Wednesday, April 26, 2023

In the West Bank, hundreds of Israeli settlers, led by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, held mass prayers at the evacuated Homesh settlement outpost. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles in the area. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian-owned house near Jalud and stole a donkey from the property. Israeli settlers uprooted some 100 grapevine plants in al-Khader. Israeli forces razed land in Haris, uprooting several olive trees. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound and raised an Israeli flag at al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli forces also raided Bab al-Rahma for the fourth day in a row. In Nazareth, Israeli police raided the local branch of the Hadash party to confiscate a Palestinian flag, 1 person was arrested for refusing to take down the flag. Israeli police returned the flag after MK Aida Touma-Sliman protested the act to the police, calling it “manifestly illegal.” (HA, HA, MEE, QDS, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/26; PCHR 4/27; UNOCHA 5/5)

A group of foreign diplomats visited a school in Jubbet ad-Dib near Bethlehem in protest against Israeli plans to demolish the school along with 57 others in the West Bank. An Israeli court ruled in March that the Israeli Civil Administration must demolish the school by 5/5. (WAFA 4/26; PCN 4/28)

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen released a congratulatory video on Israel’s 75th Independence Day, using the trope that Israel made “the desert bloom.” The PA issued a statement criticizing von der Leyen for using the phrase, calling it “anti-Palestinian racist” and said her remarks were “inappropriate, false, and discriminatory,” calling on von der Leyen to apologize. (AJ, BBC, MEE, MEMO, WAFA 4/27; MEMO 4/28)