Top News from Israel & Palestine: June 6, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation/Human Rights

Jerusalem’s No Man’s Land: Chaos and Anarchy in the Kafr Aqab Neighborhood,

For several years, Kafr Aqab, a large neighborhood in Jerusalem over ten kilometers north of the city center, has suffered from poor planning, inadequate public infrastructure and rampant lawlessness

At Odds With Military, Netanyahu Uses Gaza Fishing Zone for Collective Punishment,

Over the course of the month of May, Netanyahu issued a range of orders that in turn expanded and limited the fishing zone a large number of times. In practice, the prime minister linked access to this important source of food in Gaza to quiet along the Gaza border despite the fact that the fishermen themselves have no control over what happens along the border.

New evidence backs Arab MK's claims that police shot him,

New evidence suggests Israeli police shot Palestinian Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh in the head with a sponge-tipped bullet during a home demolition in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in 2017, according to a final investigation report published earlier this week by the London-based Forensic Architecture research center.

U.S. Politics

13 Democrats Recorded Messages About Israel. Only One Spoke With Courage,

Peter Beinart writes in The Forward, “The 2020 Democratic hopefuls talk a lot about having the courage not just to challenge Donald Trump but to transform America’s political and economic system. But with the exception of Bernie Sanders, the leading contenders couldn’t muster the nerve to offer any substantive criticism of Israeli policy in front of an establishment Jewish audience, even by video.”

Israel works to stop Senate resolution on two-state solution,

Israel is trying to prevent the Senate from passing a bipartisan resolution endorsing a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli officials and congressional staffers tell me

U.S. Lawmakers Push Bipartisan Bill for $50 Million in Palestinian Aid, Coexistence Programs,

Joel Braunold, executive director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace — an umbrella organization for “people-to-people” groups operating in Israel and the Palestinian territories — said Wednesday: “Congressional leadership has been vital for the entire people-to-people community, allocating over $100 million to grassroots efforts over the past decade. The Fund is the next logical step on the journey, learning from what has worked and what we need to do to ensure that we are laying the foundations for a peace based on the values we share rather than the people we fear.”

APN, J Street, and Fellow Progressive Jewish Organizations Support Partnership Fund for Peace as Step toward Two-State Solution,

Americans for Peace Now, J Street, T’ruah, Ameinu, the New Israel Fund, and the Jewish Labor Committee, Partners for Progressive Israel, and Hashomer Hatzair welcome the reintroduction of legislation to establish a Partnership Fund for Peace. The Fund will support people-to-people peacebuilding programs, which play an important role in building connections, understanding, and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. It will also finance joint ventures between Palestinian companies and businesses in the United States and Israel. While we welcome the legislation, we are concerned about the political moment in which this legislation is being introduced. It is increasingly clear that the Trump administration’s “peace” approach entails forcing the Palestinians to give up on statehood in exchange for promises of economic development. Some may therefore read this bill as endorsement of an “economic peace” approach.

US envoy tells Palestinian leaders dire situation is of their own making,

US Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt on Wednesday hit back at Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh who called President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan “blackmail” and warned the PA was on the verge of collapse, telling him that the Palestinians’ woes were their own leadership’s fault. “PM Shtayyeh is wrong, the PA isn’t ‘in a collapsing situation,’ the PA caused the situation, Greenblatt tweeted with a link to an interview with Shtayyeh in the New York Times.

Palestinian Politics

Israel's annexation drive requires fighting for justice in one state,

Yara Hawari writes in the Middle East Eye,”Annexation would mean a series of legislative measures extending Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank, leading to the consolidation of Bantustan-like entities for Palestinians. Rather than one sweeping move, annexation will continue to be a gradual process, turning Israel’s de facto control into de jure control.”

What do Palestinians want?,

Sam Bahour writes in Medium, “What the Palestinians want is so simple and straightforward that the need to repeat it yet again after seven decades is almost embarrassing. Palestinians yearn for freedom and independence. Palestinian refugees want to come home.”

Israeli Politics

Fearing Election Wipeout, Israeli Parties on Left and Right Talk Mergers,

Meretz weighs joint slate with Arab-majority party, while five right-wing parties are in union talks