Sunday, April 18, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli forces delivered a stop-work notice for renovations at a cemetery near Yatta. Israeli forces also seized 1 bulldozer in Bardala. 4 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 at checkpoints in Jericho and Bethlehem, and 1 during a house raid in Hizma. In East Jerusalem, for the 6th night in a row, Palestinians protested the Israeli-imposed restrictions on the Old City during the month of Ramadan; Israeli police violently dispersed the protest with water cannons and stun grenades and 3 Palestinians were arrested. In Israel, Palestinian-Israelis protested the sale of a building in Jaffa to a Jewish religious organization, saying their community is being settled by Jewish-Israelis; 3 members of the Jewish organization were reportedly assaulted and clashes with police ensued. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands east of Abasan and al-Qarara; no injuries were reported. (AP 4/18; HA, HA, TOI, TOI 4/19; HA 4/20; PCHR 4/22)

Gaza saw the highest COVID-19 death toll in a 24-hour period as 23 Palestinians died in Gaza of the virus. 761 people have died of COVID-19 in Gaza since the start of the pandemic. This occurred as Israel reopened society after vaccinating the majority of people within the Green Line while refusing to provide vaccinations to the people in its occupied territory. (HA, WAFA 4/18)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke, via video link, at the annual J Street conference, where he said that the PA is “ready to resume negotiations with our Israeli counterpart on the basis of international legitimacy, resolutions and signed agreements and under the auspices of the International Quartet.” He also said that moving away from a 2-state solution would lead to apartheid. President Abbas also commended the Biden administration for resuming aid and restoring bilateral relations. (HA 4/18)

Israel and Greece signed a defense procurement deal worth $1.65 billion. According to the deal, the Greek air force will get a training center operated by Elbit Systems, and Elbit will maintain the Greek air force fleet for 20 years. The deal was signed in Cyprus after a meeting between the foreign ministers of Israel, Greece, Cyprus, and the UAE. (AJ, HA, REU 4/18)

The Financial Times reported that Iranian and Saudi Arabian officials met in Baghdad on 4/9 to see if the 2 countries could move toward repairing relations. It was reported that no agreement was reached. (AJ, HA, REU 4/18; REU 4/19; AP 4/21)