Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: November 19-December 2, 2022

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

Four new episodes of Occupied Thoughts podcast,

  • How do we talk about Zionism and Anti-Zionism? FMEP’s Sarah Anne Minkin speaks with Dr. Maha Nassar (University of Arizona and FMEP Fellow) about how to talk about Zionism and anti-Zionism in ways that acknowledge different definitions of Zionism and, at the same time, take seriously the power asymmetries between anti-Zionists and Zionists/supporters of the state of Israel in Israel/Palestine and the U.S. public spheres. Speaking from experience as an educator, advocate, and scholar, Maha discusses how she navigates different audiences and invitations as well as her thoughts on anti-normalization, engaging with campus Hillels, and why and how it is imperative to keep returning to Palestinian lives and experiences.
  • The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism: “The Wrong Answers to the Wrong Set of Questions”: FMEP’s Sarah Anne Minkin speaks with Dr. Alana Vincent (Umea University, Sweden) on moving from supporting the use of the the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) Working Definition of Antisemitism to opposing it, on the chilling and silencing effects of the IHRA definition, the shortcomings of European Union research that purports to justify it, and the advantages of alternative definitions that offer clarity and nuance.
  • Pro-Israel Evangelicals: Philosemitism, Bibi Worship & 2024 US Elections: FMEP’s Lara Friedman speaks to Sarah Posner, renowned expert on American pro-Israel evangelicals, about U.S. pro-Israel evangelicals and their agenda in the context of both the recent Israeli elections, the recent US midterms, and the race for the 2024 White House.
  • Free Speech & Palestinian Rights – Both Weapons & Targets in the Battle Against ESG: FMEP’s Lara Friedman speaks with internationally-acclaimed documentary filmmaker Julia Bacha about the growing campaign against “woke capitalism,” and specifically the attacks on what is known as ESG – shorthand for the movement to take environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into account in investing. This podcast seeks to answer the question: why is an organization called the Foundation for Middle East Peace interested in the battle over ESG, and what does this have to do with acclaimed documentary filmmaker whose work has focused largely on Israel/Palestine?

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.

Rise of the Israeli Right

Netanyahu’s far-right allies could escalate West Bank crisis, critics fear,

“Israeli Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu has finalized a deal with his far-right coalition partners granting the ultranationalist parties sweeping authority that could, critics say, herald new levels of bitter conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. On Thursday night, Netanyahu announced an agreement granting Bezalel Smotrich’s extremist Religious Zionism bloc oversight over the civil administration and COGAT, the Israeli agency for Palestinian civil affairs, which until now were under the Ministry of Defense…Smotrich, in the end, did not receive the Defense Ministry, but he did get a win. He and his radical bloc members, who have championed once fringe ideas like annexation of the West Bank, the expulsion of “disloyal Arabs,” and the establishment of new protocols enabling Israeli soldiers to shoot at Palestinian stone throwers, will have unprecedented control over the West Bank at a time of spiraling tensions. The announcement adds to growing concerns this week among the Israeli defense establishment after Netanyahu appointed Smotrich’s second-in-command, the firebrand politician Itamar Ben Gvir, to serve as the head of a rebranded and expanded National Security Ministry.” See also Israel: Netanyahu grants far-right allies control of West Bank Civil Administration (New Arab): Israel’s Netanyahu puts hardliner in charge of settlements (WaPo); Israel: Netanyahu asked the world to forget the occupation. Ben-Gvir wants it front and centre (Middle East Eye); Israel: Meet the new Knesset members of the far-right Religious Zionism party (Middle East Eye); US concerned over Netanyahu de facto annexing West Bank (Al Monitor); Rise of Israel’s Anti-Arab Party Jeopardizes Regional Normalization (Dana El-Kurd, New Lines Institute) 

Ben Gvir’s dream ministry brings Kahane’s vision one step closer,

“Provided nothing derails the ongoing negotiations, Ben Gvir will be appointed as Israel’s first “minister of national security,” overseeing police forces both within the Green Line and in the occupied territories — most notably the Border Police — as well as having much greater control over the police than any of his predecessors…Above all else, however, Ben Gvir’s elevation represents a victory for violence. Israel’s incoming national security minister is, in both word and deed, a violent man who first found the spotlight as an activist with the youth wing of a fascist movement during the prelude to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.” See also Israeli coalition deal gives far right’s Itamar Ben-Gvir control over the police, including in the West Bank (JTA); Smotrich says human rights organizations are ‘existential threat’ to Israel (Times of Israel); Palestinian prisoners in Israeli Ofer prison refuse meals, plan protests against detention conditions

Apartheid/Occupation/Dispossession/Human Rights

Israel says it will deport Palestinian lawyer to France,

“Israel on Thursday announced it has stripped a Palestinian lawyer of his Jerusalem residency and plans to deport him to France, saying the man is an activist in a banned militant group. The decision by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked underscored the fragile status of Jerusalem’s Palestinians, who hold revocable Israeli residency rights but with few exceptions are not citizens…Salah Hammouri has been held since March in administrative detention – an Israeli tool that allows authorities to hold suspects without charge for months at a time. Shaked said that after Hammouri’s detention expires this weekend, he would be deported to France as quickly as possible. Hammouri is a lifelong Jerusalem resident but holds French citizenship.” See also Israel to deport French-Palestinian administrative detainee Salah Hammouri on Sunday (New Arab)

Al-Haq Launches Landmark Palestinian Coalition Report: ‘Israeli Apartheid: Tool of Zionist Settler Colonialism’,

“Importantly, the report is a major Palestinian publication to expand the current international discourse on apartheid, and..examines apartheid as a structural element of furthering Zionist settler colonialism on both sides of the Green Line and against the Palestinian people as a whole…The report adds clear Palestinian voices and analysis to the wider international calls demanding an end to Israel’s apartheid regime. Palestinian civil society demand decolonisation and dismantling of Israel’s settler colonialism and apartheid regime, the fulfilment of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, systematically denied since the British mandate, and the right of refugees and exiles in the diaspora to return. This ground-breaking apartheid report is the product of four years of research and advocacy by the coalition of Palestinian human rights organisations. In this time, and from the efforts of this coalition, there has been growing acceptance of the reality that is Israel’s oppressive apartheid regime by the international community. While Al-Haq is encouraged by the growing global recognition of Israeli apartheid, we note that Zionist settler colonialism and its eliminatory and population transfer logic remain absent from recent analyses and reports on apartheid by Israeli and international human rights organisations such as Yesh Din, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. It is this gap that the present report seeks to fill.”

Why My Organization Has Chosen to Defy Israeli Military Orders,

“if we are threatening anything as Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders, it is Israel’s impunity. Israel’s issuance of over 1800 military orders since 1967, criminalizing any act that might be considered opposing its regime, is more resonant of political and social control to advance colonization than security. Israel’s system of military rule has punished, outlawed, deported, incarcerated, killed, tortured, and silenced Palestinians—especially those with agency to confront its colonization—ultimately denying us their right to self-determination. Palestinian human rights organizations are part of the global human rights movement. Our mandates are guided by the universality of human rights principles. We will not follow military orders that violate these global standards and principles. We, members of Palestinian civil society and the Palestinian people, do not respect Israeli military orders, will not abide by them, and we will continue with our struggle toward dignity, freedom, and self-determination.” See also FMEP’s resources on Israel’s declaration of Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist” organizations.

Palestinian Shot Dead After Alleged Attempt to Stab Israeli Border Police Officers in West Bank,

“A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces after allegedly stabbing and wounding two Border Police officers on Friday. At least 11 people were injured in clashes that erupted after the shooting in the West Bank village of Hawara, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported.” See also Israeli soldier shoots Palestinian dead at point-blank range (Middle East Eye), Israel forces have killed 8 Palestinians in the last three days (Mondoweiss), Palestine: Boy shot dead by Israeli forces ‘en route to school’ (Middle East Eye), Brothers among four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in West Bank (Middle East Eye)

More armed Palestinian groups emerge in West Bank,

“In the West Bank, several new militant groups have proclaimed readiness to fight Israel, including the Balata Brigade in the Balata refugee camp, one of the largest in the West Bank, and the Osh al-Dababir (Hornets Nest) Battalion in the Jenin camp…The possibility of escalation in the West Bank is very high, particularly after the Israeli elections and rise of the extreme right, which seeks to escalate Israeli raids into Al-Aqsa Mosque and tighten restrictions in Israeli prisons, two factors that would inflame the situation in the West Bank.

Teenager dies and 22 injured in twin rush-hour blasts in Jerusalem,

“A teenage boy has died and 22 people have been injured in two blasts targeting rush-hour commuters in Jerusalem, attacks that hark back to the violence of the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising…Wednesday’s explosions mark an escalation in what is by some measures already the deadliest year in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2005: more than 130 Palestinians have been killed in fighting in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of 2022, and 29 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, car-ramming and gun attacks. Another 49 Palestinians, among them 17 children, were killed in a three-day Israeli aerial offensive on the Gaza Strip in August.” See also An Israeli Schoolboy Died in the West Bank. To Find His Body, Foes Joined Forces. (NYT), Druze IDF troops held for allegedly throwing IED at West Bank home in revenge attack (Times of Israel)

The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh ,

“On May 11, 2022, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was reporting from the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank when an Israeli soldier shot and killed her. The Israeli military would eventually admit it was “possible” she was killed by their fire. But Abu Akleh was also an American citizen and her killing has brought into sharp focus the United States’s handling of her case. In The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, Fault Lines spoke with witnesses from that day and took questions to the White House and State Department about whether the US will investigate her shooting.” See also What the FBI’s Investigation of Shireen Abu Akleh’s Killing Won’t Resolve (Alex Kane//Jewish Currents)

UN approves resolution to commemorate 75th Nakba anniversary,

“The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, a term used to describe the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the lead-up to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Ninety countries voted in favour of the measure, with 30 voting against it and 47 abstaining…Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, condemned the measure’s passage…The Israeli diplomat said the passage of the resolution on the Nakba would hinder any chance of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

How Akka’s Palestinians fought back against Israel’s mass arrest campaign,

“Israeli police launched a repressive operation against Palestinian citizens following last year’s violence in ‘mixed cities.’ Abandoned by local leaders, activists built their own initiatives to support detainees and their families.”

Spotlight on Hebron & the South Hebron Hills

‘I couldn’t breathe’: A weekend of settler violence in Hebron,

“Around 30,000 Israeli Jews descended on the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank last weekend…The attacks began on Friday night, when dozens of Israelis twice attacked the home of a Palestinian resident, smashing the windows of his house and damaging his car. According to eyewitness testimonies, soldiers and police arrived at the scene but did not make any arrests. Then, on Saturday, tens of thousands of Israelis marched through the market, attacking Palestinian shops and residents while accompanied by soldiers who did nothing to prevent the violence. Meanwhile, large parts of the city center, where Palestinian movement is already heavily restricted, was further blocked off to Palestinians.” See also Editorial | Jewish Rioting in Hebron Is Only a Preview (“The marchers were filmed chanting “a Jew is a soul; an Arab is a son of a bitch” (which rhymes in Hebrew)…“There’s not a home in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood that wasn’t attacked.”) 

The far right is ‘taking over’ the Israeli army — with leftists in its crosshairs,

“Last Friday, an Israeli soldier from the army’s Givati Brigade was filmed beating a left-wing Israeli activist in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank. The activist was part of a delegation of 15 religious left-wing Jews from the group Bnei Avraham, which came to Hebron for a tour and to meet with Palestinian residents of the city who were attacked the previous weekend by masses of Israeli settlers. Another soldier at the scene was filmed telling the activists that “Ben Gvir is going to bring order to this place,” and “I don’t like leftists, I will fuck you up.”…The army is investigating the soldier who assaulted the activist, while the soldier who threatened to attack other activists was sentenced to 10 days in military prison. Meanwhile, the activist who was assaulted has himself been placed under house arrest for five days and barred from returning to Hebron for two weeks, along with two other activists who were present.” See also Far-right MK Ben-Gvir: Police Must Check if Soldiers Who Beat Activists in Hebron Were ‘Provoked’ (Haaretz); IDF cuts jail time for Hebron soldier who taunted activist (Times of Israel); Palestinian who filmed Hebron soldier taunting activists barred from home for a week (Times of Israel); Twitter thread from Naboth’s Vineyard with detailed history of the Jewish settlements in Hebron; and today: Israeli Army Bars Hundreds From Entering Hebron for Human Rights Tour (Haaretz); see this detailed Twitter thread from Breaking the Silence about today’s attempted tour; Palestinian activist Issa Amro was re-arrested after speaking with the group. 


Rights group: Israel demolishes school in West Bank hamlet,

“The Israeli military demolished a school in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, an Israeli rights group said, following a court ruling earlier this year that upheld a long-standing expulsion order against eight Palestinian hamlets in the area…B’Tselem, the rights group, said schoolchildren were inside the classrooms as soldiers arrived ahead of the demolition. Video provided by the group showed a bulldozer tearing down the one-floor structure as soldiers stood guard nearby.” Also see Palestine: Children flee as Israeli forces demolish West Bank elementary school (Middle East Eye) and Humans of Masafer Yatta: Sfay Village, by Hamdan Huraini: “The children do not want to return to their previous days of going so far to Al-Majaz School. They do not want to think about the way back when they reach school instead of focusing on their lessons…”I don’t know how to complete my studies. I go back to the old school, which is far and very dangerous. I have become afraid and unsafe. If they demolish the school, how do I feel safe?” There is no safety in Masafer Yatta, but danger surrounds you from every side, as military training takes place in the middle of the villages. There are roadblocks, demolishing homes and schools. Safety is a strange word…It will be erased from the dictionary.” See also FMEP’s resources on Masafer Yatta. 

Palestinian Scene

Scenario Matrix: Possibilities for the West Bank and Gaza,

“The Al-Shabaka Scenario Matrix is a policy-driven research initiative by Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. It engages with and leads a Palestinian-led scenarios assessment exercise, and explains the implications and consequences of future political scenarios for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza from policy and sectoral perspectives. Importantly, while the scope of analysis for this project is primarily limited to the West Bank and Gaza, these geographical parameters should in no way be construed as a reduction of Palestine and its people to these areas. The matrix presents and analyzes various scenarios that Palestinians are likely to encounter in the near future, namely: the continuation of the status quo; the dismantlement, collapse, or reconfiguration of the Palestinian Authority (PA); the revival of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); the escalation of popular confrontation with the Israeli occupation/outbreak of a new Palestinian intifada; and an abrupt development, such as the vacancy of the presidential office or the formation of a new legislative council…Users are invited to engage with the matrix in several ways: One may explore the implications of a particular scenario across each sector (working vertically down the matrix), or delve into possibilities of a specific sector according to the five outlined scenarios (working horizontally across the matrix). Users may also engage with individual cross-sections at their discretion. In all instances, simply click on the selected image and a summary pop-up will appear, as well as a link to further in-depth analysis.” See also Palestinian Authority Muzzles Call for Reform, Elections (Omar Shakir//Human Rights Watch)

Do I believe in violence?,

“So I am not going to try to convince anyone of our right to resist. I won’t cite international law. I’m not going to invoke Malcom X or Assata Shakur. Not even Martin Luther King’s justification for riots. I will not joke about the moral sensibilities of the people that have invented “Stand Your Ground” laws. Because you don’t have to look far to see that they can understand that those who are stricken will strike back. Those resisting, those born and raised in violence, do not require the approval of Ivy League students or corporate television anchors who routinely turn a blind eye to the decades of debilitating, systematic, and material violence of the Israeli regime. So, do I believe in violence? Well, I don’t believe in violation.”

US Scene

Opinion: Biden should respond boldly to a radical Netanyahu government,

“the unprecedented nature of this coalition — democratically elected but possessing antidemocratic values inimical to U.S. interests — should prompt the White House to send clear messages…Israel should be told that, while the United States will continue to support its ally’s legitimate security requirements, it will not provide offensive weapons or other assistance for malign Israeli actions in Jerusalem or the occupied territories. The United States specifically should warn against efforts to change the status of the West Bank and the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount, to “legalize” settlement outposts…Biden should also make it clear to Israel that his administration will have no dealings with Ben Gvir, Smotrich or their ministries if they continue to espouse racist policies and actions. U.S. support for Israel in international forums, including the U.N. Security Council and the International Court of Justice, has its limits.” See also Opinion | The U.S. Jewish Silence on Israel’s Far Right Stinks of Moral Bankruptcy (Rabbi Jill Jacobs), Netanyahu’s Comeback Widens Divide Over Israel Among American Jews (NYT), Can the U.S.-Israel relationship survive a far-right government? (Mitchell Plitnick//+972)

Scoop: U.S. creates special representative post focused solely on Palestinian affairs,

“The move is an upgrade in U.S.-Palestinian relations. It is the first time the U.S. has created a Washington-based position at the State Department that is solely responsible for Palestinian Affairs. It’s also a promotion for [Hady] Amr, who served in the last two years as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs.”


“Twitter Has Been a Lifeline”,

“Over the past few years, Palestinian activists have used Twitter to share reports from the ground in Palestine and to call out media coverage that unquestioningly adopts the Israeli government’s line…Palestinian digital activism on Twitter has been especially effective in moments when violence on the ground has surged.”

American evangelicals open a new antiabortion front — in Israel,

“for most in Israel, access to abortion is a rare point of consensus, even in an age of intense political polarization. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, 98 percent of women who request the procedure are able to get one….In recent decades, conservative evangelicals have struggled to reconcile their opposition to abortion with their “passion for Israel,” said David Parsons, the American spokesman of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, an evangelical organization that has deep ties to Netanyahu and has hosted several events with Be’ad Chaim. But Helen Lowery, a donor to Be’ad Chaim and a minister in Houston, said U.S. evangelicals “are starting to break more ground” in Israel.”

Fighting the Israeli right means relearning the basics of solidarity,

“the left needs to return to basic acts of resistance and solidarity — not only against Ben Gvir, but against Jewish supremacy, colonialism, and apartheid, which were here long before the Otzma Yehudit leader. We must stand alongside those who will suffer most from his policies, not to “change” or “strengthen the left,” but because trying to stop injustice is the right thing to do. In such an extreme atmosphere, solidarity is a basic — and sometimes the only — step to take…Israeli Jews must take inspiration from direct action groups such as Anarchists Against the Wall, Ta’ayush, and other organizations that have been active against the occupation for more than 20 years. Whether documenting settler attacks, home demolitions, and daily violence by the army; accompanying shepherds and farmers who face violence and harassment from the army and the settlers; or protesting in solidarity with Palestinians who face expulsion and replacement by settlers, these groups have helped set a precedent for how Jews must stand up against Israeli oppression…in the current reality, every single act of resistance is crucial — and is a reminder for all of us that we’re not alone in the fight.”