Friday, January 28, 2022

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers grazed their cows on Palestinian-owned land in Khirbet Samra, destroying crops. Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Kafr Qaddum, injuring 4 with rubber-coated bullets, including 1 minor, and others with tear gas. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Bayt Dajan, injuring 14 with rubber-coated bullets, including 1 medic, others with tear gas, and damaging 1 ambulance. Elsewhere, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Hebron, causing tear-gas related injuries. (MEMO, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/28; PCHR 2/3)

The New York Times reported that the Israeli government under then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu used authorization of the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware as a bargaining chip for foreign policy gains in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, India, Hungary, and Poland, among many other countries. 1 example from the NYT reporting was the reinstating of the NSO license to Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which was directly linked to Saudi Arabia opening its airspace to Israeli flights. Saudi Arabia regained its Pegasus license the same day as Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman called Prime Minister Netanyahu, striking the deal to open Saudi air space to Israel. Similarly, the UAE restarted cooperation with Israel on security issues in 2013 after being offered Pegasus spyware. The UAE had severed ties with Israel in 2010 after Israel assassinated Mahmoud al-Mahbouh at a Dubai hotel. Another example brought out of the investigation is a correlation between Panama and Mexico changing their votes at the UN after gaining access to Pegasus spyware. The NYT also said that the NSO Group had sold its Pegasus spyware to the FBI and tried to sell a special version of its spyware product to the FBI, called Phantom. The Phantom spyware is able to hack into American phones, unlike the Pegasus spyware. The Finnish foreign ministry also said that Finnish diplomats working at Finnish missions outside of Finland were targeted by the Pegasus spyware. (AP, HA, HA, MEE, MEMO, NYT 1/28; HA 1/31)

A federal court in Texas blocked the state from enforcing its anti-BDS law against 1 Palestinian American business owner. The man filed a lawsuit against the state in October due to its requirement that he promise not to boycott Israel. (AX 1/29; WAFA 1/30)

It was reported that the African Union will vote on 2/2 to decide if Israel will have its observer status revoked. Israel was readmitted as an observer state in July 2021. (HA 1/28; JP 1/30; F24 2/1)