Friday, May 21, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort attacked Palestinians in Hebron, leading to tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian celebrations of the ceasefire (see below) in Hebron and Bethlehem, leading to tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Beita, injuring 2 with rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition; others suffered tear-gas related injuries. Elsewhere, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Huwwara, injuring 2 with live ammunition; others suffered tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces also violently dispersed protesters in Kafr Qaddum, injuring 3 with rubber-coated bullets; others suffered tear-gas related injuries. 3 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Bani Na‘im, Abu Njeim, and Jaba‘. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians at the Haram al-Sharif compound after the Friday noon prayer, confiscating Palestinian flags, arresting 17, and injuring 23 worshipers with rubber-coated bullets. During the raid, 1 Agence France-Presse journalist was also beaten by Israeli forces. Israeli forces also closed down Shaykh Jarrah to all Palestinians, including those living in the area. In Gaza, 17 Palestinians, including 2 children, were found dead in rubble from Israeli air strikes, raising the comprehensive death toll since 5/10 from 236 to 253, including 67 children and 3 pregnant women. 1 toddler was found dead in rubble from an air strike on Gaza City 5/11; 1 child was found in rubble from an Israeli air strike on a house in al-Shati refugee camp on 5/15; and 15 Palestinians were also found dead in rubble from Israeli air strikes in a tunnel hit by Israeli missiles. In Israel, before the ceasefire took effect (see below), 1 Israeli was injured by rocket shrapnel and 1 house in Kibbutz Be’eri was damaged by a rocket from Gaza. (HA 5/20; AJ, AJ, AX, HA, MEE, PCHR, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/21; HA 5/25; PCHR 5/27)

A ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, brokered by Egypt, took effect at 2 a.m. 263 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 68 children, and 12 people were killed in Israel, including 1 soldier, 2 Thai citizens, 1 Indian citizen, and 2 Palestinian citizens of Israel. Around 2,000 Palestinians and 345 Israelis were wounded over the 11 days. Israel partially reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing after the ceasefire, allowing some humanitarian aid and goods into Gaza. U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken said he would meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials during a trip in the coming days. The Gaza housing ministry said that 16,800 housing units had been damaged by Israeli missiles, including 1,800 that had become unfit for living. Some 90,000 Palestinians in Gaza were reported to be internally displaced due to the Israeli attacks, including more than 66,000 seeking shelter at UNRWA facilities. It also reported that Palestinians in Gaza were getting between 3-4 hours of electricity a day, while they previously received 12 hours a day before the escalation started on 5/10. Israel said that some 4,350 rockets had been fired from Gaza toward Israel and that the Iron Dome had intercepted approximately 90% of them. Both Israel and Hamas declared victory. Egyptian officials also arrived in Gaza to discuss with Hamas officials about maintaining the ceasefire. Islamic Jihad in Palestine said that 19 of its fighters were among the 263 Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza during the latest escalation. Hamas later said that 80 members of its militia had been killed. (AJ, HA, HA, REU 5/20; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, ALM, ALM, ALM, ALM, ALM, AP, AP, AP, AX, AX, AX, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, JP, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/21; AX, HA, WAFA 5/22; HA, WAFA 5/23; NYT 5/25; AP 5/26; HA 5/27)

13 trucks carrying food, COVID-19 vaccines, and other aid crossed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. (AJ, WAFA 5/21)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas discussed the Israel-Hamas ceasefire and the need for humanitarian aid with U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken. In a phone call between President Abbas and Saudi king Salman, the latter condemned Israeli aggression in Jerusalem and Gaza. (AJ, WAFA 5/21)

The owner of 1 of the high-rise buildings in Gaza bombed by Israel said he is filing a formal complaint to the ICC about the attack on his building, calling it a war crime. His building, al-Jala Tower, housed AP and Al Jazeera offices in Gaza as well as many residential units. PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh also pledged to refer the Israeli attacks on Gaza to the ICC. (AJ, WAFA 5/21)

Digital rights group 7amleh said Israel and the companies TikTok and Facebook, including its subsidiary Instagram, are cooperating in order to silence Palestinian voices and content on the social media platforms. Posts and hashtags have been deleted from the platforms and users, banned. 7amleh said it was especially concerned related to Gaza and Shaykh Jarrah, which had been censored. Sada Social also sent a formal complaint to Facebook, condemning the censorship. (AJ, WAFA 5/21)

Lebanese president Michel Aoun wrote a letter to the parliament, saying that prime minister-designate Saad Hariri is incapable of forming a cabinet. (HA, REU 5/21; MEMO 5/22)

The U.S. state department circumvented a potential obstacle from Congress by granting Boeing an export license for $735 million’s worth of weapons to Israel. U.S. senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said on 5/20 that he wanted the Senate to review the sale. (JC 5/25; ALM 5/27)

A bomb killed 7 people at a Palestinian solidarity rally in Chaman City, Pakistan. The bomb was said to have targeted a political leader who had organized the event. Pakistan’s foreign minister had declared the day a “day of solidarity” with Palestinians. (AJ 5/20; HA, MEMO 5/21)

China said it would send aid to Gaza to help treat the injured and house the homeless. (AJ 5/20)