Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: April 1-8, 2022

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Original Research,

FMEP publishes two resources on (most) Fridays: Lara Friedman’s Legislative Round-Up and Kristin McCarthy’s Settlement & Annexation Report. To subscribe to those reports, click here.


Tel Aviv terrorist, shot and killed near mosque, named as Ra’ad Hazem from Jenin,

“The Palestinian terrorist who carried out the deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Thursday was named as Ra’ad Hazem, a 28-year-old resident of Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. He was killed in a pre-dawn firefight near a closed Jaffa mosque where he was hiding out hours after the killing spree. The Shin Bet security agency said he had “no clear organizational affiliation, no security background and no previous arrests” and was residing in Israel without an entry permit. His father, Fathi Hazem, is a former security prisoner who previously served as an officer in the Palestinian Authority’s security services in Jenin.” See also Bennett Says Tel Aviv Terrorist Had Accomplices, Vows They Will Pay a Heavy Price (Haaretz)

Key Messages from the Oppressed,

As my research shows, not only is armed resistance the most popular option according to public opinion polling, but those who are most in support of such a strategy are also those who are the best informed. They have the strongest social ties and are well networked in political power structures. Such respondents are often politically active, and highly educated…In the occupied Palestinian territories, society is polarized, social cohesion has eroded, and mass mobilization is more difficult to achieve. In this context, those who have the strongest social ties, like Diaa, use them to gain information and gauge risk. They are plugged into their communities as well as broader networks. As a result, they look around and recognize that sporadic mass mobilization no longer has the impact it once did, even if Palestinians are able to coordinate at all. They engage with society and find divisive politics and infighting within political movements. Their social ties thus help them to recognize the weakness of social cohesion in society at large and, based on this perception, decide that armed strategies are the most effective option. Support for armed tactics, particularly among this subset of the population, suggests that violence in the Palestinian territories is not a spontaneous eruption, but rather a strategic choice that individuals endorse based on a reasoned assessment of available options and constraints.”

Collective punishment shouldn’t be normal,

“Israel’s response to a series of deadly attacks in Be’er Sheva, Hadera, and Bnei Brak over the past two weeks was as predictable as it was malicious. So far, the authorities seem to believe that the four Palestinian assailants — three citizens of Israel and one West Bank resident — acted of their own accord and without organizational backing, despite the first three identifying with the Islamic State. That didn’t stop the authorities from reacting in their usual habit. Over the ensuing days, the police ramped up patrols of Arab towns in Israel; carried out stop-and-frisks of Palestinian citizens in Jewish neighborhoods and public spaces; and clamped down on Palestinians working in Israel without permits…But at its heart, collective punishment is an exercise in plain racism: in Israeli eyes, every Palestinian is a permanent suspect, a terrorist waiting to strike, a member of a society that teaches its children to hate Jews. It doesn’t matter if hundreds of thousands of people had nothing to do with the attacks: when one Palestinian crosses the line, every Palestinian must pay the price.” See also “‘Burn Their Homes’: Israeli WhatsApp Groups Are Organizing Attacks on Arabs” (Vice) and “Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in Jenin ambush” (Middle East Eye)

To exact ‘revenge,’ Israeli settlers wreaked havoc in my village,

“The soldiers approached the settlers, but instead of making them leave, they listened to the invaders’ claims…Wednesday’s attack on Tuba took place the day after a shooting attack in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak, miles away from my village, on the other side of the so-called Green Line. We suspect that the settlers decided to invade our village that morning as “revenge” for the shooting…What motivates soldiers to treat us so unfairly? Why am I the one to get assaulted and arrested, while my attacker walks away? I have no answers to these questions. For years, soldiers did not prevent Israeli settlers from inflicting terror upon us, but now it has become even worse: the army itself is happy to be a part of this regular violence. I am not surprised by this. We are living in a constant state of terror, and suffer the violence of that terror every day. The army claims it is here for the security of everyone, but its efforts to displace Palestinians, steal our resources, and confiscate our land in tandem with settlers shows what it is really here to do. Their mission is carried out not only through their racial discrimination on the ground, but also through the court system, where the Israeli army is fighting to expel us from our homes in Masafer Yatta under the guise of a military training and firing zone. It could not be clearer: settler violence is state violence. And if that is not ethnic cleansing — if that is not terror — then what is?” See alsoThe Campaign to Save Masafer Yatta,” a new Unsettled podcast featuring Ali Awad and Maya Rosen.

The Green Line is dead. What comes next?,

“The old solutions of military victories or “managing” and “shrinking” the conflict are fast becoming irrelevant. There is no doubt that what we have seen over the last week veers strongly toward formalizing apartheid, with some Israeli cities deciding to no longer employ Palestinians, whether from the West Bank or inside Israel. Mass expulsion — what Israelis refer to as “transfer” — is also on the table…This is an extremely dangerous moment, and even if it doesn’t end in a second Nakba or mass expulsion, it could bring about murderous violence that will indiscriminately take the lives of Palestinians and Jews.”

How to Oppose Violence in Israel-Palestine,

“I had the privilege of speaking last week on a podcast hosted by the Foundation for Middle East Peace with the Palestinian-American historian Maha Nassar. She observed that there is currently a debate between Palestinians “who emphasize the need to bring international pressure to bear on Israel” non-violently and those who believe that “Israel only understands the language of force.” Her point was similar to King’s: The more you block non-violent change, the more you strengthen those who support violence. That’s what America’s leaders do when they stymie Palestinian efforts to hold Israel accountable under international law. They produce despair, which in turn produces violence. King called urban riots “the language of the unheard.” One could say the same about the recent shootings in Israel.”

Apartheid/Occupation/Human Rights

Mapping Out the Rapid Judaization of East Jerusalem,

“The days when construction in East Jerusalem opened news broadcasts and rocked U.S.-Israeli relations may have passed, but on the ground Jerusalem keeps on morphing: Jewish neighborhoods are being built or planned beyond the Green Line in places like Har Homa, Givat Hamatos, Atarot and Ramat Shlomo. And settler groups are continuing with their efforts to Judaize the neighborhoods of Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah, Jabal Mukkaber and Ras al-Amud. These and other Palestinian districts still face planning policies that work against them…Today, just like every day in recent decades, thousands of Jerusalemites are threatened with a home demolition or eviction, diminishing their quality of life and pushing the city to violence and despair. The construction of Jewish neighborhoods and the efforts to Judaize Palestinian neighborhoods greatly obstruct any future political agreement.” See alsoIsraeli settlers and police seize part of historic hotel in East Jerusalem’s Old City” (Middle East Eye) and “Jerusalem: Israeli forces assault Palestinians celebrating Ramadan at Damascus Gate” (Middle East Eye) 

Palestinians use social media to out the Israeli undercover agents haunting their protests,

“Mista’arvim, a word derived from Arabic that translates as “those who live among the Arabs”, are elite special operations units which include Jewish, Bedouin and Druze recruits developed by Israel’s powerful military and intelligence services. Inside Israel, where Palestinian citizens are subject to civil law rather than the military law that applies in the Occupied Territories, the agents carry out intelligence gathering including observing protests to identify organisers and recurring faces…Palestinian activists, lawyers and young people say Mista’arvim deployment against a country’s specific ethnic minority is undemocratic. Israel has only recently admitted to using them against its own citizens….Unlike during previous uprisings – most notably the first and second Intifadas – the agents’ presence during May’s protests in Arab and mixed cities in Israel is well documented due to the rise of social media and mobiles.”

Israel charges Palestinian journalists with incitement — for doing their jobs,

“Since the beginning of 2020, Israel has imprisoned at least 26 Palestinian journalists in the West Bank. In most cases, the journalists were placed under administrative detention — a common method used by Israel to hold Palestinians without filing charges — for anywhere between six weeks to 1.5 years. Nine of these journalists were indicted, most often for incitement, and on average spent about eight months in detention…Using interviews, media reports, and legal filings, +972, Local Call, and The Intercept reviewed the cases against many of the journalists who were held by Israeli security forces in relation to their publication of material. In interviews with us, as well as with other media outlets, seven of the journalists said that, during their interrogations, Israeli security agents showed them news videos that they had taken, which were often of confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces, political processions, or funerals. The interrogators told the journalists that the images constituted “incitement” and ordered them to stop documenting the events…“I stopped reporting on people who were killed and or funerals. I am afraid of filming confrontations with the army, and do not document military positions or soldiers,” [journalist Sameh Titi] added. “The point was always to limit my work as a journalist — and it worked.”

Palestine: Carter Center backs six NGOs after 'baseless' terrorism ban by Israel,

“The Carter Centre on Wednesday confirmed it would continue to support six Palestinian civil society groups controversially declared terrorist organisations by Israel…”These organisations are internationally respected because of the vital programmes they carry out to protect Palestinian society, and the use of their voices to draw attention to human rights violations,” Carter Centre CEO Paige Alexander said at a Ramallah press conference…Alexander added: “More widely, we at the Carter Center recognise that these designations seek to delegitimise human rights organisations.” “This is a troubling trend that can be noticed in many governments, using counter-terror laws as a guise for shrinking the space available to human rights defenders and civil society.” She said the move “appears to be part of a broader strategy by the Israeli government to silence voices calling for accountability for the Israeli occupation authorities”.” See also FMEP’s resources on Israel’s designation of the six NGOs as terror organizations.

Lawfare//The Misuses of the Accusation of Antisemitism

The Safety of Others,

“Last month, neo-Nazis stood in formation along the route of Boston’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. The overt display of white supremacy was yet another horrifying reminder of the rise of fascism in 1930s Germany and of the growing antisemitism in the United States today. It demands that we remain steadfast in dismantling antisemitism and fighting racism in all its forms. We find it both painful and ironic that major Jewish organisations are labelling us, daughters of Holocaust survivors and refugees, as antisemites. They call us antisemitic because we are outspoken in our demand that Palestinians be entitled to the same rights we possess, which Israel has long denied them.”

What the Fossil Fuel Industry Learned from Anti-BDS Laws,

“In late 2016, as a Republican member of the Texas state legislature, [Jason Isaac] co-authored legislation that banned the state from doing business with companies or individual contractors who withheld their investments or services from the State of Israel. The legislation, later signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, is meant to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, which calls for boycotts of Israeli products, divestment from corporations that do business in Israel, and sanctions on the state. Isaac realized he could apply a similar logic to those who might seek to hobble the energy industry. Prompted by his conversations with fossil fuel executives, he drafted legislation preventing state agencies from contracting with companies that boycott or divest from fossil fuels…This year, Republicans in seven other state houses have introduced legislation virtually identical to Isaac’s bill, requiring contractors to sign pledges promising not to boycott energy companies…“They’ve taken the anti-BDS template and pasted into it literally every industry that is important politically or economically to the state,” said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (and a Jewish Currents contributing writer). “Want to work to prevent destruction of forests? Want to challenge practices of industrial-scale agriculture companies? Get ready for state laws that require giving up the right to engage on these issues—and on any other issue a legislature or governor decides merits special protection from protest—as a condition for competing for state contracts or benefiting from investment by state pension funds.””


The start-up spy state,

“ISDEF, the largest defense and homeland security trade show in the country, takes place every other year at Expo Tel Aviv. The most recent edition, hosted between March 21 and 23, drew 12,000 visitors from 90 countries around the world; most of them were representatives of private technology firms, police agencies, and militaries. This year, as part of a trend that began in 2016 and was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, scores of smaller surveillance start-ups overshadowed the big names in Israeli arms exports. Many of these private companies advertised Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered surveillance technologies — tested and refined in the occupied Palestinian territories as generic “security solutions” for a world in crisis…ISDEF 2022 made clear that Israel’s largely unregulated surveillance apparatus in the occupied territories is helping to drive the expansion of surveillance worldwide. Many of these technologies are sanitized of their carceral effects at Expo Tel Aviv, instead being promoted as convenient and humane security solutions: facial recognition scanners, fingerprint readers, and location monitoring allow speedy access to personal information, quick entry through borders, and large-scale public health measures.”

Palestinian lawyer sues Israel’s NSO group in France,

“[Salah] Hamouri, who holds French citizenship, was one of several activists whose phones were hacked using the Pegasus malware, according to a report in November by human rights groups….The complaint, filed on Tuesday by Hamouri, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights League (LDH), accuses NSO of having illegally infiltrated the telephone of a rights defender. Hamouri worked at Addameer, one of six Palestinian non-government groups Israel named a “terrorist organisation” in October.” 


Israel's Negev Summit Consolidated a Reactionary Axis in the Middle East,

“The so-called Negev Summit hosted by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid last week, attended by the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Morocco, along with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, signified Israel’s full partnership in a consolidated axis of reactionary powers in the Middle East. This is the fruit of the 2020 Abraham Accords, in which the UAE and Bahrain, and subsequently Morocco and Sudan, normalized their relations with Israel. While currently focused on Iran, this “axis of reaction” has opposed popular demands for democracy and social justice and reinforced autocracy across the entire Middle East and North Africa.” See also “Why Palestinians Oppose the Negev Summit” (Haaretz)

‘Publicly, Israel Is a Boycotted Enemy. But Behind the Scenes, a Great Deal Happens’,

“Iran received arms from Israel (even after the revolution), Saudi Arabia received intel (and put out feelers about peace) and Nasser’s Egypt held contacts with the Mossad. Research into the secret ties Israel conducted with its enemies shows that it wasn’t as isolated as it claimed to be.”

U.S. Scene

Rebuffed privately, influential rabbis go public with plea to cut off American Jewish funding of Israeli extremists,

“In the wake of last year’s round of deadly fighting in Gaza, a group of prominent rabbis in the New York area came to believe that a major American Jewish charity had indirectly fueled the violence. In a letter to the charity, the 19 rabbis, including ones with national renown such as Angela Buchdahl, Sharon Kleinbaum and Amichai Lau-Lavie, pointed out that it was allowing tax-exempt funds to flow to Israeli right-wing extremists. As a donor-advised fund, the $2.4 billion Jewish Communal Fund accepts donations from thousands of individuals and distributes the money according to their recommendations. Some money, the rabbis said, is going to Lehava, a group known for their incendiary marches through Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem involving participants chanting “death to the Arabs.” Lehava carried out such a march before fighting between Israel and Hamas broke out last year…The charity rebuffed the rabbis, declining the meeting request and ignoring their call to amend its funding practices and end payments to “organizations that support violence.” Now, as new deaths are being tolled and far-right groups agitate once again — Lehava-affiliated lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir ascended the Temple Mount last week just ahead of Ramadan — the rabbis are going public with their plea.”

Geico drops Linda Sarsour as a diversity speaker after backlash from Jewish groups,

“The Geico insurance company on Thursday canceled a company event with Linda Sarsour, a prominent pro-Palestinian activist who has been widely accused of antisemitism, after backlash from Jewish groups. “We apologize to our employees, customers, and others for our initial plan to invite Linda Sarsour to speak at our internal event,” Geico said in a statement. “Geico does not condone hatred of any kind, and we do not stand for or with anyone who does,” the statement said.”

‘Anti-Zionist’ Congregation Stirs Emotion in Chicago’s Jewish Community,

“The congregation, founded in 2015, drew national attention and ignited Twitter debate after 73 percent of its 200 families approved a board decision adding new language to the synagogue’s “core values” statement, altering their self-description from “non-Zionist” to “anti-Zionist.”Asked to define clearly the terms that had changed in his synagogue’s statement, [Rabbi Brant] Rosen said that “a non-Zionist is someone for whom Israel and Zionism is a topic they are neutral on…By contrast, he said, an anti-Zionist takes a more proactive stance and clearly “opposes the very concept of an exclusively Jewish nation-state in historic Palestine.” Therefore, he added, the term “anti-Zionist” was a more accurate description of the values of his congregation. That opposition is both “ideological” and “institutional”: opposing both Jewish nationalist ideology and institutions carrying its banner “that have as their goal creating a Jewish demographic majority in the land,” he said.”

Israeli Scene

​​Israel's government set to fall amid rising tension between secular and religious factions,

“Now Bennett has lost his majority, with Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, split 60-60 between the opposition and government. A fifth round of elections in three years seems likely, though there is always the possibility that the Joint List, currently in opposition, could keep the government afloat to shut far-right Jewish nationalists out of power. Veteran Israeli commentator Meron Rapoport believes we have seen “the beginning of the end”…The right wing, says Rapoport, has a history of offering to share power with the left only to find it too difficult to swallow, before reneging on previous promises.”

Mossad Says Can't Find Archival Papers on 1982 Lebanon Massacre,

“A lawyer for the Mossad told the High Court of Justice on Monday that the agency is having difficulty locating historic documents in its archives relating to ties between the agency and Lebanese Christian militias that carried out massacres at two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. The lawyer for the intelligence agency, Omri Epstein, made the claim at a hearing on a petition filed by dozens of human rights advocates who have been seeking the disclosure of documents demonstrating Mossad’s links in the 1970s and 1980s to Lebanese Christian militias that committed the massacres at the Sabra and Chatila camps…In his petition, Eitay Mack, the lawyer representing the petitioners, alleged that about 40 years had so far elapsed “since the Mossad was responsible for the State of Israel’s support for murderous militias that committed atrocities in the civil war in Lebanon. Nevertheless, the Mossad still believes that it is its right to conceal the information relating to them from the public.””

Palestinian Scene

Palestinian Representation: Elections vs. Consensus-Building,

“Palestinians have for years attempted to revive their national representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). As part of these efforts, many Palestinians have demanded direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the PLO’s legislative body. However, the PLO is not a state and the Palestinian people have multiple civic statuses depending on their geographic location. Thus, any attempt to address the question of elections must take such challenges into account. This paper aims to widen the discussion of representation by examining two key questions: The form of representation and the challenges posed by the structures of the PLO itself, and concludes with some suggestions for the future.”

Bonus Reads

“The Right of Return is Landback” ,

“On March 30th, the NDN Collective, a prominent grassroots Indigenous group based in South Dakota that advocates self-determination for Native peoples, published a position paper on Palestine. Released to coincide with Land Day, an annual commemoration of Israel’s 1976 killing of six Palestinians who protested the state’s confiscation of land, the text argues that Palestinian and Indigenous American movements share aims and opponents. The forced expulsion of Palestinians and the expropriation of their land, the authors write, “is all eerily similar to our own history.” As Palestinians call for “the right of return” to the places from which Zionist violence expelled them, Indigenous peoples in North America seek “Landback.” The paper weds the two projects, making the titular claim that “The Right of Return is LANDBACK.””