Saturday, March 26, 2022

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort raided Asira al-Qibliya, throwing stones at houses and vehicles, leading to a confrontation with Palestinian residents; tear-gas related injuries were reported. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians sitting near Herod’s Gate plaza, causing injuries from pepper spray; 1 minor was arrested. (WAFA, WAFA 3/26; PCHR 3/31; UNOCHA 4/10)

Palestinians in the West Bank voted in the 2d round of municipal elections. No elections were held in Gaza as Hamas boycotted the elections, and in East Jerusalem Israel prevented elections from taking place. In the week leading up to the elections, Israel arrested 3 candidates and there was speculation whether Israel had coordinated with Fatah to ensure that the party would win the election. The Central Elections Commission said that the voter turnout for the 2d phase of the municipal elections was 53.69%. Candidates running on independent lists won 64.4% of the votes. Hamas, which formally boycotted the elections, allowed candidates to run as independents in the West Bank. (WAFA 3/21; HA, MEE 3/25; AP, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/26; WAFA 3/27; ALM 3/28; ALM, PCHR 3/29)

U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken arrived in Israel for a 3-day visit attending a summit of countries that have normalized ties with Israel and for meetings with PA officials. Secretary Blinken will later visit Morocco and Algeria. Jordan was said to have been informally invited and had declined the invitation. The PA called on the participants to bring up issues related to Palestinians during the summit and criticized Israel for using Iran to remove Palestine from the international agenda. (AX 3/25; AP, HA 3/26; HA, HA 3/27)