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  • May 20, 2021

    In the West Bank, 1 Palestinian minor succumbed to wounds sustained from Israeli live ammunition on 5/18. Israeli settlers leveled land in Kisan. Israeli settlers also set up mobile homes south of...

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In the West Bank, 1 Palestinian minor succumbed to wounds sustained from Israeli live ammunition on 5/18. Israeli settlers leveled land in Kisan. Israeli settlers also set up mobile homes south of Hebron. Israeli forces also raided Jaba‘, injuring 4, including 1 minor, when Palestinians confronted the forces. Israeli forces also raided ‘Araqa, injuring 1 minor with live ammunition, when Palestinians confronted the forces. Elsewhere, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Bethlehem, injuring 7 with rubber-coated bullets and others with tear gas. 11 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, and Jericho. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided al-Makassed Hospital, leaving without making arrests. 8 Palestinians were arrested during raids in the Old City, al-Tur, Silwan, and Shu‘fat. In Gaza, 4 Palestinians were killed and many were injured, raising the comprehensive death toll since 5/10 from 232 to 236, including 65 children and 3 pregnant women. The casualties included: 1, and 9 wounded, including 3 children, during an air strike on a house in Khan Yunis; 1, and 1 wounded in an air strike on Bayt Lahiya; 2 in an air strike on a car traveling in Jabaliya. Israeli air strikes also hit power lines near Rafah, causing a total electricity blackout in the city. Israeli forces attacked 1 house in Khan Yunis, causing damage, but the missile remained unexploded as it landed on a bed, saving the family living in the house. 4 factories were also destroyed by Israeli air strikes in an industrial zone east in al-Muntar. In Israel, 1 Israeli soldier was injured by an anti-tank missile rocket fired from Gaza at a military bus. 1 rocket from Gaza hit a house in Ashkelon, causing damage; no injuries were reported. Israeli forces violently dispersed a funeral procession for 1 Palestinian-Israeli who was killed by Israeli police on 5/19 in Umm al-Fahm; 3 were arrested; a general strike was also called in Umm al-Fahm in protest over the killing. (AJ, HA, HA, PCHR, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/20; MEE, PCHR 5/21; NYT 5/26; PCHR 5/27)

It was reported that a ceasefire between Hamas, Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and Israel had been brokered by Egypt and would take effect at 2 a.m. on 5/21. Prior to the reporting, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called a meeting at the security cabinet. Shortly after the 2 sides announced the ceasefire, U.S. president Joe Biden praised Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his role in the ceasefire and Prime Minister Netanyahu for agreeing to it. Biden said in remarks that “Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy,” in what can be viewed as a slight shift in the paradigm of U.S. statements on Israel and Palestine. President al-Sisi also praised President Biden for his work on the ceasefire agreement. Several prominent Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate welcomed the news of the ceasefire, but said it was time to do more to resolve the roots of the conflict. PA foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki called for the world to address the core issues, saying that the ceasefire is not enough. (AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AP, AP, AX, AX, GDN, HA, REU, REU, WAFA 5/20; AM, AP, CNN, FOX, HA, HA 5/21)

Haaretz reported that 90% of the Israeli citizens charged for the violence in Israeli towns and cities since the start of the Hamas-Israel escalation were Palestinian citizens of Israel. District prosecutors have been criticized for not indicting Jewish-Israelis. (HA 5/20)

Adalah filed a petition on behalf of Palestinians in Shayk Jarrah to have Israeli police remove checkpoints around the neighborhood, which are severely impeding the residents’ freedom of movement. The checkpoints are also meant to block entry of Palestinians who are not residents of the neighborhood, as many residents remain threatened by evictions. (Adalah, HA 5/20)

The Israeli Electric Company said it would not restore the damaged power lines in Gaza until 2 Israelis, believed to be held captive by Hamas, and the bodies of 2 dead Israelis are returned to Israel. (HA 5/20)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke with German chancellor Angela Merkel about efforts to get a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel. President Abbas also met with German foreign minister Heiko Maas in Ramallah. (AJ, WAFA, WAFA 5/20)

Before the ceasefire was announced, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh wrote a letter to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, asking for “mobilization of Arab, Islamic and international support” in ending Israeli air strikes. (AP 5/20)

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said that the country had reached an agreement in principle with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signatories about complying with and having the U.S. rejoin the deal. (HA 5/20)

U.S. senator and chair of the Senate budget committee Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said he would introduce a resolution of disapproval of a $735 million arms sale to Israel. (AJ, ALM, HA, REU 5/20)

At the UN, U.S. ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the U.S. had “not been silent,” despite blocking UN security council statements criticizing the violence from the latest escalation between Hamas and Israel. UN general-secretary António Guterres said he was “deeply shocked by the continued air and artillery bombardment” of Gaza and said that Gaza’s children lived in “hell on Earth.” No unified statement was released by the UN general assembly. (AJ, AJ, ALM, HA, REU 5/20)

1 Jewish AP reporter was fired after Stanford University College Republicans criticized her for pro-Palestinian activism while she was a student at the school, before she was hired at AP. Later, more than 100 AP journalists wrote an open letter to AP criticizing the decision. (SFGATE 5/20; FOX, MEE, MEMO 5/21; MEE 5/22; MEE 5/24)

The foreign minister of Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia visited Israel upon the invitation of Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi to be briefed on the Israeli-Hamas escalation. In meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the 3 foreign ministers were shown parts of a drone that had been shot down on 5/18 that Netanyahu claimed was Iranian. (ALM, HA 5/20)