Tuesday, February 23, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli forces leveled land near Abu Dis to expand nearby settlements. 15 Palestinians were arrested, including 12 during a raid in and around Jenin, Tubas, Hizma, Bethlehem, Harmala, Bayt Umar, and al-‘Arub refugee camp, and 3 Palestinians were arrested at a checkpoint near Hebron. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinians were arrested in al-Tur and Shu‘fat refugee camp. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 4 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya; no injuries were reported. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands east of Dayr al-Balah and al-Bureij; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA 2/23; PCHR 2/25)

In a report, Forensic Architecture concluded that a Palestinian man Ahmed Erekat was killed by Israeli forces in an “extrajudicial execution” on 7/23/2020. The Forensic Architecture report stated that Erekat was shot and killed while not posing a threat to Israeli forces and that the forces had prevented him from getting medical attention after he was shot. Israel claims that Erekat intended to ram Israeli forces at a checkpoint, but the report states that he did not accelerate his car while approaching the checkpoint, that he kept a low speed of 9.3 miles per hour, and that he held his arms in the air after exiting his vehicle after the accident. (GDN 2/23; +972, AJ, MDW 2/24; AP, HA 2/26)

Israel announced that it will share COVID-19 vaccination doses with Guatemala, Honduras, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, all countries that have enhanced ties to Israel in the last couple of years. Israel has been widely criticized for refusing to provide vaccines to Palestinians in the occupied territories, including by U.S. senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who said it was “outrageous that [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu would use spare vaccines to reward his foreign allies while so many Palestinians in the occupied territories are still waiting.” The PA foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki called Israel’s decision immoral. (AP, HA, REU 2/23; AP, NYT, 2/24; AJ, AJ, AP, HA, WAFA, WAFA 2/25; WAFA 2/28)

The World Bank threatened to suspend its financing of the COVID-19 vaccine campaign in Lebanon after reports that the vaccines had been given to politicians rather than people who should be 1st in line for a vaccine, such as health workers and the elderly. (AP 2/22)

U.S. state department officials attended a meeting at the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. At the meeting, PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh welcomed the U.S. delegation and said that Israel was systematically destroying the possibility of a 2-state solution. (AP, WAFA 2/23)

6 Jewish American organizations wrote a letter to the new secretary of homeland security Alejandro Mayorkas, urging him to reverse the Trump administration’s policy change of labeling products made in West Bank settlements “made in Israel.” (J Street 2/23; HA, HUFF 2/24)