Friday, April 22, 2016

For the 3d day in a row, Israeli forces conduct widespread raids across East Jerusalem, arresting at least 20 Palestinians ahead of the Passover holiday and threatening demolitions in Silwan. Additional Israeli police are deployed in the city. Israeli authorities suspend Gazans’ weekly visit to Jerusalem, and completely close down crossings in the West Bank and Gaza, with exceptions for humanitarian and medical cases (the closure began at midnight on 4/21 and will last through midnight on 4/23, unless the IDF decides the security situation requires its continuation). At Haram al-Sharif, 29 Palestinians are barred from the sanctuary and 10 right-wing Jewish activists are detained as they carry baby goats to the sanctuary for Passover sacrifices (Jewish religious rites are prohibited at Haram al-Sharif). IDF troops violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists at Friday demonstrations against Israel’s occupation, settlements, and separation wall in 6 areas nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, Silwad, Nabi Salih, Jalazun r.c., and outside Ofer Prison), 1 village nr. Qalqilya, and 2 areas along Gaza’s border; 6 Palestinians are injured. The IDF also patrols during the day in 4 villages nr. Qalqilya and 2 nr. Ramallah. (JP, MNA 4/22; MNA 4/23; HA 4/24; PCHR 4/28)

In a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York, PA pres. Abbas encourages gathered world leaders to support the French peace initiative, saying, “We are deliberating with international parties and relevant Arab ministerial committee to examine the content and timing for proposing a [UNSC] res. against settlement activity.” The Palestinian leadership had planned to have their antisettlement res. introduced in the UNSC during Abbas’s trip to New York; press reports say that they have decided to postpone the initiative at France’s request to give breathing room to the French peace initiative. (HA, MNA 4/22; JP 4/23)