Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The atmosphere surrounding Haram alSharif remains tense as Israeli forces remove more of the security measures implemented in the wake of the deadly attack on 7/14, and Muslim worshippers continue praying outside the sanctuary. In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct raids in Qalqilya, sparking minor clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians (there are no serious injuries). They arrest 13 Palestinians, issue 1 arrest summons, and confiscate 1 car during further raids nr. Hebron, Nablus, and Qalqilya; and patrol nr. Hebron and Jenin. Israeli settlers begin moving furniture into the building they occupied in c. Hebron on 7/25. The IDF then declares the building a closed military zone to halt escalating tensions. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land nr. Bayt Hanun and open fire on agricultural lands nr. Jabaliya r.c., causing no damage or injuries. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats nr. Bayt Lahiya twice, causing no damage or injuries. (HA, MNA, WAFA 7/26; PCHR 7/27; EI 7/28; PCHR 8/3)

Two days after Israel’s security cabinet decided to remove the new metal detectors at Haram al-Sharif, and 1 day after the Islamic Waqf decided to continue protests at the sanctuary, the Israeli press reports that PM Netanyahu has ordered that security checks at the sanctuary be performed with handheld metal detectors only, as they were prior to the deadly attack on 7/14. The Waqf then decides to meet again on 7/27 to discuss developments. Meanwhile, Waqf officials meet with Israeli police and reiterate their demands for all the new security measures to be removed and for conditions at the sanctuary to “return to what they were before.” They specifically asked for the removal of 5 new cameras and several metal railings at the site, and a reduction in police presence. The Israeli police deny that they are in contact with the Waqf. (HA, TOI 7/27)

The Israeli authorities return to their families in Umm al-Fahm the bodies of the 3 Palestinians who allegedly perpetrated the deadly attack in East Jerusalem on 7/14. (MNA 7/27)

Israel’s Knesset passes the first reading of the “United Jerusalem Law,” which the Ministerial Comm. for Legislation first approved on 7/16. (KNE, TOI 7/26; MNA 7/27)