Monday, January 11, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers uprooted some 60 olive saplings in Jalud. Israeli settlers also attacked Palestinian vehicles traveling on the Nablus-Qalqilya road, leading to 1 injury and damage. Israeli forces shot and injured 7 Palestinians trying to enter Israel for work through the separation barrier near Far‘un. Israeli forces also seized heavy machinery used to rehabilitate a road in Kardala. 10 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around Bayt Umar, Sabastiyya, Qabatiya, Jalazun refugee camp, and Nahalin. In East Jerusalem, 6 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Issawiyya. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen 3 nautical miles west of al-Sudaniyya; no injuries were reported. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers east of Khan Yunis and Dayr al-Balah; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/11; PCHR 1/14)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Israeli defense ministry and the civil administration’s higher planning committee will approve 800 new settlement units in the Itamar, Beit El, Shavei Shomron, Oranit, Givat Ze’ev, Tal Menashe, and Nofei Nehemia settlements and settlement outposts. Prime Minister Netanyahu also said on Facebook that “[w]e’re here [in the West Bank] to stay. We’re continuing to build the Land of Israel.” Leader of the Israeli opposition Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party called the announcement of the new settlement units “irresponsible,” citing the U.S. presidential transition on 1/20. France’s foreign ministry, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the PA denounced the settlement expansion. Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz also approved a small number Palestinian construction projects in al-Walaja, Hizma, Bethlehem, and Bayt Jala. All the projects need secondary approval. (ABC, AJ, AP, HA, REU, TOI, TOI, WAFA 1/11; REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/12)

PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and a member of the PLO executive committee condemned the UAE for allowing Israeli settler products to be imported to its market after the 1st shipment of Israeli settler goods arrived in the UAE. (WAFA 1/11; REU 1/14)

The PA health ministry said it had approved the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V for emergency use. (WAFA 1/11)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas issued 3 presidential decrees, 2 of which critiques say serves to bolster the power of the PA presidency ahead of potential elections later this year. 1 decree allows the PA president to select judges instead of approving judges, who would be selected based on seniority. The decree also allows the president to force Palestinian judges to retire 5 years before the set retirement age of 70. A 2d decree establishes administrative courts, which can hear petitions against officials and institutions, previously a duty of the High Court of Justice. The president of the administrative court is appointed by the PA president. (HA 1/28)

An Israeli court in Lod ruled that screening or distributing the movie Jenin Jenin from 2002 by Mohammad Bakri should be banned and copies of the movie destroyed. Bakri was also ruled to pay $55,000 to an Israeli soldier who appears in archival footage used for the movie and $16,000 for the cost of the trial. The Israeli judge said that Bakri did not do enough research to label the movie a documentary. The PA ministry of culture condemned the ruling. (HA 1/11; AJ, TOI, WAFA 1/12; WAFA 1/13)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that he regretted forming a coalition with Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying that Netanyahu “cheated me and cheated you [the Israeli public].” He then called on all opposition leaders, including the Joint Arab List’s Ayman Odeh, to join him in sending “Bibi [Netanyahu] home” in the upcoming election. (HA 1/11)

The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Jordan, and Egypt met in Cairo to discuss reviving peace talks between Israel and Palestine. The quartet expressed willingness to work closely with the U.S. to map steps toward peace. In a statement, the 4 called for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. According to the Jerusalem Post, the 4 countries had tried to invite the Israeli and PA foreign ministers to the meeting, but both were unable or unwilling to travel for the meeting. (HA, WAFA 1/11; JP 1/12)

U.S. billionaire and mega-donor to Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, and Israeli settlements Sheldon Adelson died. Adelson had recently flown the convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to Israel from the U.S. so he could immigrate after being released from parole, and he bought the U.S. ambassador’s house in Tel Aviv from the U.S. state department earlier in 2020. Adelson was known to have had a large influence on U.S. president Donald Trump’s aggressively pro-Israel policies during his presidency. (AJ, AJ, HA, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU 1/12)