108 / 14704 Results
  • January 20, 2022

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces delivered a punitive demolition notice for a house in Silat al-Harithiya belonging to a family in which 2 are charged with the killing of 1 Israeli settler on 12/...

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  • January 14, 2022

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Kafr Qaddum, injuring 6 with rubber-coated bullets and others with tear gas. 2 Palestinians were arrested, including...

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  • December 26, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort blocked a road leading to Sinjil. Israeli forces shot and injured 1 Palestinian with a rubber-coated bullet to his chest during a raid in...

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  • December 16, 2021

    In the West Bank, 1 Israeli settler was shot and killed and 2 others wounded when 10 shots were fired at their car at the Homesh settlement outpost near Nablus. Israel’s public security minister...

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  • December 14, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort attempted to raid a school in al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya before they were repelled by Palestinians protecting the students. Israeli forces razed...

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  • December 10, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving on Route 60 near the Yitzhar settlement, causing damage. Israeli settlers also started construction on a pool near a...

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  • November 29, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces delivered stop-work orders for 22 structures and 1 demolition order for an agricultural shed in Qusra and demolished 1 water well in Ni‘lin. Israeli forces also...

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  • October 20, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers stole harvesting equipment in Qaryut and tried to steal olive crops before being chased away by Palestinians. Israeli forces razed 10 dunams of agricultural land...

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  • October 14, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers uprooted some 80 olive trees in al-Mughayyir. 1 Palestinian man hit 1 Israeli soldier with his car at the Qalandia checkpoint, injuring the soldier. According to...

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  • September 14, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces fired tear gas and sound bombs at Palestinians near al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, leading to tear-gas related injuries. 21 Palestinians were arrested during late-...

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  • August 11, 2021

    In the West Bank, 1 Palestinian succumbed to injuries inflicted by Israeli forces on 8/3 in Jenin. Israeli forces demolished 1 poultry farm in al-Walaja, 1 rainwater collection well in Khallet al-...

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  • August 4, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolished 5 agricultural structures in Wadi Rahal and demolished 1 house, agricultural structures, water tanks, and solar panels, and confiscated 1 tractor and 1...

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  • July 20, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces sealed off Ya‘bad, preventing Palestinians from entering and leaving the town. In East Jerusalem, Wafa reported that 100,000 Palestinians attended prayers...

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  • July 19, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers planted trees near al-Farisya and ‘Ain al-Hilweh. Israeli forces delivered a stop-work order to 1 Palestinian for his agricultural fields and seized 1 bulldozer...

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  • June 24, 2021

    In the West Bank, the prominent critic of the PA, Nizar Banat, died at a hospital after being arrested by PA forces in his home in Dura; the family of Banat said he was brutally beaten by 20 PA...

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  • June 22, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers attacked 1 Palestinian working on rehabilitating a road east of Yatta and damaged the excavator he was using. Israeli forces delivered demolition notices for 20...

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  • May 25, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers uprooted some 35 olive trees in Hebron. Israeli undercover forces assassinated 1 Palestinian in al-Bireh from close range before leaving him to bleed out....

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  • May 19, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers opened fire at Hizma, causing damage. Israeli settlers also attacked a Palestinian TV crew near Hebron covering the killing of 1 Palestinian woman (see below)....

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  • April 22, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers opened fire at Palestinians near Salfit; no injuries were reported. Israeli settlers also planted crops on Palestinian-owned land in Taqqua. Israel approved the...

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  • April 14, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers vandalized trees and 1 house under construction, and stole construction equipment in Jalud. 1 Palestinian was arrested at a checkpoint in Sa‘ir. In East...

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  • April 2, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Kafr Qaddum, injuring 2 journalists with sponge grenades; others suffered tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces...

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  • March 30, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed a Land Day rally in Sabastiyya, leading to tear-gas related injuries. 10 Palestinians were arrested, including 8 during raids in and around...

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  • March 17, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers demolished part of a Palestinian-owned house in Hebron. Israeli settlers also stole 40 olive saplings in Jalud. Israeli forces razed 5 dunams (1.2 acres) of land...

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  • March 12, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians protesting settlement expansion in ‘Ayn al-Bayda. Israeli forces also violently dispersed a Palestinian protest in Bayt Dajan,...

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  • March 11, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers opened fire at 2 Palestinian children near Yatta; no injuries were reported. 5 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Dura, Bayt Ula,...

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  • March 4, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers vandalized 1 Palestinian-owned agricultural structure in Kafr al-Dik. Israeli forces delivered demolition orders for 7 Palestinian-owned homes in Ma‘in. 17...

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  • February 28, 2021

    In the West Bank, large groups of Israeli settlers chanted racist slogans at Palestinians in Hebron and Israeli forces closed off large portions of the city for its Palestinian residents. Israeli...

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  • February 26, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers stormed Kafr Haris, closing the area to Palestinians. Israeli settlers also uprooted 20 olive saplings in Kisan. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers and Israeli forces...

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  • February 23, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces leveled land near Abu Dis to expand nearby settlements. 15 Palestinians were arrested, including 12 during a raid in and around Jenin, Tubas, Hizma, Bethlehem,...

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  • February 18, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set fire to 1 Palestinian-owned truck in Kafr Malik. Palestinians protested Israeli-inflicted electricity blackouts in Jiftlik. 5 Palestinians were arrested,...

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In the West Bank, Israeli forces delivered a punitive demolition notice for a house in Silat al-Harithiya belonging to a family in which 2 are charged with the killing of 1 Israeli settler on 12/20/2021 near the Homesh settlement outpost. Israeli forces razed a tract of land in Jalud in preparation for expanding the nearby Ahiya settlement. 11 Palestinians were arrested during house raids in Qabatiya, Qalandia, al-Ram, ‘Azzun, Beit Fajjar, Biddu, and Beit ‘Anan. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands east of Khuza‘a; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/20; MEMO 1/21; PCHR 1/27)

Palestinian Israeli Bedouins in several Naqab villages said they had been experiencing prolonged electricity blackouts for 2 weeks. The Israeli Electricity Corporation (IEC) blamed the blackouts on cold weather and illegal electricity hookups. In a recording of a conversation between an IEC representative and a resident, the representative is heard saying that the Israeli police is preventing them from conducting work to mend the situation, a claim the Israeli police denies. (HA 1/20)

The UN agencies UNWRA, UNICEF, and OHCHR called on Israel to release 1 Palestinian teenager held on administrative detention who is seriously ill due to an autoimmune disease and has been held without charges for more than 1 year. (MEMO, WAFA 1/20)

16 Palestinian Israeli Bedouins were indicted for alleged crimes committed during protests against a forestation program meant to displace Bedouins in the Naqab last week. A total of 155 protesters were arrested over several days of protesting. The protesters are accused of throwing stones and burning tires. (HA 1/20)

A PA court in Nablus sentenced 1 Palestinian journalist to 3 months in prison for defaming the PA. (MEMO 1/21)

PA foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki criticized the U.S. Biden administration for not working to reverse the Trump administration’s one-sided policies against Palestinians during a meeting at the UN security council. Foreign Minister al-Maliki also called on the U.S. to pressure Israel into reversing its rejection of a 2-state solution. Al-Maliki also said that the EU, UN, and Russia had agreed to a ministerial meeting about the Palestinian-Israeli situation but that the U.S. had not. Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan accused al-Maliki of ignoring “terror attacks” by Palestinians, holding up a stone that allegedly had been thrown at Israeli forces. (AP, HA, WAFA 1/20)

PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, during a meeting with UN humanitarian coordinator in Palestine Lynn Hastings, urged the international community to pressure Israel to release tax funds withheld from the PA. (WAFA 1/20)

Former Israeli soldiers acknowledged that there is a mass grave of Palestinians killed during the Nakba in 1948 on a beach in the depopulated village of Tantura, where Israeli forces and militants massacred Palestinian prisoners of war. The Israeli government has denied the existence of the mass grave despite it being published in a thesis in 2000. The mass grave site is now a parking lot for the Dor beach built on the depopulated village. The PA foreign ministry called for an international investigation into the massacre aimed at punishing Israeli officials and institutions covering crimes committed by Israel. (HA 1/20; WAFA 1/21; AJ, JDF, WAFA 1/22)

Israel and Germany signed a deal for Israel to buy 3 submarines from the Germany company ThyssenKrupp. Germany agreed in 2017 to cover $680 million of the price Israel will have to pay. ThyssenKrupp recently raised the price of the submarines from $2 billion to $3.4 billion. (ALM, AP, HA, MEMO, REU 1/20)

Israeli Channel 13 aired a program showing NSO Group employees training Ghanaian officials in using NSO’s Pegasus software. Ghana’s government bought the Pegasus software in 2016 to use against political opponents ahead of the 2017 elections. (HA 1/20)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Kafr Qaddum, injuring 6 with rubber-coated bullets and others with tear gas. 2 Palestinians were arrested, including 1 during a late-night raid in Qalqilya and 1 at a checkpoint in Kafr Qaddum. In East Jerusalem, 5 Palestinians were arrested in the Old City. In the Naqab desert, Palestinians continued to protest, for the 5th day in a row, the forestation project that is seeking to displace Bedouins near Sawa by throwing stones at vehicles, injuring 1 police officer at the Nevatim air base southeast of Beersheba. (HA, WAFA, WAFA 1/14; PCHR 1/20)

Hamas official Basem Naim said Hamas and Fatah officials are meeting separately with Algerian mediators in Algiers to reconcile their divisions. Naim said meetings could continue until February and that Hamas has not ruled out direct meetings with Fatah. (MEMO 1/17)

The Israeli Defense and Security Forum, led by 3 former Israeli generals, wrote an op-ed in Haaretz, saying that Israeli leaders need to address the growing issue of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. (HA 1/14)

U.S. ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said he would not be visiting West Bank settlements during his tenure as ambassador, restoring the norm from before the Trump administration. Former ambassador David Friedman was an outspoken settler activist. (MEMO 1/15)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort blocked a road leading to Sinjil. Israeli forces shot and injured 1 Palestinian with a rubber-coated bullet to his chest during a raid in Kafr Qaddum. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters near al-Mughayyir and Sahal al-Baqai’a, causing tear-gas related injuries. Elsewhere, Israeli forces blocked all traffic in and out of Hizma. 4 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Qalqilya, Aqabah, Tuqu‘, and Dayr Jarir. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided PA governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith’s home. Israeli forces also raided the home of deputy director-general of the Islamic Waqf, Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, in Jabel Mukaber, handing him a summon for interrogation. 6 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Silwan and at the Haram al-Sharif compound. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 2 nautical miles west of al-Sudaniyya; no injuries were reported. In Israel, 1 Palestinian woman was killed and 2 others injured in a car bombing in Ramle; Israeli authorities suspected an assassination. The killing marked the 123d Palestinian killed in Israel in 2021. (HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/26; MEMO 12/27; PCHR 12/30)

The 1st case of the highly infectious Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus was detected in Gaza. The Omicron variant has become dominant in many countries and is capable at infecting vaccinated people, especially those who have not received a booster shot. In Gaza, about 25,000 out of 2 million people have received a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. (HA, MEMO, REU 12/26)

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that Israel is denying 1 Palestinian prisoner access to the cancer treatment he needs. The Palestinian man has been detained since 10/25. (WAFA 12/26)

Qatar’s envoy to Palestine Mohammad al-Emadi said in a statement that Qatar, the PA, and Gaza’s electrical company have agreed to a project that will see Qatar invest $60 million in a gas pipeline from Israel to Gaza. The project will change the fuel input at Gaza’s power plant from diesel fuel to natural gas. (MEMO, TOI 12/27)

PA civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh called on the international community to take action against Israeli settler violence. (WAFA 12/26)

The Israeli government approved a plan to double the settler population in the occupied Golan Heights. The $317-million plan will see Israel construct settler housing units and new infrastructure, including 3,300 new settlement units in Katzrin, 4,065 in Golan Regional Council, and 4,000 in 2 new settlements. Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said the government investment in settlements in the Golan Heights was linked to the U.S. Trump administration decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area in 2019 and the current Biden administration’s indication that it will not roll back the decision. (AJ, AP, DW, HA, MEE, REU, TOI 12/26; AJ, ALM, AP, MEMO, REU, TOI 12/27; CNN, MDW, TOI 12/28)

In the West Bank, 1 Israeli settler was shot and killed and 2 others wounded when 10 shots were fired at their car at the Homesh settlement outpost near Nablus. Israel’s public security minister Omer Bar-Lev called it “Palestinian terror,” despite not having identified a perpetrator. Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian-owned vehicles traveling near Jenin, causing damage. Israeli settlers also made roadblocks and threw stones at Palestinian vehicles in the Hebron area. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling near Huwwara and Nablus. Israeli forces physically assaulted 4 Palestinians, including 1 minor, in Hebron. Israeli forces also demolished 2 houses under construction in Jericho. Elsewhere, Israeli forces confiscated 1 tractor and 1 digger in Masafer Yatta. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters during a raid in al-Arroub refugee camp, injuring 2 minors with rubber-coated bullets and others with tear gas. 6 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Silat al-Harithiya, Madama, Jericho, Beit Fajjar, and Hebron. (AP, HA, MEE, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/16; AJ, HA, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA 12/17; PCHR 12/23)

The PA health ministry said that it had identified 3 cases of the highly infectious strain of the COVID-19 virus, the Omicron variant. The 3 were said to have returned to the West Bank from abroad before testing positive. 1 of 3 Palestinians in the West Bank are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, and less than 140,000 have received a booster shot. (AP, HA, REU, WAFA 12/16)

Israel indicted a Palestinian taxi driver for having driven a Palestinian man from Qalqilya to the Damascus Gate plaza, before the man allegedly stabbed an Israeli and was subsequently executed by Israeli forces. The taxi driver is charged with negligence for not realizing that the man would commit an act of violence. (HA 12/16)

2 Palestinian men—1 a resident of Jaffa and 1 from Gaza—were charged with spying on behalf of Hamas by gathering information about the Iron Dome system and taking photos of Israeli soldiers in Ashkelon. (HA, MEMO 12/16)

In Syria, the Syrian military said Israeli missiles fired from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights had killed 1 Syrian soldier and caused damage in the south of the country. The Syrian military said its air defense system had intercepted most of the Israeli missiles. (AP 12/15; REU 12/16)

Israel’s environmental protection ministry said it had blocked a plan to allow oil tankers unloading crude oil from the UAE in the port of Eilat, which had been negotiated as part of the 2 countries’ normalization agreement. The plan would have seen the crude oil transferred from Eilat to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. (REU 12/16)

The Times of Israel reported that the U.S. had shelved its plans to reopen a consulate to Palestinians in Jerusalem. ToI also said the Palestinian affairs unit at the U.S. embassy to Israel had begun reporting directly to the U.S. state department, rather than reporting to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, as had been the case since the Trump administration merged the consulate in Jerusalem with the U.S. embassy as part of its move from Tel Aviv. (TOI 12/15; MEMO 12/16; ALM 12/20)

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee announced it is launching 2 political action committees, which will allow the lobby organization to spend unlimited funds on political campaigns in the U.S. without having to report its spending to the U.S. government. (HA 12/17)

Meta Platforms Inc., the owner of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, announced that it had suspended some 1,500 fake accounts used to spy on people. The accounts are linked to 6 companies, including the Israeli companies Black Cube, Cognyte, Cobwebs Technologies, and Bluehawk CI. The 6 companies were said to have been targeting some 50,000 people. (HA 12/16; AJ 12/17; HA 12/21)

AP reported that the state of Oregon was exploring ways to divest $233 million of its employee retirement fund from Novalpina Capital, which owns a majority share in the Israeli spyware company NSO Group. NSO Group was blacklisted by the U.S. government in November for assisting in human rights abuses. The Oregon decision follows criticism from Oregon senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who has been vocal about U.S. sanctions on NSO Group for abuses related to its Pegasus spyware. (AP 12/15; AP 12/17)

Ukrainian ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk said that Ukraine recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a speech at an event marking 30 years of relations between the 2 countries. Ambassador Korniychuk also said that he is seeking to open a branch of the Ukrainian embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. Israeli media speculated that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will open the embassy branch during a scheduled visit to Israel in 2022. (ALM, HA 12/17)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort attempted to raid a school in al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya before they were repelled by Palestinians protecting the students. Israeli forces razed agricultural lands in Birin, uprooting 120 olive and almond trees and demolishing 1 well in Khillat al-Furn. Israeli forces also raided Birzeit University, injuring 1 student with a rubber-coated bullet who was protesting the raid. 17 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Deir Abu Mash‘al, Deir Nidham, Kafr Ni‘ma, Bethlehem, al-Walaja, Sa‘ir, al-Shuyukh, Tarqumiyah, Tulkarm, Far‘un, and Kafr al-Labad; Israel also said that it had arrested 11 students of An-Najah University in Nablus, saying they were connected to a Hamas student network. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolished the foundations to a house in al-Tur and demolished 1 house near the Old City. 2 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Wadi al-Juz and Isawiya; Israeli forces confiscated 11,500 NIS ($7,300) during a raid in Sur Baher. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 6 nautical miles north of Rafah; no injuries were reported. (HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/14; PCHR 12/16)

Israeli Channel 13 reported that a group called Returning to the Mount are praying at the Haram al-Sharif compound by disguising themselves as Muslims while following Islamic practices of prayer, but reciting Jewish prayers. Channel 13 reported that members of the group meet to learn how to appear like Muslim worshippers. (MEMO, TOI 12/14)

The Palestinian prisoners’ club said Israeli prison guards assaulted at least 3 female prisoners in Damon prison when they refused to leave their cell. The 3 prisoners were also transferred to solitary confinement. (MEMO, WAFA 12/19; MEE, MEMO 12/20)

PA and U.S. officials held a virtual meeting discussing economic ties. The meeting was headed by PA economic affairs minister Khaled Osaily and acting assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs Yael Lambert. (MEMO, WAFA 12/15; ALM 12/18)

Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett said settler violence is an “insignificant phenomena” in the West Bank, criticizing Israel’s public security minister Omer Bar-Lev, who on 12/13 brought up the issue in a meeting with U.S. state department undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland. Prime Minister Bennett said that the settlers were the victims in the West Bank and needed the support of the Israeli government. Public Security Minister Bar-Lev subsequently reiterated his focus on settler violence during a trip to Hebron, saying that “it is truly difficult for some to look in the mirror” instead of tackling the issue of extremist settlers. (HA 12/14; HA 12/15; ALM 12/17)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate what HRW have found to be organized discriminatory behavior of Israeli law enforcement agencies when dealing with “Jewish ultra nationalist” and Palestinian citizens of Israel during the May 2021 civil unrest. HRW found that Israeli law enforcement used excessive force when dispersing Palestinians in Lydda while “failing to act even-handedly as Jewish ultra-nationalists attacked Palestinians.” (HRW, MEMO, WAFA 12/14)

Israel’s interior minister Ayelet Shaked announced that plans to construct the Trump Heights settlement in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights had advanced. The Trump Heights settlement, named after former U.S. president Donald Trump, will cover 70 acres. The announcement stated that construction of homes, public buildings, industrial zones, and roads can begin. (HA 12/14)

The Knesset passed the 1st reading of a bill that would allow Israeli police to conduct house raids in Israel without a court-issued warrant. An explanatory note to the bill clarified that the bill was intended for the Israeli police to use “in its battle against serious crime, and particularly serious crime in Arab society.” (Knesset 12/14; MEMO 12/15)

The officer of the Knesset granted the leader of United Arab List Mansour Abbas a security detail, as he was receiving a growing number of death threats. (MEMO 12/15)

The UAE said it had suspended talks with the U.S. on buying 50 F-35 fighter jets, citing “[t]echnical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and cost/benefit analysis.” The announcement follows U.S. concerns about the UAE’s relationship to China, including the UAE using Huawei 5G technology. The Trump administration had agreed to allow the UAE to purchase the F-35 fighter jets as part of the UAE’s and Israel’s normalization agreement. The UAE announced on 12/3, during a visit to the country by French president Emmanuel Macron, that it would buy 80 French-made Rafale fighter jets and 12 military helicopters. (AJ 12/3; AJ, AP, HA, MEMO, REU 12/14; REU, REU 12/15)

18 Democratic members of U.S. Congress wrote a letter to the Treasury and State Departments asking them to put sanctions on 4 foreign surveillance companies, including the Israeli NSO Group, citing the companies’ assistance in human rights abuses. Among the signatories were Senate finance committee chairperson Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House intelligence committee chairperson Adam Schiff (D-CA). (AJ, HA, MEMO, REU 12/15; +972 12/17)

Italy contributed $2.25 million to UNRWA programming in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and $1.13 million to UNRWA programming in Syria. (WAFA 12/14)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving on Route 60 near the Yitzhar settlement, causing damage. Israeli settlers also started construction on a pool near a water spring in Khirbet al-Farisiya. Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Beita, killing 1 Palestinian man with a shot to his head; 68 others were injured, including 4 with rubber-coated bullets. The PA foreign ministry called in the ICC to take action against Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters. The man was the 9th victim of Israeli gunfire related to the weekly anti-settlement protest in Beita since May. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Kafr Qaddum, injuring 6 with rubber-coated bullets, including 2 minors. 5 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Beitunia and al-Bireh. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinians were arrested in Isawiya and Jabel Mukaber. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces arrested 2 Palestinian fishermen and confiscated their boat. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian bird hunters near the Gaza fence; no injuries were reported. (AJ, AP, HA, MEE, MEMO, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/10; MEMO, PCHR 12/11; WAFA 12/12; HA, MDW 12/13; PCHR 12/16; HA 12/24)

In Lebanon, an explosion killed 1 and injured 4 others in the Burj el-Shamali refugee camp. Sources in the camp said the explosion happened in a Hamas weapons depot; however, Hamas denied the claim, saying the explosion was due to an electrical fault in a warehouse storing oxygen and gas cylinders for COVID-19 patients. (AJ, AP, HA, REU 12/10; AP, MEMO 12/12)

The New York Times reported that Israel consulted with the Biden administration before it struck 2 targets in Iran in June and September this year. (NYT 12/10; HA 12/11)

In promotional material for the upcoming book Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East by Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, it was revealed that former U.S. president and likely candidate for the Republican presidential ticket in 2024, Donald Trump, made significant U.S. policy changes to help former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu win elections in Israel. Former President Trump told Ravid that he recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel and, separately, announced plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem to help Netanyahu, who was struggling in the Israeli elections. Trump also told Ravid that he left the Iran Nuclear deal because of Israel and dismissed the idea that it was due to Israeli intelligence, mocking the idea that Israel had presented anything new at the time. Ravid further reports in his book that Trump believes that Netanyahu never had any interest in making peace with the Palestinians. Trump explained to Ravid that PA president Mahmoud Abbas “was almost like a father” and that he thought Abbas wanted to make peace more than Netanyahu. Trump acknowledged to Ravid that his strategy of pressuring the Palestinian leadership back to negotiations after recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel had failed, saying “[t]hese are hardened people.” Netanyahu and Trump had a significant personal fallout due to Israel’s push to annex most of the West Bank, outside of the framework of the Trump administration’s plan for a peace deal. It was also revealed that Trump now holds a grudge against Netanyahu because Netanyahu congratulated U.S. president Joe Biden on his election win in 2020, which Trump has falsely claimed to be fraudulent and has never officially conceded. Trump said he had not talked to Netanyahu since losing the election and said to Ravid during the interview, “fuck him [Netanyahu].” (AP, AX, AX, HA 12/10; FWD, HA, HA 12/12; AX, HA, IN, MEE, MEMO 12/13; TOI 12/14; GDN 12/20)

In Ravid’s book Trump’s Peace, new details about the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE are also revealed. According to Ravid, Avi Berkowitz, aide to senior advisor to the president Jared Kushner, suggested to Netanyahu on 6/30/2020 that he normalize relations with the UAE instead of moving ahead with annexation of parts of the West Bank. The UAE ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Otaiba had been in talks with the U.S. about normalization since March 2019 and had been pushing normalization with Israel. Ravid also writes in his book that UK ambassador to the UN Karen Elizabeth Pierce warned Berkowitz and U.S. special envoy to Iran Brian Hook that the UK and other countries would recognize the State of Palestine if Israel moved forward with annexing parts of the West Bank. (FWD 12/12; AX, HA 12/13; MEMO 1/4)

Germany contributed with $23.75 million to the UNRWA. (WAFA 12/10)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces delivered stop-work orders for 22 structures and 1 demolition order for an agricultural shed in Qusra and demolished 1 water well in Ni‘lin. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinians protesting a late-night raid in Bethlehem, causing tear-gas related injuries. 8 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in ‘Anata, Abu Dis, al-Ubeidiya, Jenin, Burqa, and Sabastia. In East Jerusalem, Israeli municipality workers demolished a construction material shop in ‘Anata. 1 Palestinian was arrested during a house raid in the Old City. In Gaza, 1 Palestinian merchant was arrested while entering Israel via the Erez crossing. (WAFA 11/29; MEMO 11/30; PCHR 12/2)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas met with Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun in Doha. (WAFA 11/29)

Israel approved using $2.4 billion of its U.S. military aid to purchase 10-15 Lockheed Martin CH-53k helicopters. (ALM, HA 11/29; MEMO 12/3)

Israel and the UK signed a 10-year agreement on cybersecurity, technology, trade, and defense. (HA, MEE, MEMO 11/29)

The new U.S. ambassador to Israel Tom Nides arrived in Jerusalem. Ambassador Nides will not be living in the for U.S. consulate to Palestinians on Agron Street, as former Ambassador David Friedman had partly done, but will be accommodated elsewhere in Jerusalem in a rented property. Former Ambassador Friedman initiated the sale of a U.S.-owned property used as housing for the U.S. ambassador to Israel south of Tel Aviv. (JP 11/29; NYT 12/1; HA 12/2)

Officials from Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK met in Vienna for the 1st day of new talks to find an agreement between Iran and the U.S. after the U.S. left it during the Trump administration. This was the 1st meeting since Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated in August. (AJ, AP 11/29)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers stole harvesting equipment in Qaryut and tried to steal olive crops before being chased away by Palestinians. Israeli forces razed 10 dunams of agricultural land in Wadi Rahal. 18 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Iskaka, Silwad, Ein Yabrud, Jalbun, Hebron, and Atuf. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/20; PCHR 10/21)

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett ordered 2 companies of Israeli “Border Police” soldiers to be deployed to fight violence in Palestinian populated areas of Israel. The decision follows debates among Israeli politicians on how to address the many killings in Palestinian-majority towns and villages, which has so far reached 102 in 2021. (HA 10/20)

Israeli authorities said that it had increased the number of work permits for Palestinians in Gaza, from 7,000 to 10,000, starting on 10/21. (ALM, AP, HA 10/20; HA 10/21)

Israel said it will require Palestinians working in Israel and in Israeli settlements to show proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus, starting on 11/1. (HA 10/20)

An Israeli military court allowed the publication of a 2016 conviction of an Israeli civil administrations major who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for raping 1 Palestinian woman and for receiving a bribe of a sexual nature. The Israeli soldier was also convicted of sexual harassment. (HA 10/20; MEMO 10/22)

Axios reported that U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan discussed the possibility of normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel during a meeting with Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman in Neom, Saudi Arabia, on 9/27. According to Axios, 3 U.S. and Arab sources said Crown Prince bin Salman did not immediately reject the idea. It was unclear what the U.S. administration is offering Saudi Arabia for a normalization deal with Israel. The U.S., during the Trump administration, made big concessions to the UAE and Morocco in exchange for their normalization with Israel, including sales of advanced weaponry to the UAE and recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara to Morocco. The Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative from 2002 laid out the parameters under which Saudi Arabia will normalize ties with Israel. (AX, HA 10/20)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers uprooted some 80 olive trees in al-Mughayyir. 1 Palestinian man hit 1 Israeli soldier with his car at the Qalandia checkpoint, injuring the soldier. According to Israeli authorities, the man intentionally rammed the soldier. Both were admitted to hospitals. Israeli forces shot and killed 1 Palestinian minor and injured 1 other, claiming the 2 were throwing Molotov cocktails at cars driving near Bayt Jala. Israeli forces also delivered notifications to Palestinians in Yasuf that Israel will seize 40 dunams (9.9 acres) of land from residents to expand the Taffouh settlement. Elsewhere, Israeli forces seized and demolished structures used for agricultural and residential purposes in the Bedouin community of Qabbon. 17 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Beit Kahel, Beit ‘Anin, Biddu, Beit Sahour, and al-Arroub refugee camp. In East Jerusalem, 3 were arrested during house raids in the Old City. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of Gaza. (AP, HA, HA, MEMO, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/14; MEE 10/15; AJ 10/17; PCHR 10/21)

The PA wrote a letter to the African Union’s Executive Council urging it to revoke Israel’s observer status, which it was given on 7/22 to the dismay of many of the Union’s members. (ALM, MEE, MEMO, WAFA 10/14)

In Lebanon, 6 protesters were killed and dozens injured in clashes during a demonstration against the judge presiding over the probe into the blast that killed more than 200 people on 8/7/2020. The demonstration was supported by Hezbollah; Amal movement supporters clashed with the Christian Lebanese Forces after being shot at during the protest. The Christian Lebanese Forces said Hezbollah had incited the violence. Videos showed heavily armed people in civilian clothes firing weapons and 1 man in civilian clothes firing an RPG. The U.S. subsequently offered the Lebanese army $67 million in military aid. (AP 10/13; AJ, AJ, AP, HA, MEMO, REU, REU, REU 10/14; AJ, AP, HA, MEMO, REU 10/15; HA, REU, REU 10/16; REU 10/17; AJ, REU 10/18)

Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz called on the Israeli military to “systematically, aggressively and uncompromisingly” act against settlers who are violent toward Palestinians or Israeli forces, as an uptick in Israeli settler violence had been recorded. (AP 10/15; AJ 10/17)

The U.S. Biden administration formally rejoined the UN Human Rights Council after the Trump administration left the council in 2018, citing anti-Israel bias. U.S. state department spokesperson Ned Price said that the U.S. would “vigorously oppose the council’s disproportionate attention on Israel.” (NYT 10/14; WAFA 10/16)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces fired tear gas and sound bombs at Palestinians near al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, leading to tear-gas related injuries. 21 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Hebron, Sa‘ir, Harmala, al-Bireh, Kafr Ein, Ni‘lin, and Ya‘bad. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinians were arrested in the Old City. (WAFA, WAFA 9/14; PCHR 9/16)

The 1st hearing in the case against 14 PA security forces in the killing of PA critic Nizar Banat on 6/24 was postponed until 9/21 because the lawyer of the 14 was absent from the session. (WAFA 9/14)

Fatah condemned Facebook for suspending Al-Awda TV Facebook page. (WAFA 9/14)

Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett said that he opposes a Palestinian state during an interview with Israeli Kan news. Prime Minister Bennett also said he would not meet or speak to PA president Mahmoud Abbas, citing Abbas’s referral of Israel war crimes to the ICC. (TOI 9/14; ALM, JP 9/15)

Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz told Foreign Policy that Israel will accept a new Iran nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran, but that he hopes the U.S. will make a “plan B.” Foreign Minister Gantz also said about a potential peace agreement, “Abbas is still dreaming of the 1967 lines, this won’t happen. He has to realize we’re staying here . . . We’re not taking down settlements.” (FP 9/14; ALM, HA 9/15; MEMO 9/16)

On the anniversary of the normalization deals between Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE, sponsored by the U.S., state department spokesperson Ned Price said that the U.S. is looking at advancing similar deals. Spokesperson Price also praised the normalization deal between Israel and Morocco, but did not mention the Sudan-Israel normalization deal. The U.S., during the Donald Trump administration, gave all 4 countries that normalized ties with Israel different political incentives to do so. The ambassadors of the U.S., Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain also met at an event hosted by former White House official Jared Kushner’s new non-profit organization The Abraham Accords Institute for Peace. The U.S. secretary of State Antony Blinken will host a virtual meeting on 9/17 to celebrate the normalization deals. UAE economy minister Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri also said on 9/13 that the UAE seeks to raise its trade with Israel to $1 trillion in the next 10 years. The bilateral trade between the 2 countries are currently around $600 million, according to Economy Minister Al Marri. (AX, HA, REU, REU, Twitter 9/14; TOI 9/15; MEMO 9/16)

Jewish Currents reported that representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were leading efforts to add an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act blocking the delivery of Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bombs to Israel for 1 year. Both types of munitions were used by Israel during Operation Guardian of the Wall. The amendment is unlikely to be part of the bill. (JC 9/14)

The state of New Jersey sent a letter to the company Unilever that it considers its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its ice cream in West Bank settlements a boycott of Israel and therefore will divest from the company. New Jersey is said to have $182 million invested in Unilever stock, bonds, and other securities. (MEMO 9/15; JP, NYT 9/16)

In the West Bank, 1 Palestinian succumbed to injuries inflicted by Israeli forces on 8/3 in Jenin. Israeli forces demolished 1 poultry farm in al-Walaja, 1 rainwater collection well in Khallet al-Dabe’, 1 car wash in al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, and 1 agricultural structure in al-Fakhit. Israeli forces also handed an evacuation order to Palestinians near Tuqu’ for their livestock, forcing them to remove their livestock and dismantle their agricultural structures within 14 days. Elsewhere, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians protesting Israeli construction at al-Ibrahimi Mosque, leading to tear-gas related injuries; 3 were arrested. 9 other Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Jaba‘, Huwwara, and Yatta. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces summoned 2 Palestinian activists for questioning after they protested the arrest of a local activist in Sheikh Jarrah on 8/10. In Israel, Israeli authorities said they shot down a drone entering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Lebanon, claiming the drone was operated by Hezbollah. Israel also said it had shot down a drone flying from Gaza into Israel, claiming it was operated by Hamas. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/11; HA, PCHR, REU 8/12; HA, MEMO 8/13)

The Israeli government gave its initial approval for the construction of more than 2,000 new settlement units in the West Bank and 863 housing units for Palestinian villages in Area C, including 150 units in Ma‘asara, 270 in Bir al-Basha, 223 in al-Masqufa, 160 in Khirbet ‘Aaba, and 50 in Khirbet Zakariya. Of the advanced settlement expansion plans, 908 are expected to get final approval next week, including 58 in Beit El, 285 in Har Brakha, and 105 in Alon Shvut. An Israeli official told Haaretz that the move was a “calculated risk” made by the government vis-à-vis the U.S. Biden administration. The Meretz party wrote a letter to Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz, calling the decision to expand Israeli settlements “a dangerous move.” The U.S. later criticized Israel’s decision to expand Israeli settlements, on 8/13, saying that settlement activity is an obstacle to a 2-state solution. (AA, AX, HA, REU 8/11; MEMO, WAFA, WAFA 8/12; HA, MEMO 8/13; JP 8/16)

IDF chief of staff Aviv Kochavi said the Israeli army will take harsher measures against Israeli soldiers who do not follow regulations, in response to the killing of 40 Palestinians by Israeli forces in the West Bank since May. The statement came after Chief of Staff Kochavi met with senior staff of the Israeli central command on 8/8 and urged them to take steps to reduce lethal shootings. Kochavi said the military will back soldiers who make mistakes in their judgements in relation to lethal shootings, but not if the soldiers act reckless. (HA 8/12)

Israel’s police commissioner Kobi Shabtai inaugurated a new police department focused on combatting crime in Palestinian Israeli communities, which seeks to increase the number of Palestinian Israeli police officers by 300%. 69 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed in Israel since 2021 and only 23% of the cases have been solved, whereas 71% of the cases involving Jewish Israelis have been solved by Israeli police. (HA 8/12)

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid visited Morocco to meet with his Moroccan counterpart and open the new Israeli mission to Morocco as part of the 2 countries’ normalization deal. The 2 foreign ministers signed cooperation agreements related to air travel, culture, sports, and youth. Foreign Minister Lapid said the 2 countries would open mutual embassies within 2 months. The leader of the PJD party in Morocco condemned the decision to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Part of the 2 countries’ normalization deal was for the U.S. to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara during the Trump administration, a controversial recognition that the Biden administration has not reversed. (MEMO 8/10; AJ, AJ, AX, HA, MEMO, REU 8/11; AJ, ALM, AX, HA, HA, MEMO, REU 8/12; ALM 8/13; MEE 8/16)

U.S. CIA director William J. Burns met with Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennet and other Israeli officials during a trip to Israel. Director Burns is expected to meet with PA president Mahmoud Abbas and other senior PA officials on 8/12. Axios reported that Director Burns voiced concern to Prime Minister Bennett about Chinese investment in Israel. (AX 8/9; HA, MEMO 8/10; ALM, HA, MEMO, MEMO, REU 8/11; AX, HA, HA 8/12; AX 8/18; MEE, MEMO, TOI 8/19)

The private equity firm KKR announced that it will be funding a server farm in Israel to be completed in the 2d quarter of 2023. The server farm will be located underground in Petah Tikva. (HA 8/11)

Palestinian Israeli NGO Combatants for Peace asked the ICC to open an investigation into potential war crimes committed by Israel in demolishing the bedouin village Khirbet Humsa on 7/7. (HA 8/11; MEMO 8/13)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said its investigation into the events of the Israeli assault on Gaza in May, dubbed Operation Guardians of the Wall, had showed that Hamas’s rockets fired at Israel “violated the laws of war and amount to war crimes.” HRW also said that Hamas’s rockets had killed 12 civilians in Israel and a misfired rocket had killed 7 Palestinians in Gaza. HRW released its investigation into Israeli actions during the assault on 7/27, finding that Israel had also committed war crimes. (HA, HRW 8/12; ALM 8/23)

France donated $575,000 to the UN World Food Programme for its programming in Gaza. (WAFA 8/11)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolished 5 agricultural structures in Wadi Rahal and demolished 1 house, agricultural structures, water tanks, and solar panels, and confiscated 1 tractor and 1 vehicle in Ibziq. Israeli forces also demolished 1 agricultural structure in Sabastia and 3 residential structures near Bayt Dajan. 10 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Sa‘ir, Hebron, Deir ‘Ammar, Kobar, Deir Istiya, and Balata refugee camp. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolished 10 shops and razed land near Hizma. 2 Palestinian children were arrested during late-night raids in Silwan. In Israel, 3 rockets were launched from Lebanon at Israel; no damage was reported. Israel subsequently fired missiles at Lebanon; no damage was reported. Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz said Israel held Lebanon responsible for any attacks on Israel from its territory. (AJ, MEE, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/4; HA, MEMO, PCHR, REU 8/5; ALM, HA, MEMO 8/6)

1 Palestinian prisoner held in administrative detention ended a 21-day hunger strike after the Israeli prison service promised him a court hearing on 8/5. (WAFA 8/4)

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said it would resume its work in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Trump administration had ended USAID’s work in Palestine during its tenure. (MEMO 8/5)

At a UN security council briefing on the attack of a Japanese-owned vessel off the coast of Oman on 7/29, Defense Minister Gantz attacked NATO for shying away from action and doing nothing. (REU 8/4; MEMO, REU 8/5; HA 8/11)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces sealed off Ya‘bad, preventing Palestinians from entering and leaving the town. In East Jerusalem, Wafa reported that 100,000 Palestinians attended prayers at the Haram al-Sharif compound for the Eid al-Adha Maghrib (sunset) prayer. 3 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Silwan and al-Tur. In Gaza, Israeli forces made incursions to level land east of Rafah. In Israel, 2 rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon hours after Israeli forces attacked south of Aleppo in Syria on 7/19; there were no reports of damage or casualties. The Lebanese army said it had located 3 improvised rocket launchers on a beach near Tyre and neutralized them. Israel subsequently fired 12 artillery shells at the Wadi Hammoul area in Lebanon, causing neither damage nor injuries. (AJ, AP, HA, HA, HA, JP, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 7/20; PCHR 7/29)

Chairman of former president Donald Trump’s inaugural committee Tom Barrack was arrested for not disclosing that he was a foreign agent paid by the UAE. During the Trump administration, Barrack tried to get a senior position so that he could further the UAE’s interest in the U.S. government. Barrack remained an informal advisor to several U.S. officials during the Trump administration. (AJ, AP 7/20; MEMO 7/21)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers planted trees near al-Farisya and ‘Ain al-Hilweh. Israeli forces delivered a stop-work order to 1 Palestinian for his agricultural fields and seized 1 bulldozer. 9 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Beit Fajjar, al-Bireh, Dura, Bayt Liqya, Bayt Rima, and Jaba‘. In East Jerusalem, around 100 Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound for the 2d day in a row. 2 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Isawiya and Shu‘fat. (WAFA, WAFA 7/19; PCHR 7/29)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz spoke on the phone. According to Gantz’s office, the 2 discussed trust-building steps between Israel and the PA and Gantz gave Abbas best wishes on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. Their conversation was the 1st between Abbas and an Israeli minister since 2017, when Abbas spoke to then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli president Isaac Herzog also called President Abbas to wish him a happy Eid al-Adha. (JP, REU, TOI, TOI, WAFA 7/19; ALM 7/22)

In Syria, Israeli forces conducted air strikes in as-Safira, south of Aleppo, killing 5 people. (AJ, AP, HA, HA, HA 7/20)

A freedom of information request revealed that the director general of the Israeli interior ministry lives in a house in the illegal settlement outpost Keida, which has had a demolition order against it since 2008. The interior ministry said in a statement that its minister Ayelet Shaked “is pleased that the director-general of her ministry lives in Keida.” (HA 7/20)

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with U.S. president Joe Biden in the White House. King Abdullah II was the 1st Middle Eastern leader to visit President Biden in Washington, as the U.S.-Jordanian relationship was tarnished during the Donald Trump administration due to the 1-sided peace proposal made by the administration. A read-out of the meeting said that the 2 discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Jordan’s relationship to Israel. (AJ, HA, JP, JP, MEE, NBC, NYT, REU, TOI, TOI 7/19; MEMO, WAFA 7/20)

The ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s issued a statement declaring it will end sales of its ice cream in Israeli settlements, saying that selling its ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territory “is inconsistent with our values.” Ben & Jerry’s also announced it would not renew its licensing agreement with manufacturers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel but that the ice cream will still be available in Israel. Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett said that Ben & Jerry’s had decided to brand itself as an “antisemitic ice cream.” Foreign minister Yair Lapid, who weeks ago said his government would not call all criticism of Israel anti-Semitic, said the company was surrendering to BDS and anti-Semitism and that he would ask 35 U.S. states with anti-BDS laws to enforce them against the U.S. company. On 7/20, Prime Minister Bennett called the CEO of Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, to criticize the decision and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan urged states with anti-BDS laws to take legal action against Ben & Jerry’s. The Israeli president Isaac Herzog likened the Ben & Jerry’s decision to terrorism. Ben & Jerry’s is known to engage publicly on progressive issues. Both founders of the company are Jewish-Americans. (AJ, ALM, AX, BenJerry, FOX, GDN, HA, HA, MEE, MEMO, NBC, REU, TOI, TOI, TOI, TOI, Twitter 7/19; AJ, AP, BBC, CNN, HA, HA, JP, JP, JP, MEE, MEE, REU, TOI, WAFA 7/20; HA, MEMO 7/21; AJ, AP, MEMO 7/22; GDN 7/23; HA 7/26; AX 7/27)

In the West Bank, the prominent critic of the PA, Nizar Banat, died at a hospital after being arrested by PA forces in his home in Dura; the family of Banat said he was brutally beaten by 20 PA officers. Banat was a candidate for the Liberation and Dignity party before the PA canceled the elections scheduled for 5/22. The PA said it would open an investigation into how Banat died. Protests against the PA broke out in several places in the West Bank and PA forces violently dispersed the protesters using tear gas and batons. Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians protesting against the Evyatar settlement outpost near Beita, injuring 1 with live ammunition. Israeli forces arrested 11 Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Nablus, Hebron, Salfit, and Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, 7 Palestinians were arrested in Shaykh Jarrah and the Old City. (AJ, AP, HA, MEE, MEE, MEMO, PCHR, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 6/24; AJ, ALM, PCHR, WAFA 6/25; PCHR 7/1)

The New York Times released a visual investigation of the killing of 44 Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli military on 5/16. The investigation showed how the Israeli military used U.S.-manufactured munitions to strike civilian targets in the Rimal area of Gaza City. The investigation also said that Israel’s claim that it had sought to bomb an underground military facility in the heavily populated area was unsubstantiated and that Israel made no effort to warn the Palestinians living in the area that it would attack the alleged underground military facility. (NYT 6/24)

73 House Democrats led by Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) urged the Biden administration to formally withdraw from the Trump administration’s peace plan, reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, restate that settlements are inconsistent with international law, and oppose expulsions of Palestinians from their homes. (HA, MEE 6/24; MEMO, WAFA 6/25)

Honduras opened an embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, being the 3d country to do so after the U.S. and Guatemala. The opening ceremony was attended by Honduras president Juan Orlando Hernández and Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett. (MEMO, WAFA 6/25)

UN secretary-general António Guterres and UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland criticized Israel for its settlement enterprise at the UN security council. (AP 6/24; AJ, HA, TOI 6/25)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers attacked 1 Palestinian working on rehabilitating a road east of Yatta and damaged the excavator he was using. Israeli forces delivered demolition notices for 20 residential structures in Rujeib, a house under construction, and an agricultural shack in Battir. Israeli forces also seized a mobile home in Khallet al-Nahleh, south of Bethlehem. Elsewhere, Israeli forces shot and injured 1 Palestinian who tried to enter Israel through a hole in the separation wall near ‘Anin before arresting him. 13 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Jenin, Jenin refugee camp, Rummana, Tulkarm, and Qarawat Bani Hassan. In East Jerusalem, 44 Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. Israeli settlers led by Israeli MKs from HaTzionut HaDatit (The Religious Zionist) party Bezalel Smotrich and Orit Strock harassed Palestinian residents under eviction threat in Shaykh Jarrah. 1 Palestinian family demolished their own home in Issawiyya. 5 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Silwan. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya and al-Sudaniyya; no injuries were reported. (AJ, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 6/22; MEMO 6/23; PCHR 6/24)

After meeting in a Hamas office, various political and military factions in Gaza issued a warning to Israel to ease the blockade. The factions said that if Israel does not comply, they would allow the launching of incendiary balloons and protests by the Gaza fence. (AJ, MEMO 6/23)

Iran said it had foiled a drone attack on a building belonging to the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization in Karaj City, 25 miles west of Tehran. According to the New York Times, the building was on a list of potential targets Israel had presented to the U.S. and which the Trump administration had approved for targeting by Israel. Iran later said that Israel had attacked the building to undermine the nuclear deal negotiations. (AJ, NYT 6/23; HA 6/24; AJ, AP, REU 7/6)

The U.S. seized the domain name for the news site Palestine Today and more than 30 Iranian and Iranian-linked websites, including state-run news agencies. (HA, MEE, REU 6/22; AJ 6/23)

The EU provided the PA and Palestinian banks with a loan of $425 million to help keep the Palestinian economy going as it is facing an economic crisis due to the Israeli occupation and the COVID-19 pandemic. (HA 6/22)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers uprooted some 35 olive trees in Hebron. Israeli undercover forces assassinated 1 Palestinian in al-Bireh from close range before leaving him to bleed out. Israeli forces also delivered demolition notices for 3 industrial structures in Dayr Sharif. Elsewhere, Israeli forces delivered notices for land seizures to complete a 9.3-mile-long water pipeline to 2 Israeli settlements near Salfit. 12 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Biddu, Bayt Duqqu, al-Za’ayyem, Kafr Dan, Jaba‘, Nablus, Aqabat Jabir, and Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Palestinians protested Israeli-planned evictions of Palestinians in Batn al-Hawa in Silwan. 6 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in al-Tur and the Old City, including 1 man for gesturing his middle finger at Israeli police in the Old City. (AJ, MEE, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/25; HA, PCHR, WAFA 5/26; PCHR 5/27; AJ 5/30; HA 7/2; HA 7/4)

Israel reopened the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings for humanitarian aid and aid workers. The Kerem Shalom crossing remained closed for exports. Israel also allowed Gaza fishermen to fish up to 6 nautical miles from shore. (HA 5/24; HA, HA 5/25)

PA health minister Mai al-Kaila said the PA had received 103,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and that 46,800 of them would be sent to Gaza. 203,161 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are fully vaccinated. (WAFA 5/25)

Jordan summoned the Israeli ambassador to the country to complain about the detention of 2 Jordanian citizens in Israel and the lack of access for the Jordanian embassy to talk to them. (WAFA 5/25; MEE 6/1)

U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken landed in Tel Aviv for meetings with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and defense minister Benny Gantz. Later in the day, Secretary Blinken met with PA president Mahmoud Abbas and PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh in Ramallah, as well as Palestinian activists at the offices of AMIDEAST. At a press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Blinken reiterated the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” and said that the U.S. will help rebuild Gaza while preventing Hamas from benefiting from any U.S. aid. Netanyahu said that Israel would have a “very powerful response” if Hamas breaks the ceasefire. During a meeting with President Abbas in Ramallah, Blinken announced that the U.S. would reopen the consulate general in West Jerusalem, servicing Palestinians. The Trump administration closed the consulate and merged it with the Israeli embassy after it was moved to Jerusalem. Blinken also said that the Biden administration is asking Congress to approve $75 million in aid to Gaza and another $30 million to UNRWA. (AJ, AJ, AJ, ALM, AP, AP, AX, AX, CBS, CNN, FOX, HA, HA, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WSJ 5/25; AP, MEMO, WAFA 5/26; AX 5/27)

Indirect talks between Iran and the U.S. through Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China continued in Vienna to facilitate a reentry of the U.S. to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and for Iran to restart its compliance with the deal. (AP 5/25)

The government of Ireland recognized Israel’s settlement activity as de facto annexation of Palestinian lands. (RTE 5/25; MEE, WAFA 5/26)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers opened fire at Hizma, causing damage. Israeli settlers also attacked a Palestinian TV crew near Hebron covering the killing of 1 Palestinian woman (see below). Israeli forces shot and killed 1 Palestinian near Hebron, claiming that she had opened fire at soldiers and settlers with an M16 rifle; no Israelis were injured. Israeli forces seriously wounded 1 Palestinian near Jaba‘. Israeli forces also sealed off the entrances to Silwad and Kafr al-Dik. Elsewhere, Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at a car repair shop near al-Za‘ayyem, causing a fire damaging several vehicles. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Huwwara, injuring 2 with rubber-coated bullets and 15 with tear gas. Separately, Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Qalqilya, al-Arqa, and al-Bireh, leading to tear-gas related injuries. 29 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Bani Na‘im, al-Dhariyya, al-Ubaydiyya, Tuqu‘, al-Ram, Birzeit, Bil‘in, Beita, Madama, Tell, Qabatiya, Silat al-Harithiyya, al-Tamun, Tubas, and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers assaulted church officials at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, causing injuries and 1 hospitalization. 8 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Shu‘fat and Shaykh Jarrah. In Gaza, 13 Palestinians were killed, including 2 children and 1 pregnant woman, and many were injured, raising the comprehensive death toll since 5/10 from 219 to 232, including 65 children and 3 pregnant women. The casualties included: 4, including 1 pregnant woman and 1 child, and 2 were wounded in air strikes on 2 houses in Dayr al-Balah; 2, including 1 child, during air strikes in Jabaliya; 2 in air strikes on apartment buildings in Gaza City; 1, and 1 child wounded in artillery shelling in Bayt Hanun; 1 by live ammunition while on agricultural lands east of Juhur al-Dik; 1 Palestinian succumbed to wounds sustained on 5/13 during an air strike on Bayt Hanun; 2 bodies of unidentified Palestinians arrived at al-Shifa Hospital. 7 residential buildings and 1 youth center were demolished in Israeli attacks on Khan Yunis. In Israel, 1 Palestinian-Israeli minor who was shot and injured by Israeli police while sitting in a car with friends in Umm al-Fahm on 5/18 succumbed to his injuries. 1 Israeli man stabbed and injured 1 Palestinian worker from the West Bank in Holon. 58 Palestinian citizens of Israel were reported arrested after the general strike and mass protest on 5/18. 1 Israeli was lightly wounded by a rocket from Gaza in Sderot, 2 other rockets caused damage. 4 rockets were fired at the Haifa and ‘Akka areas from Lebanon; no damage or injuries were reported. Israel subsequently shelled areas of Lebanon; no damage or injuries were reported. (AJ, AJ, AP, HA, HA, HA, MEE, PCHR, REU, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/19; AJ, AJ, HA, HA, MEMO, PCHR, PCHR, WAFA 5/20; HA, MEE, MEMO 5/21; NYT 5/26)

Hamas said it estimated that $92 million’s worth of damage was sustained to residential buildings and non-governmental offices since 5/10. $22 million’s worth of damage was sustained to the power grid as people in Gaza only are receiving 3-4 hours of electricity a day. Hamas also said that Gaza’s water supply is hard hit with 95% of the water unfit for drinking. (HA 5/20)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech that his efforts to hold elections are ongoing, and that he is “ready to form an internationally accepted unity government.” President Abbas also discussed the situation in Gaza and East Jerusalem with UN secretary-general António Guterres. (WAFA, WAFA 5/19; ALM 5/21)

PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh spoke with EU representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff in Ramallah, calling on the EU to pressure Israel to stop its aggression in East Jerusalem and Gaza. Prime Minister Shtayyeh also spoke with Facebook executives about Facebook’s censuring of Palestinian voices on its platforms. (WAFA, WAFA 5/19)

An Israeli court ruled that Israeli forces had violated international law when they shot and killed 1 Palestinian 14-year-old in 2004 near Rafah, but that the family was not entitled to compensation, citing a wartime action principle. The Israeli soldiers shot her after she ran away from them as they fired warning shots. After she ran from the soldiers, they fired at her back and the commander shot her again as she lie dead on the ground. The commander was acquitted of all charges at an Israeli military court the year after. (HA 5/20)

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said that it had been trying to assassinate the head of Hamas’s military division Mohammed Deif throughout the duration of the ongoing attack on Gaza. Hamas later told AP that Deif is still alive and in charge of its military operations. (HA 5/19; AP 5/20)

1 Israeli journalist from Channel 20 was fired after saying, during a live broadcast, that “[o]ne [rocket] has fallen on a soccer field in a large Arab community [Shefa-Amr, a Palestinian-Israeli community]. Regretfully for us, it did not result in mass deaths there.” The rocket that the Israeli journalist Kobi Finkler was referring to was fired from Lebanon. (AJ, HA 5/20)

Haaretz reported that applications for gun licenses in Israel had risen 7-fold in the past weeks as violence had been rising in Israel. (HA 5/19)

The UNRWA appealed to have the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings opened for humanitarian access. (AJ 5/19)

U.S. president Joe Biden spoke to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to de-escalate the violence, according to a White House readout. It was the 4th time the 2 spoke in a week. Prime Minister Netanyahu said later in a statement that he was “determined to carry on with the attacks until calm and security are restored to Israeli citizens.” It was also reported that Egypt had secured a ceasefire agreement in principle between Hamas and Israel. Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said calm could only be restored if Israel stopped its attack on Jerusalem and Gaza. Netanyahu also told some 70 foreign diplomats that he is considering sending group troops to Gaza to “conquer” it. (AJ, AJ, ALM, AP, AX, HA, HA, MEE, REU 5/19; AP, AP, AX 5/20) 

A letter circulated among House Democrats by Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) called for the U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken to work toward a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, and to provide humanitarian relief to Gaza. The letter also called for more than doubling the U.S. funding to the UNRWA, bringing the U.S. funding back to the level it was before the Trump administration ended all funding. Separately, more than 130 members of the House called on an immediate ceasefire. 3 Democrats in the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also introduced a resolution aimed at blocking the $735 million’s worth of arms to Israel. In the Senate, senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, saying that every Palestinian and Israeli life matters; 8 other Democrats later co-sponsored the resolution. (AJ, HA, HA, HA, REU, Twitter 5/19; AJ 5/20)

Facebook said it has set up a center to monitor Arabic and Hebrew content deemed inflammatory or otherwise violating Facebook’s policies. Facebook has been criticized for silencing Palestinian voices on its social media platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp. (WAFA 5/19; HA 5/20)

250 employees at Alphabet, the parent company of Google, wrote an open letter calling for Alphabet to review all business contracts, terminating those “with institutions that support violations of Palestinian rights,” including the Israeli military. The letter also called for not stifling free speech on Palestine. (AJ, HA, MEE, WAFA 5/19)

At the UN, the U.S. again refused to support a UN security council (UNSC) statement calling for an immediate ceasefire after intensified pressure from France. This was the 4th time the UNSC had met to discuss the escalation between Hamas and Israel since it began and the 4th time that the U.S. has blocked a statement. (AX 5/18; AJ, REU 5/19; HA 5/20)

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said to France24 that the situation in Gaza, particularly the bombing of homes and confinement to the strip, reminded him of apartheid in South Africa. When asked if Israel was an apartheid state, President Ramaphosa said that the country is an apartheid type of state. (F24 5/19; MEMO, WAFA 5/20; AM 5/21)

Norway’s wealth fund divested from 2 companies, Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd. and Mivne Real Estate KD Ltd., due to the companies’ involvement in Israeli settlement activity. (AJ 5/20; MEMO 5/21)

Ireland announced $1.83 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. (WAFA 5/20)

The Iranian Red Crescent said it would donate $100,000 to the Palestinian Red Crescent to help treat the wounded in Gaza. (WAFA 5/19)

UNRWA called for extra funding of $38 million to help the organization with its humanitarian efforts after the attacks on Gaza. (WAFA 5/19; AJ 5/20)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers opened fire at Palestinians near Salfit; no injuries were reported. Israeli settlers also planted crops on Palestinian-owned land in Taqqua. Israel approved the seizure of 147 dunams (36 acres) of land in Nahalin and Husan. Israeli forces handed temporary eviction orders for Palestinian residents of Khirbet Ibziq, saying they had to leave their homes for 4 days due to a military exercise. 4 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 during raids in and around Ramallah and Hebron; 1 was arrested at a checkpoint in Bayt Jala. In East Jerusalem, a mob of several hundred Israeli settlers and right-wing Israelis attacked Palestinians in several parts of East Jerusalem, injuring at least 105 Palestinians, 22 of whom were hospitalized; Israeli police said that 50 people were arrested, including Palestinians and Israelis; 1 Israeli settler was reported injured by Palestinians. The mob was summoned by the Israeli organization Lehava and was chanting “death to Arabs” as they were ravaging the city. 1 Israeli settler was arrested at the Haram al-Sharif compound for planning to stab Palestinians. In Gaza, Israeli forces made incursions and leveled land east of Rafah. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya. In Israel, 1 Palestinian from the West Bank was arrested at his workplace. (AP, HA, MEE, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/22; AP, BBC, HA, TOI, WAFA 4/23; PCHR 4/24; HUFF 4/25; HA 4/26; PCHR 4/29)

PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh urged UK cabinet office minister Michael Gove to pressure Israel in allowing Palestinians in East Jerusalem to partake in the upcoming Palestinian elections, during a meeting in Ramallah. (WAFA 4/22)

Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli fighter jets, which missed and landed near Dimona in the southern part of Israel. Israel subsequently attacked a location near Damascus, wounding at least 4 and causing damage. (AJ, AP, HA, JP, REU 4/22)

21 senate Republicans called on U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken to condition aid to the UNRWA on reforming the organization. The leader of the group, Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), claimed that the UNRWA textbooks include anti-Semitic content and that the UNRWA employs people affiliated with Hamas. The group also criticized that descendants of Palestinians displaced in 1948 are categorized as refugees, a talking point also used by Israel and the Trump administration. 331 members of the House of Representatives also signed a letter to the chairwoman of the appropriations committee, saying they oppose any conditions on U.S. aid to Israel. (JP 4/22; ALM, TOI 4/23; FOX 4/25)

Estonia, France, Ireland, Belgium, and Germany issued a statement after a UN security council meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying that Israel must “facilitate the holding of elections across all of the Palestinian territories, including in East Jerusalem, in line with commitments made in the Oslo Accords as well as to facilitate the participation of international observers across all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” During the meeting, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland also said that Palestinians in East Jerusalem must be allowed to partake in the Palestinian elections and called on Israel to stop arresting candidates and disbanding election-related meetings. The UK, Irish, and French ambassadors to the UN expressed similar sentiments. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/22; JP 4/23)

The Danish government said it had expressed concern about settler vandalism on Danish-funded agricultural projects to the Israeli government. Danish development minister Flemming Møller Mortensen said that “[a]ny form of violent acts committed by settlers in the West Bank is unacceptable,” and that the Danish government frequently reminds Israel of that. (HA 4/22)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers vandalized trees and 1 house under construction, and stole construction equipment in Jalud. 1 Palestinian was arrested at a checkpoint in Sa‘ir. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces prevented, for the 2d day in a row, iftar meals to be delivered to Palestinian worshipers at the Haram al-Sharif compound. 8 Palestinians were arrested in the Old City, including at the Haram al-Sharif compound. (PCHR, WAFA 4/15)

Israel closed all crossings to Gaza and the West Bank for Israeli Independence Day. (PCHR 4/15)

UN-appointed human rights experts said that the 1st quarter of 2021 had seen a rise in settler violence compared to 2020 and that the settler violence was aimed at making Palestinian life “untenable.” The UN has recorded 210 incidents of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians in the 1st 3 months of 2021, including 1 leading to the death of a Palestinian. (AJ, ALM, WAFA 4/14)

HaMoked filed a petition, on behalf of Palestinians in Issawiyya, at the Israeli high court of justice to have the main road leading to the East Jerusalem neighborhood reopened after 20 years. The presiding judge gave the Israeli state until 5/13 to respond. (HA 4/14)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke to German chancellor Angela Merkel, discussing the upcoming Palestinian elections and the participation of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. (WAFA 4/14)

Gregory Meeks (D-NY), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said that he and some of his colleagues were concerned after Reuters reported that the Biden administration had approved the sale of weapons to the UAE by the Trump administration. The sale process had been paused since Biden took office, but Reuters reported that Biden had approved the sale on 4/13. Rep. Meeks said he and the foreign affairs committee would review the sale. (REU 3/13; AJ, AP, HA 4/14; HA 4/15)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Kafr Qaddum, injuring 2 journalists with sponge grenades; others suffered tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces also violently dispersed protests in al-Mughayyir, injuring 6 Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets and others suffered tear-gas related injuries. Elsewhere, Israeli forces injured 5 Palestinians with live ammunition during a late-night raid in ‘Askar refugee camp; others suffered tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces also violently dispersed a protest in Bayt Dajan, injuring 3 with rubber-coated bullets and others suffered tear-gas related injuries. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers sprayed pepper spray at a 13-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron who had asked them to help him find his stolen bike; the Israeli soldiers subsequently refused to help him receive aid at a hospital. 5 Palestinians were arrested, including 4 during house raids in and around Hebron, Bayt Umar, and Zabbuba, and 1 at the Qalandia checkpoint. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands east of al-Qarara; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/2; PCHR 4/8; B’Tselem 4/22)

The U.S. lifted sanctions on ICC officials Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, who were sanctioned by the Trump administration in June 2020 in retaliation for their work on the probe into war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory and Afghanistan. Secretary of state Antony Blinken said, “[w]e continue to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations . . . We maintain our longstanding objection to the court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the United States and Israel. We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders in the ICC process rather than through the imposition of sanctions.” Secretary Blinken spoke with Israel’s foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi before the announcement. During the call, Blinken told Foreign Minister Ashkenazi that the U.S. believes Israelis and Palestinians should have equal measurers of freedom security, prosperity, and democracy. (HA 4/2; HA, TOI 4/3)

The EU said that Iran and the U.S. will hold indirect talks in Vienna on 4/6. The meeting comes as the EU and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signatories are trying to get the U.S. back into the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and Iran to start complying with the agreement again. (AJ, HA, REU 4/2; REU 4/3; HA 4/4)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed a Land Day rally in Sabastiyya, leading to tear-gas related injuries. 10 Palestinians were arrested, including 8 during raids in and around Yasuf, Qarawat Bani Hasan, Jenin, Ramallah, and Hebron, and 2 were arrested at a checkpoint near Jenin refugee camp. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided the home of a former Palestinian prisoner released on 3/29, after 20 years in prison, and assaulted his relatives who were preparing for a reception in celebration of his release; the Israeli forces arrested the former detainee again, and he was rereleased on 3/31 and warned not to hold a reception. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire and sprayed water at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya, causing damage to 1 boat; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/30; PCHR 4/1)

Azzam al-Ahmad and Ahmad Majdalani of the PLO executive committee said that the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections could not be held without participation of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. (WAFA 3/30)

The U.S. state department released its annual report on human rights abuses and continued the Trump administration’s practice of not referring to the Palestinian territories as occupied in the section on Israel. Instead, the section was called “Israel, West Bank and Gaza.” A state department official said the language reflected the department’s “practices generally. We also believe it is clearer and more useful for readers seeking information on human rights in those specific areas.” (ALM 3/31)

EU representation in Jerusalem said that Israel is delaying granting visas to EU election observers for the Palestinian legislative council elections. It said that it had sent the request to the Israeli foreign ministry on 2/8. (WAFA 3/30; JP 3/31)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers demolished part of a Palestinian-owned house in Hebron. Israeli settlers also stole 40 olive saplings in Jalud. Israeli forces razed 5 dunams (1.2 acres) of land, including 20 olive trees, in Ras Karkar. Israeli forces also seized an agricultural structure east of Yatta. 1 Palestinian was severely injuried after stepping on an unexploded ordinance left behind by Israeli forces east of Jericho. 13 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around Bethlehem, Tuqu‘, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Nablus, and Jericho. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Issawiyya. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/17; PCHR 3/18)

Haaretz reported that the Israeli Jerusalem municipality had asked the court for local affairs to reactivate demolition orders against 70 structures in al-Bustan, which would displace 1,500 Palestinians. The Israeli municipality wants to place a tourism park named The King’s Garden where the 70 structures are located, but plans for the structure demolitions have been suspended during the negotiations between residents and the municipality. Now, the municipality wants to push forward with its plans without a settlement. (HA 3/17; HA, WAFA 3/18)

60,000 COVID-19 vaccines provided by the WHO COVAX program to the PA arrived in Israel. 40,000 will be shipped to the West Bank and 20,000 to Gaza. PA health minister Mai al-Kaila said the PA will wait to use the AstraZeneca vaccines until the WHO confirms that they are safe to use. Many EU countries have suspended using the AstraZeneca vaccines after 1 otherwise healthy Danish woman died and 3 Norwegian health workers were in severe condition from blood clots after receiving the vaccine. (AJ, ALM, AP, HA, WAFA 3/17)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli police officers in a Palestinian-Israeli area of Israel that they should bring criminals to their “breaking point” and that they will catch them and “put them behind bars, maybe kill some of them.” (HA 3/17)

During a televised speech, Lebanese president Michel Aoun told prime minister-designate Saad Hariri to form a government or resign so that someone capable can take the position. (AJ, AP 3/17)

UAE newspaper The National reported that it had obtained a 4-page internal memo from the U.S. Biden administration dubbed The US-Palestinian Reset and Path Forward. The memo suggests that the Biden administration will roll back Trump administration policies on Palestine, including reestablishing diplomatic contacts with the PA and restarting U.S. financial assistance to Palestinians, including a $15 million COVID-19 aid package. (NAT 3/17; AJ, HA 3/18)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians protesting settlement expansion in ‘Ayn al-Bayda. Israeli forces also violently dispersed a Palestinian protest in Bayt Dajan, injuring 3 with live ammunition, 2 with rubber-coated bullets, 2 with rifles, and others suffered tear-gas related injuries. In East Jerusalem, Israeli police prevented over 300 Palestinians from entering the Haram al-Sharif compound for Friday prayers and arrested 4 for being in East Jerusalem without a permit. In Gaza, 1 Palestinian was arrested for attempting to enter Israel by the Gaza fence east of al-Bureij. In Israel, thousands of Palestinian-Israelis protested gun violence in their community and police inaction to the problem in Jaljulya and Umm al-Fahm. (HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/12; PCHR 3/18)

5 Democrats in the U.S. senate wrote a letter to U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken urging him to pressure Israel to provide vaccines to all Palestinians in the occupied territories, citing international law. The letter was signed by Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). 12 members of the house of representatives led by Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) also sent a letter to Secretary Blinken urging him to rescind the Trump administration’s “peace plan” and to pressure Israel to stop violations of international law. (HA, WAFA 3/13)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers opened fire at 2 Palestinian children near Yatta; no injuries were reported. 5 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Dura, Bayt Ula, Sa‘ir, and Dheisheh refugee camp; during the raid in Dheisheh refugee camp, Israeli forces shot and injured 3 Palestinians with live ammunition. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands east of Johor al-Dik; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA 3/11; PCHR 3/18)

PA health minister Mai al-Kaila said that the PA will receive a donation of 100,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine from China. Health Minister al-Kaila also said she had urged COVAX to stand by its initial promise of providing vaccines for Palestinians. According to al-Kaila, COVAX had originally promised vaccines to arrive in mid-February but now they are scheduled for May, and the number of vaccines earmarked for the PA is reduced to 168,000 down from 240,000. A shipment of 40,000 Sputnik V vaccine doses arrived in Gaza donated by the UAE. The former Fatah politician Mohammad Dahlan claimed responsibility for the shipment as he is a close advisor to the UAE crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed. (HA, REU, WAFA, WAFA 3/11)

Israeli authorities banned PA governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith from communicating with 50 Palestinians in the West Bank, including PA president Mahmoud Abbas and all members of the Fatah Central Committee. (WAFA 3/11)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as leader of Fatah, ejected Nasser al-Kidwa from the Fatah party because al-Kidwa had announced he would run on his own electoral list in the upcoming Palestinian elections. (AJ, ALM, AP, HA, YNET, WAFA 3/11)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly canceled a trip to the UAE, where he was to meet with UAE crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed, because his wife Sara Netanyahu was hospitalized with appendicitis. Other reports suggested that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip was canceled due to a political conflict with Jordan over the cancelation of the Jordanian crown prince Hussein bin Abdullah’s visit to the Haram al-Sharif compound on 3/10, which was canceled because Israel and Jordan could not agree on security arrangement. In turn, Jordan is said not to have allowed Netanyahu to use Jordanian air space to get to the UAE. It was later reported that Netanyahu had ordered Israeli air space closed to Jordan in retaliation, but that the Israeli transportation ministry had stalled the order, which was eventually canceled. (AJ, ALM, AP, HA, HA, HA, JP, REU, REU, REU 3/11; WAFA 3/12; HA 3/14)

Prime minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš and prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán visited Israel to discuss cooperation in vaccine research and development with Prime Minister Netanyahu. During the trip, Prime Minister Babiš also opened a diplomatic office in Jerusalem. The Czech Republic received a donation of COVID-19 vaccines from Israel earlier this month. The PA and the Arab League condemned the Czech Republic’s decision to open the office in Jerusalem. (REU 3/9; HA, HA 3/11; ALM 3/12; AJ, HA, WAFA 3/13; HA, WAFA 3/14)

The Israeli state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and the UAE state-owned weapons maker EDGE announced that they would develop an advanced drone defense system together. (ALM, REU 3/11; HA 3/12; JP 3/13)

Israel said it had concluded a military drill with Greece, Cyprus, and France in the Mediterranean Sea. (AJ, ALM, AP 3/12)

The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel has attacked at least 12 Iranian ships carrying oil and other goods en route to Syria since 2019, according to U.S. sources. 1 of the U.S. sources said that the Trump administration had tacitly supported the attacks. (HA, WSJ 3/11; ALM 3/15; HA 3/20)

Representatives from the UN, EU, Egypt, Jordan, Germany, and France met to discuss reviving talks between Israel and Palestine after the 2 countries’ elections this year. (AP 3/11)

A Los Angeles judge ruled to deny pro-Israeli lawyer David Abrams’s request to publicize the list of 64 presenters at a 2018 conference sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA). Abrams, who works for the Zionist Advocacy Center, claimed he was looking for information related to “anti-Israel terrorists” but was ultimately not allowed to dox the pro-Palestinian activists. The UCLA police had concluded that none of the speakers were “terrorists.” (PalLegal 3/11; LAT 3/17)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers vandalized 1 Palestinian-owned agricultural structure in Kafr al-Dik. Israeli forces delivered demolition orders for 7 Palestinian-owned homes in Ma‘in. 17 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around al-Khadir, Husan, Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarm, Abu Dis, ‘Azun, Beita, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Sabastiyya, and Jenin refugee camp. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces seized, for a 2d time, tents sheltering a family whose house was demolished in Issawiyya. 11 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Issawiyya, Shu‘fat refugee camp, and al-Tur; confrontations erupted during the raids in Issawiyya, leading to tear-gas related injuries and damage to property. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands east of Dayr al-Balah; no injuries were reported. (PCHR, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/4; PCHR 3/11)

Israeli authorities allowed changes to the structure of al-Ibrahimi Mosque, allowing the construction of an elevator to the designated Jewish area of the mosque. (WAFA 3/4)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas extended the COVID-19-related state of emergency for another 30 days. (WAFA 3/4)

According to Haaretz reporting, the Shin Bet has been threatening some Palestinian activists with administrative detention if they run in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections. Haaretz confirmed that at least 1 Palestinian activist was arrested and put in administrative detention for 4 months after announcing that he would run in the elections. (HA 3/4)

Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem to discuss a joint COVID-19 plan. Prime Minister Frederiksen had, prior to the trip, praised Israel’s vaccination campaign and said that Denmark is considering opening a vaccine factory with and/or in Israel, leading her own left-wing coalition to denounce her trip. The EU expressed dismay at the 2 European leaders’ trip, saying that cooperation on COVID-19 response was an EU issue 1st and foremost. (POL, POL 3/1; GDN, HA, REU 3/2; GDN, POL 3/3; AP, DR.DK, HA, POL, REU, TOI 3/4)

U.S. vice president Kamala Harris spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the ICC investigation into Israel. Vice President Harris expressed support for the normalization deals between Israel, the U.S., and several Arab and African countries during the Trump administration. (REU 3/4; AJ, HA, TOI 3/5)

Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz told FOX News that Israel is constantly updating preparations to strike Iran. Defense Minister Gantz also said that Hezbollah has hundreds of thousands of missiles. (AP, AJ, FOX, HA 3/5)

In the West Bank, large groups of Israeli settlers chanted racist slogans at Palestinians in Hebron and Israeli forces closed off large portions of the city for its Palestinian residents. Israeli forces assaulted and arrested 1 Palestinian minor in Jayyous. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers attacked 1 Palestinian minor with stones in the French Hill neighborhood, causing severe injuries to his face. Some 230 Israeli settlers also stormed the Haram al-Sharif compound; the PA and Jordan condemned Israel for allowing the settlers access. Israeli forces raided Silwan leading to clashes with Palestinians; tear-gas related injuries were reported. 3 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in al-Tur and Issawiyya. In Israel, Israelis attacked a transport van and its Palestinian driver in West Jerusalem after yelling that the driver was “Arab,” when the Palestinian driver tried to escape the mob he inadvertently killed 1 Israeli man with his vehicle; Israeli police initially arrested the Palestinian man but released him 36 hours and started rounding up 12 Israelis who had attacked the Palestinian man; the Palestinian man’s lawyer said in court that the attack was “a lynching.” (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/28; JP 3/1; HA, PCHR 3/4)

All checkpoints to Gaza and the West Bank were closed by Israel for the Purim holiday. Closures ended at midnight. (HA 2/25)

The Israeli cabinet approved starting to vaccinate Palestinians from the West Bank holding Israeli work permits and Palestinians working in Israeli settlements. Vaccination centers will be set up at West Bank crossings. The decision came days after the PA said that Israel and the PA had agreed that Israel would vaccinate Palestinian workers. (AP, HA, NYT, REU, TOI, TOI 2/28)

8 of 9 judges on the Israeli supreme court voted to overturn the Israeli central elections committee’s decision to disqualify the Palestinian-Israeli Labor party candidate Ibtisam Mara’ana from running in the Israeli elections. The Israeli central elections committee disqualified Mara’ana from running upon request by the racist far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party on 2/17. (HA 2/28)

Israel designated the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity organization a terrorist organization for its ties to the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine. (JP 2/28)

The Syrian army said Israel fired rockets at southern Damascus from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; there were no reports of casualties or damage. (AP, HA 2/28; AJ, JP 3/1)

Iran rejected an invitation to discuss reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at an informal meeting with the U.S. and European stakeholders, saying that European and American parties have made actions and statements in the recent past that do not make the timing right for Iran. Iran later said that the U.S. should lift the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration before the parties can begin to engage on reviving the JCPOA. (AJ 2/28; REU 3/1)

Some 450 lawmakers in European countries and in the EU parliament signed a letter to EU High Representative Josep Borrell and European foreign ministers urging them to pressure Israel to stop the “de facto annexation” of the West Bank. (HA 2/28; WAFA 3/1)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers stormed Kafr Haris, closing the area to Palestinians. Israeli settlers also uprooted 20 olive saplings in Kisan. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers and Israeli forces forced 4 families of Palestinian-Israelis picnicking near Jibiya to leave the area saying they were not allowed to be in the area; 1 of the settlers Zvi Bar Yosef has been filmed harassing Palestinians in the area before. Israeli settlers also hid metal rods in a road in Kafr Malik puncturing the wheels of a tractor. Israeli forces shot and injured 1 Palestinian minor with live ammunition near Ramallah. Israeli forces also violently dispersed protesters in Kafr Qaddum, Hebron, Bayt Dajan, and Dayr Jarir, leading to tear-gas related injuries; 1 Palestinian minor was taken to a hospital after being hit with a rubber-coated bullet during the protest in Kafr Qaddum. 2 Palestinians were arrested while riding a motorcycle in Ya‘bad. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces seized tents sheltering a family who’s house was demolished on 2/21 in Issawiyya. 3 Palestinians were arrested in Silwan and al-Tur. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 6 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya; no injuries were reported. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers east of Khan Yunis; no injuries were reported. In Israel, Israeli police violently dispersed a protest in Umm al-Fahm against gun violence in the Palestinian-Israeli community; several people were reported injured, including the mayor of Umm al-Fahm, MK Yousef Jabareen, and 1 Israeli police officer. (HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/26; WAFA 2/27; HA 3/2; PCHR 3/4)

All checkpoints to Gaza and the West Bank were closed by Israel for the Purim holiday. Closures are expected to last until the evening of 2/28. (HA 2/25)

1 Palestinian man who is a resident of Israel and Gaza was indicted by Israel for providing intelligence about locations of Israeli Iron Dome batteries to Hamas. (HA 2/26)

The U.S. released a declassified report that concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 10/2/2018. Despite publishing that the administration had reaching that conclusion the Biden administration said it would not move to punish Mohammed bin Salman. President Joe Biden said during his presidential campaign that he would hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its actions after the Saudi royal family had been shielded by the Trump administration. (CNN, CNN, NPR, NYT, NYT 2/26; AJ, GDN 1/3)

European members of the UN security council, Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, and the UK, issued a joint statement expressing deep concern “at the recent repeated demolitions and confiscation of items, including of EU- and donor-funded structures carried out by Israeli authorities at Humsa Al-Baqaia in the Jordan Valley.” (AJ 2/27; WAFA 2/28)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces leveled land near Abu Dis to expand nearby settlements. 15 Palestinians were arrested, including 12 during a raid in and around Jenin, Tubas, Hizma, Bethlehem, Harmala, Bayt Umar, and al-‘Arub refugee camp, and 3 Palestinians were arrested at a checkpoint near Hebron. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinians were arrested in al-Tur and Shu‘fat refugee camp. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 4 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya; no injuries were reported. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands east of Dayr al-Balah and al-Bureij; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA 2/23; PCHR 2/25)

In a report, Forensic Architecture concluded that a Palestinian man Ahmed Erekat was killed by Israeli forces in an “extrajudicial execution” on 7/23/2020. The Forensic Architecture report stated that Erekat was shot and killed while not posing a threat to Israeli forces and that the forces had prevented him from getting medical attention after he was shot. Israel claims that Erekat intended to ram Israeli forces at a checkpoint, but the report states that he did not accelerate his car while approaching the checkpoint, that he kept a low speed of 9.3 miles per hour, and that he held his arms in the air after exiting his vehicle after the accident. (GDN 2/23; +972, AJ, MDW 2/24; AP, HA 2/26)

Israel announced that it will share COVID-19 vaccination doses with Guatemala, Honduras, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, all countries that have enhanced ties to Israel in the last couple of years. Israel has been widely criticized for refusing to provide vaccines to Palestinians in the occupied territories, including by U.S. senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who said it was “outrageous that [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu would use spare vaccines to reward his foreign allies while so many Palestinians in the occupied territories are still waiting.” The PA foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki called Israel’s decision immoral. (AP, HA, REU 2/23; AP, NYT, 2/24; AJ, AJ, AP, HA, WAFA, WAFA 2/25; WAFA 2/28)

The World Bank threatened to suspend its financing of the COVID-19 vaccine campaign in Lebanon after reports that the vaccines had been given to politicians rather than people who should be 1st in line for a vaccine, such as health workers and the elderly. (AP 2/22)

U.S. state department officials attended a meeting at the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. At the meeting, PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh welcomed the U.S. delegation and said that Israel was systematically destroying the possibility of a 2-state solution. (AP, WAFA 2/23)

6 Jewish American organizations wrote a letter to the new secretary of homeland security Alejandro Mayorkas, urging him to reverse the Trump administration’s policy change of labeling products made in West Bank settlements “made in Israel.” (J Street 2/23; HA, HUFF 2/24)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set fire to 1 Palestinian-owned truck in Kafr Malik. Palestinians protested Israeli-inflicted electricity blackouts in Jiftlik. 5 Palestinians were arrested, including 1 Palestinian who was arrested after being summoned for interrogation, and 4 teens were arrested in Hebron for throwing snow at Israeli forces. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians during a raid in Issawiyya; 3 Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated bullets, others suffered tear-gas related injuries, and 2 were arrested. 10 other Palestinians were arrested, including 9 who allegedly threw snow at Israeli police in Shu‘fat, Jabal Mukabir, and the Old City, and 1 was arrested at the Haram al-Sharif compound and reportedly beaten by Israeli police. In Gaza, Israeli forces made incursions and leveled land east of Dayr al-Balah. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/18; WAFA 2/19; PCHR 2/25)

The PA said the UAE is sending a shipment of 20,000 Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine doses to Gaza via the Rafah crossing. Israel allowed on 2/17 2,000 doses of the same vaccine to enter Gaza from the West Bank after refusing to let them enter Gaza. (AP, HA 2/18)

Israel announced that Palestinians from the West Bank working in Israel will be allowed to return to the West Bank from 2/21 after having to stay in Israel from the beginning of the 3d Israeli lockdown on 12/27/2020. The Palestinian workers have not and will not be offered a COVID-19 vaccine by Israel, according to a statement by the Israeli health ministry on 2/10. (HA 2/18; WAFA 2/20)

Nasser al-Kidwa, a member of the Fatah central committee, said he is involved in forming an alternative slate to Fatah and called on Marwan Barghouti, who is imprisoned in an Israeli jail, to join him. Al-Kidwa said the new slate is meant to change the PA, not to reform it. The Palestinian Central Elections Commission also warned that its website could have been hacked and asked Palestinians to verify their data and report anything unusual. (PCHR 2/18; HA 2/21)

Israel extended its ban of inbound and outbound flights until 3/6 to avoid the spread of COVID-19 mutations from other countries. (HA, JP 2/18)

Russia mediated in a prisoner swap between Israel and Syria where 1 Israeli woman who had entered Syria a couple of weeks prior was released to Israel in exchange for 2 Syrian nationals, nullifying a sentence given to a Druze woman in the Israeli-occupied Golan heights. According to Axios, Israel had meant to exchange 1 Syrian prisoner who had 14 years left of a sentence, but he opted to finish his sentence in Israeli jail rather than going to Syria. Israeli forces then arrested 2 Syrian shepherds in the buffer zone who were then released in the prisoner swap. Haaretz reported that the prisoner exchange deal included an undisclosed clause which could potentially anger the Israeli public. Later reports suggested that Israel has promised to provide hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to the Syrian government as the undisclosed clause. 2 days later, the Israeli military removed a gag order revealing that the secret clause was that Israel would pay for millions of the Russian-made vaccine Sputnik V on behalf of the Syrian government. (AJ, AP 2/17; AP, AX, HA, HA 2/18; AJ, HA, HA, TOI 2/19; AJ, HA, HA, NYT 2/20; AP 2/21)

Israel announced that it and the U.S. have started developing a 4th missile shield called Arrow 4 to counter potential threats of ballistic missiles from Iran. The International Panel on Fissile Material (IPFM) said that Israel is expanding the Dimona nuclear facility, believed to be used for manufacturing material for nuclear weapons. IPFM made the discovery using satellite images. (GDN, HA, JP 2/18; JP 2/21; AP, HA 2/25)

U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken said the U.S. would return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement if Iran came back to full compliance with the deal. Iran has gradually stopped complying with the agreement after the Trump administration left the deal in 2018. Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded that Iran would “immediately reverse all remedial measures” if the Biden Administration lifted all sanctions. Iran has told the U.S. and the other JCOPA partners that if the U.S. doesn’t start reversing sanctions by 2/23, Iran will ban short-notice inspections by UN officials. The U.S. announcement came after Secretary Blinken had a meeting with JCPOA partners the UK, France, and Germany. (AJ, REU 2/16; AJ, AJ, AP, REU 2/17; AP, AP, HA, HA, REU, REU, VOA 2/18; AJ, AP, HA, REU 2/19)