Wednesday, April 7, 2021

In the West Bank, 1 Israeli settler struck and killed 1 Palestinian woman with their car near al-Samu’; it was unclear if the settler had rammed the woman intentionally. Israeli settlers with military escort raided Kafr Haris and Sabastiyya, closing off areas of both towns for Palestinians. Israeli forces issued demolition orders against 64 Palestinian-owned structures in Ras al-Ahmar. Israeli forces also delivered demolition notices for 2 residential structures and 2 agricultural structures in al-Jiftlik. 19 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around Ras Karkar, Dayr Jarir, Bayt Umar, Yatta, Tulkarm, Jenin, and Tubas. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolished 1 car repair shop, 1 garage, 2 rooms in Issawiyya, and seized vending stalls near the Haram al-Sharif compound. 1 Palestinian was arrested during a house raid in Ras Khamis. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/7; PCHR, WAFA 4/8)

Hamas declared a total lockdown of Gaza to curb the COVID-19 virus, which has been spreading at unprecedented levels. The lockdown will last until the morning of 4/16. Only food vendors and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open. In the 24 hours before the announcement, 6 people had succumbed to the virus in Gaza and 38 percent of tests were positive. 150 people were receiving care for the illness at a hospital. (HA 4/7)

An Israeli planning commission approved 540 new settlement units in Har Homa in East Jerusalem between the city and Bethlehem. The Jerusalem District Planning Committee will need to give the final approval to 540 units on 4/21. The PA condemned the decision. (HA, WAFA 4/7; MEMO, TOI 4/8)

1 Palestinian prisoner in administrative detention suspended his 47-day-long hunger strike after being promised that Israel would set a date for his release. (WAFA 4/7)

Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro was acquitted of all charges in a Palestinian court. He had been charged with insulting higher authorities, causing public strife, and disturbing public order after writing criticism about the PA. (Twitter 4/7; Twitter 4/8)

Right-wing Israeli politician and leader of HaTzionut HaDatit (Religious Zionist Party) Bezalel Smotrich wrote on Twitter, “I heard that after Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, may he live a long life, said that a true Muslim must know that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, Ahmad Tibi opened his mouth against him. So, Ahmad, a true Muslim must know that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and over time Arabs like you, who do not recognize that, will not remain here. Rabbi Shmuel and tens of thousands of his students, including us, will make sure that happens.” Smotrich’s comments about Palestinian-Israeli politician Ahmad Tibi drew condemnation from pro-Israel organizations in the U.S., including the Anti-Defamation League and AIPAC offshoot Democratic Majority for Israel. (HA, HA 4/7)

Jordanian king Abdullah II said that “the sedition has been buried,” in reference to the alleged plot against him from 4/3, where his half-brother Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was placed under house arrest for steering the plot. The Jordanian government has banned all national outlets from covering the issue. U.S. president Joe Biden assured Abdullah II of his support in a call. (AJ, AP, REU 4/6; AJ, AP, HA, HA, REU 4/7)

The U.S. announced that it will resume providing aid to the UNRWA, which has been cut since 2018. In its 1st aid package, the U.S. will provide $150 million to the UNRWA, $75 million in economic and development assistance to the West Bank and Gaza, and $10 million for “peacebuilding programs” through the USAID. The U.S. also sent $15 million in assistance to the West Bank and Gaza to help with their COVID-19 response in March. The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan condemned the U.S. decision to resume aid to UNRWA, saying that Palestinian refugees are not “real” refugees. (AJ, ALM, AX, HA, NYT, REU, USAID, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/7; GDN, WAFA, WAFA 4/8; WAFA 4/12)

The U.S. also said it was ready to lift “sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]” on Iran. The announcement came as indirect talks about the U.S. rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, brokered by the EU, were underway in Vienna. (HA 4/8)

Axios reported that the U.S. has asked Israel to provide the water to Jordan it requested last month, but that Israel is said to withholding due to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal feud with King Abdullah II, which has been growing in recent months and straining the 2 countries’ relationship. (AX 4/7)