By The Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau / Mondoweiss
Key Developments (August 22 – 24)
- Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during a raid on the town of Zababdeh in the northern West Bank district of Jenin on Tuesday, August 22. The 17-year-old boy was identified as Othman Atef Muhammad Abu Khurj. According to Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), Israeli forces raided the town at around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, surrounding the home of a wanted Palestinian man from the town. The raid sparked confrontations from local youth, including Abu Khurj. DCIP said that Abu Khurj allegedly threw a homemade explosive device toward Israeli soldiers from a distance of around 400-500 feet. Israeli soldiers shot the teenager as he was running away, striking him in the back of the head and his arm. DCIP added that earlier this year, Israeli forces detained Abu Khurj for 10 days, subjecting him to interrogations without the presence of a lawyer. He was also put into solitary confinement for two days during the course of his detention. Following the killing of the teenager, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the al-Quds Brigade, issued a statement claiming Abu Khurj as one of their fighters. It is becoming increasingly common in the West Bank, particularly in areas like Jenin and refugee camps in the north, for young Palestinians, including teenagers, to become involved in armed resistance groups/
- The UN announced another record-breaking year in the killing of Palestinians, with 2023 marking the highest number of fatalities in occupied Palestine since the UN began documenting casualties in 2005. Over 200 Palestinians and 30 Israelis have been killed since the start of the year, UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said in a briefing to the Security Council on Monday, August 21. According to documentation from Palestinian rights groups and media, it is estimated that the number of Palestinians killed this year in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and ‘48 territory (within the Israeli state), has surpassed 230. In his statement, however, Wennesland equated the uptick in deaths to “extremists on both sides,” seemingly referring to the rise of armed Palestinian resistance that has swept across the West Bank over the past year. Yet in the lead-up to the burgeoning armed resistance and the increase in “lone wolf” operations, Israel had already been killing Palestinians at record rates. 2022 marked the first record-breaking year since 2005 — over the course of last year, Israel killed 231 Palestinians, including 173 from the West Bank.
- Far-right Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir said in a TV interview that he and his family, who are illegal settlers in the West Bank, should have more rights than Arabs (i.e. Palestinians). During the interview with Israel’s Channel 12 on Wednesday, August 23, Ben-Gvir said: “My right, and my wife’s and my children’s right, to get around on the roads in Judea and Samaria is more important than the right to movement for Arabs,” referring to the West Bank by its biblical name — a favorite term of Israeli politicians, society, and the media to erase the occupation and the internationally-recognized term for the territory. Ben-Gvir and his family are settlers in the ultra-violent and ideological settlement of Kiryat Arba, which sits in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron. The settlement has been the source of violence and dispossession for the city’s Palestinian residents for decades. In response to Ben-Gvir’s comments, Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament, said: “For the first time, an Israeli minister admits on air that Israel enforces an apartheid regime based on Jewish supremacy,” in a post on X, (formerly Twitter).
- 140 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces over the course of three days, according to a statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS said on Thursday that many of the detainees were from the Fawwar refugee camp in the Hebron area; the arrests took place on the heels of a shooting operation on Monday that killed one Israeli settler outside a settlement near the Fawwar camp. While some of those who were arrested have since been released, PPS said that “many remain in custody and have been subjected to torture and severe beating, as well as heavy destruction in their homes.”
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- Israeli settlers conducted a number of attacks across the West Bank this week, targeting Palestinians and their property. According to Wafa, the official Palestinian Authority-owned news agency, three Palestinians from the same family were injured after Israeli settlers, under the protection of Israeli forces, raided their village and began attacking their home, in the Hebron-area village of Tuba in the southern West Bank. The settlers reportedly attacked the family with sticks and sharp tools and sprayed them with pepper spray. In the Nablus area, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles driving on roads between the villages of Burqa and Sebastia, causing damage to a number of vehicles. While no one was injured in the attacks on the vehicles, Israeli settlers also reportedly attacked a home in the area with live ammunition; no one was hurt in the incident. Similar incidents of settlers attacking Palestinian vehicles were also reported in the Hebron area. In the northern Jordan Valley, Israeli settlers reportedly attacked a Palestinian shepherd and forced him to leave his pastures. The settlers were allegedly accompanied by armed Israeli soldiers.
- At least 230 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis this year, according to documentation collected by Mondoweiss.
- Israel is currently imprisoning 5,100 Palestinian political prisoners in its jails, according to prisoners rights group Addameer.
The Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau
The Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau are the Mondoweiss staff members based in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.