Thursday, February 3, 2022

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers uprooted 60 olive tree saplings in Khallet al-Dabe. Israeli settlers also assaulted 1 Palestinian minor herding sheep near Hebron. Israeli forces razed residential structures belonging to Bedouins in al-Husa near Deir Nidham. 8 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Silat al-Harithiya, Hableh, Kafr Thulth, Tubas, Deir Istiya, and Dheisheh refugee camp. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/3; PCHR 2/10; UNOCHA 2/11)

The PA reported that there were more than 70,000 active cases of Palestinians infected with the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in the West Bank, more than twice the amount from previous COVID-19 surges. While the Omicron variant is less lethal, the high infection rate has put the West Bank hospitals near capacity. According to the Health Ministry, West Bank hospitals were at 85% capacity and more were expected to be admitted to hospitals in the near future. 80 Palestinians were admitted in intensive care and 24 were on ventilators. In Gaza, there were 63 serious cases of COVID-19 infection. At least 4,859 Palestinians have died while infected with the COVID-19 virus since the pandemic hit Palestine in March 2020. About half of Palestinians in the West Bank are vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The Omicron variant is able to infect vaccinated people, but symptoms are typically milder for vaccinated people than for those who have not been fully vaccinated. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society also reported that half of the Palestinian prisoners held at Ofer Prison are infected with COVID-19. (AP, WAFA 2/3)

Addameer, al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defence for Children International – Palestine, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees filed a procedural objection to their designation as unlawful, made by the Israeli military’s central command 2 weeks after Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz designated the organizations as “terrorist organizations” in October 2021. The organizations said that they have not been able to review the claims against them as they are classified and thus are unable to defend themselves against the allegations. The Union of Agricultural Work Committee was filing its objection separately, as it was designated unlawful by the Central Command 1 year before the 5 other organizations. (HA 2/3)

In response to a petition filed by Palestinian landowners in Beita to the Israeli supreme court, the Israeli government said that it will continue to allow Israeli settlers to study at the yeshiva built on the evacuated settlement Homesh, despite a law from 2005 barring Israeli settlers from visiting the site. The government further said that it was up to Defense Minister Gantz to raze the remaining structures at the site. Thousands of Israeli settlers visited the site in January without the Israeli military making an effort to enforce the law against them visiting it. (HA 2/4)

1 Palestinian minor was charged with the murder of 1 Israeli settler at the Homesh settlement outpost on 12/16/2021. (HA 2/4)

Defense minister Gantz signed a memorandum of understanding with the king of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to formalize the 2 countries’ security ties during a visit to Bahrain. The MoU was part of the 2 countries’ normalization deal from September 2020. (AJ, ALM, AP, HA, MEMO, REU, TOI 2/3)