Israel has blocked the fuel supply to the main power plant in the Gaza strip, following what it claimed were arson attacks by Palestinians using incendiary balloons on Israeli communities in southern Israel on the Gaza-Israel border.
Israel claimed that 13 fires broke out in the communities on Monday morning as a result of incendiary balloons. It said that the fires started by them burned many acres of woodland and farmland, and that one of the balloons landed on a kindergarten school building. The latter incident did not result in any injuries.
There were also a spate of kidnappings in the occupied West Bank earlier this week by Israeli security forces. Nine Palestinians were kidnapped from their homes in Nablus, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Jerusalem at dawn on Tuesday. Violent clashes reportedly took place between Palestinian residents of the Qalandiya and Jenin refugee camps and Israeli soldiers during the raids. The soldiers also broke into the home of Hamas MP Nayef Rjoub in al-Khalil and gave him an order to appear before the Israeli intelligence service for interrogation.
On Monday evening, a young Palestinian man, identified as Wadi Aliyan, was kidnapped from the Issawiya district in east Jerusalem. The Israeli police arrested him for no apparent reason while he was walking on the streets. The police also set up checkpoints at the entrances to Issawiya, stopped cars and checked the IDs of drivers.
On the same day, Israeli forces broke into the Hizma town, east of Jerusalem, and fired tear gas throughout the eastern neighborhood. At dawn, they abducted 17 Palestinians, including ex-abductees, during raids on houses in al-Khalil, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jerusalem and Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Raids also took place in Tulkarem but no arrests were reported from the area. In the Qarawat Bani Zeid village, northwest of Ramallah, violent clashes broke out between the Palestinian residents and Israeli soldiers after the latter fired live ammunition and tear gas canisters.
These kidnappings happened ahead of and during the US-led Bahrain economic conference, titled ‘peace to prosperity’, in Manama. While the US was promoting the economic component of its ‘deal of the century’, and the economic benefits that Palestinians would supposedly gain out of it, Palestinians were being brutalized by the Israeli soldiers in the almost 70-year-long military occupation that was not even on the table for discussion.
Palestinians held rallies, strikes, and marches across the West Bank and Gaza against the conference. The protesters said that through the conference and the larger US Middle East peace plan, Arab countries were attempting to normalize relations with Israel, which is trying to finish off the Palestinian cause along with the US.