Thursday, July 15, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up mobile homes outside of the Shvut Rachel settlement near Jalud to expand the settlement. Israeli forces demolished several structures in Khirbet Humsa after demolishing more than 30 structures on 7/7. Israeli forces also demolished 1 large Canaanite-era cemetery near al-Khader to expand a settlement road; the cemetery was dated around 2300 to 1550 B.C.E. Elsewhere, Israeli forces demolished a large water tank in Bayt Dajan. Palestinian students from Birzeit University held a sit-in protest at the university for the mass arrest of 33 students on 7/14 by Israeli forces in Turmus ‘Ayya, were the students were visiting the family who were victims of a punitive demolition on 7/8. All of the 33 students were released the same day. 10 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around ‘Asira al-Qibliya, Marah Rabah, Deir Qaddis, Abu Dis, and ‘Anin. In East Jerusalem, 1 Palestinian was arrested during a house raid in al-Tur. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian agricultural lands east of Khuza‘a; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 7/15; PCHR 7/29)

The Intercept and Local Call reported that Israeli settlers and soldiers had cooperated in the deliberately killing at least 4 Palestinians on 5/14, a day where Israeli soldiers and settlers ultimately killed 11 Palestinians across the West Bank. In videos obtained by B’Tselem, it is evident that Israeli settlers stand side by side with Israeli soldiers firing automatic rifles at Palestinians trying to protect themselves from a settler raid in ‘Urif. Similar joint attacks by settlers and soldiers led to killings of Palestinians in Iskaka, ‘Asira al-Qibliya, and al-Reihiya. (+972, INT 7/15; HA 7/16)

Haaretz said that documents they had examined revealed that the Israeli defense ministry had worked with a Jewish National Fund subsidiary, Himanuta, to purchase Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank and to prevent Palestinians from accessing the land in question. The deals between Himanuta and the defense ministry were made in 2018 and 2019. Among the purchases were a 1,000-dunam (250 acres) plot of land near the Hamra settlement, which Israel closed off to its Palestinian owners more than 50 years ago; a plot of land near Ramallah; the home of the Bakri family in Hebron; and a 218-dunam (54 acres) plot of land near the Argaman settlement. (HA 7/15)

Israel and Morocco signed a cybersecurity agreement in Rabat, further bolstering the 2 countries’ normalization deal. (MEMO 7/15)

The New York Times reported that Israel is refusing to extricate a Mexican former federal prosecutor, Tomas Zeron De Lucio, who is wanted for falsifying evidence, torture, and misuse of the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. According to NYT sources, Israel is refusing the extradition because of the country’s perception of Mexico as supportive of Palestine. Zeron De Lucio is said to have sought political asylum in Israel. (HA, MEMO, NYT 7/15; GDN, TOI 7/22; TOI 7/23)

The Canadian cybersecurity research group Citizen Lab said that spyware from the Israeli company Candiru was used to spy on more than 100 activists from several countries including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Hungary, Indonesia, the UK, Palestine, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Spain, Turkey, Armenia, and Singapore. Spyware was installed on the users’ computers using the Microsoft operating system Windows. Microsoft said it had updated its software to close the hole in its security. 1 of the ways the spyware infected users’ devices was when a user clicked on a URL set up by the attacker. Citizen Lab found that activists had been hacked through domain names from fake websites with domain names such as “amnesty reports,” “refugee international,” woman studies,” “euro news,” and “CNN 24-7.” (AJ, AP, GDN, MEE, REU 7/15; ALM 7/16; NYT 7/17)

Lebanese prime minister-designate Saad Hariri resigned 9 months after being picked to try to form a government. Hariri’s resignation followed a meeting with President Michel Aoun on 7/14, where he proposed a 24-minister cabinet. (AJ, HA, REU, REU 7/14; AJ, AP, AX, HA, MEMO, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU 7/15; AP 7/16)

Facebook suspended the account of a Palestinian user who uploaded a letter from the Palestinian political prisoner in Israeli jail Khalida Jarrar to her recently deceased daughter. The account was initially suspended for 60 days but was unblocked by Facebook on 7/20. (HA 7/20; HA 7/21)

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said at a conference hosted by the Geneva Institute that China plans to increase its involvement in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. At the virtual conference were also a member of the Knesset from the Meretz (Vigor) party and Ahmad Majdalani, the PA social development minister. (HA 7/15)

A football exhibition match between Beitar Jerusalem and the Spanish F.C. Barcelona was canceled after Barcelona demanded the game should not be held in Jerusalem, which the owner of Beitar Jerusalem refused. Barcelona’s demand came after weeks of pressure from Palestinians, including chairman of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub and Joint List member of Knesset Sami Abu Shehadeh. (ALM 7/13; AJ, AP, HA, MEE, MEMO 7/15; ALM 7/16; WAFA 7/17; MEMO 7/18)