Wednesday, May 24, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with a military escort raided Burqa, attacking Palestinians and setting a barn and olive trees on fire; tear-gas related injuries were reported. Israeli forces demolished 1 house in Dahariya, 1 agricultural structure in Beit Jala, 1 agricultural structure in Hebron, and 1 commercial structure in al-Walaja and razed land in Sur Bahir. A delegation of EU officials met with Sebastia mayor Mohammad Azem to learn about the recent Israeli measures to seize Sebastia’s archeological site. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. Israeli authorities demolished 1 house in Jabel Mukaber, displacing 5. 4 Palestinians were arrested during raids in al-Tur and Ras al-Amud. (TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/24; ALM, PCHR 5/25; AJ 6/1; UNOCHA 6/2)

In Syria, Israeli forces opened fire at people who shot at a surveillance drone. (REU 5/24)

The Hamas-affiliated voting bloc Islamic Wafa won 25 of 51 seats in the Birzeit University student union elections. The election result follows another win by Islamic Wafa on 5/16 at An-Najah National University. (QDS 5/24; HA, MEE 5/25)

3 Israeli soldiers were sentenced for abducting and assaulting 1 Palestinian man before releasing him in a remote area. 2 of the soldiers were sentenced to 60 days in prison while the third was sentenced to 40 days. (TOI, TOI 5/24; AJ 5/25)

The Knesset approved the Israeli government’s 2023-24 budget, which was criticized for heavily favoring ultra-orthodox communities in Israel. Approximately $4 billion is allocated in discretionary funds for ultra-Orthodox and pro-settler parties. The Otzma Yehudit party also said it had been appeased by the allocation of $67 million to Judaize the Naqab and Galilee through the Negev and Galilee development ministry. After the passing of the budget, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters he would focus on the judicial overhaul. (HA 5/22; AP, HA, HA, REU 5/23; AJ, AP, HA, HA, MEE, NYT, QDS, TOI 5/24)

The EU and U.S. expressed dismay with a bill that the Knesset Ministerial Committee for Legislation was set to debate on 5/28. The bill would impose a 65% tax on non-profits that receive funding from foreign governments while engaging in public advocacy. According to the bill it seeks to curb foreign interference. After days of lobbying by EU countries, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he would shelve the bill. (HA 5/24; HA, MEE 5/25; AJ 5/26; HA, WAFA 5/27; AX 5/31; TOI 6/2)

PayPal shareholders warned the company that they will take action if it does not expand access to the platform to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. At the same time, U.S. congressperson Mark Pocan (D-WI) circulated a letter among his colleagues calling on PayPal CEO Dan Shulman to allow Palestinians equal access to the company’s services. (GDN, HA, MEE 5/24; WAFA 5/25; MDW 5/26)

Forensic Architecture released an investigation in cooperation with Adalah on the Tantura Massacre committed by the Israeli army 1 week after the establishment of Israel. The investigation located at least 1 more mass grave and 2 additional possible mass grave sites. (FA 5/24; GDN 5/25; HA, MEE 5/26)