Sunday, February 19, 2023

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers vandalized Palestinian property in Silwad. Israeli settlers also assaulted Palestinian herders in Khirbat Makhul. Israeli forces seized 1 tractor and 1 bulldozer in Jalbun. In East Jerusalem, 3 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Jabel Mukaber, Shu’fat refugee camp, and al-Tur. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/19; PCHR 2/23; UNOCHA 3/4)

Residents of Shu‘fat refugee camp, Isawiya, Jabel Mukaber, and ‘Anata went on strike to protest the Israeli “policy of harassment and aggression adopted by the Israeli authorities, including the police.” Residents of the four East Jerusalem neighborhoods said they would barricade entrances and boycott Israeli agencies and the Jerusalem municipality. (HA, WAFA 2/18; MEE, WAFA 2/19; MEE 2/20)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir will lead a taskforce against incitement to terrorism on social media. Ben-Gvir was convicted of incitement in 2008. (HA 2/19)

In Syria, Israeli forces conducted airstrikes in Damascus, killing 4 civilians and 1 soldier, injuring 15 others, and causing damage to apartment buildings. Russia condemned the attack. (HA, MEE 2/18; AJ, AP, BBC, HA, REU, REU, WAFA 2/19; HA, TOI 2/22)

The UAE informed the UN Security Council that it will not call a vote on a draft resolution to demand that Israel ceases its settlement activity. The decision not to call the vote was reportedly the result of intense lobbying by the U.S. targeting the UAE and the PA. Instead the Security Council members are set to vote on a statement condemning Israeli settlement activity. Part of the deal made by the U.S. involved the PA not pursuing action against Israel in international organizations until August while Israel would not expand more settlements and legalize more settlement outposts beyond the 9 settlement outposts that Israel said it would legalize on 2/12. It was also reported that the U.S. had offered the PA meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House, movement on reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, and aid. (AX 2/18; AX, HA, REU 2/19; AJ, AP, HA, REU 2/20)

Leading Democrat and former presidential candidate senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said during an interview “I think we’ve got to put some strings attached to that [U.S. aid to Israel] and say ‘You cannot run a racist government,’ You cannot turn your back on a two-state solution. You cannot demean the Palestinian people there. You just can’t do it and then come to America and ask for money.” Senator Sanders also said he may introduce legislation to condition U.S. aid to Israel. (HA, MDW 2/20)