Friday, February 23, 2018

IDF troops violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists at Friday protests against Israel’s separation wall, occupation, and settlements, as well as U.S. president Trump’s 12/6/17 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in Hebron, Jericho, Kafr Qaddum near Qalqilya, 2 areas near Nablus (Beita village and the Huwwara checkpoint), 5 villages near Ramallah (al-Janiya, al-Bireh, Nabi Salih, Ni‘lin, and Bil‘in), and along Gaza’s border near Gaza City, Khan Yunis, al-Bureij refugee camp, and Jabaliya refugee camp. At least 31 Palestinian are injured and 2 are arrested. In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers shoot and injure 3 Palestinian minors during clashes sparked by an IDF raid near Nablus. IDF troops also arrest 3 Palestinians and assault 1 during late-night raids near Hebron and Bethlehem, and patrol near Hebron and Tulkarm. Israeli settlers throw stones at, and open fire on, Palestinian homes in Burin village near Nablus, causing no major damage or injuries. The attack sparks minor clashes; there are no serious injuries. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian during late-night raids in Issawiyya. In 4 separate incidents off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Bayt Lahiya and Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries. (HA, NYT, WAFA, YA 2/23; PCHR 3/1)

The U.S. State Department announces that the new U.S. embassy in Israel will open in Jerusalem in 5/2018, implementing President Trump’s 12/6/17 pledge to move the embassy from Tel Aviv. The embassy is set to open with ambassador David Friedman and a skeleton staff working out of an existing U.S. facility in the Arnona neighborhood. “This decision will turn the 70th anniversary of Israeli independence into an even bigger celebration,” says Israeli PM Netanyahu. “Thank you, President Trump, for your leadership and your friendship.” Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretarygeneral Saeb Erakat says, “The U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and now to move its embassy on the eve of marking 70 years since the Nakba [. . .] shows the determination of the U.S. administration to violate international law, destroy the 2-state solution, and provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people, as well as of all Arabs, Muslims, and Christians around the globe.” (AP, HA, JP, TOI, WAFA 2/23)