Wednesday, January 27, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli forces raided Kafr Malik, leading to clashes with Palestinians; 1 Palestinian was shot by a rubber-coated bullet, others suffered tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces also razed hundreds of olive trees near Tubas. Elsewhere, Israeli forces demolished 1 residential structure and 1 agricultural structure in Sawahara al-Sharqiyya, seized 2 agricultural structures in Khan al-Ahmar, and demolished 1 mosque in a Bedouin community near Yatta. Palestinians protested the PA presidential decrees published on 1/11, which critics say serve to bolster the PA presidency at the expense of the judicial branch of government; the protests were held in front of the court complex in Ramallah. 18 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Jenin, Qabatiya, Madama, Sabastiyya, Hizma, Hebron, and Birzeit. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/27; HA, PCHR 1/28)

The PA announced it had decided to close the Allenby border crossing with Jordan to prevent the spread of new COVID-19 virus variants. The closure is in effect until 2/3. (WAFA 1/28)

After Israel refused to allow restoration work on the Dome of the Rock and other holy places in the Haram al-Sharif compound, Jordan’s foreign minister Ayman Safadi said Israel had agreed to retract its objections and allow the restoration work. (WAFA 1/27; WAFA 1/28)

Member of the Palestinian-Israeli Balad party Mtanes Shehadeh said after a meeting among members of the Arab Joint List that the list will likely be dissolved before the next election due to “fundamental political differences.” 1 of the reasons the Arab Joint List is having irreconcilable differences is that Mansour Abbas, the leader of the United Arab List, is seeking closer ties with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Another reason is the United Arab List’s more conservative values compared to the 3 other parties. Parties running for the Israeli elections have until 2/4 to submit their composition of candidates. (HA 1/25; HA, TOI 1/27)

Large protests broke out in Tripoli in Lebanon, leading to confrontations between police and protesters. 1 protester was reported dead and 226 people injured, including 26 police officers. The protesters started taking to the street on 1/25, demonstrating against the COVID-19-related lockdown measures and deteriorating living conditions. (AP 1/27; AP 1/28)

The new U.S. administration said it would freeze the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE and munitions to Saudi Arabia to review the transactions. U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken said the practice of new administrations reviewing pending sales of weaponry is not uncommon. The sale of the F-35 fighter jets to the UAE was part of the Israel-U.S.-UAE normalization deal announced in August 2020. Secretary Blinken also spoke with the Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi over the phone to discuss, among other issues, expanding the Trump administration’s normalization efforts. (AJ, AX, HA, HA, TOI 1/27)

At her confirmation hearing, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. president Joe Biden’s nominee for UN ambassador, said that she finds the BDS movement “unacceptable” and that it is on “the verge of antisemitism.” Thomas-Greenfield also said she was looking forward to combatting “anti-Israel bias” at the UN and hoped to see more countries join normalization deals with Israel and the U.S. (HA, MEE, TOI 1/27)