Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: October 1-9, 2022

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New from FMEP

Threats, Attacks, and Steadfastness in Masafer Yatta,

In this episode of Occupied Thoughts, journalist and human rights activist Basel Adraa joins FMEP’s Sarah Anne Minkin to discuss the acceleration of threats and violence from the Israeli army and settlers in Masafer Yatta, both inside of Firing Zone 918, which is under special threat of expulsion and forced population transfer, and outside of it, including in A-Twani, Basel’s village.

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.

Accelerating Population Transfer in Masafer Yatta

Masafer Yatta: ICC urged to prevent Israel committing 'war crime' in West Bank community,

“The Israeli human rights group B’tselem has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to urgently intervene to stop Israel from expelling Palestinians from their homes and land in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. B’tselem wrote to ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan on Monday because they want the Netherlands-based court to “do a preventative intervention, to stop Israel from committing a war crime,” Dror Sadot, the group’s spokesperson, told Middle East Eye…”This is the first time B’tselem has directly asked the ICC for preventative intervention,” Sadot said. “After the Israeli Supreme Court ruling it is clear that the Israeli judges are also responsible for those violations and are part of the apartheid mechanism. International intervention is a must.”” See also B’Tselem urgent appeal to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court: stop Israel from committing a war crime in South Hebron Hills (B’Tselem)

Apartheid/Occupation/Human Rights

Four Palestinian teens killed by Israeli forces in 24 hours,

Israeli troops killed two Palestinians in Jenin on Saturday, hours after two teenagers were fatally shot in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank. Mahmoud Assos, 18, and Ahmed Daragma, 16, were killed by Israeli gunfire during a large army raid in Jenin refugee camp on Saturday morning, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Armoured vehicles, bulldozers, military helicopters and combat drones were reportedly deployed in the raid. Palestinian fighters responded with live fire, while unarmed residents also confronted Israeli soldiers with rocks.”

In Jenin and Nablus, resistance and despair go hand in hand,

“For a year and a half, in the cities of Jenin and Nablus in the northern West Bank, groups of young Palestinians — most of them in their mid-twenties — have confronted the Israeli army with assault rifles and improvised explosive devices. Since the events of May 2021, which marked a major turning point, 52 Palestinians have been shot and killed in the Jenin district during Israeli raids…Camp residents say many of the armed youth are politically unaffiliated, having started their own local, independent resistance front. Most of them are children of the Second Intifada…All of the young people I met in the camp told me that they are denied entry permits into Israel. Some of them are also refused passage at the crossing into Jordan because the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, prevents them from traveling abroad. Several people I spoke to used the word “prison” to describe their situation, and everyone had at least one family member who was killed during the Intifada or was imprisoned in Israel.”

Palestinian deaths toll in West Bank hits 100 this year,

“At least 100 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem this year amid a massive increase in Israeli military raids, according to figures compiled by the BBC…It means this year is now on course to become the deadliest for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2015.” See also Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian, wound two journalists (Al Jazeera); Palestinian killed in Israeli army raid near Nablus (Middle East Eye); Israeli forces shoot dead two Palestinians in West Bank (Middle East Eye); Israeli settlers attack Palestinian school as confrontations grow in the occupied West Bank (The New Arab); Israel escalates raids on Palestinian armed groups in West Bank (Al Monitor)

Israeli Soldier Killed, Several Wounded in East Jerusalem Drive-by Shooting,

“East Jerusalem’s Shoafat refugee camp is swarming with Israeli soldiers, where a manhunt is underway for the suspect behind a drive-by shooting that left an Israeli solder dead and several others wounded on Saturday evening.” For background on Shuafat refugee camp, see Danny Seidemann’s Twitter thread: “The Shuafat Refugee Camp is unique. It’s the only refugee camp in Jerusalem. It has grown from a couple of hundred families in ’67 to app 30,000 today, half of whom are recognized by UNRWA as refugees. Some refugees of “48, some ’67 refugees (from the Jewish Qtr). Officially within the Municipal boundary as defined by Israel, it has been excised from the rest of Jerusalem by the wall. It was at the checkpoint that [the] camp’s residents must use to enter the city that last night’s attack took place. Horribly overcrowded, the sewage flows in the streets, with exposed electrical wires strung above those streets. Deep poverty… Suffice it to say that Shuafat Refugee Camp is the most occupied place in occupied E. Jslm. Nowhere is the sham of “united Jslm” revealed more than in the camp. Nowhere is there more hopelessness. That, among else is the context of last night’s attack.”

Israel army clears itself in death of 7-year-old Palestinian,

“​​The Israeli military on Thursday cleared itself of wrongdoing in the death of a 7-year-old Palestinian boy whose family says he “died of fear” after an encounter with Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank. The United States, European Union and United Nations had demanded an investigation into the death of second-grader Rayan Suleiman, which became the latest lightning rod in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as outraged Palestinians blamed Israel for his death last week. Rayan’s parents allege he was chased by Israeli soldiers on his way home from school and that he collapsed when troops appeared at his home in the Palestinian town of Tequa. They say he fell unconscious after troops interrogated his father and threatened Rayan and his brothers with arrest. Doctors who treated Rayan said a preliminary examination showed Rayan experienced cardiac arrest induced by what could be described as a severe panic attack. A Palestinian hospital said it had conducted an autopsy but its findings have not yet been made public. Israel closed its investigation into his death on Thursday, denying any violence in the encounter between Israeli soldiers and Rayan’s family and saying the “soldiers acted as expected of them, while adhering to the (army’s) values.””

30 Palestinian detainees continue hunger strike for 11th day,

“Thirty Palestinians in the Israeli jails continue their collective hunger strike for the 11th day in a row, protesting the Israeli policy of administrative detention, by which Israeli forces detain Palestinians indefinitely without trial. The strike began in late September after a significant rise in the number of administrative detention orders against Palestinians in recent months. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, Israeli authorities issued more than 1,500 detention orders since the beginning of 2022, 272 in August alone.”

Opinion | The Real Escalation Is the Destruction of Palestinian Space,

“The shredding of Palestinian space is the first and most important escalation, a permanent one written in advance into all government plans. Every Palestinian witnesses it and experiences it personally. Israeli Jews ignore it, out of elective ignorance, indifference and because they profit from it…Israelization is racing forward. Luxurious suburbs awash in greenery, signs at every intersection with ads for affordable single-family homes, new traffic circles, and malls which boast a neighborly atmosphere have all been turning Palestinian communities into two-dimensional scenery or hiding them completely behind iron gates, bypass roads, blocked roads and Israeli signs announcing that it’s illegal for Israelis to enter. Israel’s spatial planning screams the Palestinians’ redundancy and the unassailable superiority of residents of the Jewish colonies, now and in the future…The institutionalized, sophisticated theft of territory assaults both the present and the history of every locale, city, village and family and harms the physical and mental health of every Palestinian.”

Israel: Mob attacks on Yom Kippur leave three Palestinian citizens injured,

“Israeli mobs attacked Palestinian citizens in two separate incidents and injured three people during Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. The assaults, reported by local media on Wednesday, took place in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam on Tuesday evening. In the first incident, five Palestinians from the Negev (Naqab) region in the south of the country were attacked in their car by a crowd who objected to them being outdoors during the religious holiday in which Jews customarily empty their roads to observe the holiday. Three people were wounded in the attack, including one who suffered from a stabbing wound…In a separate incident, a crowd of Jewish worshippers overturned a car in Bat Yam after noticing the passengers were Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

Israel's Secret Poisonings in 1948,

“The article is written by two historians, Benny Morris, professor emeritus at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, and professor emeritus Benjamin Ze’ev Kedar of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The article – “‘Cast Thy Bread’: Israeli Biological Warfare during the 1948 War” – was recently published by Middle Eastern Studies. This article is a rarity for two reasons. First, it was researched and published against the wishes of the Israeli security establishment, which has tried for years to block any embarrassing historical documents about that war exposing war crimes against Arabs, like murdering prisoners, ethnic cleansing and destroying villages. Second, the article is based on original documents stored in the Israel State Archive and other archives. Morris and Kedar had already discovered that the codename for the operation was “Cast Thy Bread” – taken from a verse in the Book of Ecclesiastes (11:1). Based on their research, they detail how scientists from the Scientific Corps, together with battlefield units, were involved in a systematic campaign to poison water wells and spread typhoid bacteria in Arab villages and cities as well as among the invading armies of Egypt and Jordan. The purpose was to frighten the Arab-Palestinian population, to force them to leave and to weaken the Arab armies.The order to use the biological warfare was given or at least approved by the founder of the Jewish state, David Ben-Gurion, who was its first prime minister and defense minister.”


Meta’s clampdown on Palestine speech is far from ‘unintentional’,

“Following a bout of censorship during that violent month [May 2021] — which witnessed a mass Palestinian uprising, Israeli repression, and a war on Gaza — Meta commissioned Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) to conduct a review into its moderation policies for Arabic and Hebrew language content across all three platforms, and to produce a human rights due diligence report. Among its key findings, the BSR report observed that Meta’s censorship not only violated Palestinians’ fundamental rights, but that the company did not apply its content moderation policies equally to the two languages. Rather, Arabic content was overly moderated, while Hebrew content was largely untouched. The conclusions are far from surprising. In fact, they firmly validate the lived experience of the majority of Palestinian users across all of Meta’s platforms, who have long argued that the company’s censorship practices are both discriminatory and systematic. The findings further add to the heaps of evidence, documented over many years, showing that Meta is far from a neutral intermediary when it comes to Israel-Palestine…Although BSR states that Meta’s bias against Palestinians is “unintentional,” this characterization of bias misses the mark on how institutional and structural discrimination and racism actually operate. In other words, the company’s content moderation system is discriminatory not only due to its selective application, but because of its very design…At this point, Meta cannot evade responsibility for its biased moderation of Palestinian content. Systems are not created in a vacuum; they are a sum of corporate decisions. To not create classifiers for Hebrew hate speech despite its prevalence is a decision. Protecting pro-Zionist speech while deleting direct documentation of Israeli rights abuses is a decision. Answering censorship requests from an occupying power against its occupied population is a decision. It’s time for Meta to decide otherwise.” See also How Social Media Companies Silence Palestinians (Jewish Currents)

Will Open-Source Intelligence Liberate Palestine From Digital Occupation?,

“From Syria to Ukraine, open-source intelligence (often referred to as OSINT) has not-so-quietly revolutionized the global flow of information during times of conflict. By piecing together publicly available content, like satellite images, cellphone videos, and social media posts, open-source analysts cut through the fog of war, exposing and publicizing critical intelligence once monopolized by state authorities. As trust in media and government institutions broadly declines, open-source intelligence is especially potent because it is seen and often trusted by audiences as an objective source of information. However, despite the inherently democratized nature of these technologies, the benefits of OSINT are not impacting everyone equally. For Palestinians in particular, open-source intelligence is a double-edged sword. On one hand, OSINT offers Palestinians low-cost, relatively accessible tools to collect and disseminate valuable information about conflict in their region, potentially exposing war crimes or human rights violations that would otherwise go unreported or silenced by international outlets. On the other hand, Palestinians have found themselves unable to fully participate in the OSINT revolution, restricted by Israel’s tightening digital occupation and drowned out by Israeli open-source analysts who have proved neither impartial nor transparent. By obscuring Israeli war crimes and fueling narratives that misrepresent the reality of Israel’s occupation, Israel has transformed OSINT from a tool of objectivity to one of distortion.”

Palestinian photog says ‘NYT’ fired him for expressing support for resistance,

“Hosam Salem, a Palestinian photographer who freelanced for the New York Times for four years in Gaza, reports today that the newspaper dismissed him after a pro-Israel organization alerted the paper to Facebook posts in which he had expressed support for Palestinian resistance. Salem says that the Israel lobby organization Honest Reporting, which exists to attack the Palestinian narrative in the west, succeeded in discrediting him and two other Palestinian journalists who worked for the Times. “What is taking place is a systematic effort to distort the image of Palestinian journalists as being incapable of trustworthiness and integrity, simply because we cover the human rights violations that the Palestinian people undergo on a daily basis at hands of the Israeli army,” Salem wrote today on Facebook and Twitter, in a thread that has been widely retweeted, 5000 times this morning. The case stands in stark contrast to the three Jewish reporters, Ethan Bronner, Isabel Kershner, and David Brooks, who carried on writing about the issue for the New York Times even when their children were enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces.”

I Was Canceled for Criticizing Israel,

“I focused my Monday “Radar” on the vicious attacks leveled against Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib for labeling Israeli’s policies as “apartheid,” and for calling out the moral contradiction among people claiming to be progressive except when it comes to Palestine…My monologue made the case that Israel is, indeed, an apartheid state, drawing on many different sources and authorities…I also laid out my relationship to the issue: “I was born in New York City. My great grandparents were from Eastern Europe. I could move to Israel today, buy a house, get a job, travel around with no problem. So could Jake Tapper and Jonathan Greenblatt. But a Palestinian like Rashida Tlaib can’t even visit her family home in what is now Israel. But as I was leaving the office I got a call from a producer who wanted me to “hear it from her” that my monologue would not be posted on The Hill TV’s YouTube channel. Higher-ups (at The Hill and/or its corporate parent, Nexstar) had seen it and decided not to run it. Apparently there was a new policy in place—of which the producer had not been informed—against opinion pieces on Israel, either written or filmed…For three years, Rising and I worked well together. But after three days of back and forth, the bosses decided they were done with me.” See alsoThe Video that got me fired: Israel IS an Apartheid state” (Katie Halper)

Palestinian Scene

Attacks on Palestinian cultural spaces deepen internal social conflicts,

“Amid the systemic Israeli assault on Palestinian armed resistance in the West Bank, Palestinians have also been exposed to an attack from within — on the imagination, freedom of expression, and negotiations of identity within Palestinian cultural spaces. On August 2, one of Ramallah’s grassroots youth-led cultural centers, al-Mustawda3 [1], posted an open letter on its social media account. The letter was preceded by a declaration on June 27 that the cultural venue would be closed indefinitely following events that took place on the the evening of June 17, when a public musical performance for Jerusalem-born Palestinian artist Bashar Murad in al-Mustawda3 was abruptly cancelled. …This was the first of several cultural events that would face similar interruption, often preceded or followed by violence from groups of Palestinian attackers…This episode of social conflict is concerning not only because of the active denial of people’s right to safety, but also because of the curtailment of their freedom to imagine, confront, and challenge issues within Palestinian society. The danger here becomes that any attempt to re-imagine and redefine Palestinian identity in its different facets will be weaponized and used against the Palestinians who choose to engage in those forms of expression…the incident was further exacerbated by the simultaneous flood of articles and reports coming in from the Israeli press, which predictably jumped on the incident as a pinkwashing opportunity.”

A Procedural Guide to Palestinian Succession: The How of the Who,

“Once Mahmoud Abbas eventually abdicates power, overlapping legal procedures will guide the many organizations he leads.”

U.S. Scene

The GOP’s Plan to Build the Third Temple,

“Republicans are working with Kahanist activists to advance a violent vision of Jewish control over Jerusalem’s holy sites…Though Israel banned [Meir Kahane’s party] Kach in 1984, publicly available tax filings show that the original party’s infrastructure has been reconstituted in a collection of Temple Movement-affiliated nonprofits founded and run by Kahanist luminaries…The Temple Movement’s influence—once largely limited to the most extreme settler groups in Hebron and Jerusalem—has been on the rise since 2010, the same year that US voters gave the GOP control over the House of Representatives. Since then, Republicans traveling in Israel/Palestine have repeatedly visited Al-Aqsa with Temple Movement escorts…In all, more than 40 Republicans—including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, and, following his time in office, former Vice President Mike Pence—have met with Kahanists since 2011, in Hebron and near Nablus as well as in Jerusalem…The Temple Movement’s efforts are aimed at accomplishing a single, symbolically important piece of the Kahanist project: Its various organizations seek, per movement founder Yisrael Ariel, to “flatten” Al-Aqsa, the hilltop mosque and compound in Jerusalem’s Old City that is home to Islam’s third-holiest site.”

Israeli Scene

Kahanism’s triumphant makeover,

“Itamar Ben Gvir, the star of Israel’s most far-right party, is thriving off of a national political discourse that allows him to accomplish what his predecessors could not: bringing Kahanism to the mainstream.”

Israel's top court overturns ban on Palestinian party's participation in November elections,

“The Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday overturned a ban that prohibited the Palestinian National Democratic Assembly (Balad) from running in the Israeli elections in November, according to human rights group Adalah…Adalah’s general director Hassan Jabareen said the CEC’s ruling was part of the same “baseless attempts to ban Arab lists and candidates that the Israeli right-wing submits every single election cycle”. Jabareen said the purpose of such bans was to push Palestinians out of “legitimate political discourse”…Balad has so far won every appeal in the Supreme Court to have disqualification orders overturned.”


Is the reversal on Palestine corporate hypocrisy?,

“When the online travel agency announced last month that it was going to designate Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as “occupied territory” and warning of “an increased risk to safety and human rights”, it was welcomed as part of a growing international recognition that the occupation of Palestinian land should not be ignored by businesses. But, it was perhaps not surprising when, just as has happened in the past with other companies, it backtracked on September 30. Instead, after pressure from the Israeli government, the Dutch company, one of the world’s leading digital travel businesses, has swapped the word “occupied” for “conflict-affected”, and added warning banners to not just Israeli but also Palestinian properties in the occupied West Bank…Ines Abdel Razek, an advocacy director for the Ramallah-based Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD) organisation[:] “By continuing to list accommodations in illegal settlements or trading with them, they are essentially continuing to give a free pass to colonisation, segregation and racism, making profit on the back of Palestinians land and resource theft, labour exploitation, and mass expulsions,” she said. “Worse, by equating rentals in properties owned by Palestinians to that of illegal Israeli settlers, Booking is failing in its responsibility and own affirmed commitment to ‘protect local communities’.”

UK Archbishop of Canterbury 'concerned' by potential British embassy move to Jerusalem,

“The UK’s Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed concerns about the potential relocation of the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before Palestinians and Israelis reach a peace settlement. UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, a self-proclaimed “huge Zionist”, told the lobby group Conservative Friends of Israel during her leadership bid this summer that she was open to considering a possible move of the British embassy. The relocation “review” has been met with fierce criticism from an ever-growing list of Arab diplomats and faith leaders – which now includes one of Britain’s leading Christian figures, Archbishop Justin Welby. “The Archbishop is concerned about the potential impact of moving the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before a negotiated settlement between Palestinians and Israelis has been reached,” a spokesperson for the archbishop told Jewish News on Friday.” See also UK’s top Catholic cardinal urges Truss against Jerusalem embassy move (The New Arab)