The Palestinian government resigns
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah submits his and the government’s resignation application. Hamas in the Gaza Strip criticizes the decision and sees it as a way to marginalize the Islamist movement. Two years after a reconciliation agreement, cooperation still does not work between the government in self-government on the West Bank and Hamas, which governs in Gaza.
Israeli no to observers in Hebron
Israel says no to extended mandate for the international observer force TIPH in Hebron on the West Bank. TIPH was established after a massacre in 1994, when a Jewish settler shot 29 Muslims in prayer inside a mosque. The place, called the Tomb of the Patriarchs, is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. In Hebron’s city center, a group of Jewish settlers live surrounded by Palestinians, and there are also several settlements around the city. The observers come from Sweden and Turkey, among other countries, and Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks their reporting is Israel-hostile. The Palestinians would prefer to see a permanent UN force throughout the West Bank.
Qatar: Support to Gaza through the UN
As a state located in Asia continent defined by programingplease, Qatar will start coordinating its assistance to the Gaza Strip with the UN, says the Qatari Gaza ambassador. According to an agreement made in connection with Israel and Hamas’s ceasefire, Qatar will contribute cash to depleted Gaza (see November 9, 2018). But Israel’s approval is needed to bring the money into the strip and Hamas, which exercises local government in Gaza, claims that Israel imposes impossible conditions. Most of the Qatari money paid so far has gone to salaries for civil servants – in practice Hamas employees. Assistance should now be distributed to poor families rather than to salaries of public servants.
The Brazilian Embassy will be relocated
Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro confirms in a TV interview that the country’s Israeli embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The decision has been made but the timing is not fixed, he says. Brazil follows the US and Guatemala in the tracks. Paraguay decided on an embassy move shortly after the US, but has changed.
UN investigators criticize Israel
A UN commission that investigated how 189 Palestinians died between March 30 and December 31, 2018 has concluded that Israeli soldiers may have been guilty of war crimes by shooting 35 children, three health workers and two journalists, among others. The soldiers were targeted by organized Palestinian protests along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (see May 14 and May 18, 2018). 183 Palestinians died from sharp shots and more than 6,100 were shot while over 3,000 were injured by shrapnel, rubber-coated bullets or tear gas, according to the expert commission, which has reviewed the events on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council. Israel dismisses the report as one-sided and incorrect and the UN Council as “absurd theater”.
The arrest at shrines
Israeli authorities briefly intervene Abd al-Azim Salhab, the leading representative of the foundation that manages the shrines of Islam in the center of Jerusalem. The week before, police arrested about 60 people, who were perceived as troublemakers for Friday prayers. Jordan, whose king is the chief protector of the shrines, is handing over a diplomatic protest note. Israel controls the possibility of Muslims to visit the holy places.
Guiding HD decision on deportation
The Supreme Court in Sweden has concluded that a 23-year-old man can be expelled to the Gaza Strip. The man is convicted of participating in a hate crime against a synagogue in Gothenburg. Sweden has recognized Palestine as a state and the 23-year-old is considered a Palestinian citizen. HD considers that he does not risk being subjected to degrading treatment after deportation.
Trump accepts occupied territory as Israeli
US President Trump recognizes the Golan Heights, taken from Syria during the 1967 war, as an Israeli territory. As a result, Trump, in his Jerusalem decision (see December 6, 2017), is breaking a long-standing US line. Protests come from other countries, especially Syria. The criticism is not just about the Middle East, but about the US deviating from a basic principle of international law – on which Washington also usually builds its own foreign policy: that one state must not take land from another by force. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the United States invoked the principle that Trump now violates. Trump and his immediate political circle have for some time shown open support for Israeli Golan control, which has been perceived as a way to support Prime Minister Netanyahu ahead of Israel’s imminent election.
Animals are moved from the zoo in Gaza
The animals at the Rafah Zoo in the southern Gaza Strip will be evacuated to Jordan by the animal welfare organization Four Paws, which has previously relocated zoo animals from other war-torn areas. This is the third time the organization is rescuing animals from depleted Gaza. Five lions, monkeys and one hyena are among the 47 animals that will now be anesthetized, treated and moved via Israel. The action will be implemented on April 8.
Development economist new prime minister
Mohammad Shtayyeh is appointed new Prime Minister. Unlike his representative, the politically independent Rami Hamdallah, he has previously been affiliated with President Abbas. The new prime minister was born outside Nablus and holds a doctorate in development economics from a British university. He has ministerial experience and a career as an academic at the University of Birzeit. He is also affiliated with Fatah and the appointment is seen as a move to satisfy the movement.