Sunday, May 23, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers used pepper spray on 3 Palestinians at the Wadi Qana nature reserve near Salfit and vandalized 5 vehicles. Israeli forces closed all the entrances to Dayr Nidham, closed roads leading to Ya‘bad with concrete blocks and set up a metal gate, and closed access to 7 villages near Salfit. 17 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Kafr Dan, Qabatiya, Ya‘bad, Nablus, Balata refugee camp, al-Twana, Tulkarm, and Ramallah. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Shaykh Jarrah, injuring 1 with a sound bomb. Israel began allowing Jewish worshipers at the Haram al-Sharif compound for the 1st time since the beginning of Ramadan on 4/12; some 250 Jewish worshipers with military escort visited the compound; 9 Palestinians were arrested for protesting the settler incursion. 10 other Palestinians were arrested during raids in Bayt Hanina, al-Tur, and the Old City. In Israel, 1 Israeli woman succumbed to injuries sustained in a fall while seeking shelter on 5/15, raising the Israeli death toll from the Hamas-Israel escalation to 13. (AJ, AP, HA, MEMO, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/23; PCHR 5/27)

PA presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh warned that Israel’s lockdown of Shaykh Jarrah and continued attacks on the Haram al-Sharif compound could lead to an end of the ceasefire, which went into effect on 5/21, and asked the U.S. to intervene to keep the calm. (WAFA 5/23)

Leader of Hamas’s politburo Ismail Haniyeh met with Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha, thanking him for Qatar’s support of Palestine. (MEMO 5/24)

Israeli police released a statement saying it had arrested 1,550 people since 5/9 who have taken part in violent and non-violent protest throughout Israel. Over 70% of the people arrested were Palestinian citizens of Israel, prompting Adalah to call it a “war” against Palestinian demonstrators. Israeli police have named the mass arrest campaign “Operation Law and Order.” (AJ, INT, MDW, NYT, WAFA 5/24)

The Jordanian foreign ministry condemned Israel’s continued violations of status quo agreements in East Jerusalem, specifically the continued raids on the Haram al-Sharif compound and policy reversal in allowing Jewish worshipers at the compound. (WAFA 5/23)

U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken said that the Biden administration is committed to “giving Israel the means to defend itself,” despite growing calls among democrats and activists to condition U.S. military aid to Israel. (AJ 5/23)

The UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories Lynn Hastings said that the UN would launch an urgent appeal to countries to help rebuild Gaza after Israeli air strikes caused massive destruction during the latest escalation, which ended on 5/21. U.S. president Joe Biden said his administration would work with the UN to send humanitarian aid to Gaza in a way that prevents Hamas from benefiting. Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz said he will condition any aid that is not for humanitarian relief on the release of Israeli prisoners and the bodies of 2 Israelis to Israel. Defense minister Gantz also said that Gaza should be kept on the “basic humanitarian threshold.” (AJ, HA, HA, REU, WAFA, WAFA 5/23; HA 5/24)

Kuwait said it will send 40 tons of aid to the Palestinian Red Crescent to help with its response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. (MEMO 5/24)