Thursday, November 19, 2020

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers raided Silat al-Dahir, vandalizing Palestinian-owned houses and vehicles. Israeli settlers also razed Palestinian-owned land and planted their own crops in ‘Urif. Israeli forces delivered 1 demolition order for 1 agricultural shed in al-Walaja and 1 commercial barrack in Qalqilya, and delivered 1 stop-work order for 1 house under construction in Bayt Awa. Israeli forces also clashed with Palestinians in Bayt Umar, leading to tear-gas related injuries. 3 Palestinians were arrested, including 1 during a late-night raid in Yatta and 2 at checkpoints near Nablus and Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinians were arrested during raids in the Old City and Bayt Hanina. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 11/19; PCHR 11/26)

PA civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh said, after a meeting with Israeli officials, that Israel has agreed to pay the PA the money it owes in tax revenue, about $890 million. (NYT, WAFA 11/19; HA 11/20)

The U.S. state department issued new guidelines of how to refer to products produced in Gaza and the West Bank as secretary of state Mike Pompeo was visiting Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Under the new guidelines, products imported to the U.S. from Area C of the West Bank would have to be labeled “Made in Israel.” Products can no longer be labeled “Made in West Bank/Gaza,” so products made in Gaza should be labeled “product of Gaza” and products made in Area A and B of the West Bank should be labeled “product of West Bank.” In a statement by Secretary Pompeo, he said that the U.S. is adhering to a “reality-based” approach, which would indicate that the new guidelines are a way for the U.S. administration to recognize Israel’s annexation of Area C. The statement also stipulated that “Gaza and the West Bank are politically and administratively separate and should be treated accordingly.” Secretary Pompeo also made another policy announcement during a press conference with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the press conference, Pompeo announced that the State Department regards the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic and that the U.S. would start identifying organizations that support BDS to penalize them. The BDS movement released a statement reiterating that it rejects “all forms of racism, including anti-Jewish racism” and said it would resist “these McCarthyite attempts to intimidate and bully Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights defenders into accepting Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism as fate.” The American Civil Liberties Union responded to Pompeo’s announcement that “[c]riticism of Israel, or any government, is fully protected by the First Amendment. Threatening to block government funds to groups that criticize Israel is blatantly unconstitutional.” Secretary Pompeo also visited the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and was the 1st secretary of state to do so. Pompeo’s visit to Israeli settlements in the West Bank was also a 1st for a U.S. secretary of state. Pompeo also tweeted, “Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism” (AJ, AJ, Amnesty, AX, BBC, BBC, DT, DW, HA, IN, IN, MDN, MEE, NYT, REU, REU, SKY, TOI, TOI, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, U.S. State Department, WAFA, WAFA, WP 11/19; AJ, BBC, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WP 11/20)

The EU told Serbia and Kosovo that if the countries still desire to become member states of the EU, they will have to follow EU policy, including not moving their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem as this would undermine EU policy and international law. A statement released conveying the message referenced the White House meetings held on 9/5-9/7 in which U.S. president Donald Trump announced the embassy moves. (EU Commission 11/19)

At the UN general assembly, 163 countries voted for a resolution recognizing “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine.” 5 countries—Israel, the U.S., Micronesia, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands—voted against. (HA 11/20)