Friday, April 19, 2019

In the West Bank, 2 apartments in Hebron belonging to the family of a Palestinian convicted for the murder of an Israeli in February were demolished by Israeli forces. In Salfit, Israeli forces raided and took measurements for demolition of a home belonging to the family of a Palestinian alleged to have attacked Israeli settlers in the settlement of Ariel on 3/17. The alleged perpetrator was killed by Israeli forces on 3/20. Israeli forces also violently dispersed the weekly anti-settlement protests in Kafr Qaddum using live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, and tear gas, injuring 6. One French activist was arrested during the protest. In East Jerusalem, a soccer tournament in Bayt Safafa was shut down by Israeli police, claiming that it was organized by the PA. In Gaza, Israeli forces attacked 2 Hamas posts east of al-Bureij refugee camp after shots allegedly were fired at Israeli soldiers near the Gaza fence, causing damage, but no injuries were reported. Israeli forces also fired live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber-coated bullets at protesters partaking in the weekly Great March of Return protests, injuring at least 46 Palestinians. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen; no injuries were reported. According to Israeli sources, an incendiary balloon was found on a beach near Ashqelon in Israel. Israeli authorities announced that it would institute a week-long closure between 4/19 and 4/27 of entry points to Israel from Gaza and the West Bank for the celebration of Passover. (HA, HA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/19; HA, MNA, WAFA 4/20)

In an interview with the Atlantic, the outgoing French ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud, in discussing the Trump administration’s “peace plan,” called Israel an apartheid state. He said, “They [Israel] have the West Bank, but at the same time they don’t have to make the painful decision about the Palestinians, really making them really, totally stateless or making them citizens of Israel. They won’t make them citizens of Israel. So they will have to make it official, which is we know the situation, which is an apartheid. There will be officially an apartheid state. . . . They are in fact already.” Araud also recounted a conversation between French president Emmanuel Macron and U.S. president Donald Trump, in which Trump said “I have given everything to the Israelis; the Israelis will have to give me something.” (AM 4/19; HA 4/24)

The U.S. envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt rebuffed in a tweet speculations that part of the Trump administration’s “peace plan” includes transferring parts of Egypt’s Sinai to the Gaza Strip. (HA 4/19)