Israeli occupation forces killed two Palestinians overnight and arrested 40 more across the occupied West Bank. The Speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Aziz Dwaik, and two other MPs were among those arrested. The casualties were confirmed by Israeli sources.
During the night, Israeli warplanes also carried out several airstrikes against the Gaza Strip. Four people were wounded in the attacks, including a 3-year old child.
The head of the Prisoners’ Centre for Studies, Fuad Al-Kuffash, said that a number of freed prisoners and senior Hamas leaders were included in the arrest sweep. The Israeli moves were made four days after three young Jewish settlers were said to be missing in Hebron. They are believed to have been kidnapped.
On Sunday, the Israeli occupation authorities arrested 113 Palestinians in Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah and other cities in the West Bank. Almost all of those arrested are linked to Hamas, including some parliamentarians.
Israel has accused Hamas of being behind the abductions of the settlers and is studying plans to expel a number of Hamas leaders from the West Bank. The US has also accused Hamas of the kidnapping.
According to Ha’aretz newspaper, the Israeli security cabinet is scheduled to convene on Monday at noon to discuss the abduction and possible responses. “One of the ideas being considered is to expel senior Hamas members from the West Bank to Gaza, as a way of pressuring the organisation,” Ha’aretz said. “The justice ministry convened on Sunday to explore whether such steps are in keeping with international law.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners are continuing their hunger strike in Israeli jails for the 54th day; dozens are being hospitalised. Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has approved a law that allows the prison authorities to force-feed hunger strikers.
Qadoura Faris of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club warned that the international community is turning a blind eye to the issue of the hunger strikers as it focuses only on the issue of the three missing Israelis. Faris called for an immediate solution to the prisoners’ issue.