar nr. Ramallah, detaining and interrogating his family and imposing a lockdown on the village. Elsewhere in the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during raids in Jenin and nr. Bethlehem, and patrol in and around Hebron. (EI, MNA 7/21; HA 7/22; PCHR 7/27)