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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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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)