Churches for Middle East Peace

Israelis Protest Netanyahu Amid 3rd Virus Lockdown

A look at responses to pandemic plans and efforts, more proposed construction, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: An Israeli protester holds a giant syringe during a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu near his official residence, in Jerusalem, during the third nationwide coronavirus lockdown, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

israelis protest during 3rd lockdown

Israelis protest Netanyahu amid 3rd virus lockdown
AP News

“Thousands of Israelis on Saturday (January 10) renewed weekly demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for the long-serving leader to resign over corruption charges against him and his alleged mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. Protesters held signs reading ‘Go,’ and ‘Bibi, let my people go,’ referring to Netanyahu by his nickname."

Image: An Israeli protester holds a giant syringe during a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu near his official residence, in Jerusalem, during the third nationwide coronavirus lockdown, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

gaza covid hotels

2020 was a bad year for Gaza hotel-turned quarantine centers

“New Year’s Eve was different this year in the Gaza Strip. Instead of hosting parties and organizing celebrations, hotels hosted individuals kept in quarantine as a precaution amid the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, and as part of the strict measures taken to combat the virus that causes COVID-19, the Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip has transformed Gaza hotels into quarantine centers for those returning to Gaza. This prevented hoteliers from hosting New Year's Eve events.”

Image: A Palestinian man wearing a protective face mask as a preventive measure against the coronavirus walks inside a closed wedding venue in Rafah, Gaza Strip, March 22, 2020. (Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)

karnei shomron

Israel announces new settlement construction days before Biden inauguration

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz are advancing the construction of some 850 Jewish housing units in West Bank settlements, days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20. The Administration's Supreme Planning Council is expected to advance construction of the housing units, currently in various stages of approval, during its next meeting, but the date for the meeting hasn't been set yet.”

Image: Karnei Shomron settlement in 2019. (Eyal Toueg)

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gantz meeting with settlers

Gantz meeting with settlers has not led to outpost legalization

“A secret meeting that Alternative Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) had with settlers last week has not led to the authorization of West Bank outposts. The meeting held at the home of Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevitch (Blue and White) was first reported on Sunday morning by Army Radio, which indicated that Gantz has spoken both in support of the outposts and in support of a meeting of the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria to advance settler housing projects. The Jerusalem Post has since confirmed the meeting, but despite Gantz’s words, no action has been taken to advance the issue.”

Image: Tzachi Hanegbi at a protest tent erected by the Yesha Council and Young Settlements Forum outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem office. (Marc Israel Sellem)

permits for palestinian construction

After approving settlements, Gantz advances permits for Palestinian construction
Times of Israel

“Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved a number of preliminary steps for Palestinian construction projects in the West Bank, his office said Monday (January 11), in an apparent effort to offset any potential blowback for his approval of some 800 housing units in Israeli settlements earlier in the day. The permits would legalize hundreds of Palestinian structures in Area C, which makes up some 60 percent of the West Bank and is under fully Israeli security and administrative control. Israel rarely approves Palestinian construction in Area C, with the overwhelming majority of requests being denied.”

Image: View of the construction of the then new Palestinian city of Rawabi, on February 23, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash 90/File)

cairo talks about post trump

Cairo talks on Mideast peace show key players preparing for post-Trump era

“Political pundits were initially taken aback by the meeting of the Middle East Quartet — made up of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia — in Cairo on Monday. After all, the incoming US president has yet to be inaugurated, Israel is holding general elections in March that might see the downfall of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and even the Palestinians are poised to have their own elections. But the meeting in Cairo should be seen as directly tied to these potential leadership changes. The quartet appears to be trying to prepare itself for the post-Donald Trump era, which is expected to see a number of regional changes.”

Image: Foreign Ministers of (L to R) Germany Heiko Maas, Jordan Ayman Safadi, Egypt Sameh Shoukry, and France Jean-Yves Le Drian, hold a joint press conference after a meeting to discuss the Middle East peace process, in the Egyptian capital Cairo, on Jan. 11, 2021. (Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images)


CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

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