Tuesday, May 31, 2022

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort raided Halhul, vandalizing 1 mosque; Israeli forces shot and injured 2 Palestinians with live ammunition and others with baton rounds and tear gas when the Palestinians confronted the settlers. Israeli settlers also assaulted Palestinian farmers in Shufa, causing injuries. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers chased Palestinian herders off their land in al-Juwaya in the Masafer Yatta area and let their cattle graze on Palestinian crops. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers with Israeli police escort attacked 3 Palestinians in Silwan, causing hospitalizations, and vandalized 1 vehicle. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces arrested 8 Palestinian fishermen and seized 2 boats within 3 nautical miles northwest of the Rafah seaport; 6 of the 8 fishermen were released on 6/1. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/31; PCHR 6/1)

Hamas’s military judicial authority sentenced 2 Palestinians for spying for Israel. 1 of the Palestinians was sentenced to life in prison while the other received a 7-year sentence. (JP 5/31)

An Israeli military court sentenced 1 Palestinian man to life in prison plus 25 years for the killing of an Israeli soldier in the West Bank on 8/2019 and ordered him to pay $450,000 to the family of the soldier. The Palestinian man was not present at the killing, but the court claimed that he had formed a cell that incited the murder of the Israeli man. (HA 5/31)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke with U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken in a phone call. According to Axios reporting, President Abbas pressed Secretary Blinken on Israeli attempts to change the Status Quo at the Haram al-Sharif compound, the lack of a political horizon, the Israeli settler march on 5/29, and the Biden administration’s failure to act on its campaign promises on Palestine. Abbas also asked the U.S. to remove the PLO from the U.S. list of terror organizations and to reopen the PLO mission in Washington D.C. Abbas also met with Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi in Ramallah. (WAFA 5/31; AX, WAFA 6/1)

Haaretz reported that an Israeli plan to reduce the economic gaps between Palestinians and Israeli Jews living in Israeli cities had been postponed due to failure to fund the program. The plan was finalized in October 2021 in response to tensions between Palestinians and Israeli Jews in cities in which both populations reside. Additionally, some local governments have opposed earmarking funds exclusively for Palestinian communities in the cities they govern. (HA 5/31)

Israel and the UAE signed a free trade agreement removing tariffs on food, agriculture, cosmetics, medical equipment, and medicine. The agreement also defines tax rates, imports and intellectual property. The free trade agreement was part of the Israeli-UAE-U.S. normalization agreement. (REU 5/30; ABC, AJ, ALM, BB, HA, JP, MEMO, NBC, REU, TOI, WSJ 5/31; CNN 6/1; ALM, HA 6/2)

U.S. state department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that the Biden administration remains committed to reopening the U.S. consulate to Palestinians in Jerusalem. The statement comes after reporting in the Times of Israel that the U.S. had given up on its plans due to the instability in the Israeli government coalition. (REU 5/31; MEMO 6/1; AX 6/4)

15 Democratic members of the U.S. house of representatives, led by Cori Bush (D-MO), wrote a letter to Secretary Blinken urging him to send the “strongest message possible” to prevent Israel from evicting more than 1,000 Palestinians from the Masafer Yatta area, calling the displacement of Palestinians “a war crime.” (HA, MEE 5/31; WAFA 6/1)

Lebanese parliament reelected Nabih Berri of the Amal Movement as speaker at the 1st parliamentary session of the newly elected parliament. Speaker Berri, who received 65 of 128 votes, has been the speaker of the parliament since 1992. (AJ, HA, MEMO, REU, REU 5/31)