Palestinians say more than 700 hurt in West Bank, Jerusalem clashes

The Palestinian Red Crescent says that more than 700 Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and across the West Bank, including nearly 500 who were treated at hospitals.

It says more than 600 of the wounded were in Jerusalem alone.

Israeli police say 32 officers were injured.

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Ahead of Palestinian elections, West Bank homes of 2 candidates hit by gunfire

Separately, Israel arrests Hamas candidate for parliament, angering terror group

Tensions in the West Bank city of Hebron have risen over the past two days, with the homes of two local politicians sprayed with bullets ahead of the Palestinian legislative elections in May.

Armed gunmen allegedly opened fire on the home and office of parliamentary candidate Hatem Shaheen early on Monday morning. Shaheen, a lawyer, is currently running on a list sponsored by former Fatah security chief Mohammad Dahlan.

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Ted Cruz, Republican Senators Say Biden Funding to Palestinians Violates Anti-terror Law

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and seventeen other Republican Senators wrote to Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Thursday, objecting to the Biden administration’s plan to spend $250 million on the Palestinians, arguing that the proposal violates anti-terror law.

As Breitbart News noted Wednesday:

The Biden administration announced $250 million in spending Wednesday on the Palestinians, despite a 2018 law that prevents U.S. taxpayer dollars from supporting the Palestinian Authority while it pays stipends and pensions to terrorists and their families.

In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law, which prevents the U.S. from providing economic support and other funding to the Palestinian Authority while it continues to pay the families of deceased terrorists, or to pay terrorists in Israeli prisons — a policy referred to by critics as “pay-for-slay.” The Palestinian leadership, having refused to end the payments, lost U.S. funding. Trump also cut funding to the UNRWA because of concerns that it has supported terror. The Taylor Force Act allows for a limited set of humanitarian exemptions, such as funding for vaccination programs.

Blinken claimed that “All assistance will be provided consistent with U.S. law,” but did not explain how the funding would comply with the Taylor Force Act. He also did not provide any evidence of reforms within the Palestinian Authority or UNRWA, nor did he mention any Palestinian effort to discourage terror or to stop incitement against Israel or Jews.

In the letter, Cruz and his collegues note that the Biden administration’s funding violates the Taylor Force Act because it is being used for public services, freeing money in the Palestinian Authority (PA) budget to continue supporting terrorists:

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Biden’s new slate of aid to Palestinians comes under intense scrutiny

Several pro-Israel groups, Israeli officials and Congress Republicans step up efforts to question administration’s plans to resume funding to Palestinians

US President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 18, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A number of pro-Israel groups, Israeli officials and Republicans in Congress are stepping up their scrutiny of the Biden administration’s plans to resume funding for the Palestinian Authority and other groups aiding Palestinians.

In the past two weeks, the Biden administration has rolled out pledges to deliver $75 million in assistance to Palestinian areas; $40 million for security assistance to the Palestinian Authority; $150 million to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA; and $15 million for COVID assistance. Also pledged is $10 million that goes to Palestinian-Israeli people-to-people programs.   

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After restoring aid to Palestinians, Biden endorses two-state solution

Reversing Trump policies, US president tells Jordanian king that ‘United States supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’

Then-US vice president Joe Biden, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, at the presidential compound in Ramallah, West Bank, March 9, 2016. (Debbie Hill, Pool via AP)

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday promised to press for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as he restored aid to the Palestinians.

In a call with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a longstanding US ally who recently faced down dissent within the royal family, Biden “affirmed that the United States supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” a White House statement said.

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Palestinian Forced To Demolish His Own Home In Jerusalem.

A Palestinian man was forced to demolish his own home, Sunday, in Jabal al-Mokabber, in occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of not obtaining a permit.

Local sources said the Palestinian, Amer Shqeirat, had to demolish his home to avoid paying more excessively high fines and fees, in addition to the exaggerated demolition costs if the City Council uses its workers and machines.

Shqeirat lived in the home along with his wife and four children, all of whom were rendered homeless despite all appeals and fines he already paid.

Israel’s policy of home demolitions is an illegal act of collective punishment against entire families.

According to data by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), more than 120,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territory (OPT) since 1948.

In 2020, ICAHD analysis revealed that 865 structures were demolished, and 1,014 people displaced in the OPT with a further 5,615 people directly affected. The Negev Coexistence Forum reports 2,586 buildings demolished in the Negev.

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Biden quietly giving Palestinians $75 million to help regain ‘trust’ after Trump

After announcing $15m aid to fight COVID, State Department, with no public announcement, notifies Congress of further funds, apparently to encourage PA to return to peace table

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is quietly ramping up assistance to the Palestinians after former US president Donald Trump cut off nearly all aid.

Since taking office with a pledge to reverse many of Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian decisions, the administration has allocated nearly $100 million for the Palestinians, only a small portion of which has been publicized.

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China floats Mideast initiative, offers to host Israeli, Palestinian officials

Beijing FM announces five-point plan to boost its involvement in peacemaking and realize ‘regional peace and stability in the Middle East

China is set to take a more active role in encouraging negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, offering to host officials from both sides for a summit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the Saudi news network al-Arabiya Wednesday.

Wang said that China will advance a five-point plan to realize “regional peace and stability in the Middle East.”

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Mideast quartet discusses reviving ‘meaningful’ Israel, Palestinian peace talks

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Middle East quartet of mediators – the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations – discussed on Tuesday reviving “meaningful negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians with the aim of a two-state solution.

In a statement following their meeting, the quartet said that both Israel and the Palestinians need “to refrain from unilateral actions that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve.”

It appeared to be the first time since September 2018 that envoys from the four mediators have met. Last month, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he hoped there would be a quartet meeting in coming weeks, now that there was a new president in the White House.

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital – all territory captured by Israel in 1967. Under a failed peace proposal by former U.S. President Donald Trump, Washington would have recognized Jewish settlements in occupied territory as part of Israel.

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Shin Bet head asked Abbas to scrap Palestinian elections if Hamas runs — report

PA leader said to have rebuffed Nadav Argaman’s request to call off upcoming vote if terror organization takes part

The head of the Shin Bet security agency recently urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to scrap the upcoming elections for the Palestinian parliament if the Hamas terror group takes part, Israeli television reported Friday.

Citing a Palestinian source, the Kan public broadcaster said Nadav Argaman was rebuffed by the PA chief.

The report said the request was made in the past two weeks during a meeting in Ramallah, the PA’s seat of government

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