This Week In Palestine: New Israeli Government Sets the Tone for Its Administration

Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir storms Al-Aqsa mosque. (Photo: Ben-Gvir TW Page)

By Robert Inlakesh

Following the 13-minute storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday, by the Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Israeli government doubled down on the provocation at the UN security council.

Gilad Erdan, Tel Aviv’s ambassador to the UN, said that the Holy Site is “the holiest Jewish site, under the sovereignty of the liberal democracy of Israel”, during his speech at the UN’s security council meeting that was hosted on Thursday night.

Instead of affirming the position that the status quo should remain, Erdan attacked the status quo and framed it as anti-Jewish, making every excuse available to justify the actions of the national security minister. Israeli Minister Ben-Gvir advocates for changing the status quo and has been charged with inciting racism, along with supporting a terrorist group.

Sunday: Hamas Leader Arrested

On Sunday, illegal Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, whilst another group of settlers established a settler outpost on the lands of Al-Jabaa village, south of Bethlehem.

Israeli occupation forces arrested Jawad al-Ja’bari, a Hamas leader in the West Bank, from his home in Al-Khalil, and reports surfaced confirming that 7,000 Palestinians had been arrested by the Israeli military in 2022, including around 1,000 children (under the age of 18).

Israeli occupation forces stormed Kafr Ein in Ramallah, clashes also erupted between stone-throwing youths and the Israeli military in Nabi Saleh, Bethlehem, Nablus, al-Khalil, and Ramallah.

Israel’s extremist National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, declared his intention of storming the Al-Aqsa mosque, in violation of the status quo at the site. Netanyahu also announced his planned visit to the UAE, it would be his first foreign visit whilst back in office as Prime Minister.

Netanyahu also declared the construction of new settlements the answer to the Israeli housing crisis. The Jenin Brigades armed movement, in Jenin, opened fire on raiding forces.

Monday: Two Palestinians Killed in Jenin

On Monday, in the earlier hours of the morning, Israel launched yet another round of unprovoked airstrikes against Damascus, in Syria. The strikes badly damaged the runway at Damascus international and killed 2 Syrian soldiers.

Israeli forces also stormed Kafr Dan, in Jenin, with the intention of blowing up the home of Abdul Rahman Abed, which they would eventually carry out after hours of armed confrontation. Israeli raiding forces killed 2 Palestinians; Fouad Mahmoud Ahmed Abed (18 years old), who was a resistance fighter from the town of Kafr Dan, and Muhammad Samer Hoshieh (22 years old), from the town of Al-Yamoun.

Israel also upped the pressure on Gaza’s civilian population, who enter their third year under unliveable conditions, according to the United Nations. Occupation soldiers shot tear gas at shepherds east of Jabalia, as Israeli forces, stationed at the Netif Haasra site, shot tear gas at farmers in Beit Lahia, also entering the territory to burn their poison, burn and bulldozed their crops near the separation fence. Drone and war-plane activity also increased in Gaza, harassing citizens.

Occupation forces stormed the home of Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, a preacher at al-Aqsa mosque, he was taken to the infamous al-Moskobiyeh detention center, where he was interrogated and threatened.

Settlers again stormed al-Aqsa mosque and establish a new settlement outpost on the lands of Al-Jabaa village, southwest of Bethlehem.

Ramallah clashes, after the Israeli military stormed Beit Rima, left 11 Palestinians injured, 7 with live bullets, 4 with rubber bullets. Itamar Ben-Gvir then decided to cancel his decision to storm al-Aqsa publicly, after threats from Hamas, leading to widespread criticism from his religious extremist supporters. To end the day, the occupation forces stormed the town of Kifl Haris, north of Salfit, to ensure that settlers could storm Islamic shrines to perform Talmudic rituals inside.

Tuesday: Ben-Gvir Storms Al-Aqsa, Israeli Forces Kill 15-Year-Old Palestinian Boy

On Tuesday, Israeli occupation forces killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, Adam Ayad, whilst storming Dheisheh camp, in Bethlehem. The teen had carried around a note with him, after the murder of his friend Omar Manna, a month earlier, reading that

“I am very happy that our Lord has fulfilled one of my dreams, which is martyrdom.. Martyrdom is not death. Martyrdom is victory and pride for the whole world. Set your compass and direct it to the occupation.”

Itamar Ben-Gvir then stormed al-Aqsa Mosque, guarded by tens of security force members and visited unannounced, walking around as to complete the task but in a weak fashion, this came after consultation with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Condemnations flooded in from Jordan, Hezbollah and light condemnations from Egypt, Turkey and the West. Netanyahu announced that there will be a delay to his UAE trip, as Abu Dhabi and Beijing requested a UN Security Council meeting to discuss Ben-Gvir’s storming of Al-Aqsa.

Armed clashes also took place between the Palestinian resistance and Israeli forces in Jenin, leading to the failure of Israel to arrest targeted individuals.

Israel announced the death of a soldier, allegedly from a stray bullet at a training camp, however, it is well-known and proven that Israel hides the deaths of its forces on the battlefield.

44 Israeli soldiers died of non-combat-related incidents last year, many of which are expected to have been coverups. The Israeli military also announces the injury of one of its soldiers in Jenin, during clashes with the resistance. Occupation soldiers then bulldozed a home in the Ma’in area of Masafer Yatta, located in the southern hills of al-Khalil.

Israeli occupation forces later entered the Harm al-Sharif masjid at al-Aqsa, in yet another provocation. Tensions erupted, in response to Itamar Ben-Gvir’s invasion of Al-Aqsa, in the Naqab military prison. A Ramon prison political detainee threw a chair at prison guards, whilst prisoners banged on their cell doors.

Intense drone activity continued over Gaza, as Israeli air defenses were deployed fearing rocket fire from the besieged coastal enclave. Settlers added to tensions by marching provocatively in Jerusalem’s old city, as Palestinians were attacked by occupation police. Young Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at an Israeli occupation police station in Sur Bahr, as an act of rebellion against the threats posed to al-Aqsa’s status quo.

Palestinian resistance forces also open fire on the Gush Etzion settlement and Qalandia checkpoint, whilst Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces were busy arresting members of the Qawasmi family in al-Khalil; dispersing a peaceful sit-in that demanded the release of Saeed Qawasmi.

Wednesday: Gaza Fishermen under Attack

On Wednesday, Israeli gunboats attack Palestinian fishermen in Gaza, whilst illegal settlers stormed al-Aqsa again. Gaza’s population climbs to 2,375,000, according to official statistics. Israeli forces stormed Jenin and another soldier was injured. Video footage was then released revealing that Israeli settlers broke into a Protestant Christian graveyard in Jerusalem on Sunday, destroying 30 graves and smashing tombstones in the shape of the cross. Nearby in East Jerusalem, Israeli occupation authorities began to demolish the house of Muhammad Al-Awar, in the town of Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli demolition forces stormed the village of Tel Arad, in al-Naqab, and demolished a number of homes belonging to the Abu Ayesh family. A young Palestinian boy was also shot with live ammunition in Al-Aroub refugee camp, whilst settlers attack vehicles on the Ramallah-Nablus road.

Thursday: Israeli Forces Kill 16-Year-Old Palestinian Boy

On Thursday, Israeli occupation forces raided the Balata refugee camp, located near the city of Nablus, where the Lions’ Den armed group opened fire on them, along with the Balata brigades group. A 16-year-old Palestinian boy, Amer Abu Zeitoun, was shot dead by Israeli forces in the Balata camp during that raid.

Karim Younes, the longest-serving political prisoner in history, was released from Israeli military prison after serving over 40 years. Karim visited the cemetery where his mother was buried and cried in front of her grave, she had died only 8 months prior to his release. He also visited his father’s grave, who was denied seeing him for 10 years, and also died whilst he was incarcerated.

Settlers again stormed al-Aqsa all morning, as the occupation army destroyed Palestinian land and fencing surrounding it, in Jabal al-Sendas, located south of al-Khalil. Israeli forces also bulldozed a Bedouin village in Douma, East of Nablus.

A UN security council meeting is convened, where Jordan and Israel clash over the illegal storming of Al-Aqsa mosque. Israel’s representative calls claimed Israeli sovereignty over the site, indicating that Tel Aviv does not support the status quo. Changing that status quo, could have massive implications regionally and spark a large-scale conflict.

The ‘Lions Den’ group announced that night on Telegram that they were claiming responsibility for six resistance shooting attacks towards checkpoints and settlements, the occupation forces were then prompted to close down Nablus.

Friday: Israel to Punish the PA

On Friday, Israel announced that it would be introducing sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, for taking the issue of Israeli war crimes to the International Court of Justice and the UN. The following is the statement that they issued:

“Statement from the Prime Minister’s Office The Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs (the Security Cabinet) convened for its first meeting yesterday (Thursday, 5 January 2023), to decide on the response to the Palestinian Authority’s decision to wage political and legal war against the State of Israel.

“The current government will not sit idly by in the face of this war and will respond as necessary. The Cabinet approved a number of steps to be taken vis-à-vis the PA in response to its appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week. The following is a list of these steps:

1. Transferring approximately NIS 139 million from PA funds to victims of terrorism, implementing the Litvak verdict, which compensates the families of victims murdered in Palestinian terrorist attacks.

2. Immediately offsetting the payments made by the PA to terrorists and their families in 2022, according to the report of the defense establishment.

3. Placing a moratorium on Palestinian construction plans in Area C, following illegal take-over attempts by the PA, in opposition to international agreements.

4. Denying benefits to VIPs who are leading the political and legal war against Israel.

5. Action will be taken against organizations in Judea and Samaria that promote terrorist activity or any hostile activity, including political and legal action against Israel under the guise of humanitarian work.”

What this will likely mean is that PA employees will receive cuts in their salaries, due to budgetary restrictions, what Israel refers to as “terrorists” are either innocent Palestinians murdered by Israeli forces, stone-throwers or resistance fighters. Tel Aviv is now beginning to take a strong line against the PA, which is actually their closest ally in fighting the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank, but is being framed as a supporter of “terrorism” and “anti-semitism”.

Israel’s UN Ambassador openly condemned the convening of a security council session, making light of their actions that could lead to a religious war, stating that the UN “legitimizes the poison and lies of the Palestinians”, a statement that is clearly racist.

Later on Friday, illegal settlers, from the settlement of Elon Moreh, attacked Palestinian homes in the village of Salem, east of Nablus, beating up innocent people. Occupation forces stormed the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp in Jericho, shooting a young man in the head, whilst settlers stormed Palestinian village areas in order to attack innocent civilians.

Despite restrictions on Muslim worshippers entering, over 60,000 Palestinians attended Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque, as Israel increased its state of alert in anticipation of possible violence. Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian youths who threw stones in Silwan and other areas in East Jerusalem.

This week’s events have served as telling when it comes to the trajectory of the new Israeli regime. A hardline extremist policy is clearly on the agenda and will likely lead to a wild escalation if things continue to develop in such an escalatory measure.

(This article was first published here)

- Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He focuses on the Middle East, specializing in Palestine. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.
(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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