Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: May 27-June 3, 2022

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

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.

Facing Expulsions & Demolitions in Masafer Yatta

"They're destroying us",

“Insane violence. Today, 21 people, my neighbors, were evicted in Masafer Yatta. I saw kids come back from school to find their home gone. They’re destroying us. A shameless occupation with a cruel, announced plan, to turn our towns into a military training zone. #SaveMasaferYatta The woman crying in the video, her name is Wadha. Soldiers destroyed her home in May shortly after the the occupation ruled to evict thousands of people here. Since then, she slept in a tent with her kids. Today they CAME BACK, specially to destroy her tent. No limits. No heart.” See video. 

Palestinians in Masafer Yatta made homeless twice over by Israeli demolitions,

“On Wednesday morning, the Israeli military carried out another round of demolitions in Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank, in a continuing escalation of Israel’s efforts to forcibly expel the area’s Palestinian residents. The military bulldozed tents that had been home to 21 residents of al-Markaz and Fakheit, two villages in the area. The demolitions, which targeted families whose homes had already been destroyed in May and who had set up the tents in order to have somewhere to sleep, came in the wake of a High Court ruling last month that paved the way for Israel to proceed with a long-postponed expulsion on the grounds that Masafer Yatta sits within an army firing zone. The military’s previous demolition operation in the area destroyed the homes of 45 residents.” See also A Year and a Half After Being Shot by Israeli Soldiers, He Lies Paralyzed in a Cave (Haaretz)

Supreme Court rules: Israel above the law,

“The highest court in Israel has allowed the state to commit a war crime. The justices relied on a warped legal interpretation and blatantly disregarded the facts presented before them. They ignored Israel’s true agenda in the area and disregarded the provisions of international law and their internationally accepted interpretation. Above all, they ignored the petitioners. The justices of the Supreme Court refused to truly see the people standing before them…The very notion of requiring these residents to prove they live in their homes is unfounded and degrading. For generations, long before Israel occupied the West Bank, these communities have been living on this land, earning their keep off it and raising their children. With the stroke of a pen, the court erased their entire history, as though they were not human beings, ruling that none of this ever existed and therefore the state can expel them.

Trappings aside, it is plain to see what really happened here. This was not a legal discussion. The justices of the Supreme Court are surely well-versed in international law and familiar with its accepted interpretations – certainly when it comes to fundamental issues presented to them in great detail. Nevertheless, they chose, yet again, to serve the apartheid regime. This time, they found a way to sanction the transfer of land from Palestinian residents to Jewish hands. By doing so, the court facilitated the regime’s promotion of Jewish supremacy in yet another parcel of land, in keeping with the view that the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is a resource meant to benefit Jews alone.” See also: This is how Israel plans to annex the occupied West Bank (MEMO, Dr. Ramzy Baroud)

Progressive Lawmakers Demand Stop to Israeli “War Crime” in Masafer Yatta,

“On Tuesday, 15 House Democrats called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to stop the Israeli government’s expulsion of Palestinians from the villages of Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank. In a letter obtained by Jewish Currents, they urged the administration to “immediately send the strongest diplomatic message possible not to expel the indigenous Palestinian residents,” demanding that the State Department “exert all available diplomatic pressure.”…“Forced displacement and transfer by Israel of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta would be a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” the lawmakers wrote, “and would amount to a war crime.” The letter—which was initiated by Rep. Cori Bush, a member of the progressive flank of the Democratic Party known as “the Squad”—follows a similar missive to Blinken spearheaded by the liberal Zionist organization J Street, which was signed by 81 members of Congress.” See also Progressive Democrats Deem Israel’s Planned Evictions of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta a ‘War Crime’ (Haaretz), Bush Leads 14 Colleagues in Urging State Department to Intervene to Prevent Israel’s Forced Displacement of Over 1,000 Palestinians in Masafer Yatta (Rep. Cori Bush’s Press Release), and Lara Friedman’s Congressional Round-up for more details. 

On Shireen Abu Akleh's killing

Al Jazeera Network to send Shireen Abu Akleh murder case to ICC,

“The network said in a statement on Thursday that it has formed an international coalition that consists of its legal team along with international experts, and is preparing a dossier on the murder of Abu Akleh for submission to the ICC prosecutor. In addition to the killing of Abu Akleh, who was shot dead by Israel forces on May 11 near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, the ICC submission will also include the Israeli bombing “and total destruction” of Al Jazeera’s office in Gaza in May 2021, and “the continuous incitements and attacks” on Al Jazeera journalists working in the occupied Palestinian territories.” See also Israeli NGOs urge UN: investigate journalist Abu Akleh’s killing (Al Jazeera)

‘Press vests won’t keep you safe’: Journalists recount Israeli army attacks,

“Following Shireen’s killing, +972 Magazine spoke to three journalists from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to shine a light on their experiences of working in the field while under occupation and siege. Here are their stories.” See also Israel committed 148 violations against Palestinian journalists in May: report (The New Arab)

Blinken congratulated me on graduating. I confronted him about Shireen Abu Akleh,

“As the ceremony ended, Secretary Blinken motioned at me with his hands, signaling for me not to leave. As he left the stage, he stopped in front of my peers and I, and said, “I see you. I hear you.” I reiterated to him that we demand an independent investigation into Shireen’s murder. He replied, “We are committed to finding the truth.” I felt enraged all over again. We knew the truth. What we wanted was to put that truth on the global record, so that one day Israel could be held accountable…Secretary Blinken sadly represents everything wrong with the American foreign policy establishment. They hear and see Palestinians and our grievances. They know that Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered, that Palestinians in Masafer Yatta are experiencing ethnic cleansing, that two million people in Gaza are being collectively punished. But they choose not to act. They choose to continue supporting Israel with immense military and financial aid. They choose to block every attempt to hold Israel accountable.” See also “Decolonizing the Narrative,” FMEP’s May 2021 podcast with Nooran Alhamdan.

Jerusalem Day Flag March

The violence didn’t stop with Jerusalem’s Flag March,

“The sight of tens of thousands of Jewish supremacists, many of them young, gripped the world on Sunday during the annual Flag March, the culmination of Israel’s celebrations marking the “reunification” of Jerusalem in 1967. The marchers walked through the streets of Jerusalem on their way to the Old City, many of whom engaged in violent and racist chanting, including “Death to Arabs,” “May your village burn,” and “Shireen is a whore,” in reference to the slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The marchers were allowed to parade through Damascus Gate — a central hub for the city’s Palestinians — and into the Muslim Quarter, where they attacked Palestinian shopowners, journalists, and onlookers; the Israeli police, meanwhile, cordoned off the area surrounding the Old City and barred Palestinians from protesting. But with the world’s focus on the Israeli marchers, few paid attention to how Palestinians were resisting that day — and how they were brutally suppressed. Less than a kilometer from the Jewish crowd, Palestinians organized their own counter Flag March on Salah a-Din street, one of the major thoroughfares of occupied East Jerusalem. Unlike the Israeli Flag March, the Palestinian one was swiftly put down by the police…” See also WATCH: Jewish supremacists chant ‘Death to Arabs’ during Flag March (+972//Oren Ziv), IN PHOTOS: Jerusalem’s Nationalist Flag March in Nine Striking Images (Haaretz), Video of Israeli extremists attacking elderly Palestinian woman sparks outrage (The New Arab) and On the Temple Mount, Jewish fundamentalists are winning the day (+972//Natasha Roth Rowland)

Dozens of Jerusalem Day Videos Showed Jews Beating Palestinians. Only Two Were Arrested,

“Numerous videos and photographs taken on Sunday in Jerusalem appear to show offenses committed by Flag March participants against Palestinians along the route of the march and in areas adjacent to the Old City. The police say more than 60 people were arrested and detained in the city that day, the large majority of them Palestinian. Only two of the people arrested were Jews…The videos and photos posted on social media paint a different picture – one in which Jewish rioters acted with near-total impunity for many hours in several parts of the capital. Some of the alleged offenses were committed by people who did not conceal their identity and in the proximity of police officers who only moved the rioters away but did not arrest them. The two Jews who were arrested are suspected of involvement in the assault on Iyad Harab, a journalist for public broadcaster KAN’s Arabic service.”

Gaza Strip

Impact of Israeli strike in Gaza akin to chemical weapons, NGO report finds,

“An Israeli airstrike on an agrochemical warehouse during last year’s war in Gaza amounted to the “indirect deploying of chemical weapons”, according to a report analysing the attack and its impact. Incendiary artillery shells fired by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) hit the large Khudair Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Tools warehouse in the north of the Gaza Strip on 15 May last year, setting fire to hundreds of tonnes of pesticides, fertilisers, plastics and nylons. The strike created a toxic plume, which engulfed an area of 5.7 sq km and has left local residents struggling with health issues, including two reports of miscarriages, and indications of environmental damage. The extensive investigation, which involved analysing mobile phone and drone footage and CCTV, dozens of interviews with residents, and analysis from munitions and fluid dynamics experts, used 3D modelling of the warehouse to determine the circumstances of the attack. It is the first publication by Palestinian human rights NGO Al-Haq’s newly established forensic architecture investigation unit, a first-of-its-kind collaboration in the Middle East with Forensic Architecture, a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, which carries out spatial and media analysis for NGOs and in international human rights cases.” See the Al Haq report: The Shelling of Khudair Warehouse: Chemical Warfare by Indirect Means

A walk through Israel’s ever-evolving checkpoint regime,

“The Erez Crossing into Gaza brought back memories of how, from Allenby to Qalandiya, Israel is constantly redesigning its structures of domination.”

One Year Later,

“A year after Israel’s military offensive in May 2021, Gaza residents continue to grapple with the damage left in its wake”

Apartheid/Occupation/Human Rights

Israeli forces kill four Palestinians in occupied West Bank,

“According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Israeli forces have killed 61 Palestinians since January 1. Local and international rights groups have condemned what they call Israel’s excessive use of force and “shoot-to-kill policy” against Palestinians, including suspected assailants, in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Senior Israeli politicians – including Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett – have encouraged the use of lethal force and given orders to shoot Palestinians who did not pose an imminent threat.” See also Witnesses: Palestinian Boy Killed by Israeli Army Posed No Danger (Haaretz), Israeli forces kill Palestinian journalist on her first day of work (The New Arab)

Hamas’ landslide student election win marks major shift in Palestinian politics,

“The annual elections at Birzeit are widely regarded as a reflection of the broader political mood in the Palestinian street in the occupied West Bank. The university did not hold elections for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making this the first round since 2019. Out of around 12,500 students at the university, four out of five voted in the latest elections, held on May 18, with the voter turnout similar to the rounds in previous years. Last week’s results, however, were unprecedented. More than half of the cast ballots, with 5,068 students, voted for Al-Kutla al-Wafa al-Islamiyya (“the Islamic Bloc”), the student group associated with the Hamas movement, versus only 3,379 who voted for the Martyr Yasser Arafat’s Bloc (also known as “Shabiba”), the Fatah-affiliated group. Until this year, such a large gap between the two parties — a 10-seat margin out of 51 seats in the union — had never been reached…The results clearly show that something has shifted in Palestinian politics over the past three years. But what exactly has changed? How did Hamas garner so much popular support? And what does it tell us about the political atmosphere in the West Bank today?” See also Landslide victory for Hamas student bloc in West Bank reflects shift in popular support (Al Monitor)

Just 5 Percent of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Have Received Israeli Citizenship Since 1967,

“Only 5 percent of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem – 18,982 people – have obtained Israeli citizenship since the city was reunified in 1967…Only 34 percent of naturalization applications submitted by Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are approved, and in many cases final approval takes years…Fifty-five years after the city was unified, Palestinians account for 39 percent of the population but fewer than 5 percent of them are Israeli citizens…The lack of Israeli citizenship has many implications. Without it, East Jerusalem Palestinians cannot vote in Israeli legislative elections or obtain an Israeli passport. To travel abroad they must apply for a temporary travel document (laissez passer). Some jobs are not open to non-citizens. Most importantly, their residency status can be revoked, unlike citizens. This has happened to over 14,000 Palestinians since 1967, mostly due to information showing that the center of their life was not in Jerusalem. With the loss of resident status, they lose their health insurance, livelihood and even the right to enter Jerusalem.” Also see Israel puts E1 settlement project back on agenda, weeks ahead of Biden trip (Times of Israel) and Urgent: Nearly 100 Palestinians are Under Threat of Immediate Displacement from Wadi Qaddum, East Jerusalem (Ir Amim)

Three Threads of the Movement for Palestinian Liberation,

of Visualizing Palestine and Tamara Ben-Halim of Makan join host Yara Hawari to explore how the work of their organizations intersects with that of Al-Shabaka, and how we can collectively build stronger communities in the struggle for justice, freedom, and equality.” Also see BDS Is Palestine’s Only Path to Justice (Dr. Yara Hawari in Tribune Magazine)

Sealed Protocols From 1956 Kafr Qasem Massacre to Be Published,

“Classified protocols from the trial of perpetrators of the 1956 Kafr Qasem massacre may now be published, Israel’s Military Court of Appeals has ruled…Haaretz reported last week that a ruling had been issued but nobody was allowed to know what it said, prompting public criticism that led to the gag order being lifted. Consequently, the decision can now be reported, and hundreds of pages of the protocols will be released soon…Some of the documents to be released touch on a secret plan to deport Arabs from Israel’s Triangle region to Jordan. The plan was never put into operation, and its full details have yet to be revealed. However, the court is still barring publication of the plan itself, as well as photographs from the scene of the Kafr Qasem massacre. The court’s decision came in response to a suit filed five years ago by historian Adam Raz of the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research.”

Israeli Activists Put Up a Billboard With Palestinian Flag. It Didn't Last a Day,

“A massive sign showing the Palestinian and Israeli flags was removed on Wednesday from an office building overlooking a major Tel Aviv highway, after police warned its management the billboard might spark violent reactions. The sign, which bore the slogan “We are destined to live together,” was funded by Mehazkim, a left-wing, liberal digital movement. It was put up earlier on Wednesday, just hours before it was eventually removed. Ramat Gan mayor publicly rejected the initiative, taking to Facebook to say that his city will put up “huge Israeli flags and flags saluting the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet, Israel Police and Border Police” in response…Ori Kol, Mehazkim’s CEO, said: “The sign may have been removed, but there are still two peoples living in here, and Jews and Arabs who will continue fighting together for a shared future. This sign is just the beginning.”” See also Israel’s peace camp is taking up bulldozers to fight the occupation (+972)

Opinion | Will Someone Finally Say Israel Has Lost It?,

“For over 50 years the messianic-nationalist stream has served as a convenient tool in the hands of secular Israeli governments, which worked diligently on advancing the Zionist project while grabbing the remnants of the Palestinian space, captured in 1967. A tool, let us repeat. A means. The white shirts – since the dancing in Sebastia and the Purim celebrations in Hebron after the massacre carried out by Dr. Baruch Goldstein on Palestinian worshippers – would not have succeeded if they had not served so well the goals of all the Zionist governments and fitted into their plans…The problem is that tools, like the Golem of the Maharal of Prague or of Walt Disney, tend to raise their heads. We saw this in the terrifying flag dance in Jerusalem on Sunday. Today, they are 50,000 wearing white shirts who marched in the heart of Palestinian Jerusalem. Yesterday they marched in Hebron and fulfilled there the vision of emptying it of Palestinians. Tomorrow they will be 100,000.”

U.S. Scene

Investigation: The Super PACS trying to take down working class candidates for Congress,

“Billionaire-funded super PACs are pouring money into seven key congressional districts to defeat working-class candidates – mostly women of color – in tight races. Four well-financed super PACs have spent over $18 million in just the past three months to help corporate-aligned Democrats maintain their control over the Democratic Party.” See also Balancing the Scales: How much did AIPAC affect a close Democratic primary in Texas? (Jewish Currents), Nancy Pelosi, Years-long AIPAC Ally, Accepts J Street Endorsement and LISTEN: AIPAC Wants to Defeat This Jewish Democrat. He’s Fighting Back (Haaretz interview with Andy Levin)

New super PAC aims at electing pro-Israel Black Democrats,

“A new super PAC led by “Black and Jewish” leaders has endorsed five Black Democrats who have positions that are friendly to AIPAC, the latest sign that pro-Israel donors are determined to stem erosion of support for Israel among African Americans. In its May 27 launch statement, first reported by Politico, the Urban Empowerment Action PAC does not mention Israel, instead saying that it “will support pragmatic, solutions-oriented congressional candidates dedicated to the educational empowerment and economic uplift of Black Communities.” It says its “supporters include a broad coalition of Black and Jewish business, political and civic leaders.” But Bakari Sellers, a political commentator who appears in the PAC’s literature as a spokesman, told Politico that Israel was “definitely high up on the list” in the decision by the super PAC to endorse Janice Winfrey, the Detroit City Clerk who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib.”

US readies steps to boost ties with Palestinians after freezing consulate reopening,

“The Biden administration has settled on a series of steps aimed at boosting its diplomatic ties to the Palestinians in lieu of reopening the US Consulate in Jerusalem — a move it reluctantly shelved amid Israeli opposition. According to two US and Palestinian officials who spoke to The Times of Israel, US President Joe Biden will elevate Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr to the role of special envoy to the Palestinians. Amr will remain in Washington but will make regular trips to the region and work closely with the Palestinian Affairs Unit, which currently is a branch within the US Embassy to Israel and is housed in the old Jerusalem consulate building.”


Israel signs first Arab free trade agreement with UAE,

“Israel has signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates, its first big trade accord with an Arab state and a move aimed at boosting trade between the two Middle Eastern nations…The Council predicts there will be almost 1,000 Israeli companies working in or through the UAE by the end of the year, doing business with South Asia, the Far East and the Middle East. “The domestic market doesn’t represent the entirety of the opportunity. The opportunity is really setting up in Dubai, as many companies have, in order to target the broader region,” Barak said.”” See also UAE and Israel sign comprehensive economic partnership agreement (The National) and Israelis begin doing deals in Saudi Arabia (Al Monitor)

Blinken: Saudi Arabia a ‘critical partner’ for U.S. in expanding Abraham Accords,

““Saudi Arabia is a critical partner to us in dealing with extremism in the region, in dealing with the challenges posed by Iran, and also I hope in continuing the process of building relationships between Israel and its neighbors both near and further away through the continuation, the expansion of the Abraham Accords,” Blinken said at a virtual event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Foreign Affairs magazine. Saudi officials have recently spoken about potentially normalizing ties with Israel, but insist the country will not move forward until progress has been made on addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  “I think we have always seen normalization as the end result, but the end result of a path,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We always envisioned that there will be full normalization with Israel, and I’ve said before that a full normalization between us and Israel, between the region and Israel, will bring immense benefits — we won’t be able to reap those benefits unless we address the issue of Palestine.””


General Mills says departing Israel was a business decision, not a boycott,

“Days after General Mills announced it had sold its stake in a joint operation in Israel that operated a plant in East Jerusalem, the company emphasized that its decision was unconnected to a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement advocacy campaign that has targeted its operations for several years.” See also General Mills Divests from Israel Following Campaign Led by Quaker Organization (AFSC)

Morningstar Cuts Ties to Human Rights Radar Due to Bias Concerns,

“The decision was made because Human Rights Radar, which Morningstar picked up in its acquisition of Sustainalytics, exhibited “bias in its outcomes by overrepresenting firms linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to a letter from Executive Chairman Joe Mansueto and Chief Executive Officer Kunal Kapoor…JLens, which represents a network of Jewish investors, put Morningstar on its “do not invest list” due to its alleged support of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) campaign. White & Case found no evidence that Sustainalytics’ products engaged in “pervasive or systemic bias” against Israel, but did conclude that Human Rights Radar “sometimes used inflammatory language and failed to provide sourcing attribution clearly and consistently,” Mansueto and Kapoor wrote.” See also ESG Research Company Morningstar Commits to Changing Business Practices, Eliminating Key Source of Support for Anti-Israel BDS Campaign (JLens) and A Letter from Joe Mansueto and Kunal Kapoor


The Interactive Encyclopedia of the Palestine Question,

“The Institute for Palestine Studies is proud to present The Interactive Encyclopedia of the Palestine Question, which it has been developing as part of a joint project with the Palestinian Museum. The fully bilingual (English–Arabic) platform is entirely devoted to the history of modern Palestine, from the end of the Ottoman era to the present. The Encyclopedia, the first of its kind, was developed for use by academics, students, journalists, and the general public…The Encyclopedia has come to fruition following years of preparation and several stages of implementation. Throughout this process, utmost attention has been given to introduce a description of the Palestine Question that is simultaneously committed and objective and to present Palestinians as they are—purposeful actors, and not just victims, who build with both successes and setbacks their political, social, and cultural institutions inside and outside Palestine.”