An Israeli parliamentarian has stated his desire to see Palestinians expelled from the West Bank. Matan Kahana, a member of the Knesset from Yamina, the far right party of Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, made the comments when speaking to high school students. “If there was a button that could be pressed, that would remove all Arabs from here, send them on an express train to Switzerland…I would press that button. The Arabs are telling themselves a different story, we know it’s untrue and nonsense. They are telling themselves that they are the ones who always lived here and we came and expelled them”. These comments drew the ire of fellow members of the Knesset, some of whom are Palestinian. Responding to his hateful comments, Walid Taha, of the United Arab List said “Matan Kahana, we are here because this is our homeland…you, and those who think like you, will keep dragging your frustration because we simply won’t go away!” Kahana has insisted that his words were taken out of context, and that, in speaking to the students, he was in fact highlighting that if people start insisting people return to their lands of origin, then that would cause a never ending argument of who originates from where. Notwithstanding this explanation, this will add to tensions in the Knesset, which is also under immense pressure to consolidate and pass bills that the 8 party coalition running parliament is finding harder and harder to do, placing into peril the fragile balancing act by the coalition.
Washington has announced that it will be upgrading its diplomatic mission to Palestinians, currently housed in the US Embassy in Jerusalem. In 2018, President Trump moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, andsimultaneously closed the consulate dedicated to Palestinians, thus collapsing all Palestinian matters into the main embassy, instead of affording a dedicated channel for US-Palestine bilateral relations. This angered Palestinians at the time. In a move now to try and warm relations between the US and Palestinians, President Biden has decided to reassign the Palestinian Affairs Unit to be called the US Office of Palestinian Affairs (OPA. The office will remain in the US embassy office, but will now report directly to the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the US State Department, essentially making it independent again from the rest of the running of the US Embassy.
A Palestinian man has been shot and killed by Israeli forces during confrontations on the West Bank, during a military raid in the occupied area. 27 year old Mahmoud Fayez Abu Ayhour, was killed on Thursday 9 June in the town of Halhul, immediately outside Hebron city. He was then taken to Al-Mizan hospital in Hebron in critical condition just before 1pm, but unfortunately pronounced dead less than an hour later. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, he was shot in the stomach. Along with his death, at least 7 other people were injured in the fracas-three with live bullets. The Israeli army had raided the town of Halhul merely 3 hours earlier, shutting down the main road and firing tear gas at protestors.