Wednesday, December 15, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli forces delivered stop-work notices for 1 agricultural structure, 1 residential structure, 1 water well, and 1 playground in Susiya. Israeli forces arrested 3 Palestinian farmers and seized their tractor in al-Rakiz. 6 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Biddu, Beit ‘Anan, Bethlehem, Kafr ad-Dik, and Qarawat Bani Hassan. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers fenced off houses in Sheikh Jarrah with barbed wire, set up surveillance cameras, and assaulted 1 member of the Salem family, the owners of the land; the family is threatened with forced eviction. 1 Palestinian family demolished their own 3 houses on a plot of land in Silwan, displacing 35. 2 Palestinians were arrested in Isawiya. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/15; MEMO, PCHR 12/16)

UNESCO added Palestinian embroidery, tatreez, to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh thanked UNESCO for “protect[ing] our Palestinian identity, heritage and narrative, in the face of the occupation’s attempts to steal what it does not own.” Prime Minister Shtayyeh’s comment follows criticism of Miss Universe contestants dressing in Palestinian thobes while promoting Israel during events linked to the Miss Universe competition in Israel last week. (WAFA 12/15; AJ, WAFA 12/16)

The spokesperson for Christian churches in the Holy Land charged Israel with discriminating against Christian tourists by closing off Israel and the West Bank to foreign travelers due to the COVID-19 pandemic while at the same time allowing Jewish-only “Birthright” tourism. An official from the Catholic church called Israel’s discrimination shocking. (AP 12/15; DT 12/18; LT, TOI 12/19)

Al Monitor reported that Qatar and Israel had agreed to a bilateral agreement on allowing diamond trade between the 2 countries. The reporting suggested that Israeli diamond merchants will be allowed to enter Qatar and Qatari merchants will be able to enter Israel. Qatar and Israel have not had official ties since 2009. (ALM 12/15)

The Israeli supreme court criticized interior minister Ayelet Shaked for maintaining a ban on Palestinian family reunifications, despite the ban legally expiring in July this year. (HA 12/15)

U.S. senator Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the passage of $1 billion in additional military aid to Israel, allegedly to replenish the Iron Dome arsenal. The Senate has been trying to pass the additional military aid to Israel through unanimous consent, but Senator Paul has blocked the 4 efforts. Senator Paul insists that the funding for Israel’s military should be deducted from aid earmarked for Afghanistan. (TOI 12/16; MEMO 12/18)