Tuesday, February 1, 2022

In the West Bank, Israeli forces seized equipment worth around $30,000 in a quarry near Beit Fajjar, Israeli forces had earlier in the day sealed off a road leading to the quarry. Israeli forces also set up mobile structures on Palestinian-owned land in Khirbat Humsa. Elsewhere, Israeli forces demolished 3 Palestinian-owned structures near al-Ramadin; 1 Palestinian journalist working for WAFA was assaulted and another Palestinian was detained during the demolition. Israeli forces also demolished 25 produce stands near al-Jalama checkpoint north of Jenin. 32 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids, including 21 in al-Am‘ari refugee camp, 1 Palestinian was also was bitten by a police dog. PA forces opened fire at a sit-in protest in front of the education directorate headquarters in Tubas, injuring 2 with live ammunition bullet shrapnel. The Palestinian students were peacefully protesting in Tubas, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tulkarm, and Nablus, demanding that parts of the matriculation exams are removed due to the COVID-19 virus. The Tubas governor said that an investigation into the incident was underway and that it was the action of 1 individual. 11 others were arrested during late-night raids in Qalqilya, Qatanna, Tuqu‘, and Sa‘ir. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces punitively demolished the family home, in Shu‘fat refugee camp, of 1 Palestinian man who was killed after killing 1 Israeli settler and injuring 4 others in the Old City on 11/21/2021. In Gaza, Israeli forces made incursions and leveled agricultural land east of Khan Yunis and north of Bayt Lahiya. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of the shore; no injuries were reported. (AP, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/1; MEMO 2/2; AJ, MEMO, PCHR 2/3; UNOCHA 2/11)

Israel’s interior ministry said it would start processing family unification requests from Palestinians over the age of 50 who had received residency permits within the last 5 years. The ministry said it would start with that age group because they pose less of a security threat. If a family unification request is approved, the Palestinian will be “upgraded” to “temporary resident” with social benefits. There are 1,680 requests waiting as the Israeli interior ministry has refused to process the requests despite a temporary ban on Palestinian unifications expiring in July 2021. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Hamoked, and Physicians for Human Rights said Israel should start reviewing all applications and not just those for Palestinians over the age of 50. (HA 2/1)

Amnesty International released a 280-page report named “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity,” prepared over the last 4 years. Amnesty said in its report that it had found that “Israel has imposed a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians wherever it exercises control over the enjoyment of their rights—across Israel and the OPT and with regard to Palestinian refugees. The segregation is conducted in a systematic and highly institutionalized manner through laws, policies and practices, all intended to prevent Palestinians from claiming and enjoying equal rights to Jewish Israelis within Israel and the OPT, and thus intended to oppress and dominate the Palestinian people.” Amnesty concluded that this institutionalized discrimination perpetrated by Israel is “the international wrong of apartheid, as a human rights violation and a violation of public international law wherever it imposes this system.” Its research was based on “relevant Israeli legislation, regulations, military orders, directives by government institutions and statements by Israeli government and military officials.” Amnesty said that “Israel must grant equal and full human rights to all Palestinians in Israel and the OPT in line with principles of international human rights law and without discrimination, while ensuring respect for protections guaranteed for Palestinians in the OPT under international humanitarian law. It must also recognize the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to homes where they or their families once lived in Israel or the OPT. In addition, Israel must provide victims of human rights violations, crimes against humanity and serious violations of international humanitarian law—and their families—with full reparations. These should include restitution of and compensation for all properties acquired on a racial basis.” The Israeli foreign ministry called the report anti-Semitic. Amnesty refuted the charged said that Israel is diverting attention away from its violations of Palestinians’ human rights. U.S. state department spokesperson Ned Price said that the U.S. does not agree with Amnesty’s assessment “that Israel’s actions constitute apartheid.” Neither U.S. or Israeli senior officials commented on the evidence presented in the report. The UK and Germany also said they disagreed with the terminology of apartheid used in the report. The PA foreign ministry welcomed the report. (AP, HA, HA, JDF, WAFA 1/31; +972, AI, AJ, AP, CNN, GDN, HA, HA, HA, HILL, IN, JP, MDW, MEE, MEMO, MEMO, MEMO, MEMO, POL, REU, SKY, TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WP 2/1; HA, HA, JP, JP, MDW, PCHR, WAFA, WAFA 2/2; +972, MEE, MEMO 2/3; TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/4; AJ 2/5)

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said at a conference in Tel Aviv that Israel will start using lasers to intercept missiles “within a year.” (ALM, AP, HA, JP, MEMO, REU 2/1)

A vice president of the American telecommunications company Mobileum said that he had alerted the FBI to a meeting between the Israeli company NSO Group and Mobileum in 2017, saying that the NSO Group sought to buy access to the SS7 network. Mobileum did not deny the meeting but said that no deal was made with the NSO Group. The former employee who now works for Citizen Lab filed a whistleblower complaint about the meeting and presented evidence to the U.S. justice department, the securities and exchange commission, and the federal communications commission in June 2021. The former VP said that NSO Group senior employees explicitly said during the meeting that they would “drop off bags of cash in [the VP’s] office.” The former VP also said that if the NSO Group had gained access to the SS7 network, it would have “access to the home networks of operators around the world, access to millions and millions of users without bypassing any sort of security controls. That’s a very tantalizing capability for them to have.” (AJ, GDN, HA, MEE, WP 2/1)