Tuesday, January 19, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers uprooted 100 olive saplings in Yatta. Israeli forces shot and injured 3 Palestinians trying to enter Israel for work near the separation barrier north of Qalqilya. Israeli forces also destroyed Palestinian-owned crops while conducting drills in the Jordan Valley. 5 Palestinians were arrested during raids in al-Fawar refugee camp, Salim, and Kafr Rai. In East Jerusalem, 5 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Issawiyya. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces sprayed water from water cannons at Palestinian fishermen 3 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya. In Gaza, Israeli forces shelled al-Maghazi, al-Bureij, and Bayt Lahiya, injuring 1 Palestinian and damaging 1 house in al-Maghazi, after claiming 1 rocket fired from Gaza landed on an empty field in Israel. (HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/19; AJ, WAFA, WAFA 1/20; PCHR 1/21)

The PA received 5,000 doses the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V after Israel cleared the shipment. (AJ 1/19)

An Israeli court reversed its decision to freeze the bidding process for an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem. The bidding process was halted on 1/15 after a petition by Palestinian residents and Ir Amim, which complained that 40% of the planned housing would be for Israeli citizens only, forbidding Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem from buying the property. (HA 1/15; HA 1/20)

At an Israeli cabinet meeting, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to legalize 3 Israeli settler outposts and establish 3 new settlements, but was stopped by Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz, who called the proposal “politically irresponsible . . . especially at such a sensitive time,” referring to either the upcoming Israeli elections of the transition of power in the U.S. (HA 1/19)

U.S. president Donald Trump pardoned the Israeli spy recruiter, Aviem Sella, who recruited Jonathan Pollard to spy on the U.S. for Israel in the 1980s. President Trump cited support for the clemency by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and Sheldon Adelson’s widow Miriam Adelson. Israel never extradited Sella to the U.S. after he was indicted in 1987. (AP, HA, JP 1/20)

At the confirmation hearing for Antony Blinken, U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Blinken said he supported the normalization deals made between the U.S., Israel, and Morocco, and Sudan, Bahrain, and the UAE. Blinken also said that it is “vitally important” that the U.S. involve Israel in reentering the Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement, that he does not see an immediate way forward on finding a solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and that he and President-Elect Biden both oppose the BDS movement. He furthermore stated that he considers Jerusalem the capital of Israel and that the U.S. embassy to Israel would remain in Jerusalem. Blinken did not mention East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. (HA, MEE 1/19; HA, MEMO, REU 1/20)