Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In the West Bank, a Palestinian school in ‘Ayn Bus was set on fire, damaging classrooms, and racist Hebrew graffiti was painted on the building. Israeli forces seized tracts of land north of Hebron to expand an Israeli settlement. 11 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Biddu, Bethlehem Tubas, Tulkarm, Hebron, and Jenin. During a raid in Jenin, Israeli forces confiscated a vehicle and cash. Palestinians protested the U.S. administration’s version of a peace plan in several places throughout the West Bank; at least 12 Palestinians were reported injured. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian-owned store in Wadi al-Juz. 8 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 during raids in Silwan and the Old City, and 5 at the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, Palestinians also protested the U.S. administration’s peace plan. (AJ, HA, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/28; PCHR 1/30)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted in the 3 corruption cases against him. Prime Minister Netanyahu had earlier on that day, before the indictment, withdrawn his request for immunity from prosecution. (AJ, HA 1/28)

U.S. president Donald Trump, flanked by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, presented the U.S. administration’s version of a peace plan, which on all contentious issues took maximalist Israeli positions. The plan presented a vision for 2 states; however, the map of these 2 “states” presented with the plan showed a carved-up West Bank where the majority of Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley were annexed by Israel. A swath of land in Israel, where some 250,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel live, would be annexed to the Palestinian “state.” Some land in Israel along the Egyptian border would also be part of the Palestinian state. Jerusalem would become part of Israel and the Palestinian capitol would be east of Jerusalem on the West Bank side of the separation border. Gaza and the West Bank would be connected by a bridge or a tunnel. The Palestinian state would be demilitarized, including disarming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine (PIJ). Israel would control all of Palestine’s international borders. There would be no right of return for Palestinians as “[t]heir Arab brothers have the moral responsibility to integrate them into their countries as the Jews were integrated into the State of Israel.” Furthermore, the peace plan would allow Jews to pray on Haram al-Sharif and the PA would have to stop paying stipends to families of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Palestinians, according to the plan, would have 4 years after the “peace deal” was signed to achieve the right to their own state. (BBC, NPR, NYT, REU 1/28; AJ, HA 1/29; HA 1/30)

The Palestinian leadership’s response to the U.S. administration’s vision of a peace plan was condemnation. PA president Mahmoud Abbas said that “Trump and Netanyahu declared the slap of the century, not the deal. And we will respond with slaps.” At President Abbas’s speech were representatives from Hamas and PIJ. Hamas said Abbas had spoken with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and that the 2 had agreed to stand together in unity on the matter. Abbas also called for an urgent session at the Arab League to discuss the U.S. peace plan. (AJ, AJ, HA, WAFA, WAFA 1/28)

Shortly after the U.S. peace plan was released, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he would convene the Israeli cabinet on 2/1 to start annexing Israeli settlements, the Jordan Valley, and the northern Dead Sea. Jared Kushner, senior advisor to President Trump, said shortly after Netanyahu’s announcement that he did not believe that Israel would start annexing West Bank settlements on 2/1, contradicting the Israeli prime minister. (HA, HA, HA 1/29)