Monday, November 8, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinians driving near Silat ad-Dhahr. Israeli forces delivered stop-work notices for 9 houses in al-Ramadin and Arab Abu Farda near Qalqilya and demolished 2 agricultural structures in Tarqumiyah. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Hebron, causing tear-gas related injuries. 9 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Jalazun refugee camp, Beitunia, Silwad, Rantis, Tulkarm, Jannatah, and Beit ‘Anan; Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians protesting the raid in Beit ‘Anan with live ammunition and tear gas and no injuries were reported. In Gaza, Israel said it had downed a drone belonging to Hamas, which crashed into the sea. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen 2 and 6 nautical miles from the coast; no injuries were reported. (HA, MEMO, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 11/8; PCHR 11/11)

Islamic Jihad charged the PA with creating division among Palestinians by arresting its members in the West Bank. It was unclear when and how many members of Islamic Jihad the PA had arrested. (MEMO 11/9)

PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh met with a bi-partisan group of senators led by Chris Coons (D-DE) in Ramallah. The group discussed reopening the consulate to Palestinians in Jerusalem and U.S. aid to Palestinians. (WAFA 11/8; TOI 11/10)

In Syria, Israeli forces conducted air strikes in Homs and Tartus, injuring 2 Syrian soldiers and causing damage. (HA 11/8)

Haaretz reported that the Israeli military did not know that AP and Al Jazeera had offices in al-Jalaa high-rise in Gaza before deciding to level it on 5/15. Top officials in the Israeli military, including chief of staff Aviv Kochavi, were alerted to the fact after the decision was made to target the building, but before the strike was carried out, and nevertheless decided to go ahead with the strike. Israel never publicly released any evidence to back its claim that Hamas operated out of al-Jalaa building. (HA, MEMO 11/8)

The Washington Post reported that Israel has a secret program called Blue Wolf that includes a large database of pictures of Palestinians taken by Israeli soldiers incentivized with prizes. The pictures are then used to enhance Israel’s facial recognition technology, allowing the occupation to monitor the movements of Palestinians in the West Bank. The sources told The Post that Israeli soldiers have an app on their phone called Wolf Pack, which contains pictures, family history, education, and a security rating for “virtually every Palestinian in the West Bank.” As part of the surveillance program, Israel has installed face-scanning cameras in Hebron. 1 former Israeli soldier told the Post that in some cases, Israel can see into Palestinian private homes. (HA, MEMO, WP 11/8; MEE 11/9)

Front Line Defenders published an investigation showing that the Israeli NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware had been used to spy on 6 Palestinian human rights activists, including 1 field researcher working for Al-Haq, the executive director of Bisan Center for Research and Development—a U.S. citizen—1 Palestinian lawyer who works for Addameer and had his permanent residency in East Jerusalem revoked on 10/18, and 3 unidentified Palestinians. Front Line Defenders investigated 75 iPhones and found 6 were infected with Pegasus spyware, later confirmed by Citizen Lab and Amnesty International. The 3 named victims work for organizations deemed to be terrorist groups by Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz on 10/22 for alleged connections with the PFLP. NSO Group was blacklisted by the U.S. on 11/3 for facilitating attacks on human rights activists and journalists. AJ, ALM, AP, Front Line Defenders, GDN, HA, HA, IT, MEMO, REU 11/8; HA 11/9; MEMO 11/11)

6 progressive-leaning members of U.S. congress, including Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CT), Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), and Mark Pocan (D-MN) met with Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid during a J Street-sponsored trip to Israel and Palestine. (HA 11/8)

A U.S. court rejected NSO Group’s claim of immunity in a lawsuit brought by Facebook, also known as Meta Platforms Inc., about the hacking of its WhatsApp servers. (HA 11/8; MEMO 11/9)