Sunday, March 26, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian home in Sinjil, causing severe damage. The sleeping family managed to escape the fire unharmed. Israeli settlers also set fire to Palestinian-owned crops and threw stones at vehicles near Huwwara, causing damage. Israeli forces placed dirt mounds on several roads leading to Deir Sharaf. 3 Palestinians were arrested during late-nights in Tulkarm. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces forcefully removed Palestinian worshippers from the Haram al-Sharif compound to clear it for Israeli settler tours. (REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/26; WAFA 3/27; PCHR 3/30; UNOCHA 3/31)

The Israeli military issued notices that it will seize 218 dunams (54 acres) of Palestinian-owned land for military purposes in Jinsafut, Funduq, and Hijja. (WAFA, WAFA 3/26)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after Gallant called on Netanyahu to freeze the judicial overhaul legislation. The firing prompted mass protests in Israel overnight into the next day. The White House national security council spokesperson said that the Biden administration was “deeply concerned” about the dismissal of Gallant. (AJ, AP, AX, NYT 3/25; AJ, AX, AX, HA, HA, HA, HA, MEE, NYT, REU 3/26; AJ, AJ, AP, HA, HA, MEE, REU 3/27)

Israel and the UAE signed a free trade agreement removing or reducing tariffs on 96% of goods traded between the 2 countries. The trade agreement was an extension of the 2 countries’ normalization deal. (REU 3/26; ALM 3/27)

The 6 foreign ministers in the Gulf Cooperation Council sent a letter to U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken urging him to respond to Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich’s comments on 3/19 that the Palestinian people do not exist. The UAE also independently condemned the Israeli repeal of the 2005 Disengagement Law from 3/20. (TOI, TOI, WAFA 3/26)

Association football’s global governing body FIFA announced that it had canceled the draw for the U-20 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be held in Indonesia on 3/31, after Bali governor Wayan Koster refused to host the Israeli U-20 team which had qualified for the tournament. Koster cited Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights as the reason for refusing to host the Israeli team. The tournament is scheduled to be held in Indonesia between 5/20 and 6/11. Later on 3/29 FIFA stripped Indonesia of their hosting rights. (REU, TOI 3/26; AP 3/28; BBC 3/29; GDN, WAFA, WAFA 3/30)