Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: October 21-28, 2022

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

The Vocabulary of Oppression: Jewish Supremacy from the River to the Sea,

In this episode of Occupied Thoughts, Natasha Roth-Rowland, Orly Noy, and Peter Beinart join FMEP’s Sarah Anne Minkin to discuss Jewish Supremacy. Some analysts (Orly Noy and Peter Beinart among them) use “Jewish supremacy” as a way of explaining Israeli political and social structures broadly. At the same time, Jewish supremacist politicians are predicted to gain significant power in the Israeli government in the next election. In this podcast, we discuss what “Jewish supremacy” means when Jewish critics of Israel use it, what value there is in trying to understand Israel as a Jewish supremacist regime and/or society, and how this analytical framing relates to other frames including apartheid and settler colonialism.

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.

Escalations in the West Bank & East Jerusalem

Mass arrests in West Bank as Israel siege on Nablus continues,

Israeli troops arrested more than 40 Palestinians in sweeping military raids across the the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip overnight on Thursday…According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, a high proportion of Thursday’s arrests were children and young boys…The campaign comes as Israeli forces continue their siege on Palestinians in Nablus for a third week…” See also: West Bank: Six Palestinians killed as Israeli troops launch large-scale raid on Lions’ Den (Middle East Eye), Israeli forces fatally shoot two Palestinians in occupied West Bank, Jerusalem (Middle East Eye), Deadly Israeli Raid Targets New Palestinian Militia (NYT); 3 Palestinians Killed in Shootout With Israeli Forces, Palestinians Say (NYT); Israeli raid on Nablus kills 5, destroys bomb lab in escalating violence (Washington Post); Two Palestinians Killed in Checkpoint Shootout With Israeli Army (Haaretz); Israeli army chief boasts about detaining 1,500 Palestinians since March (The New Arab)

‘You’re Suffocating Us’: Israeli Blockade in West Bank Angers Palestinians,

“Since early October, the Israeli Army has blocked or restricted access to at least nine roads in the roughly 25 square mile region, after a wave of violence in the occupied West Bank that has centered on the northern cities of Nablus and Jenin. The closures have placed Nablus, a city of about 160,000 people, under a semi-blockade, damaging its economy and creating hourslong bottlenecks. They have also limited movement and harmed trade in smaller nearby towns like Huwara. The lockdowns are the latest development of the conflagration between Palestinian violence, settler attacks and Israeli Army raids that have all increased in 2022, leading to the deaths of more than 100 Palestinians and five Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and making this the deadliest year there since 2015. Separately, more than 40 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, and at least 18 Israelis and foreigners in Israel…The blockade has forced Nablus residents to queue for several hours to leave the city during the day, restricted almost every aspect of the area’s economy and discouraged other Palestinians from entering the city…The closure has drastically reduced revenues at most kinds of shops, emptied hotels, forced lawyers to postpone court cases, suspended university classes and canceled events…But if Israelis hoped that would turn him and other traders against the Lions’ Den, “in reality, it’s the opposite,” Mr. Hijawy said.”

The Jenin Brigades and The Lion’s Den: Palestine's new resistance,

“What sets this uprising apart from others is that it brings together armed struggle with other popular forms of resistance. Furthermore, unlike the “knife intifada”, which was carried out by individuals, this uprising is led by groups of people across the West Bank…In their public statements, these insurgent groups have maintained they do not represent any factions, and refuse to wrap the bodies of their martyrs in the banners of the leading political parties…The phenomenon of these new resistance strategies may prove to be more successful and have greater opportunities to grow and continue for a number of reasons. First, Israel’s aggression has been increasing with unprecedented intensity and escalation, including the process of Judaisation, settlement expansion, house demolitions, arrests, racial discrimination and apartheid, as well as the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip…Second, the PA is weaker than ever, and traditional parties are unable to provide an alternative, lacking political goals. The erosion of the PA’s institutions has created a political vacuum, and new insurgent groups are attempting to fill this void.” See also WATCH: Tens of Thousands Attend Funeral of Five Palestinians Killed by Israeli Army in Nablus (Palestine Chronicle); Palestinians in Gaza protest, strike in solidarity with Nablus (Al Jazeera); A new group of TikTok-savvy Palestinian fighters tests Israeli forces in the West Bank (NPR)

Inside the military-settler siege of Nablus,

“A source inside the Israeli security establishment who asked to remain anonymous told +972 Magazine that the reason for Israel’s ongoing closure and incursions is to counter militant activities like those of Lions’ Den…The fact that Lions’ Den lacks any visible structure is a challenge to the Israeli security establishment, the source continued, adding that collective punishment could push more Palestinians to join the armed resistance…The Israeli army’s hope that the movement restrictions would exert direct or indirect pressure on the Palestinian Authority to act against Lions’ Den has so far failed…Israel’s security logic also does not take into account the fact that the army’s numerous raids, assassinations, and interventions in the northern West Bank this past year are both a main cause of the PA’s eroded position, and a major catalyst for young Palestinians to join armed groups in defiance of Israel and the PA, the latter of which is widely viewed as a subcontractor of the occupation. Palestinians have also led numerous strikes and demonstrations in recent weeks, protesting the army’s attacks and expressing solidarity with the armed resistance.”

+972 Thread on armed resistance,

 “The resurgence of Palestinian armed resistance in the northern West Bank — amid months of intensified Israeli army invasions and settler violence — is too often discussed in one-dimensional or decontextualized terms. Some pieces on @972mag diving into these complex developments:” Including How a resurrected militia is defying Israeli and Palestinian rulers and In Jenin and Nablus, resistance and despair go hand in hand, and more. 

When Is Violence “Terrorism”?,

“Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the Shuafat attack a “severe terrorist attack,” and said the assailant behind Baruch’s shooting was a “despicable terrorist.” The Jerusalem Post, Israel HaYom and i24 News referred to the Shuafat shooting as a “terrorist” act. The centrist Anti-Defamation League as well as the liberal Zionist J Street also referred to the shootings as “terror” attacks. This broad consensus across the Zionist political spectrum reflects a commonly-held view among many Israelis and Israel advocates that the killings of soldiers engaged in a military occupation are acts of “terror,” in the same category as indiscriminate attacks on civilians. But this view represents only one pole of a discursive struggle between Israelis and Palestinans, and, more broadly, Western countries and formerly-colonized nations, who have clashed in international fora like the United Nations (UN) over whether violence against agents of a military occupation ought to count as “terrorism.” While different countries have codified their own definitions of terrorism in their national laws, “there is no international legal consensus on the meaning of terrorism,” said Ben Saul, Challis Chair of International Law at the University of Sydney and author of the book Defining Terrorism in International Law. According to Saul, there is general agreement among states that the deliberate killing of civilians to achieve political goals constitutes terrorism; the disagreement lies in “whether insurgent or guerrilla attacks on soldiers in armed conflicts should also be called terrorism.””

The question of violence,

“The obscene equivalence between the killing of an Israeli soldier and that of a Palestinian child is a key component of the framework in which Palestinian resistance is seen by the United States. A Palestinian child is a civilian and is protected from violent conflict by law. An occupying soldier is a combatant. Yet, as we saw recently, Israel treats an on-duty soldier as an innocent victim of what is presented as senseless Palestinian violence. On October 8, Palestinian fighter Udai Tamimi shot and killed Noa Lazar, an Israeli soldier stationed at a checkpoint near the Shu’fat refugee camp in the West Bank. Lazar’s death is, in my view, a tragedy. Sacrificed on the altar of apartheid, Lazar was sent to the West Bank as part of an occupying army, and, sadly, that means she is unambiguously a target of Palestinian resistance. That’s not some political classification, that is the very essence of international humanitarian law: the principle of distinction, which dictates that legitimate targets are those that are part of the armed forces of a party to a conflict.”

Settler Attacks

Special Focus: Alarming Increase in Settler Attacks against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) - Reporting Period: 3 - 14 October 2022,

“Since October, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) and extremist illegally transferred in settlers have been escalating violent attacks against Palestinians across the West Bank. An emerging pattern of widespread attacks has been documented by Al-Haq in Burin and Huwara in Nablus, Al-Bireh and Al-Mazra’a al Gharbiyeh outside Ramallah, Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, the villages of villages of Bardla and Ain Al-Bayda, and Tal Ramidah and Shahada Street in Hebron…As of 23 October 2022, 165 Palestinians have been killed in attacks, including in settler attacks – “an alarming increase which has not been recorded since 2015.” The United Nations have also shared their concerns regarding the escalation…Within the past three weeks, from 1 October to 23 October, Al-Haq documented the killing of 19 Palestinians, including 7 children, by the IOF across the occupied West Bank. OCHA reported that the killings took place “during search-and-arrest operations, exchanges of fire, or in confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, often following settler attacks or incursions into Palestinian villages”.” See also More than 100 settler attacks on Palestinians documented in last 10 days: Report (Middle East Eye)

Judges, ministers, now army chief: Settlers rise in Israel,

“Israel’s military has long had a cozy relationship with Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Those ties are about to deepen. For the first time, a settler will serve as chief of staff of Israel’s military, becoming the enforcer of Israel’s open-ended occupation of the West Bank, now in its 56th year…Halevi’s rise caps the decades-long transformation of the settler movement from a small group of religious ideologues to a diverse and influential force at the heart of the Israeli mainstream whose members have reached the highest ranks of government and other key institutions…Diana Buttu, a Palestinian commentator, said having a settler as chief of staff raises concerns that the military’s conduct toward the Palestinians will worsen, further entrench Israel’s occupation and make the creation of a Palestinian state all the more unlikely. “There’s this fiction that people in the international community seem to have that somehow there’s Israel and then there’s the settlements — as though they are separate and apart from one another,” she said. “But really, in reality, we see that it’s all one.”” See also No Arrests in Settler Attack on 70-year-old Israeli, Left-wing Activists to Be Questioned (Haaretz), Masked Men Throw Stones at Palestinians, Burn Cars as Israeli Soldiers Stand By (Haaretz)

Making Misery in Masafer Yatta

Resisting Israeli Efforts to Displace Them, Palestinians Move Into Caves,

“Faced with expulsion from their villages and the demolition of their homes by Israeli authorities, hundreds of Palestinians are trying to stay by reverting to an older form of shelter: living in underground caves. The residents of Ms. Abu Sabha’s village and surrounding herding communities, whose forebears long lived in the caves that dot the area, have been fighting efforts to displace them from homes where their families have lived for decades. Some have deeds to their land from before the modern establishment of Israel in 1948. But in May, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the expulsion of some 1,200 Palestinians in the villages so the Israeli Army could use the land for a live-fire military training ground. That could set the stage for one of the biggest mass expulsions of Palestinians since 1967, which the United Nations says could amount to a war crime…“Forcible transfer is contrary to the Geneva Conventions, and transfer does not always mean packing people up in trucks and taking them away,” said Noa Sattath, the executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. “A slow mistreatment of the population in order to motivate them to leave is also considered forced transfer.”…“This is a clear plan to make people flee the area,” said Jaber Ali Dababseh, standing on the concrete foundation on which he built and rebuilt his home five times in the Masafer Yatta village of Khalet al-Dabe. “But we won’t be cowed.”” See alsoWe will stay here until Palestine is free,’ says farmer beaten by Jewish settlers (Middle East Monitor)

Gaza Strip

Amnesty calls for investigation of possible war crimes in Gaza,

“Amnesty International has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate possible war crimes following the “unlawful attacks” committed during Israel’s deadly assault on the Gaza Strip in August. Israeli forces “boasted” of the precision of their attacks on Gaza in August, said Amnesty International in a new report released on Tuesday that investigates the circumstances around three specific attacks on civilians.”

Mattresses at Construction Sites: The Lives of Gazans Working in Israel,

Israel currently allows 17,000 Gaza Strip residents to enter the country for work-related purposes. They arrive under permits issued by Israel, known as “economic needs” or “traders permits.” But officially, these permits only grant the holders entry into Israel, not the right to be lawfully employed. Thus – although Israel says it allows Gazan residents to work in the country – their employment is actually done in an illegal fashion. Still, for Gazans lucky enough to obtain them, these permits are a lifesaver. A study conducted by Haggay Etkes and Wafaq Adnan from the Institute for National Security Studies showed that the average salary of a Gazan resident rose six-fold after becoming employed in Israel. But the lives of the thousands of Gazan residents who enter Israel for work are far from easy. They are often victims of exploitation, working without any of the social benefits that employers are legally obliged to give their employees – such as health insurance – or a pay stub, and are subject to poor living conditions.”

Israeli Elections

Who are the Israelis voting for Itamar Ben-Gvir?,

“Professor Tamar Hermann, a senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, told Jewish Insider that support for Smotrich and Ben-Gvir comes from a broad, and somewhat unexpected, cross-section of Israeli society…“Most of their voters are young men,” she explained, adding they are mainly —  but not solely — non-Ashkenazi and from “the social-economic periphery.” “Many come from the ultra-Orthodox community, usually young men who have dropped out of their yeshiva studies,” Hermann continued. There are also many young people from the national religious camp, including those referred to as “the hilltop youth” – a radical group that lives beyond the law in parts of the disputed West Bank – as well as secular soldiers, “who are apprehensive about their personal future,” she said.” See also Kahanism’s Raucous Return (Jewish Currents), As Israel Votes, Again, Netanyahu Pins Hopes on the Far Right (NYT), The rise of Ben-Gvir is the product of Israeli apartheid (Em Hilton, Huck: “A narrative which focuses too much on Ben-Gvir and Smotrich being a radical departure from Israel’s mainstream political discourse not only gives cover for the international community to pander to this illusion of Israeli democracy. It also denigrates and erases millions of Palestinians who continue to experience the daily indignity of apartheid no matter who is in charge.”)

Arab groups cooperate to raise turnout in Israeli election,

“With only five days left before election day in Israel, expectations of low voter turnout in the Arab sector worry many. The majority of public opinion surveys predict that voting rate within the Israeli Arab public will reach only between 40 and 50 percent only. However, this month a coalition of civil groups launched a joint project to encourage voting in order to improve the situation of the Arab community. The project is being led by a number of organizations active in the Negev, the Galilee, and the Triangle region in the north of the country. Among the groups are the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, the Intama group, the Ajyal youth movement, the Standing Together movement, and others…The campaign is based on the concern of several Arab parties that they will not win enough votes to pass the electoral threshold. Their slogan, “Despite it all, we need to vote,” wasn’t selected at random. Many Israeli Arabs argue that there is no reason to vote, since the possibility of Arab Knesset members contributing to society is so limited. This reflects the paradox facing Arab society today: On one hand, with the Knesset at a deadlock, Arab voters potentially have the power to determine who will be the next prime minister, and which parties will form the new government. On the other hand, that same population feels that it does not really have an impact on politics. As a result, there is less motivation to get out and vote.” See also The forgotten role of Palestinian citizens in Israel’s coalition wars (+972)

Not a "vibrant democracy". This is apartheid.,

“Israel’s upcoming general elections are being touted, as usual, as a ‘celebration of democracy.’ Below, we examine whether they indeed meet minimal democratic standards, and present some facts about the place we all live in.”

Ben-Gvir's Party Members Trying to Form Armed Militia in Tel Aviv Suburb,

“Members of Itamar Ben-Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party are attempting to form an armed civilian militia in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, saying their intentions are to “defend our home.” Moran Nunu, who is leading the Bat Yam initiative, told Haaretz that the presence of Palestinian and Arab workers has diminished the sense of security in the city. “Illegal aliens are underfoot, we feel like this will end badly,” she said. “We always feel threatened. They come in clans. When I go to the boardwalk, I don’t feel safe.”…The organizers are coordinating with the founders of a similar initiative that was started in the Negev in March, called Sayeret Barel (Hebrew for the Barel Commandos). That militia was named after the Border Policeman Barel Hadaria Shmueli, who was killed on the Gaza border in August 2021.”


Has Lebanon recognised Israel by striking a maritime border deal?,

“Lebanon and Israel have officially approved a US-brokered deal that for the first time establishes their maritime border even though the two countries have no diplomatic relations and remain technically at war. Months of indirect talks mediated by Amos Hochstein, the US envoy for energy affairs, resulted on Thursday in an unprecedented compromise between the neighbouring states, opening the possibility of energy explorations in 860sq km (330 square miles) of the Mediterranean Sea that is home to offshore gasfields…Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office said the deal was a “political achievement” for the country because “it is not every day that an enemy state recognises the State of Israel, in a written agreement, in front of the entire international community”. Lebanese President Michel Aoun denied that anything essential had changed in relations with Israel. “Demarcating the southern maritime border is technical work that has no political implications,” he countered…The method by which the deal was negotiated and signed highlights the absence of any formal ties between Israel and Lebanon. The agreement came in the form of a separate exchange of letters between the United States and Lebanon and between the US and Israel as well as letters from Lebanon and Israel to the United Nations marking their maritime coordinates. Both Aoun and Lapid approved a final US letter in the morning and sent it to a Lebanese border town, Naqoura, where delegations signed the agreement in separate rooms.” See also Israel’s Benny Gantz relaunches defence ties with Turkey (Al Jazeera)

UN commission says it will investigate ‘apartheid’ charges against Israel,

“The open-ended United Nations Commission of Inquiry into rights abuses by Israel and the Palestinians said Thursday it will investigate apartheid charges against Israel, confirming fears in Jerusalem that the controversial probe would seek to brand it with the toxic term. The ongoing UN investigation was set up by the Human Rights Council following last year’s 11-day battle between Israel and Gaza terrorists to probe rights abuses in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, but has been almost exclusively focused on Israel. The commission released its second report last week, calling on the UN Security Council to end Israel’s “permanent occupation” and urging UN member states to prosecute Israeli officials.” See also Lapid slams ‘antisemitic’ UN report accusing Israel of violating international law (Times of Israel)

Dismantling Israel’s illegal occupation is a sine qua non for Palestinian right to self-determination: UN expert,

“Israel’s occupation is illegal and indistinguishable from settler-colonialism, which must end as a pre-condition for the Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination, the UN’s independent expert on the occupied Palestinian territory said today. “For over 55 years, the Israeli military occupation has prevented the realisation of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, violating each component of that right and wilfully pursuing the “de-Palestinianisation” of the occupied territory,” said Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, in a report to the General Assembly.” See also Lapid slams ‘antisemitic’ UN report accusing Israel of violating international law (Times of Israel)

Lawfare//Redefining Antisemitism to Quash Criticism of Israel

Supreme Court Must Affirm Consumer Boycotts Are Protected by First Amendment,

“Since 2016, 28 states have passed laws requiring individuals and businesses that receive government contracts – from substitute teachers to construction workers—to certify that they will not participate in boycotts of Israel or Israeli settlements in the West Bank. My client, the Arkansas Times, was asked to sign such a certification in order to renew its advertising contract with a state technical college. Although the Arkansas Times does not boycott Israel, it refuses to be bullied by the state into disavowing its civil liberties…Most of the federal courts that have addressed these anti-boycott laws have recognized that they violate the First Amendment. Unfortunately, the Arkansas Times’ case came out differently. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the First Amendment does not protect “the purchasing decisions at the heart of a boycott”—even if a law selectively penalizes boycotts on a specific topic, like boycotts of Israel…That is why the ACLU just filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to take up the Arkansas Times’ case and reaffirm that the First Amendment still protects the right to boycott. While we await their decision, states have started to pass similar laws suppressing boycotts of the fossil fuels, firearms, mining, timber, and agriculture industries. All sorts of special interests are pushing anti-boycott laws to stifle protest against them. If the court does not step in, a form of protest dating back to the American Revolution itself will remain in jeopardy.”

Bonus Reads

Point of No Return,

““To return to our land” is a rallying cry for both Zionists and Palestinians. And yet, there is no moral equivalence between these claims. Zionists seek to annihilate the present and its attendant histories in order to “restore” a mythic past. In this regard, their vision of return is necessarily violent and dispossessive. I saw it enacted in the demolitions, and in Joshua’s anger. The Palestinian call for return, by contrast, can be liberatory. But this will require a different relationship with time: a commitment not only to undoing the world as it is, but to remaking it as it should be.”

Trauma Is the Best Comedy Material, but April 7 Was Not Funny,

“My close friends ask if the reason I have not joked about the night of April 7 publicly is because the attack changed my politics. My simple answer is quite the opposite. Do I still think ending the illegal occupation in Palestine is the only just and truthful solution? Absolutely. Will it solve all our problems and end all violence? Hell no. This will take generations to repair.”