Thursday, February 25, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli authorities announced that it would seize 193 dunams (47.7 acres) of Palestinian-owned land near Dayr Dibwan for settlement expansion. 17 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around Hebron, Tulkarm, Rujeib, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Rummana, Sawahara al-Sharqiyya, Aida refugee camp, Nablus, and Qusra. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinian was arrested during late-night raids in Issawiyya. (WAFA, WAFA 2/25; PCHR 3/4)

Israel imposed a general closure for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, closing all checkpoints for the Jewish Purim holiday. The closure was scheduled to be in effect from midnight on 2/25 to the night of 2/28. (HA 2/25)

The board of the Jewish National Fund voted to allocate $11.6 million to purchase land in the West Bank. (HA 2/25)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s prime minister Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa spoke on the phone about the U.S. plan to reengage diplomatically with Iran about its nuclear program. (AP, HA 2/25)

Israel said that an Israeli-owned ship was attacked by 1 or 2 missiles in the Gulf of Oman. Other reports said that the damage done to the ship was caused by a blast, to which the cause had not been determined. Israeli defense officials claimed that the missiles were fired by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. No injuries were reported, and the ship was able to continue to the UAE to repair the damage. Iran denied attacking the ship. (AJ, AP, HA, REU 2/26; REU 2/27; AJ, AP, HA, HA, REU 2/28; AJ, AP, HA, HA, REU 3/1)

Haaretz reported that 2 U.S. senators, Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) were circulating a letter to U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken calling on him to take a more forceful stance on the ICC’s investigation of Israel and Hamas, in order to shield Israel. The pro-Israel group J Street said it was circulating their own letter, calling Cardin and Portman’s letter an “unnecessary act of political posturing,” saying the U.S. state department already rejected the ICC’s decision. J Street also criticized the Cardin and Portman letter for using “distributed territories” instead of “occupied territories” to describe the West Bank. (HA 2/25)

The U.S. attacked what the Pentagon said were Iranian-backed militia groups in eastern Syria, killing 17 people. The Pentagon said the strikes were in retaliation for 1 missile fired at a U.S. facility in Irbil, Iraq, which killed 1 U.S. national and injured 6 others on 2/15. (REU 2/25; AP, BBC, CNN, HA, REU 2/26)

Japan donated $39.7 million to UNRWA, $30.2 million for UNRWA core programming, and $9.5 million for expanding school services in Gaza. (WAFA 2/25)