Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: July 23-29, 2022

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

Israeli Supreme Court Opens Door to “Legalized” Ethnic Cleansing Inside the Green Line,

FMEP President Lara Friedman speaks with Dr. Lana Tatour about the recent Israeli Supreme Court decision that opens a legal path for the Israeli government to revoke citizenship of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and what this decision both reflects and demonstrates about the fragile status of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Subscribe to the “Occupied Thoughts” podcast on iTunes | Soundcloud |Spotify

Settlement & Annexation Report: July 21, 2022,

Welcome to FMEP’s Weekly Settlement Report, covering everything you need to know about Israeli settlement activity this week. To subscribe to this report, please click here.

  1. Israel High Court Greenlights Theft of Palestinian Private Land
  2. Masafer Yatta
  3. Israel Advances New East Jerusalem Settlement Plans
  4. Grab Bag
  5. Bonus Read

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.

On the Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

Slain journalist’s family puts spotlight on Israeli impunity,

“Abu Akleh’s family is now holding the Biden administration to its word. This week, her brother, his wife and their two children came to Washington to press her case. That started with a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday from which they came away disappointed. “We were hoping they would tell us something we hadn’t heard before,” Lina Abu Akleh, Shireen’s niece, told me the following day. But that was not to be: “It was just the same rhetoric, repeating the same statements,” she added. The family also met with officials from the Justice Department’s section on human rights and special prosecutions, which is separately involved in investigating the killing of a U.S. journalist by Russian forces in Ukraine…The family received more encouragement following meetings on the Hill. A Thursday news conference on the steps of the Capitol was attended by a string of prominent Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (N.Y.), who urged the Biden administration to launch a proper, independent investigation of the incident. A statement from six Democratic senators on the Appropriations Committee, including Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.), outlined how they had introduced text that would mandate Blinken or a future secretary of state to submit a report on the steps taken to facilitate a credible investigation into Abu Akleh’s death.” See also‘We want to know’: Shireen Abu Akleh’s family demands US probe” (Al Jazeera); Biden holds firm on refusal to open new Abu Akleh probe, despite push from Democrats (ToI); Shireen Abu Akleh’s niece on her family’s meeting with Blinken to push for U.S. probe (NPR); ‘She’s a Human Being Who Was Killed in Cold Blood’: Shireen Abu Akleh’s Family Demands U.S. Action: A Q&A with family members of the slain Palestinian American journalist (Politico); U.S. Lawmakers Demand U.S.-led Probe Alongside Shireen Abu Akleh’s Family (Haaretz); Senate Democrats propose bill text linking US assistance to Israel to journalist’s death (The Hill)

Opinion The U.S. must end Israel’s impunity and investigate my aunt’s ,

“At the meeting [with Secretary of State Blinken], my family reiterated our demand that the United States conduct its own investigation into what happened to Shireen, retract its statement from July 4, and be more open and transparent with us. We also expressed how important it is for us to meet with Biden himself so he can demonstrate that Shireen’s case is a priority for his administration. Blinken acknowledged that the U.S. government has a duty to protect every American citizen and said he was committed to transparency with the family moving forward, but stopped short of committing to opening an investigation or agreeing to our meeting with Biden…We fully understand the U.S. government’s role in fueling the belief of Israeli leaders and soldiers that they enjoy impunity for their actions. Yet this is why it is all the more urgent for my family to impress this message upon the administration: Biden can stop this pattern. He can pledge to pursue meaningful accountability for my aunt, starting with a commitment to conduct an independent U.S. investigation in Shireen’s case.”

Forcible Transfer in Masafer Yatta

The scars that don’t heal in Masafer Yatta,

“For generations, Palestinians have fought to survive against the violent acts of the military and settlers. Explicit state policies — some of which were instituted during the popular uprisings of the First Intifada — helped to systemize this violence…In contrast to death, the scarred body is both a living memory of the past and a daily reminder of the present struggles to survive. Here we share the stories of a number of residents of Masafer Yatta who have been left with physical scars following attacks by settlers and soldiers, in order to tell their stories of survival, grief, and the process of relearning their own bodies in the face of unending violence.”

‘It’s 2022 and we live in caves’: herders besieged by settlers on West Bank but still clinging to hope,

“Images of pastoralist communities living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the impact of the attacks by settlers on the Palestinian shepherds’ lifestyle and livelihoods. Words and photographs by Manal Massalha” See also Ten people displaced as the Israel military demolishes their residence in Masafer Yatta (WAFA);  The Palestinian mothers of Masafer Yatta and the fear of displacement (Middle East Eye) and The electricity in Attwaneh village by Basil Adara (Humans of Masafer Yatta)

This Israeli forbids Palestinians from building. He lives in an illegal outpost,

“Abu Aram was born in a small cave in the village of Al-Rakeez. In 2001, settlers established the Avigayil outpost, where inspector [Civil Administration Inspector Avia] Hagar lives. Settlement outposts are considered illegal according to both Israeli and international law, and every single one of the homes in Avigayil, including that of Hagar, is slated for demolition. In practice, however, this is meaningless: the outpost was built with government funding, and its residents live in homes replete with electricity and running water. Their neighbors in Al-Rakeez, meanwhile, live in caves and enjoy none of these amenities, simply because they aren’t Jewish…That the person who oversees illegal construction in the West Bank himself lives in an illegal home is not necessarily unusual in the West Bank. A former official in the Civil Administration told +972 that the majority of the administration’s inspectors live in settlements or outposts.”

Apartheid/Occupation/Human Rights

Israel can now strip away 48 Palestinians' citizenship,

“Last week, in a precedential decision, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the state had the power to revoke the citizenship of a person convicted of offences that amounted to “breach of loyalty”, even if the person would become stateless as a result and in violation of international law…The importance of this decision cannot be overstated. Its implications are grave and will be seen in the near and far future. This decision has created a legal path for revoking the citizenship of the 48 Palestinians (also known as Palestinian citizens of Israel), a stepping-stone in Israel’s efforts to advance the ethnic cleansing and expulsion of Palestinians. On a practical level, the court has cleared the way for what would become the routine denaturalisation of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, making them vulnerable to deportation, something Israel has long aspired to. The decision to substitute citizenship with a so-called permanent residency status might enable individuals to continue to have access to some social services, but it strips them from the utmost protection that citizenship is designed to grant: the right to remain at home…The experience of Jerusalemites teaches us that there is nothing permanent in “permanent residence” when it comes to Palestinians. Since 1967, Israel has regularly revoked the residence of Jerusalemites, effectively banning them permanently from their city and homes. So far, over 15,000 residencies have been revoked, as part of the ongoing effort to eliminate Palestinians from the city…Israel has never made peace with the existence of its Palestinian citizens. It pursued plans for the mass expulsion of 48 Palestinians in its first decade. The Kafr Qasim massacre of October 1956, in which the army executed 51 Palestinians, was part of a larger secret plan, called Operation Hafarperet, to oust the Palestinian population from the Little Triangle…​​We have seen calls to demand that 48 Palestinians sign an oath of allegiance to the Israeli state as a Jewish state; the adoption of the Nation-State of the Jewish People in 2018; and the advancement of what is known as the “population exchange” plan – the planned transfer of Little Triangle villages and their estimated 300,000 residents to the Palestinian state against the will of the Palestinians in these areas…Israel sees in their citizenship a gesture, not a right – and gestures can always be undone…We need to see it for what it is: Israel is working step by step to create legal paths for making denaturalisation, and thus the expulsion, of 48 Palestinians possible.” See alsoIsraeli Supreme Court Opens Door to “Legalized” Ethnic Cleansing Inside the Green Line,” new FMEP podcast with Dr. Lana Tatour and Lara Friedman.

Israel's Top Court Reverses Ruling on West Bank Outpost, Allowing Settlers to Stay,

“Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against the evacuation of settlers living in the Mitzpeh Kramim outpost near Ramallah on Wednesday, reversing a previous ruling that ordered their removal. Two years ago, the court ruled that deals pertaining to abandoned property in the West Bank could be recognized if proven that they were made in “good faith,” which they said did not apply to Mitzpeh Kramim. But on Wednesday, an expanded panel of justices reversed that decision and accepted the government’s argument that the expropriation met the test of “good faith” and that so-called “market regulations” apply to outposts…Mitzpeh Kramim is an unusual case in that the outpost was built on private Palestinian land that had been apparently seized by military order, but was in fact situated outside the seized area, so the land it was built on was never under the state’s control.” See alsoIsrael’s high court legalises settler land seizure in controversial West Bank outpost case” (Middle East Eye)

Biden’s hospital aid to Palestinians puts a band-aid on a bullet wound,

“On 15 July, US President Joe Biden capped off a trip to Israel and the occupied West Bank with a visit to East Jerusalem, where he pledged $100m in aid to hospitals in the occupied city, which suffered significant cuts in donor funding during the Trump administration. On its face, this appeared to be a good-faith attempt to provide needed health services…Humanitarian efforts have long been used as political tools in conflict-affected environments, and the occupied Palestinian territories are among the most representative settings where this has been the case…To genuinely improve Palestinian health, the US administration must recognise the root causes of Palestinian suffering: the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank, which has lasted 55 years, and the nearly two-decade long siege of the Gaza Strip, including direct attacks on healthcare facilities and staff, and the restrictions on the movement of people, patients, and medical equipment…Palestinians and their health have been reduced to a temporary humanitarian matter that relies on the good intentions of a fragmented donor community.”

How Israel nearly turned Biden’s East Jerusalem visit into a diplomatic incident,

“Israel was prepared to turn US President Joe Biden’s visit to a hospital in East Jerusalem into a major diplomatic incident due to Washington’s refusal to allow any Israeli officials to join, a senior administration official revealed to The Times of Israel. The tour of Augusta Victoria Hospital last Friday constituted the first time that a US president set foot in East Jerusalem, outside the Old City. Israel viewed the visit as a political statement by the administration aimed at recognizing Palestinian ties to the majority-Palestinian part of the capital. As a result, it tried for months to convince the US to allow Israeli government officials to attend the visit in order to demonstrate that East Jerusalem is part of its undivided capital, the senior Biden administration official explained in a conversation held several days after the president’s trip to the region.” See alsoEducation minister revokes licenses of 6 East Jerusalem schools for incitement” (ToI)

Environmental Normalization in Palestine with Inès Abdel Razek,

“Inès Abdel Razek joins host Yara Hawari to discuss how the Israeli regime uses eco-normalization projects and greenwashing tactics to cover up its theft of Palestinian natural resources and lands as part of its settler-colonial project across Palestine.”

Israel's medical permit denial for Gaza's children doubles in past year, warns report,

Israeli authorities have rejected a third of medical permit requests for Palestinian minors in the besieged Gaza Strip, almost double the previous year, according to new data. A report by the Tel Aviv-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) found that 32 percent of requests to reach either occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank or Jordan to receive urgent medical care for children were rejected in 2021, compared with 17 percent in 2020. Ghada Majadle, director of the occupied territories department at PHR, said Israel was complicit in “a serious and ongoing crime that is harming patients, especially minors”.”

Military Court Watch June 2022 Newsletter,

“According to data issued quarterly by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 30 June 2022, there were 4,402 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in detention facilities including 137 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was an 7% decrease in the number compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 10% compared with 2021. Five children were held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 67% of child detainees were transferred to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. More statistics

Israel Refuses to Compensate Arab Towns for Damage During 2021 Violence,

“The government is paying millions of shekels in compensation to mixed Jewish-Arab cities for damage caused during Operation Guardian of the Walls, but is not compensating Arab cities and local authorities that also suffered damage…The Tax Authority’s refusal in Umm al-Fahm was based on the claim that the damage had nothing to do with the Jewish-Arab conflict, and that the residents were to blame, as Haaretz reported last month. Legal experts told Haaretz that the explanation given for the refusal to compensate all of the Arab municipalities is identical to the one given to the Umm al-Fahm municipality.”

Palestinian Scene

Palestinian Authority arrest campaign ‘one of the worst in years’,

“The Palestinian Authority (PA) is carrying out one of the largest political arrest campaigns in years against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, with at least 94 people arrested over the past two months. Those arrested include university students and journalists, with at least 20 still in detention, according to the Ramallah-based Lawyers for Justice group. None were charged with any offences, and most were released after 10 days in prison…Karajeh said the majority of those arrested were Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) activists as well as, to a lesser extent, individuals affiliated with the PA’s governing party Fatah, and the left-wing Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)…“The majority were interrogated about their political activism, for example about their participation in elections – whether as candidates or as supporters of certain lists – and others, like students, about their student union activities,” said Karajeh.”

Palestine renews bid for full membership of United Nations,

“Palestine has renewed its bid for full membership of the United Nations, according to a Palestinian diplomat. Speaking in an interview with Voice of Palestine, Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations (UN), Riyad Mansour, said that the Palestinian leadership, under the chairmanship of President Mahmoud Abbas, has initiated contacts at the highest levels to secure Palestine’s full membership of the UN as a means to safeguard the two-state solution. The Palestinian leadership, he added, was undertaking political and diplomatic moves in coordination with the heads of several states, including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Jordan’s King Abdullah II in addition to members of the UNSC, so as Palestine would not remain hostage to the actions of the Israeli occupation.”

Seeking new funds, Hamas raises taxes in impoverished Gaza,

“Gaza’s Hamas rulers have imposed a slew of new taxes on imported clothes and office supplies just ahead of the new school year, sparking limited but rare protests in the impoverished coastal strip. The move by the militant group comes at a time when Gaza’s 2.3 million people are suffering not only from a 15-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade, but also from a new jump in prices caused by global supply-chain issues and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Imagining Return: A Practice of Memory and Resistance,

“I imagine my family’s return to Palestine very often. Just as the story of my grandparents’ displacement has come to define the lives of my parents and myself, I hope that the story of our return is what defines the lives of my children and grandchildren…Historically, longing for  return has been vital in maintaining the identity of Palestinian refugees, with the Nakba being the violent event experienced by our people that came to define our national experience. Keeping the right of return relevant has maintained our people’s memories of towns and villages lost in 1948 alive amongst younger generations. I propose that we go further though. Imagining our return is not just a daydream, but a strategic exercise in preparation for what will one day be a reality. And let us be so radical as to envision our role in this preparation. How will we navigate physical return? Who will facilitate this return? Who will return? What will happen upon our return? Imagining liberation and return is a framework that allows Palestinians to organize accordingly; imagining return is the first step in actualizing it.”

US Scene

In Michigan, a pro-Israel group works to beat a Jewish Democrat,

“The Aug. 2 primary in the new 11th Congressional District, drawn by a nonpartisan commission last year, has become one of the country’s most expensive, and the latest battle between the Democratic Party’s left, and donors who want to reduce progressive clout in Congress. It’s also a test of the pro-Israel group’s clout in Democratic primaries, where, seven months into its existence, it’s won all but one of the races it has played in…Alana Alpert, who has been Levin’s rabbi since 2015 — the year they co-founded a liberal group called Detroit Jews for Justice — said the attacks were clearly unfair, and that her own mother had been so distraught to see them that she’d sworn off support for AIPAC. “There are some very progressive folks in our community who are basically having their fears about Israel exploited, to distract them from like the issues that most impact us,” said Alpert. “Who’s benefiting from that, ultimately? The corporations that Andy wants to hold accountable.”” See also AIPAC’s huge investment in primary campaigns is paying off — but at what price down the road? (JTA); AIPAC’s Aggressive Spending Is Bad for the Democratic Party—and Democracy Itself (The New Republic // Jeremy Ben-Ami); Michigan Primary Is Biggest Test Yet for AIPAC’s Political Experiment (Haaretz); WhatsApp founder Jan Koum donates record $2 million to AIPAC’s campaign efforts (JTA)

Ben Shapiro at Temple Mount: Jews face apartheid there,

“On Sunday afternoon, Ben Shapiro, the editor emeritus of The Daily Wire, ascended to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to pray with his parents and a group of followers…”The only place that Israel is an apartheid state is only on Har HaBayit [the Temple Mount]. That’s the only place.”” See also Ben Shapiro performs Jewish prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque (Middle East Eye)

Global & Tech

EU says it found evidence that senior officials were targeted with NSO spyware,

“Senior European Union officials have found evidence that their phones were targeted using the Pegasus surveillance spyware developed by Israeli security firm NSO Group, Reuters reported Wednesday. In a letter addressed to European lawmaker Sophie in ‘t Veld by EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and obtained by Reuters, Reynders said he had been warned last year by tech giant Apple that his iPhone may have been targeted by hackers. This prompted a broader investigation, reported by Reuters in April, that found evidence of other European officials being targeted by hackers using Israeli surveillance technology.” See also One Year After Pegasus Project Revelations, the State of Israel Continues to Evade Scrutiny (The Wire//Eitay Mack) and Morocco builds ‘ecosystem of repression’ to quash dissent, report says (Washington Post)

South Africa calls for Israel to be declared an ‘apartheid state’,

“The South African government has expressed concerns that Israel’s continued occupation of “significant portions of the West Bank” and the development of new settlements there “are glaring examples of violations of international law” as the longrunning Israel-Palestine conflict goes on. “The Palestinian narrative evokes experiences of South Africa’s own history of racial segregation and oppression,” Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s minister of international relations and cooperation, said at the second meeting of the Palestinian Heads of Mission in Africa, held in the capital Pretoria. “As oppressed South Africans, we experienced firsthand the effects of racial inequality, discrimination and denial and we cannot stand by while another generation of Palestinians are left behind,” she said. Pandor said Pretoria believes Israel should be classified as an apartheid state and that the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) should establish a committee to verify whether it satisfies the requirements.”

Documents Reveal Advanced AI Tools Google is Selling to Israel ,

“Training materials reviewed by The Intercept confirm that Google is offering advanced artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities to the Israeli government through its controversial “Project Nimbus” contract. The Israeli Finance Ministry announced the contract in April 2021 for a $1.2 billion cloud computing system jointly built by Google and Amazon. “The project is intended to provide the government, the defense establishment and others with an all-encompassing cloud solution,” the ministry said in its announcement…While the Israeli military and security services already rely on a sophisticated system of computerized surveillance, the sophistication of Google’s data analysis offerings could worsen the increasingly data-driven military occupation. According to a trove of training documents and videos obtained by The Intercept through a publicly accessible educational portal intended for Nimbus users, Google is providing the Israeli government with the full suite of machine-learning and AI tools available through Google Cloud Platform. While they provide no specifics as to how Nimbus will be used, the documents indicate that the new cloud would give Israel capabilities for facial detection, automated image categorization, object tracking, and even sentiment analysis that claims to assess the emotional content of pictures, speech, and writing.”

Opinion | Germany Provides a Kosher Stamp for the Israeli Occupation,

“Israel has turned antisemitism into a powerful diplomatic weapon. …This is the infrastructure of Israeli political awareness and statesmanship, and Germany plays a key role in it: to serve as a kosher certificate for the injustices carried out by Israeli Jews. The German state is terrified of any confrontation or clarification with Israel over the nature of contemporary antisemitism, and the question of what is appropriate criticism of Israel’s illegitimate policies…The Holocaust and the State of Israel must remain critical components of Germany’s political and ethical identity – but this is not the case. In all areas concerning Israel and the Jewish people, no real freedom of expression currently exists in Germany. Strict and severe censorship is automatically activated there, even if understandably. But a mechanism of cynical and political exploitation has assumed control, turning the Holocaust and its memory into a means for rejecting any criticism of Israel.” See also Distorting the Holocaust to Boost the International Arms Trade (The Nation//Raz Segal and Amos Goldberg)

Israeli Scene

WATCH: Why don’t Israelis ever hear about Republican antisemitism?,

“One would think that in the so-called Jewish state, the government, the media, and the general population would condemn every form of antisemitism wherever they see it. And yet, Israelis have a tendency to ignore the continuous stream of antisemitic rhetoric that comes out of the American right, including its elected officials, while choosing to focus on progressive Democratic congresswoman, particularly the members of “The Squad.”…But if you’re someone like Republican lawmaker Sarah Fowler Arthur, you can actually support a law to teach the Holocaust from the perspective of the Nazis and the Israeli media won’t say a single word about you. You can even be the president of the United States, bring white nationalists into your White House and call neo-Nazis “very fine people” and still the Israeli media and general public will love you — as long as you keep the unquestioning support for the State of Israel coming. I spoke to Israeli television host Guy Zohar on his show “The Other Side” last week to try and understand why the Israeli mainstream is cutting the far right slack, particularly at a time when it is primarily responsible for much of the homegrown antisemitism in the United States.”

Confession without consequence,

“When crimes are not named as crimes and bodies simply materialize on the ground — whether in the mass grave of Tantura, a Sidon schoolyard, or a road outside of Jiljilya — the perpetrators are left to speak into a void, wrestling with their own demons but not with the structures that continue to perpetrate such violence. It is a deceptive space for reflection and handwringing because there is no absolution without accountability, and no ability to look backwards without justice…Abu Akleh’s death thus illustrates one fundamental lesson of 1982: that without redress for historic and ongoing war crimes, Israeli society will remain in the throes of violence, stripped of hindsight, unable to confront the consequences of individual or state action. Without accountability, perpetrators will continue to recount their deeds in private and before the cameras — with contortion, pride, or by lashing out at victims — while lacking the moral agency or the attainment of psychological resolution they so desperately seek. This is a position of both strategic and ethical weakness, pitiful but not tragic, as it is Palestinians who will continue to pay the price for impunity. As long as Israelis cannot reckon with the implications of state power and sovereignty in both its national and colonial guises, there will be many more such crimes yet to come.”