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  • ChronologyJuly 16, 2018-October 15, 2018



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Asharq al-Awsat




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Arab-Israeli Conflict
See also Israel, Palestinian Territories

Jul. 19: Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed a law transferring the West Bank from under the jurisdiction of Israel's supreme court to a district court in Jerusalem known as the Administrative Court. The law was seen as a step toward fully annexing the West Bank, as critics said it would prevent Palestinian petitioners and human rights groups from appealing directly to the high court. Supporters argued that the bill would allow the territory's Jewish residents to receive full judicial treatment as Israeli residents. The bill came as several other controversial Israeli bills, including one that defined Israel as the Jewish nation-state, passed through the Knesset. [Haaretz, 7/17]

Jul. 23: Two rockets launched from Syria into the Israeli-claimed Golan Heights were intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). This was the first use of David's Sling, a missile defense system made with United States support to defend against short- and medium-range missiles. The IDF had intercepted multiple drones the previous week as Syrian president Bashar al-Asad's forces had begun an offensive to take control of southern Syria. [AFP, Haaretz, 7/23]

Jul. 24: Israeli defense minister Avigdor Liberman partially opened the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, allowing fuel, food, and medicine across after a two-week closure. Defense Minister Liberman had allowed the partial opening because of a decrease in kite attacks from Gaza, but other goods, including construction materials and exports from Gaza, would remain embargoed until the kite attacks stopped completely. The United Nations had warned that the fuel blockade was affecting water sanitation and hospital access, further complicating the continued humanitarian crisis in Gaza. [AJ, Ynet, 7/24]

Jul. 25: The IDF shot down a Syrian fighter jet that had flown fewer than two miles into Israeli airspace with two Patriot missiles, reportedly killing the pilot. The fighter jet was hit by the missile after it had crossed back into Syrian airspace. This marked the second time the IDF had shot down a Syrian jet since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, with the first incident having occurred on September 23, 2014. [CNN, 7/24; Haaretz, 7/25]

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced it could not renew the contracts for 267 humanitarian workers in the Palestinian Territories and was going to shift 584 workers to part-time after the US cut 2018 funding for the agency by 80%. Although food assistance programs would remain open through the end of the year, mental health [End Page 113] services, mobile health clinics, and UNRWA-run schools would likely be affected by the job cuts. UNRWA had been able to raise $283 million in voluntary contributions from other UN member-states in a fundraising campaign to make up for US losses, making it possible to cover immediate shortfalls but not addressing long-term concerns about US funding withdrawal. [NYT, 7/25]

Jul. 27: At least 50 Israeli police entered the Noble Sanctuary compound on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque, arresting at least 20 youths accused of throwing rocks and fireworks and injuring at least 15 worshippers after using tear gas and stun grenades. Israeli forces subsequently closed the compound for several hours before reopening it later that day. The compound, built atop the historical Jewish Temples and including both the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, was the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism. [AJ, VOA, 7/27]

Aug. 2: Defense Minister Liberman again halted fuel shipments into Gaza after kites...


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