Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

January 2016

Monthly highlights

• Holy See announces that Vatican’s recognition of Palestine in 2012 has come into effect. (2 Jan.)

• UN Special Rapporteur Wibisono resigns. (4 Jan.)

• Al-Quds Center reports that 60 per cent of Palestinians killed by Israel were killed at army checkpoints. (19 Jan.)

• Israel's MOFA accuses EU Council’s most recent conclusions as biased against Israel. (19 Jan.)

• President Abbas says anyone who gives up Jerusalem is a traitor and there will be no Palestinian State without it. (23 Jan.)

• SG Ban briefs Security Council, saying settlement activities raised questions about Israel’s commitment to two-State solution. (26 Jan.) 

• UNRWA reported that 70 per cent of the unexploded ordnance from the 2014 conflict  remain in Gaza. (26 Jan.)

• FM Fabius tells French diplomats France would recognize a Palestinian State if peace  efforts fail. (29 Jan.)

Two Israeli soldiers were charged with negligence over the death of an unarmed Palestinian teenager who in 2013 had crossed the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Budrus. (The Telegraph)
Israeli soldiers attacked dozens of Palestinian protesters in ‘Azzoun town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, wounding twenty Palestinians. (IMEMC)
Two people were killed and at least seven wounded when an attacker opened fire on a pub and nearby café in central Tel Aviv. The police suspects an Arab Israeli, Nashat Milhem. He also presumably killed a taxi driver. His two brothers have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the crime. Israel has requested of the Palestinian authority that it shares any intelligence that could lead to the capture of the suspect. (The Israel Times)
Israeli extremists hurled a Molotov cocktail into a Palestinian home in Beit Forik, east of the Nablus in the West Bank. The attack led to property damage but no casualties. (IMEMC)
The Israeli air force launched strikes across the Gaza Strip targeting Hamas facilities after rockets had been fired from there. No human casualties have been reported. (Ma’an News Agency)
The Holy See announced that an agreement signed last year making the Vatican’s de facto recognition of Palestine in 2012 official has come into effect. (Reuters)
A senior PLO official stated that the changes in the United Nations Security Council with five new countries becoming new members might serve the Palestinian cause “(…) in terms of earning more than nine votes backing the Palestinian bids.” (Xinhua)
Two Palestinian 12-year-old boys arrested on 30 December were charged with attempted murder and possession of knives. (Ma’an News Agency)
Two young Israeli settlers were charged in connection with a deadly arson attack in July on a Palestinian home in the West Bank, that killed the 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha and his parents, and severely injured his four-and-a-half year old brother. Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, was charged with murder in the attack in the village of Duma. A minor who was not named confessed to helping plan the Duma attack, and was charged with providing assistance and conspiracy to commit a crime, as well as involvement in four additional attacks on Palestinian property over the last 18 months and an arson attack last February on the Dormition Abbey, a landmark church that sits on Mount Zion, just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Three more Israelis were charged with various additional crimes, including an assault on a Palestinian shepherd. Two of them are also minors. (New York Times, The Times of Israel)
Three Palestinians, including a child, were shot and injured by Israeli fire during clashes that erupted in Dheishe Refugee Camp, to the south of Bethlehem. (WAFA)
Two Israeli soldiers, one a woman, were wounded in separate shootings in Hebron. The first shooting happened near the Ibrahimi Mosque, known by Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs. (AFP)
A young Palestinian attempted to stab an Israeli in Jerusalem, and was arrested. (The Times of Israel)
Israeli forces detained 13 Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)
The “Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee” stated in a report that 85 per cent of Palestinians who were killed by Israel since the beginning of 2015 were extrajudicial field executions. It described Israeli politician’s calls to kill Palestinians, instead of detaining them, as a war crime, which it affirmed violates principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The committee noted that the Israeli authorities have not conducted any criminal investigations against soldiers who intentionally killed Palestinians. (WAFA)
The Israeli army extended the designation of parts of Hebron’s Old City as a closed military zone for an additional month. Palestinian residents of the area were required to register for special permits to cross through the 18 military checkpoints in the city center, while all others – excluding Israeli settlers – have been banned entry. (Ma’an News Agency)
Police arrested three more people for their presumably involvement in the Jerusalem wedding ceremony that incited violence towards Palestinians. (The Times of Israel)
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Makarim Wibisono, submitted his resignation to the President of the Human Rights Council, effective as of 31 March 2016. The independent expert expressed deep regret that, throughout his mandate, Israel failed to grant him access to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. “Unfortunately, my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way,” said Mr. Wibisono, adding that that throughout his tenure, the Government of the State of Palestine cooperated fully with the mandate. The Special Rapporteur voiced deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law. He underscored that it was important for Israel’s own human rights credibility to cooperate fully with the mandate, including by allowing unfettered access to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. (United Nations)
Israeli forces opened live fire at Palestinian farmers trying to reach their fields near the Israeli border east of Gaza City. No casualties were reported. (WAFA)
Israeli forces demolished the family home of a Palestinian attacker and sealed off the home of another attacker’s family with cement in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. They were both shot dead on 13 October after carrying out separate attacks that left four Israelis dead. (Ma’an News Agency)
An 18-year-old Palestinian was shot dead after he stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli soldier south of Bethlehem. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces detained 17 Palestinians, including at least four minors, in the West Bank. (WAFA)
The Israeli Navy fired at Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza, destroying one of them. There were no immediate reports of casualties. (Albawaba, The Times of Israel)
Israeli security forces canceled a plan to attach numbered stickers to the identification cards of Palestinians living in the vicinity of the Jewish settlement in Hebron. According to Israeli officials, the original intention had been to expedite the security checks and shorten the process through which Palestinians who reside near the Jewish enclave move through the checkpoints. The practice of numbering IDs immediately drew comparisons to the Nazi era, when authorities forced Europe’s Jews to bear tattooed numbers on their arms. (The Jerusalem Post)
50 Palestinian inmates at the Israeli Nafha Prison in Israel’s Negev desert have reportedly gone on hunger strike to protest against mistreatment as well as poor conditions at the detention facility. (Albawaba)
Israeli forces detained at least 15 Palestinians, including six children, in multiple predawn detention raids in Hebron, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqiliya, Bethlehem, Nablus and Tubas. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces stormed the International Committee of the Red Cross’ headquarters in occupied East Jerusalem and detained six Palestinian activists staging a sit-in on site to protest a decision by the Israeli authorities to deport them from Jerusalem for a period of five to six months for alleged security reasons. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli media reported that Israeli Defense Minister Yaalon has decided to incorporate a southern West Bank church compound into the illegal “Gush Etzion” settlement block. The church lies in a sensitive location between “Gush Etzion” and the cluster of Israeli settlements around Hebron, and its incorporation into “Gush Etzion” would see a near continuous line of settlements between Jerusalem and Hebron. The building had had been sold to a Swedish company in 2008, with the guarantee that it would continue to be used as a church; however, the company turned out to be a front for a pro-settlement organization. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces demolished five dwellings housing Palestinian Bedouin families in the Abu Nuwwar community east of Jerusalem – part of the wider “E1” corridor, leaving 25 people homeless. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet in Al-Esawiyya in East Jerusalem. (IMEMC)
Palestinian President Abbas announced that the PLO would officially make a decision next week regarding agreements signed with Israel. He reiterated past statements made by Palestinian political bodies supporting the end of security coordination with Israel established through the Oslo Accords. (Ma’an News Agency)
Qatar is reportedly mediating between Hamas and the Palestinian Government on the operation of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The head of a Qatari committee to reconstruct Gaza, Mohamed Amadi, arrived in Gaza to discuss the issue with Hamas leaders. (Xinhua)
Three Palestinians were shot dead after they allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at the Gush Etzion junction in the southern West Bank. Another Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack at the Beit Einun junction, north-east of Hebron. There were no Israeli injuries in the incidents. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli soldiers detained at least 14 Palestinians in the West Bank. (IMEMC)
Israeli navy boats shot at Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza City coast. No injuries were reported. (WAFA)
Israeli police demolished two Palestinian-owned homes in the Ein el-Lawza neighbourhood in Jerusalem, citing construction without a permit as the reason. In Silwan, Israeli authorities demolished a house and another building. (WAFA)
UNRWA Director of West Bank Operations Felipe Sanchez condemned the demolition by Israeli authorities of five homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the Abu Nwar community in Area C, near East Jerusalem, leaving 26 refugees, including 17 children, homeless. “The humanitarian consequences of this destruction of property are grave and I am seriously concerned, particularly about the children who are now homeless,” Mr. Sanchez said. (UN News Centre)
Israeli government ministers will decide on 10 January whether to support a bill calling for the labelling of products imported from countries that decided to label products from Israeli settlements. Member of the Knesset Shuli Moalem-Reafeli (Habayit Hayehudi), who co-sponsored the bill, said that through labelling consumers would be provided with the opportunity to choose whether they were interested in buying products from those countries. (Haaretz)
Israeli forces seized land owned by a number of Palestinian families in the town of Yabad near the “Mevo Dothan” settlement in the northern West Bank, claiming that it was a closed military zone. (WAFA)
Israeli forces shot at least 21 Palestinians with live and rubber-coated steel bullets in clashes in the West Bank and Gaza. (Ma’an News Agency)
US State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said during a daily press briefing: “We are deeply concerned about the [Israeli] Minister of Defence’s decision to expand the existing settlement boundary of the Gush Etzion Regional Council to include a former church compound, which effectively creates a new settlement on 10 acres in the West Bank. It’s important to note that some 70 percent of the West Bank’s Area C has already been unilaterally designated as Israeli state land, or within the boundaries of these regional settlement councils… Along with the regular retroactive legalization of unauthorized outposts and construction of infrastructure in remote settlements, actions such as this decision clearly undermine the possibility of a two-state solution.” (www.state.gov)
Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians at the Bekaot checkpoint in the West Bank. The Israeli military said that the two had tried to stab soldiers, but a Palestinian witness disputed the military’s account, saying the men had not got out of their vehicle. (Reuters)
An Israeli navy boat opened heavy machine gunfire on Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the Israeli-imposed fishing zone off the Gaza coast. The boats were damaged, but no injuries were reported. (IMEMC)
In the village of Surda, north of Ramallah, Israeli forces demolished the home of a Palestinian who stabbed and killed two Israelis in Jerusalem’s Old City on 3 October. (Ma’an News Agency)
The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs said that an Israeli court had sentenced a 14-year-old Palestinian boy from the Gaza Strip to six months in prison. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinian youths with live fire and five others with rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes in the village of Tuqu, south of Bethlehem. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces detained six Palestinians in the West Bank. (WAFA)
Israeli authorities took over 300 dunums of land near the town of Ya’bad, west of Jenin, just outside the “Mevo Dotan” settlement, declaring that the land was a closed military zone. (WAFA)
Hamas and a committee of Palestinian political factions held a meeting in Gaza regarding ongoing efforts towards reopening the Rafah crossing with Egypt. A DFLP member said that a recently-proposed initiative to end the closure had been examined and that all parties had agreed to meet again on the matter. (Ma’an News Agency)
Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Yousef Ide’es said that Israeli authorities and settlers had committed over 1,336 violations against Muslim and Christian holy sites in the OPT in 2015. (WAFA)
Israeli forces shot and wounded an 18-year-old Palestinian after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint south-west of Jenin. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces overnight detained 21 Palestinians in the West Bank. (WAFA)
Israeli navy ships opened fire on a number of Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, forcing them to return to shore. No injuries were reported. (IMEMC)
A spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies said in a statement that Israeli forces had detained more than 1,900 Palestinians from East Jerusalem in 2015, around two thirds of them minors. (Ma’an News Agency)
Prime Minster Netanyahu expressed fears that the European Union will try to promote further sanctions against Israeli settlements in the West Bank. During the monthly meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels next week, a decision is expected on the EU’s next steps on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. (Haaretz)
The Palestinian Public Workers Union announced that its members would donate one per cent of their wages in January to the families of suspected Palestinian attackers whose homes were demolished by Israeli forces. (Ma’an News Agency)
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) stated that it received only 20 per cent of the money needed for the reconstruction of the destroyed houses in the Gaza Strip. (Middle East Monitor)
The IDF said Israeli soldiers raided Birzeit University on 10 January, seizing materials linked to local terror cells as well as “Hamas propaganda”. (Times of Israel)
Israeli forces shot and killed a 21-year-old Palestinian man during clashes in Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. (Ma’an News Agency)
The Israeli army and police detained at least 16 Palestinians, including minors, in the West Bank and Jerusalem. (WAFA)
Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians, 23- and 17-years-old, at the Beit Einun junction, north-east of Hebron, after alleged attacks. (Ma’an News Agency)
Algerian Ambassador to the Arab League Nazir Al-Arbaoui handed Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby a cheque for $26 million as a contribution to the Palestinian Government’s budget, Al-Resalah newspaper reported. (Middle East Monitor)
Issa Qaraqe, the Chairman of the Palestinian Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, said that the lives of three hunger striking Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails were at stake due to a significant deterioration in their health conditions. He added that one of the three would be the first Palestinian detainee to be force-fed since the enacting of the force-feeding law by the Knesset in July 2015. (WAFA)
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom called for an investigation to determine if Israel was guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during recent violence. “It is vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability,” she said during a parliamentary debate. (Reuters)
Israeli security forces shot dead two Palestinians during an attempted stabbing attack in Hebron while a third was killed in unrelated clashes. Seven Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and many others suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. (AFP, IMEMC)
Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians in Nablus and Jenin. (IMEMC)
Israeli forces confiscated 300 dunams (30 hectares) of Palestinian farmlands in Ya’bad in the northern West Bank and declared it a closed military zone. (IMEMC)
Israeli forces informed the Palestinian government of plans to build six military watchtowers near the illegal Israeli settlement of “Yitzar”, in Nablus district in the northern West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)
A Palestinian hunger striker ended his 50-day strike after Israeli authorities reportedly agreed to some of his demands. (Ma’an News Agency)
A new academic study in the peer-reviewed medical journal “Reproductive Health Matters” has revealed dozens of cases of “alleged sexual torture or ill-treatment” of Palestinian male prisoners detained by Israel. According to the article, “Israeli authorities are systemically involved with torture and ill-treatment of a sexual nature.” (MEMO)
One Palestinian was killed and three others were injured, at least one seriously, after an Israeli drone fired a missile in Beit Lahia town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. (IMEMC)
Israeli soldiers arrested at least 15 Palestinians in different districts of the occupied West Bank, including four children in occupied Jerusalem. (IMEMC)
A 16-year-old Palestinian teenager who allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli man was indicted at the Jerusalem District Court for attempted murder. (The Times of Israel)
Officials from Sweden are currently unwelcome in Israel, Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely said after Sweden’s Foreign Minister Wallstrom had called for an investigation to determine whether Israel has been conducting extrajudicial executions of Palestinians during the current wave of violence. (The Times of Israel)
Following statements by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom calling for Israel’s investigation for extrajudicial executions of Palestinians, Sweden’s Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser was summoned by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Ynet.com)
The Palestinian Monetary Authority announced that PA foreign exchange reserves dropped by 15.3 per cent in 2015, and stood at $473.8 million. (Middle East Mirror)
CNN listed the Palestinian Museum, set to open in the West Bank in May 2016, as one of its “Nine best attractions opening in 2016.”  The museum’s opening is scheduled to coincide with Nakba Day. (The Jerusalem Post)
The IDF issued a statement saying that Israeli airstrikes had hit a Palestinian “terrorist cell” on the border with Gaza, killing one and that the cell was preparing to detonate a bomb when an IDF patrol came by. (JTA)
Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 20-year-old Palestinian man east of Hebron. The Israeli army said the soldiers “thwarted an attack when the young man attempted to stab them, causing no injuries among soldiers.”  (International Middle East Media Centre)
A Palestinian stabbed and slightly injured an Israeli commander in the West Bank before he was shot dead by Israeli forces, officials said. (Xinhua)
Israeli forces detained 18 Palestinians from across the West Bank in predawn raids, locals and Israel’s army said. (Ma’an News Agency)
The IDF shut the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza following heavy fighting between Egyptian security forces and militants in the nearby Sinai Peninsula. (The Jerusalem Post)
Israeli forces demolished four greenhouses and a water well in the Jordan Valley, locals said. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israel’s Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Israel Radio that Israel’s pre-emptive raids and arrests had prevented the violence from escalating into an armed Palestinian revolt, and he predicted that the grassroots violence would stop. (Reuters)
Prime Minister Netanyahu told foreign correspondents that the EU “encourages illegal building” in Area C of the West Bank in order to “alter the political reality” on the ground. (Haaretz)
The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported that recent testimonies from child detainees, held by Israel, revealed they have been subject to torture and abuse during their abduction, and interrogation. (International Middle East Media Centre)
UNRWA launched its $817 million emergency appeal for Syria and the OPT. The estimated 450,000 Palestine refugees in Syria are displaced and 95 per cent of them rely on UNRWA for assistance. Thousands remain trapped in areas of active conflict. The number of Gazans relying on humanitarian assistance increased from 80.000 in the year 2000 to over 830,000 today. (www.unrwa.org)
Israeli security forces injured three Palestinian children with live fire during severe clashes in Al-Bireh in the West Bank. The injured children were taken to a hospital, while Israeli forces also detained six Palestinian children. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces demolished a home under construction and uprooted olive trees in the village of Beit Ummar north of Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)
Palestinian prisoner Muhammad al-Qiq stopped taking vitamins as he entered the 51st day of a hunger strike he began to protest of his administrative detention. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in support of the so-called “NGO transparency bill”, promoted by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, following a meeting of US Ambassador Shapiro with Shaked to voice the US Administration’s concerns over the proposal, which Shapiro said would have a “chilling effect” on NGO activity. The Ambassadors of Germany, Britain, France, Holland and the European Union to Israel have also made their concerns known to both Shaked and the Prime Minister’s Office. (Haaretz)
Israeli soldiers detained a Palestinian police officer at a mobile Israeli roadblock outside Ya’bad, near Jenin in the West Bank. (IMEMC)
The European Union announced that it would be sending €12.3 million ($13.4 million) to the Palestinian Authority’s social allowances program to benefit poor Palestinian families living in the West Bank and Gaza. The contribution is the final portion of a €50 million ($54.5 million) pledge made by the EU in 2015 for the cash transfer program of the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs. (Ma’an New Agency)
Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians, 18- and 26-years-old, in a stone-throwing clash near the Gaza border. An Israeli military spokesperson said that dozens of Palestinians had been rioting in the area and some had tried to breach the border with Israel. (Reuters)
Israeli navy vessels opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, forcing them to return to shore. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)
Qatar provided more than 1,000 apartments to residents of the Gaza Strip whose homes were destroyed in the 2014 war. (AFP)
Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man in Nablus after he allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers. (Ma’an News Agency)
A Palestinian broke into the “Otniel” settlement, south of Hebron, and stabbed a 38-year-old Israeli woman to death in her home. The attacker fled the scene. (AFP)
Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians across the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)
The Qatar Red Crescent Society undertook a $664,240 vocational training project for people with disabilities in the Gaza Strip in partnership with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. The aim of the project is to reduce poverty in Gaza and raise the quality of life for people with disabilities by improving their socio-economic status. (Peninsula)
Israeli police discovered anti-Christian graffiti in Hebrew on the walls of the Dormition Abbey, a Benedictine monastery located just outside Jerusalem’s Old City. (AP)
Israeli civilian security guards from the illegal Israeli settlement of “Efrat” in the district of Bethlehem detained a Palestinian shepherd while he was leading a herd of sheep near the settlement’s fence. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces demolished several structures in two villages in Ramallah claiming that they had been built without permits. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces suppressed a non-violent protest held near Ofer prison, south-west of Ramallah, in solidarity with hunger striking prisoner Mohammad al-Qiq, the first Palestinian hunger striker to be force-fed by Israeli authorities since the enactment of the force-feeding law by the Knesset. (WAFA)
A Palestinian attacker stabbed and moderately wounded a pregnant Israeli woman in the “Takoa” settlement near Bethlehem before being shot and injured. (AP, Ma’an News Agency) 
Israeli soldiers arrested 32 Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. (IMEMC)
Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian stores in the village of Kharbatha al-Misbah, west of Ramallah, in Area C. (WAFA)
An Indian delegation led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Palestine and met with Foreign Minister Riad Malki. They discussed bilateral relations, current socio-political developments in the region and the Middle East peace process. (Ma’an News Agency)
In its conclusions on the Middle East peace process adopted the Council of the EU said, “The EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation – including of EU funded projects – evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts and restrictions of movement and access. … The EU and its Member States are committed to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlements products. The EU expresses its commitment to ensure that – in line with international law – all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. This does not constitute a boycott of Israel which the EU strongly opposes.” (www.consilium.europa.eu)
Speaking to the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank, US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said that the US was “concerned and perplexed” over Israel’s strategy of building settlements in the West Bank and their expansion raised questions about Israel’s intentions and stated commitment to establishing an independent Palestinian State. (AP)
The IDF and Shin Bet security services arrested a 15-year-old Palestinian suspect in the murder of an Israeli woman in the “Otniel” settlement committed on 17 January. (Haaretz)
Israeli forces detained at least 16 Palestinians in the West Bank. (WAFA)
Israeli military vehicles infiltrated the eastern part of the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip, shooting indiscriminately in all directions. No casualties were reported. (WAFA)
Israel’s Channel 2 reported that the US had prepared a plan aimed at assuaging Israeli security concerns in the event of a pull-out from the Jordan Valley as part of a future final status treaty with the Palestinians. It envisages a “war room” that would include Israeli, Palestinian and American security officials as well as joint Israeli-Palestinian patrols across the West Bank for an interim period, until the Palestinian security forces prove their ability to maintain control on the ground. (The Jerusalem Post)
Human Rights Watch said in a new report that businesses should stop operating in, financing, servicing, or trading with Israeli settlements in order to comply with their human rights responsibilities, and that those activities contribute to and benefit from an inherently unlawful and abusive system that violates the rights of Palestinians. (www.hrw.org)
Palestinian labourers were temporarily banned from working on settlements in the West Bank. The order came after two stabbing attacks on Israeli settlers that left a 39-year-old mother of six dead and a pregnant woman moderately wounded. (Haaretz)
The Al-Quds Center for Israeli and Palestinian Studies reported in a study published that more than 60 per cent of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the last three months were killed at army checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. (Al Bawaba)
A Palestinian human rights activist was arrested by Israeli army forces and was transferred to the police for questioning. The investigators did not disclose the grounds for his arrest to the activist’s lawyer. (Haaretz)
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the EU Council’s most recent conclusions on the Middle East peace process, released on 18 January, as being biased against Israel. In a press release, the Ministry said, “The EU continues to apply a double standard in relation to Israel, ignoring the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility for the diplomatic stalemate and the incitement feeding the current wave of Palestinian terrorism.” (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli leaders sharply criticized US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro’s observation that the law in the occupied West Bank is applied differently to Palestinians and Israelis, calling it “unacceptable” and demanding a retraction. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the US diplomat’s remarks “unacceptable and wrong.” (The Washington Post)
Referring to the EU’s decision to label products coming from Israeli settlements, US State Department Spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing: “We do not view labelling the origin of products as being from the settlements a boycott of Israel. We also do not believe that labelling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott.” (Ynetnews)
In a joint statement, the Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Robert Piper, and the Director of UNRWA Operations West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, called for an immediate end to Israeli plans to transfer Palestinian Bedouin currently living within the Jerusalem area. The call followed a visit with diplomats from 17 countries to the Palestinian Bedouin community of Abu Nuwar, the site of recent demolitions and aid confiscations by the Israeli authorities. (www.ochaopt.org)
The National Working Group for Palestinians in Syria revealed in a report that an estimated 184 Palestinian refugees, including 21 children, have died inside the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria as a result of the regime’s blockade and lack of medical care. (Middle East Monitor)
During a Security Council debate on protection of civilians, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine Riyad Mansour pointed out that the Temporary International Presence in Hebron provided limited protection in the City, citing resolutions dating back to 1987, by which the Council took the Palestinians’ need for protection into account. (UN press release SC/12210)
Mercator, Slovenia’s largest supermarket chain, removed Israeli products from its shelves following pressure from the BDS movement. (Ynetnews)
Israeli soldiers have arrested 31 Palestinians, including several children, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) reported. (IMEMC)
Several Israeli military vehicles entered and bulldozed Palestinian farmland near the border fence east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. (IMEMC)
Majed Faraj, Director of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, said that the Palestinian security services had prevented 200 attacks against Israelis in the latest wave of attacks since October 2015. He added that the Palestinian security services had also confiscated weapons and arrested some 100 Palestinians in the effort to prevent the attacks. (Times of Israel)
In response to allegations that the Palestine Red Crescent Society had failed to provide due care to the victims in the immediate aftermath of the 13 November 2015 attack against an Israeli family, the ICRC published a statement indicating that its delegation in Israel and the occupied territories had thoroughly reviewed all information available and concluded that the Palestine Red Crescent Society had acted with impartiality. (www.icrc.org)
Israeli forces bulldozed a house in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem, claiming the house did not have a proper construction permit. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli authorities demolished a home under construction belonging to a Palestinian in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli soldiers demolished a Palestinian home under construction in Beit al-Roush, south of Hebron. (IMEMC)
In the central West Bank town of Salfit, Israeli forces raided the home of a Palestinian prisoner detained for his alleged involvement in the planning of a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on 3 October, and delivered a demolition notice to his family. (Ma’an News Agency)
According to Israel’s Army Radio, Israel plans to appropriate 380 acres of agricultural land in the Jordan Valley, close to Jericho. Hanan Ashrawi, a senior PLO official, described Israel’s reported move as a violation of international law and challenged the international community to hold Israel to account. (Forward)
According to the Palestinian Detainees Committee, Israeli authorities have arrested 130 Palestinians in 2015 for social media activities deemed by Israel to be “incitement.” (IMEMC)
Israeli police said they have arrested a second Jewish youth suspected of scrawling anti-Christian graffiti on the Dormition Abbey church in Jerusalem earlier this week. (Ma’an News Agency)
The United States condemned a planned Israeli move to appropriate West Bank land near Jericho, saying the action called into question Jerusalem’s commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. (AP, Times of Israel)
The Israeli army detained at least 19 Palestinians and shot and wounded two others in overnight raids across the West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. The detained Palestinians were from the districts of Hebron, Ramallah and Tulkarm. (International Middle East Media Center, Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)
The Palestinian Association for Animal Welfare will submit a letter to the Dutch Foreign Ministry, signed by 3,000 rights and solidarity groups, requesting the Netherlands to stop providing attack dogs to Israel. The letter will explain that the dogs were used by Israeli soldiers as a weapon that caused “serious wounds for civilians”. (Middle East Mirror)
Senior Palestinian and Israeli officials said that the Palestinian leadership has been recently in contact with France, Spain and Egypt, all members of the UN Security Council, to draw up and support a resolution that will condemn the settlements in the West Bank and declare them illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be meeting separately on the side-lines of the annual World Economic Forum at Davos with US Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Kerry to discuss such a SC resolution. (Haaretz)
The IDF escorted by bulldozers surrounded the Jabal al-Baba neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, forcibly evacuating 17 Palestinian Bedouins and demolishing their three housing structures. The forces also levelled the lands on which the houses had been standing. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said that he has revoked the permanent residency permits of four Palestinians from East Jerusalem who allegedly killed Israelis in Jerusalem in recent attacks. (AFP)
Addressing the Arab League in Cairo, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the Palestinian problem “should not be marginalized”. Mr. Xi announced 50 million yuan ($7.6 million) in aid for the Palestinians. (DPA)
The head of the legal unit in the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Jawal Bolous, said the health condition of the hunger striking Palestinian journalist Mohammad Al-Qiq has reached an extremely critical level after a 58-day hunger strike to protest his administrative detention. On 27 January the Israeli court would determine whether to release or renew his detention. (WAFA)
The Palestinian National Initiative’s Boycott Campaign held a march in Hebron city to call for Palestinians to ramp up their efforts in boycotting Israeli settlement goods. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli Border Police evacuated several dozen Jewish settlers from two houses in Hebron, after the settlers entered the buildings, claiming they had bought them from Palestinians. Security officials said the decision to clear them was made by the Defence Ministry, and the military has now forbidden entry into the buildings. (The Times of Israel)
A 13-year-old Palestinian girl was shot dead by an Israeli security guard after allegedly trying to stab him near the settlement of “Anatot.” (Ma’an News Agency)
President Abbas told journalists following a Fatah Central Committee meeting that anyone who gives up Jerusalem is a traitor and there will be no Palestinian State without it. He said Palestinian diplomatic efforts were continuing with France to convene an international peace conference. Arab countries supported the efforts. The Palestinian leadership would go to the Security Council in a bid to halt construction in the settlements. The move would be coordinated with Arab foreign ministers. He reiterated his readiness to resume peace talks once there is a cessation of settlement construction and more Palestinian prisoners are released.  Abbas cautioned against turning the conflict into a religious one. He expressed support for a “peaceful popular” uprising. Anyone who acts against security would be arrested, he warned. (The Jerusalem Post, Xinhua)
Hundreds of mourners joined the funeral procession of Muhammad Nabil Halabiya, 17, who had been killed the day before by a pipe bomb that exploded prematurely. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed, during a Government meeting, to support settlement activities, including Jerusalem, and to seek “a legal process to allow the settlers to return” to the two Hebron buildings they were evicted from on Thursday. Israel said the two buildings will remain shut “until the court reaches a final decision regarding their ownership,” which caused frictions in the coalition. (IMEMC)
The Israeli air force launched airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, targeting Hamas facilities, after rockets were fired from the enclave, officials said. No casualties were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)
The Shin Bet said they had arrested Palestinian twin sisters from a village near Tulkarm in December who were plotting bomb attacks. (The Jerusalem Post)
A Palestinian opened fire on Israeli troops during an operation in Jenin camp. Three Palestinians were arrested; there were no reports of injuries. A total of 10 Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency, The Times of Israel)
Two women were wounded in a stabbing attack in the settlement of “Beit Horon.” Two Palestinians were shot and killed by security guards. Security forces also found three home-made bombs in the vicinity. (Ynetnews)
The OIC welcomed Indonesia’s decision to host an extraordinary summit in Jakarta, on 6-7 March. According to a press release issued by the OIC, the Jakarta summit will be devoted to the Palestinian issue in light of the Israeli policies which include oppressing the Palestinian people, changing Jerusalem’s demographic and attacking Al-Aqsa Mosque. (MEMO)
For the first time in almost 2 years, the Israeli authorities approved the building of 153 settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (Haaretz)
Qatar is trying to help Fatah and Hamas to reach a “unity agreement”, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported. After a string of secret meetings, preparations are under way for a public meeting in Doha aimed at sealing an agreement, the report said. (The Times of Israel)
Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel Tzipi Hotovely wrote in an op-ed that the PA is using aid money to support terror by paying stipends to families of imprisoned Palestinians. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah called it a “fiction to whitewash Israel’s occupation.” (The Wall Street Journal, WAFA)
PFLP prisoners threatened to launch an in-prison protest in support of a PFLP-affiliated prisoner who has been kept in solitary confinement for more than five months by Israeli authorities. (Ma’an News Agency)
The Israeli Government has announced, following a court petition, that it may revoke the closed military zone status of a number of land plots in the Jordan Valley, returning the land to their original Palestinian owners after decades of confiscation, Haaretz reported. The land has been cultivated by settlers since 1980. (Haaretz)
A group of 71 British doctors is pushing for the World Medical Association (WMA) to expel the Israeli Medical Association (IMA), due to allegations of torture, the IMA’s chairman said during a meeting of the Knesset. (Ma’an News Agency)
In just three days, an online letter endorsing the academic boycott of Israeli institutions, circulated by Brazilian intellectuals, received 200 signatories from faculty across Brazilian universities. (IMEMC)
A 23-year-old Israeli woman who was stabbed by a Palestinian in the “Beit Horon” settlement the day before died of her wounds. (Ynetnews)
At least six Palestinians were reported killed in the collapse of a tunnel dug under the Al-Tuffah neighbourhood of Gaza City. (The Times of Israel)
The Palestinian Government announced the allocation of one million litres of fuel to the Gaza Strip’s main power plant, which has suffered from chronic shortages due to the Israeli blockade and the recent freezing weather. (Ma’an News Agency)
During a Security Council open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that settlement activities raised questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-State solution and he was troubled by plans for 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, as well as the decision to declare 370 acres there “State land”. Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez, Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that those who had spoken about the dangers of violent extremism were missing the fact that the unresolved question of Palestine was one of extremists’ primary recruitment tools, as were Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory and its ill treatment of the Palestinian people. He added that a Security Council resolution with clear parameters and a time frame for ending the conflict would be the right step forward. (UN press release SC/12219)
The head of the main settlement council in the West Bank wrote to Prime Minister Netanyahu calling on him to block official Palestinian media broadcasts. The request came following the testimony of a 15-year-old Palestinian who killed an Israeli woman, in which he reportedly admitted he had been incited after watching Palestinian television. (Ynet News)
UNRWA reported that 70 per cent of the unexploded ordnance from the 2014 conflict (more than 7,000 explosive remnants of war) remains in Gaza, which continues to pose a threat to Gaza’s population, especially children and adults who work on agricultural lands. (IMEMC)
Israeli soldiers detained eight Palestinians, including two children (12 and 15), in different parts of the West Bank. (IMEMC)
Israeli naval forces detained four Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)
UNRWA in Gaza has assisted approximately 500 Palestine refugee families with non-food items and nylon plastic sheets to help them cope with the heavy rainfall and cold during this week’s winter storm. No casualties or injuries have been reported, although already fragile infrastructure may have been impacted. (www.unrwa.org)
Israeli forces tore down two buildings in occupied East Jerusalem, claiming one had been built without permits and the other stood in the way of a new route connecting Israeli settlements. The demolition rendered 19 persons, including many children, homeless. (IMEMC, Ma’aan News Agency)
Israel’s Supreme Court said that it would not release hunger-striking Palestinian journalist Mohammed Al-Qiq despite his deteriorating health. (AFP)
The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed in a statement their longstanding concern about the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charge. “There are over 500 Palestinians, amongst them at least four minors, who are currently being held in administrative detention. The EU missions are especially concerned about the deteriorating health condition of the Palestinian journalist Mohammed Al-Qiq, held in administrative detention in Israel for more than two months now, and on hunger strike since 25 November 2015. The EU calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all prisoners”, the EU missions said in the statement. (http://eeas.europa.eu)
Israeli police said that a 17-year-old Palestinian stabbed and seriously wounded a 50-year-old Israeli man near a gas station in the “Givat Zeev” settlement. (AP)
Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager at the Qalandiya military checkpoint south of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank following an attempted stabbing attack, Israeli police said. (Ma’an News Agency)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that a national unity government as well as national elections were still on the table, but not yet approved by the Hamas movement. Hamas did not release an immediate response to his comments. (Ma’an News Agency)
Hamas’ military wing confirmed that seven Palestinians were killed in a previously reported tunnel collapse in the east of Gaza City. (Haaretz)
Israeli forces detained Palestinian lawmaker Muhammad Abu Tair and at least 22 others from across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during raids. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian farmers and shepherds in the Gaza Strip near the border with Israel. There were no injuries. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces delivered a demolition order for the Ein al-Rashash area in Nablus, home to 85 Palestinians. (Ma’an News Agency)
At the opening of the 2016 session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Young people especially are losing hope. They watch as Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, expand and expand. They are losing faith in their own leadership to deliver genuine national reconciliation and see the dream of a sovereign, contiguous and independent Palestinian state slip away. … I will count on this Committee to take constructive and meaningful action to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to meet our shared goal.” Also during the meeting, the Committee elected its Bureau and approved its programme of work for 2016. The Committee also heard a report on the International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem and the United Nations Civil Society Forum on the Question of Palestine held in Jakarta in December 2015, and approved the provisional programme for the upcoming United Nations Roundtable on Legal Aspects of the Question of Palestine to be held in Amman in March 2016. (www.un.org)
Israeli authorities announced that Israel would release the bodies of two Palestinians shot dead earlier after a stabbing attack that left one Israeli killed and another injured, a spokesperson with the Palestinian Red Crescent said. (Ma’an News Agency)
Five Palestinian teens from the West Bank village of Hares were given sentences of 15 years in prison over the death of an Israeli toddler hurt in a 2013 car crash caused by stone throwing. (Ma’an News Agency, The Jerusalem Post)
The US State Department confirmed that a reminder has been issued that products imported from the West Bank should not be labelled “made in Israel.” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the decision was a restatement of longstanding policy. (AFP)
The ICRC said in a statement that the life of imprisoned Palestinian journalist Mohammed Al-Qiq is in danger from his 64-day hunger strike. ICRC called on Israeli authorities and Al-Qiq himself “to find a solution that will avoid any loss of life.” (AFP)
Human Rights Watch filed its annual 2016 global report, which said “there was a sharp rise in killings and injuries related to Israeli-Palestinian hostilities beginning in October. Overall, Palestinians killed at least 17 Israeli civilians and 3 Israeli soldiers, and injured 87 Israeli civilians and 80 security officers in the West Bank and Israel…Israeli security forces killed at least 120 and injured at least 11,953 Palestinian civilians in West Bank, Gaza, and Israel, including bystanders, protesters, and suspected assailants.” The report said Israel took “inadequate action against Israeli settlers who injured 84 Palestinians and damaged their property in 130 incidents.” (The Jerusalem Post)
Israeli soldiers raided the students’ dorms in Abu Dis University in East Jerusalem, causing excessive property damage, and confiscated computers and flags. (IMEMC)
Israeli soldiers raided the district of Bethlehem and detained six Palestinians. The soldiers also detained one Palestinian in the northern West Bank district of Jenin. (IMEMC)
France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French diplomats that France would recognize a Palestinian state if its efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at an international conference failed. He added that the conference would aim to bring together the two parties and their American, European and Arab partners in order “to make happen a two-state solution”. (AP)
President Abbas during his statement at AU Summit in Addis Ababa called upon the AU to support an international peace conference. (WAFA)
A shooting attack at a military checkpoint was followed by a blockade of Ramallah and adjoining villages and towns by the Israeli forces. Three Israeli soldiers had been wounded by a PA police officer, who was then killed. (Ma’an News)
China’s Special Envoy for Middle East Affairs Gong Xiaosheng, while visiting Ramallah, reiterated China’s full support for the establishment of a State of Palestine on the basis of 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. (Xinhua)
The Palestinian Ministry of Health sent medical supplies worth of $ 1,514,617 to the Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News)