Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: January 6, 2022

What We’re Reading

Stand With the Six

UAWC's statement after the Dutch government's decision to end funding,

“The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is shocked and saddened by the decision of the Dutch government to end its funding for UAWC. With this fateful decision, the Dutch government is not just abandoning UAWC, but Palestinian civil society at large. This is the first time a government ends its funding for Palestinian civil society based on political conditionality. By doing so, the Netherlands tarnishes its reputation as a reliable donor and its status of a value-based country that hosts and promotes international law….The Dutch Foreign Ministry…has also subjected UAWC to an external investigation…

As confirmed by the Dutch government in its letter today to the Dutch parliament, this investigation, conducted by Proximities Risk Consultancy, has: 

  • found no financial flows between UAWC and the PFLP
  • found no indications of organisational unity between UAWC and the PFLP
  • found no indications that the PFLP directs UAWC
  • found no links between UAWC and the armed wing of the PFLP
  • found no indication that board and staff members have used their position at UAWC for terrorist purposes

In addition, the Dutch Foreign Ministry determined that Proximities’ research provides no basis to conclude that UAWC has any organizational links with the PFLP.”


See alsoNetherlands ends funding to one of 6 Palestinian groups blacklisted by Israel” (Times of Israel); Twitter thread from Martin Konečný with excerpts from the Dutch government’s statement (in English translation).; and this Twitter thread with analysis from Palestine Legal.

The Palestinian Six Organizations Officially Demand that Israeli Authorities Reveal the Evidence,

“Two months ago, in October 2021, Israel outlawed six of the leading Palestinian human rights and civil society groups, however, the organizations have not received any of the evidentiary materials that the Israeli authorities purport to justify this draconian, sweeping measure. The organizations have repeatedly and publicly demanded the materials, with no response whatsoever. Last week, the legal team representing the organizations sent a letter to the Israeli authorities demanding that they reveal all of the evidence forming the bases of the designations. There is no justice, fairness or due process for the organizations, without access to these materials in their entirety in order to defend themselves….The legal team argued in the letter that the designations constitute a blatant political decision aimed at destroying Palestinian civil society, based on arbitrary law and emergency measures. These groups are most vocal against Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies locally and internationally and provide needed services to a wide range of Palestinian communities….The six organizations are currently represented by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Attorney Michael Sfard, and Attorney Avigdor Feldman.”

Administrative Detention // Hisham Abu Hawwash

Israel-Palestine: Hisham Abu Hawwash to end hunger strike after 141 days,

A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for 141 days to protest being imprisoned without charge agreed on Tuesday to end his fast after reaching a deal with Israel, according to his attorney. Lawyer Khaled Mahajneh, part of the team representing Abu Hawwash, said that Israel had agreed not to renew his administrative detention and he will be released next month, the news website site Arabi 21 reported….Abu Hawwash’s hunger strike – the longest since an eight-month-long strike by Samer Issawi that ended in 2013 – drew attention not only from Palestinian groups across the political spectrum but also from organisations and politicians globally.” See alsoIsrael agrees to release Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike” (Al Jazeera)

How Hisham Abu Hawash's hunger strike galvanised Palestinians,

In the week before his release deal was agreed between Israeli authorities and his lawyer, protests broke out across the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem in support of Abu Hawash. By the hundreds, Palestinians in different cities and towns took to the streets and clashed with Israeli forces, in what activists on the ground considered to be the beginning of a wave of protests capable of growing and spreading.” See alsoFar-right Israeli mob assaults Anadolu Agency cameraman in Tel Aviv” (Anadolu)

Palestinian prisoners launch boycott of Israeli military courts,

“In an escalatory step agreed by Palestinian political parties, the 500 so-called administrative detainees began new year by refusing to show up for their court sessions. The boycott includes the initial hearings to uphold the administrative detention order, as well as appeal hearings and later sessions at the Supreme Court. Under the banner, “Our decision is freedom … no to administrative detention,” administrative detainees said in a statement their move comes as a continuation of longstanding Palestinian efforts “to put an end to the unjust administrative detention practiced against our people by the occupation forces”. They also noted that Israel’s use of the policy has expanded in recent years to include women, children and elderly people.”

Occupation/Human Rights/Apartheid

2021 was the deadliest year since 2014, Israel killed 319 Palestinians in oPt 5-year record in house demolitions: 895 Palestinians lost their homes,

“In 2021, Israeli security forces killed 313 Palestinians, including 71 minors: 236 in the Gaza Strip, 232 of them during Operation Guardian of the Walls; and 77 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem). Three other Palestinians were killed either by armed settlers or by soldiers who were escorting them; another Palestinian minor was shot by an Israeli civilian and later by Border Police officers; and two Palestinians were killed by armed settlers….In the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, 895 Palestinians, 463 of them minors, were left homeless this year after 295 residential structures were demolished – the highest number since 2016. Throughout the year, another 548 non-residential structures were demolished on Israeli authorities’ orders, including cisterns, warehouses, agricultural structures, businesses and public structures – the highest number since 2012. In East Jerusalem alone, 160 structures were demolished, 96 of which were homes. In the West Bank, recent years have seen a steady increase in home demolitions: in 2021, Israeli forces demolished 199 structures, as opposed to 151 residential structures in 2020 and 104 in 2019.”

Seven Killed in West Bank Crash Between Truck, Van Driving Palestinian Laborers,

“Seven people were killed on Thursday when a van driving Palestinian laborers collided head-on with a truck in the Jordan Valley…The victims of the crash are laborers from Aqraba, a village in the Nablus area, according to a Palestinian labor union. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a day of national mourning following the fatal incident.”

West Bank: Truck used in Israeli police raid 'deliberately ran over' elderly Palestinian man,

“An elderly Palestinian man was critically injured on Wednesday in Umm al-Khair, after a tow truck accompanying Israeli police raiding the West Bank village allegedly deliberately ran him over. Suleiman al-Hathalin, a 75-year-old activist and community leader from Masafer Yatta, a collection of Palestinian hamlets in the South Hebron Hills, was taken to hospital following the incident.…“Haj Suleiman was standing on the side of the road when the tow truck suddenly veered off the road, and drove straight into him, before getting back on the road and leaving,” said Hmour. The activist said the tow truck belonged to a private company, and was being operated by an Israeli civilian. Hmour claimed that the people in the village recognised the driver as an Israeli settler from the area.”

Why Palestinian Kids’ Playgrounds Are Such Prime Targets for Israeli Settlers,

“[Nasser Nawaje of Susya:] “The settlers’ demonstration of violence was not just about whether our children deserve a playground. It is an act of power, a warning: We will confiscate more of what remains of your land. We don’t accept your right to live here at all.” Israeli government policies, settler tactics and IDF enforcement are only for one purpose only: To expel Palestinians from their own land. That is why the Israeli army demolishes Palestinian homes, why it suddenly declares “closed military areas” and why it protects the settlers, even when they’re attacking Palestinians in their own villages. And this is why settler violence is escalating so wildly, especially in the south Hebron Hills: Throwing stones, burning crops, uprooting trees, damaging houses, injuring children, a full-on pogrom – an attack by dozens of masked Israeli settlers including the fracturing of a three-year-old’s skull. The government effectively told the soldiers to allow settlers to ‘let off steam.’” See also “Israeli Troops and Settlers Zero in on a New Target for Attacks: Palestinian Schools (Haaretz)

First Settlers Beat Them Up, Then Ismail and His Family Were Jailed,

“In the northern Jordan Valley, on Saturday a week ago, settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd and his family who came to his assistance. The settlers, a few of them armed, used batons and fists. The Israel Defense Forces and police arrested those who were attacked: Eight Palestinians. They were transferred to a nearby army base, and soldiers called for the settlers to conduct a lineup for identification of “their attackers.” The settlers beat the detainees on the base too. Four of the eight Palestinians were released the same day. The others were held in detention for four more days, and at a hearing on extending their detention they were released without posting any bail and without an indictment.” See also No place is safe: Israeli army ‘terrorise’ Palestinians with night raids in their own homes (Middle East Eye) and “Palestinian-American gets two life sentences for deadly West Bank terror attack” (Times of Israel); Witnesses: Car Crash That Left Palestinian Man Seriously Injured Caused by Settlers (Haaretz) and “An Israeli leader criticized Jewish ‘settler violence.’ Now he has 24/7 protection after extremist threats.” (Washington Post)

An evacuated settlement becomes a symbol of Jewish extremism,

Between 2017 and 2021, the Israeli anti-occupation NGO Yesh Din, which filed repeated petitions to the High Court on behalf of the residents, documented 27 settler attacks in the Homesh area, including both physical bodily violence and property damage. In August this year, settlers from the outpost abducted and tortured a Palestinian teenager, burning his legs and hanging him from a tree, until he was found by the army and returned to his family….According to Yesh Din, only nine of the many Palestinians who were attacked over the last four years lodged a complaint with the Israeli police. One of those complaints is still under investigation; the other eight were closed without indictments….The public campaign for Homesh culminated last Thursday, when about 10,000 settlers and right-wing activists, including MKs and young yeshiva students, marched to the outpost. Several groups in the crowd sang racist, anti-Arab songs as they marched by the nearby village of Burqa. In the days that followed, a number of young settlers were documented hanging an Israeli flag on a building in Burqa. The army, which did not give official approval for the march, nonetheless allowed settlers to walk or take buses to Homesh — even though it is still meant to be off-limits to Israelis under the Disengagement Law. While the settlers marched freely, soldiers restricted Palestinian movement in the area, closing the main road from Nablus to Jenin to Palestinian traffic, and using dirt mounds to block entrances to villages like Burqa and Sebastia.” See also“​​Palestinian West Bank villages face attacks by settlers” (Al-Monitor) and Oren Ziv’s photos from the march for Homesh, including of Palestinian graves vandalized by settlers.

What my son is learning about being Palestinian in the Jewish state,

Already from the age of three or four, Mahmoud understood this state differentiates between people — a hierarchy determined according to skin color, religion, and nationality. Mahmoud understood that Jewish children are deemed more important. He understood this because there was no playground near our house, and even when one was built later it was pitiful, despite the fact that there were many small children in the neighborhood….At the age of 12, Mahmoud understood that the resources provided to the Arab education system were less than those of the Jewish system….Shortly before the age of 14, Mahmoud understood that not only was he less important than a Jewish child, he is a suspect by definition, exposed to police bullying and violence….Now, weeks after his 18th birthday, Mahmoud is setting out on his own path. He is no longer a minor, and yet I worry whenever he leaves home. The amount of violence that exists in this country, the proliferation of illegal weapons that the police do nothing to stop, the amount of violence from police officers themselves — it all terrifies me.”


Stripped, Beaten, Tasered: Complaints by Palestinians Reveal Jerusalem Police Brutality,

“A 16-year-old stripped and beaten in a public washroom, a 60-year-old woman handcuffed and dragged across the floor, a female journalist subjected to sexist comments during an interrogation, a youth attacked in a city center, and another one dragged out of bed in the middle of the night, falsely identified as someone else, his family members beaten. All of this can be found in six complaints filed in recent months at the unit for investigating police misconduct at the Justice Ministry, copies of which have reached Haaretz. Following several complaints of serious violent behavior towards Palestinians, only one indictment was filed against a policeman…. Jessica Montell, the executive director of human rights organization HaMoked, commented. “This situation creates a cycle that perpetuates police violence because officers act with a sense that they are immune from accountability,” she said. “Violence against Palestinians in East Jerusalem has become routine over the past year, and therefore it is incumbent upon the internal investigations unit to pursue justice in the complaints we filed, with the goal of hopefully preventing additional harm in future.””

Sheikh Jarrah: Palestinian family faces forced displacement,

“Living in fear and apprehension, the Salem family awaits imminent forced displacement from the house they have lived in since 1951 – currently home to three generations….The case of Sheikh Jarrah, according to a UN special rapporteur report, “has become emblematic of the threats of forced displacement facing many Palestinian families in East Jerusalem with the aim of establishing a Jewish majority in the city and creating irreversible demographic facts on the ground”.”

The Salhia Family in Sheikh Jarrah Facing Imminent Threat of Eviction,

“The Jerusalem Municipality is demanding the eviction of the entire Salhia family, comprised of two households and totaling 12 individuals, under the pretext that expropriation of the property is necessary for the construction of a school.”

Jerusalem okays thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem,

“A Jerusalem municipal planning committee advances 1,465 housing units in East Jerusalem, in an area that left-wing groups say would make establishing a contiguous Palestinian capital in the city far more difficult. The new neighborhood is being planned for the land between the Jewish neighborhoods of Givat HaMatos and Har Homa, both of which were themselves controversial due to their location.”

Culture, Boycott, & Redefining Antisemitism

Sydney festival boycott: more than 20 acts withdraw over Israeli funding,

More than 20 acts have pulled out of the 2022 Sydney festival, just 48 hours before opening night, boycotting the festival over a sponsorship deal with the Israeli embassy….According to a statement released on 22 December by the Palestinian Justice Movement Sydney, the sponsorship deal was sealed in May, the same month Israeli armed forces launched a series of air attacks on Gaza, killing a number of Palestinian civilians. “Palestine advocates call on all opponents of apartheid to boycott the 2022 Sydney Festival,” that statement said. “By partnering with Israel, Sydney festival will … contribute to the normalisation of an apartheid state.”” See alsoWhy I’m helping to organise a boycott of this year’s Sydney Festival” (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Israel's UN envoy lashes out after Emma Watson expresses support for Palestinians,

“In the post, Watson shared a picture from a pro-Palestinian rally with the phrase, “Solidarity is a verb”. In the caption, Watson included a quote from British-Australian activist Sara Ahmed, who said: “Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future….”10 points from Gryffindor for being an antisemite,” [former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny] Danon tweeted.” See also:Emma Watson pro-Palestinian post sparks antisemitism row” (The Guardian)

The Emma Watson Saga Exposes the Demonisation of Palestine Solidarity,

“Danon’s post might have been absurd in its sheer and immediate overreach, but it was a logical extension of a process that seeks to render the very existence of Palestinians antisemitic, let alone displays of solidarity with them. This process has been at the heart of the strategy pursued by apologists of Israeli occupation for years… Deeming Palestinian identity, imagery, history, and heritage an existential threat to Jews is used to shield Israel from any kind of meaningful scrutiny or accountability for its brutal human rights abuses.”

Carving sumud out of wood,

The Palestinian agricultural village of al-Walaja straddles a suffocating boundary between occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. Nearly totally surrounded by the Israeli separation wall, it also lies in the shadow of settlements guarded by armed personnel and security cameras that monitor every movement in the area. And yet, in the midst of it all, six Palestinian women have found a creative outlet to bring hope to their community: a carpentry workshop producing beautiful pieces of art made out of wood…. “We love and care for our village. This is our own way to tell our story, to resist, and to keep fighting for our lives here. We see it as sumud [steadfastness].””

U.S. Scene

Illinois’ state pension board will divest from Unilever over Ben and Jerry’s decision to stop selling ice cream in West Bank,

“Illinois’ state pension will divest from Unilever, the parent company of Ben and Jerry’s, over the ice cream company’s decision this summer to stop selling ice cream in the West Bank as a protest of Israel’s occupation of the area….Illinois becomes at least the fifth state to divest from Unilever, although the dictates vary; some states require no further investment but allow existing investments to remain in place. The other states divesting from Uniliver because of Ben & Jerry’s decision are New York, New Jersey, Arizona and Illinois. At least three other states among the 34 states that penalize Israel boycotts have launched reviews that could lead to divestment.” See alsoWhat Ben & Jerry’s and the West Bank have to do with Chicago’s economy” (Crain’s Chicago Business by Jim Klutznick, Bill Singer & Marilyn Katz) and “Illinois divests from Unilever over Ben & Jerry’s Israel move” (Forward)

Is U.S.-Israel Alliance Blocking Justice in Murder Case of Palestinian-American Activist?,

“Rights activist Alex Odeh was assassinated in Santa Ana, California, 36 years ago in a crime that people tracking the case say may have been committed by three men with links to the Meir Kahane-founded Jewish Defense League – two of whom are now living openly in a West Bank settlement.” See also:Decades after a Palestinian American Activist was Assassinated in California, Two Suspects in his Killing are Living Openly in Israel” (David Sheen in the Intercept in 2020)

2021: The Year Palestinians Entered America’s Debate over Israel-Palestine,

“For my entire adult lifetime, the mainstream American conversation about Israel-Palestine—the one you watch on cable television and read on the opinion pages—has been a conversation among political Zionists. Its participants have argued over how the Jewish state should behave, not whether it should exist. Last year that began to change. Palestinians entered America’s public discussion in an unprecedented way, and with their entrance, anti-Zionism entered too. In 2021, the terms of US discourse began to shift. The ramifications of that shift will likely be with us for decades to come.”

Sheldon Adelson: The Megadonor who underwrote the GOP’s pro-Israel shift ,

“…the singular intensity of Adelson’s giving, which was focused on the U.S.-Israel relationship and Jewish causes more broadly. That focus, combined with the scale of his generosity, suggests Adelson, who died in January at 87, belongs in the pantheon of great Jewish philanthropists like the Rothschilds and the Montefiores — and, indeed, among the great American philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Mellon… the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem in 2018, according to several people directly involved in the decision, would not have happened without his voice — loud, trenchant and unyielding. ….Over the years, Adelson played an integral role in the transformation of the GOP into a solidly pro-Israel party, including through his support for the Republican Jewish Coalition, which, among other things, bankrolls trips to Israel for Republican politicians. Adelson wasn’t the cause of the GOP’s embrace of Israel, but he was there with open arms, and an open checkbook, to help accelerate it.”

Jewish Currents Tuesday News Bulletin ,

“As the rally petered out, I asked Councilwoman Vernikov what policy responses she supported to reduce antisemitic attacks. “We have to refund the police, because if we don’t have the police, we don’t have safety on the streets,” she told me. (The NYPD has not been defunded; last year’s budget increased police funding by $200 million, and the promised caps on overtime for police that former Mayor Bill de Blasio promised in 2020 didn’t fully materialize.) “Number two, we have to make sure that criminals, such as the criminal in this incident, get caught, get arrested and stay in jail.” It was a perfectly on-message response to my question, though exactly how those policies would solve the problem of antisemitic attacks is unclear. The NYPD is the largest police force in the country, yet antisemitic attacks increased by 50% over the last year, according to police statistics. If the solution to antisemitism were as simple as locking people up and increasing the police presence, New York, and the United States, would have solved the problem a long time ago.”

Bishop Desmond Tutu in his own words

Interview in the Washington Post ,

“When you go to the Holy Land and see what’s being done to the Palestinians at checkpoints, for us, it’s the kind of thing we experienced in South Africa. Whether you want to say Israel practices apartheid is immaterial. They are doing things, given their history, you think, “Do you remember what happened to you?” Then they clobber you and say, “You are anti-Semitic.””

This is My Plea to the People of Israel,

“Those who continue to do business with Israel, who contribute to a sense of “normalcy” in Israeli society, are doing the people of Israel and Palestine a disservice. They are contributing to the perpetuation of a profoundly unjust status quo. Those who contribute to Israel’s temporary isolation are saying that Israelis and Palestinians are equally entitled to dignity and peace.”


See also: Anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Tutu dies. Here is what he said about Israel-Palestine (Middle East Eye); Desmond Tutu’s Lifelong Struggle Against Apartheid (Jewish Currents); Opinion: Desmond Tutu stood for Palestinians and many others. We should honor his global struggle for justice (Washington Post)