Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian politician and veteran peace negotiator, has died weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus. He was 65. One of the most recognizable faces among the Palestinian leadership, for decades Erekat served as a senior negotiator in talks with Israel, often donning a black-and-white checked Palestinian kaffiyeh scarf. A political science professor, he studied international relations at the University of San Francisco.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, President Trump threatened to stop aid to Palestine, if they do not participate in peace talks, accusing the Palestinians of ‘disrespecting’ the United States. While widening the diplomatic rift between the US and Palestine, Trump tried to repair relations with Britain, after a tense month.
Palestinian teen activist, Ahed Tamimi, arrested after slapping two Israeli soldiers has accepted a plea deal to serve just 8 months in prison. Tamimi agreed to plead guilty to the 12 charges against her including assault, saying, ‘there is no justice under the occupation,’ as the conflict between Palestine and Israel seeps into the newer generation.
President Trump harshly commented on the stance of Palestinian Authority on the peace process in the Middle East amid backlash over his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump tweeted Tuesday, ‘with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?’ Palestinians believe Trump’s Israel decision damaged the peace process.
The Palestinian Prime Minister’s convoy was hit by an explosion during a rare visit to the Gaza Strip, potentially derailing reconciliation efforts between Palestine’s two main parties on Tuesday. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was unharmed, and no group claimed responsibility for the attack, which Hamdallah considered a failed assassination attempt. Gaza’s ruling Hamas group denied involvement.
Demonstrations at the Gaza and Israel border were calmer on Tuesday as funerals were held for some of the Palestinians killed by Israeli troops on Monday and the Palestinians commemorated the Nakba, meaning “Day of the Catastrophe”, the day Israel was formally recognized as a state on May 15, 1948, 70 years earlier. At an emergency UN meeting, Israel and Palestine engaged in a fierce exchange, with the Palestine envoy citing ‘crime against humanity.’
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman rejected the demands for an investigation into the deaths of at least 15 Palestinians during last Friday’s Gaza border protests, saying troops ‘deserve a commendation,’ and warned they will target militant groups inside Gaza if the border violence does not cease. Pope Francis commented on the situation, calling for ‘reconciliation’ in his Easter Sunday speech.
Following President Trump’s warning that aid would be cut, $65 million of a $125 million installment for the United Nations relief agency for Palestinians was withheld by the United States. State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, claims the move reflects US desire to see reforms in the agency, claiming ‘this is not aimed at punishing’ anyone.
The Palestinian teenage activist Ahed Tamimi who rose to international prominence after slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier was released from an Israeli prison on Sunday after serving an eight-month term. Tamimi spoke to crowds in her hometown upon her return, saying ‘Resistance is continuing until the occupation is removed.’ Tamimi plans to study law.
A Palestinian was killed by an Israeli tank shell in the Gaza Strip early on Friday, hours before Palestinians were to stage mass sit-ins along the border with Israel. The Palestinian “March of Return,” a series of mass protests along the border between Gaza and Israel, is taking place on Friday.