Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sinai Province of the Islamic State (SPIS) fighters launch rockets into Israel from n. Sinai late at night. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense batteries intercept 3 of them; others land in open areas nr. Eilat. No Israelis are injured. SPIS last launched rockets into Israel in 7/2015 (see JPS 45 [1]). Later, 2 Palestinians are killed and at least 5 are injured in an air strike targeting the smuggling tunnel they are working in nr. Rafah. The IDF denies carrying out the strike. Palestinian eyewitnesses say they saw an Israeli aircraft launch it, and Palestinian security sources say it was a retaliation for the rocket barrage. (HA, JP 2/8; HA, MNA, WAFA 2/9)

An Israeli settler driver rams an elderly Palestinian nr. Bethlehem, causing fatal injuries. The Palestinian dies later in the day. Israeli settlers raze a swath of Palestinianowned land nr. Nablus overnight. Meanwhile, IDF troops arrest 5 Palestinians during raids nr. Hebron and Ramallah, and patrol nr. Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish a 2d Palestinian building in Bayt Hanina in as many days. They also assault and arrest 4 Palestinian youths in Silwan. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land nr. the Erez border crossing. IDF troops also open fire on Palestinian agricultural lands nr. Rafah and Bayt Hanun, causing no serious damage or injuries. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats nr. Jabaliya r.c., causing no damage or injuries. In Israel, Israeli forces demolish the bedouin village of al-‘Araqib in the Negev for the 109th time since 2010. (MNA, WAFA 2/8; PCHR 2/9; PCHR 2/16)

In Washington, PA intelligence chief Majid Faraj leads a Palestinian delegation in their first face-to-face talks with Trump admin. officials. According to a Palestinian source, they discuss diplomatic issues, particularly Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. (AP 2/9; HA, TOI 2/10)