Monthly Report - January 2021


Due to the increasing number of Covid cases in Israel (approximately 8,000/day), the Government imposed a 2-week total lockdown at the beginning of the year. The lockdown was later extended to the whole month of January, with every movement between Palestine and Israel prohibited.
On January 24th Israel closed Ben Gurion airport, blocking all flights for people coming back to Israel from abroad. Land borders with Jordan and Egypt have been closed since January 26th. These restrictions caused protests: on January 26th in the town of Bnei Brak a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested violently against anti-Covid measures, setting a bus for public transport on fire.
In Palestine, lockdown has been prolonged until the end of January, so movement between the West Bank governorates is prohibited unless it is strictly necessary.
Meanwhile, Israel has continued its massive vaccination campaign, and now one third of the population is covered.

In Palestine, the first doses of vaccine purchased by the Palestinian Authority should arrive in the first days of February, even if no suitable infrastructure to deliver the doses has been set up yet.
Israeli forces attacked quite a huge number of Palestinian civilians in January. On January 1st in the village of Ar Rakeez, an Israeli female soldier shot Haroun Abu Haram, a 20-year-old Palestinian who was trying to resist the confiscation of his family’s electric generator. On January 5th a man was killed by Israeli forces in Bethlehem as he was in the surroundings of the Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion. On January 26th a 17-year-old boy was killed by Israeli forces near the settlement of Ariel.
On January 9th Ezra Nawi died. He was one of the most famous Israeli activists, as he spent most of his life fighting for Palestinian dignity under Israeli military occupation. He was a leading figure for the Ta’Ayush and a model for younger Human Rights Defenders. Moreover, he was highly appreciated by the community living in the South Hebron Hills, where he spent most of his life as an activist.


January was a very challenging month on the South Hebron Hills.
On January 1st, during a confiscation, an Israeli female soldier shot Haroun Abu Aram on his neck, leaving him paralysed. Due to this serious act, people on the Hills have organized a systematic protest taking place each Friday.
Between January 8th and 9th, Israeli armed forces arrested Sami Hureini, Hafez’s older son. Hafez is the leader of the nonviolent resistance in the area. Israeli forces surrounded Hafez and Sami’s house and arrested Sami after blindfolding him. They brought him away in the middle of the night. He was brought to the Israeli police station in the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba only after 3 hours, and he was accused of attacking police officers during the protests he had allegedly organized.
His hearing was postponed for one week, then Sami was released on bail. He has been prohibited to organize and take part in protests and he will have to go back to the police station every Friday, spending 8 hours there. The next hearing will take place on March 1st.
On January 21st Israeli settlers from Susya broke into Ismail's cave, in Tawamiin: his family were forced to leave the cave and threatened.
In the morning, Ismail’s family called the Israeli Army to denounce what had happened, but the armed forces declared they already knew everything and threatened them again. They told the family if they tried to call for support of international or local activists, they would be permanently removed from the area.
On January 23rd, Israeli and Palestinian activists organized a peaceful protest in Tawamiin to express their solidarity to Ismail’s family. During the protest, Israeli forces attacked the activists with tear gas and sound bombs, dispersing them in small groups. When the protestors arrived in front of Susya settlement, a huge number of Israeli settlers attacked them despite the presence of the Israeli Army.
Demolitions did not stop. In particular, a school and a mosque were demolished in Al-Qusa, near Umm al Kheir. Moreover, more than 90 olive trees were destroyed in Shab el Butum, and a hundred in Shuweika.