Is Israel Headed Towards a Third Round of Elections?
The Israeli legislative elections are to be held on September 17th, 2019 after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government in April 2019. Netanyahu was able to secure 60 seats in the Knesset but failed to reach the required number of seats (61) to form a government.
Related: Israeli Elections 2019: What Effect Will It Have On Regional Strategy?
A Recap of this Week's Clashes in Gaza
The clashes began on the 3rd of May, 2019 after two Israeli soldiers were injured and four Palestinians were killed during the weekly protests at the Gaza-Israel border. The clashes entailed hundreds of rockets being launched from Gaza and numerous more targeted by Israeli Forces within the Gaza Strip. Israel also increased its military presence near the border in response. Eventually a ceasefire agreement went into effect on May 6th, 2019. The exchanges of fire are outlined in greater detail below:
Friday, 3rd of May
Trump Signs Golan Proclamation: What’s Next?
Settler attacks on Palestinians tripled in 2018
In 2018 RedCrow’s system recorded more than 500 incidents of settler-related “nationalist crimes” against Palestinians in the West Bank. Such incidents include vandalism, violence, and destruction of olive trees. Until mid-Dec 2018, there were 482 incidents of politically motivated crimes committed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) compared to 140 in 2017. It’s the highest number of incidents in four years.
Settlement shooting triggers a wave of violence in the West Bank
On Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, seven Israeli settlers were wounded near the settlement of Ofra NE Ramallah in a drive-by shooting. A footage of the shooting showed a moving vehicle slowing down and targeting settlers on the junction near the entrance of the settlement. After shots were fired from the vehicle, Israeli soldiers fired back at the car, which then fled and continued north on Route 60. This incident triggered a massive manhunt in search of the gunmen in nearby villages and even in Ramallah.
Trump Administration doubles down on Palestinian aid cuts
In a dramatic move, the Trump administration has reportedly decided to end all funding to UNRWA. The UN agency responsible for Palestinian humanitarian assistance. According to reports, the decision to cut all aid to UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees was made at a meeting earlier this month between Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Israel signs deal for advanced precision missiles
Saudi King Salman rejects US-led peace plan
In a surprising move, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz addressed in a letter to US President Donald Trump his rejection of the proposed peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As such, King Salman informed President Trump that Saudi Arabia cannot support the ‘Deal of the Century’ if there is no mention of a settlement on the status of East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital and the right of return of refugees.
Escalations in the Gaza Strip
On Saturday July 14th, Israeli Security Forces (ISF) launched its most severe airstrike campaign against the Gaza Strip since the war of 2014 (i.e. Operation Protective Edge) after militants allegedly fired over 200 rockets and other projectiles towards Israeli controlled areas. Sirens reportedly went off in southern parts of Israel, including Sha’ar HaNegev, Sdot Negev, Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol Regional Councils. As such, due to a high state of tensions, Israeli authorities closed public beaches and restricted gatherings of large groups in those areas.