Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: October 28, 2021

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

Friday: Israel’s Designation of Six Palestinian NGOs as “Terrorist”: Costs and Consequences,

Special webinar, co-moderated by MEI’s Khaled Elgindy & FMEP’s Lara Friedman, featuring representatives from the six targeted Palestinian NGOs, Israel’s Designation of Six Palestinian NGOs as “Terrorist”: Costs and Consequences. FMEP is co-sponsoring this event with the Middle East Institute (MEI), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Century International, the International Crisis Group (ICG), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Carter Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). Friday, October 29th, from 10:30am-12:00pm Eastern. Register on Zoom, or Watch on Facebook Live. 

On Israel’s Declaration of Palestinian Human Rights Groups as “Terrorist Organizations”,

Israel Declares Six Palestinian Human Rights Groups "Terrorist Organizations"

Israel moves to ban six Palestinian rights groups it accuses of terrorism, prompting international outrage,

Israel designated six leading Palestinian rights organizations as terrorist groups on Friday, in the latest blow to activists who say space for dissent in the occupied territories has steadily shrunk amid intimidation by Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike. The announcement was swiftly condemned by watchdogs in Israel and internationally, who say the designations are unsubstantiated and are attempts to muzzle prominent critics of the Israeli government. The terrorism designation effectively bans the groups by allowing authorities to freeze their funds, raid their offices and prohibit fundraising and public expressions of support for the organizations, according to international monitors.”

‘They targeted us for one reason: We’re succeeding in changing the paradigm’,

“After being outlawed as ‘terrorist organizations’ overnight, Palestinian human rights groups talk to +972 about why Israel’s allegations are not just unfounded, but amount to an act of political persecution.” See also Why Israel is trying to criminalise Palestinian civil society” (Yara Hawari in Al Jazeera) and “The Real Terror of Palestinian Civil Society” (Amjad Iraqi in +972)

Israel's Escalating War on Palestinian Civil Society and Basic Rights,

“Israel has long used accusations of terrorism and incitement to deprive Palestinians of their basic rights. It applies supposed standards about “hostile,” “unlawful” and “terrorist” activities and associations against Palestinians that it would never apply to its own population…These six Palestinian human rights organizations provide on-the-ground data and analysis that is otherwise not available to journalists and academics trying to report on the West Bank and Gaza. They advocate for the most marginalized Palestinians, working with governments and other NGOs around the world, and have received international awards and accolades for their advocacy and service work. They also provide critical analysis in righting the imbalanced narrative adopted by many observers of the Israel-Palestine conflict, including many Western media outlets.”

Why Israel Calls Human Rights ‘Terrorism’ ,

“Why now, one might ask. The most probable answer is that Al-Haq has recently given strong support to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by supplying evidence for its investigation of war crimes by Israel during the 2014 Gaza War. (The ICC is also studying accusations against the Palestinian militant group Hamas of war crimes in that same conflict.) Among the candidates that could be named in such an indictment would be Gantz himself, who was then commander in chief of the Israeli military. This only highlights how important it is for the ICC to succeed in its efforts to hold Israel to account—and how important it is to frustrate the US government’s efforts to obstruct the ICC’s work toward bringing to justice any Israeli official who has committed war crimes. The Israeli government’s perception that it is immune from any such prosecution has emboldened it to keep breaking international law over the years—as this latest order against Al-Haq demonstrates.” See also “In His Father’s Footsteps” (Raja Shehadeh’s October 16 interview in the NYRB)

Responses, Statements, & Resources ,

See these responses B’Tselem, Amnesty International/Human Rights Watch, Adalah, If Not Now, Jamil Dakwar (ACLU), J Street and many more on Lara Friedman’s Twitter thread tracking statements, responses, and other resources related to Israeli designation of 6 Palestinian NGOs as “terrorists,” including from Israeli, Palestinian, and international NGOs, UN and government voices, and other prominent voices (started 10/22, updated constantly).


See also Joint Statement: Draconian measure against human rights,” signed by more than 25 Israeli human rights organizations, including B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Yesh Din, ACRI, Haqel, Gisha, and Breaking the Silence

"Long Running Effort to Silence these Organizations",

“The recent Israeli designation of six Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist” comes in the context of a long running effort to silence these organization and their crucial human rights reporting…..a thread…”


See also Lara Friedman’s Twitter thread (10/24) tracking how Israel ignores actual terrorism in the pasts of Jewish Israelis in right-wing journalism, activism, and politics and Lara Friedman’s Twitter thread (10/23) documenting how illiberal governments around the world use “terrorism” charge to attack human rights defenders and civil society sector.

Will Biden Push Back After Israel Labeled Rights Groups Terrorists?,

“Israeli officials touch down in Washington on Thursday for talks with the Biden administration as the two countries appear increasingly at odds over the treatment of Palestinians. The meeting is meant to reassure U.S. officials of secret intelligence that explains Israel’s decision to designate six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist groups.”


See also: Israel must prove blacklisted NGOs funded terrorism – editorial (JPost), Outcry as Israel labels Palestinian rights groups ‘terrorists’ (Al Jazeera), Progressive US lawmakers slam Israel’s move to label Palestinian NGOs as ‘terrorist’ groups (Middle East Eye), Critics seek proof after Israel designates Palestinian rights groups as terrorists (DW), Editorial | A Stain Upon Israel (Haaretz), The post-9/11 logic at work in Israel’s attack on Palestinian civil society (+972)

Left-wing organizations, politicians targeted for support of Palestinian NGOs,

“Activists from Zionist organization Im Tirtzu on Monday filed a complaint with the Israeli police against left-wing lawmakers and organizations who expressed sympathy for the six Palestinian NGOs recently classified as terrorist organizations by the Israeli government. The targets of the complaint include organizations such as B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights.”

Occupation/Apartheid/Human Rights Violations

Israel ignores US opposition and moves ahead with huge settlement project,

Israel on Wednesday moved ahead with plans to build more than 3,000 homes for settlers in the occupied West Bank, defying the Biden administration’s strongest criticism to date of such projects widely deemed contrary to international law.” See also Israel approves about 3,000 settler homes in occupied West Bank” (Al Jazeera), “Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in “tense” phone call” (Axios) and “U.S. Gives Harshest Public Rebuke Yet on Israeli Settlement Plans” (Haaretz)

13 European states call on Israel to halt plans for 3,000 settlement homes,

“A group of 12 countries on Thursday collectively urged Israel to scrap plans for the construction of more than 3,000 settler homes in the West Bank. The United Kingdom separately issued a similar statement urging Israel to reverse plans for fresh settlement construction. A day after the US criticized the plan, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden said in a joint statement that Israel should cancel its decision to build in the settlements.”

Israeli electrical company to cut power to West Bank Palestinians over debts,

“The Israel Electric Corporation has threatened to begin cutting power to Palestinian areas of the West Bank next week over some NIS 383 million ($120 million) in unpaid bills. Starting next Wednesday, rolling blackouts will hit West Bank areas near Jerusalem, including Ramallah and Bethlehem until the debts are paid or a deal is reached, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.”

How Israel Stole the Palestinian Olive Harvest,

“Every October and November thousands of Palestinians head out to harvest their olive trees. The tradition holds deep social, cultural, economic and political significance for the Palestinian people. But this beautiful time of year is turning into a nightmare. Extremist Israeli settlers, aided and abetted by Israeli soldiers, are terrorizing Palestinians and are stealing our olive harvest. Let’s talk about it.” See also “Palestinian olive season begins with settler attacks, arson” (Al Monitor) and Settler attacks leave Palestinian farmers with financial losses” (Al Jazeera)

Tourism in Service of Israeli Settler Colonialism with Halah Ahmad,

Halah Ahmad joins Yara Hawari to discuss how tourism, specifically religious tourism, has been a key pillar of the Israeli settler-colonial project, legitimizing and expanding the theft of Palestinian land, since the first Zionists settled in Palestine.

South Hebron Hills Watch,

South Hebron Hills village al-Mufkara, ravaged by settlers’ pogrom 2 weeks ago, was raided by Israeli soldiers to destroy a community solidarity tent! IDF demolished water pipes in Masafer Yatta, leaving 15 villages dry. Shameful abuse of power. #Palestine #westbank #occupation” 

Palestinian Bedouin see their homes demolished for 194th time,

“Israeli occupation authorities have demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araweeb in the Negev for the 194th time today.The village was last razed on 30 September and this is the twelfth time it has been demolished this year. Members of the Yoav police unit of the so-called “Negev Development Authority” responsible for carrying out house demolitions in Arab towns in the Negev, and the so-called “Israel Lands Administration” continue to storm the village. The village was first levelled in July 2010, and every time the residents of Al-Araqeeb rebuild their tents and small homes, occupation forces return to raze them, sometimes several times in a month.”


Israel shuts down culture festival in East Jerusalem, claiming PA funding,

“Israel has blocked a cultural festival at a French-protected site in East Jerusalem, claiming it was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority without Israeli permission, an assertion organizers denied Wednesday. The scheduled three-day festival at Abraham’s House for religious pilgrims, with performances by Palestinian arts groups, was supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Finland and Austria.” See also “’Harsh, Unjustifiable Decision’: Catholic Church Condemns Israeli Ban on Palestinian Event” (Haaretz)

Israel installs CCTV at Palestinian cemetery it is razing,

“Israeli occupation forces installed surveillance cameras in the Al-Yusufiya cemetery in Jerusalem, which they restarted bulldozing last week, in order to establish multiple Talmudic parks and trails for Jewish settlers and tourists around the walls of the Old City, Arab48 reported…Occupation forces have been demolishing the cemetery, exposing human remains buried in a section where Arab soldiers killed during the 1967 war were buried.”

Supreme Court Hearing on Duweik Family Eviction Case Adjourns Without a Verdict,

After the lower courts ruled in 2020 to evict the Duweik family in favor of the Ateret Cohanim settler organization, the family filed a request to appeal to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court rejects the leave to appeal, the lower courts’ decisions will remain in force, ultimately leading to the family’s eviction….As noted previously, the Attorney General and by extension, the state, was given a rare opportunity to take a moral stand by providing a legal opinion and/or policy position to help prevent the mass displacement of these families. Yet, as in the eviction cases in Sheikh Jarrah, the Attorney General has again declined to intervene and left a decision with far-reaching geopolitical and humanitarian ramifications in the hands of court.”

US Scene

Israeli Consent Needed to Reopen Consulate in East Jerusalem, U.S. Says,

“Brian McKeon, the U.S. deputy Secretary of State for management and resources, said on Wednesday that Washington would need the Israeli government’s consent before reopening the consulate in East Jerusalem it once used to serve Palestinians.” See also “Senate GOP bill seeks to block Jerusalem consulate reopening” (Jewish Insider), “Opinion | Why Is Israel Dictating America’s Mideast Policy?” (Haaretz), and “U.S. Considering Adding Israel to Visa Waiver Program” (Haaretz)

“I Campaigned on Right, Not on Fear”,

“When Florida State Rep. Omari Hardy got a call from the right-leaning news outlet Jewish Insider earlier this month, he did something unusual for a politician running for Congress: He declared his support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), the movement to pressure Israel economically over its violations of Palestinian human rights….For his part, Hardy told Jewish Currents he’s reconciled himself to the idea of losing over his support for BDS.” See alsoDMFI PAC hits Omari Hardy on BDS in FL-20 race” (Jewish Insider)

Retiring Democratic Lawmaker: When AIPAC Told Us to Jump, the Party Used to Ask ‘How High?’,

“For Rep. David Price, being pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian have never been incompatible positions. Ahead of his 2022 retirement, he discusses the impact of J Street and why the two-state solution remains the only option.”

Palestinian Scene

Nizar Banat family to seek international justice ‘if necessary’,

“The family of Nizar Banat, a fierce critic of the Palestinian Authority (PA) who was allegedly beaten to death by its security forces in May, has resolved to seek international justice if necessary despite coming under heavy pressure to drop the legal fight. Nizar’s family appeared before the Ramallah military court on Sunday and presented witness statements as part of the ongoing trial for 14 security officers implicated in his death….“We have hired British lawyers to work on the case and will consider approaching the United Nations and various other international actors if we don’t get justice in Ramallah,” [Banat’s brother] Ghassan said.”

Pre-local elections: Palestinian Public Opinion Poll,

“This poll was conducted six months after the indefinite postponement of legislative elections that were scheduled to take place in May 2021 and two months before the holding of the first phase of local elections, scheduled for December 2021. The past six months witnessed important developments that significantly decreased the popularity of Fatah and president Abbas, most importantly in addition to the postponement of elections, the fourth war between Hamas and Israel and the killing of the opposition activist Nizar Banat by members of a Palestinian security service. In order to analyze the findings, we compared the levels of support for Fatah and Hamas before and during these developments. We also compared public attitudes regarding domestic issues and Palestinian-Israeli relations….The current findings show that Fatah continues to suffer the consequences of the developments of the past six month but they also show that it has managed to narrow the gap with Hamas which gives it the ability to effectively compete in the upcoming first phase of the local elections, which will take place in places that are mainly rural. But it remains unable to win in the second phase of the local elections, which will take place mostly in cities and big towns….The levels of dissatisfaction with the performance of president Abbas and the demand for his resignation remain very high as about three quarters continue to make that demand. Perhaps one reason for the rise in Fatah’s popularity might be the implementation by Israel of some of the confidence building measures that the PA and Israel agreed to recently, such as family unifications and the rise in the number of laborers working in Israel. It is worth mentioning that a month ago, in our September 2021 poll, majority of the Palestinians supported such measures.”

Hamas sentences six Gazans to death for ‘spying for Israel’,

“The Hamas military court said it had issued sentences “against a number of informants, including six death sentences [and] other sentences varying between life terms and temporary hard labor, and one acquittal.”

Weaponization of Antisemitism/Suppression of Criticism of Israel

How to lie with statistics, antisemitism edition ,

“The AJC report, along with one published Monday by Hillel International and the ADL about antisemitism on campus, is useful, informative and important. But the way that such survey results are presented — to the public and in private meetings with policymakers — has real-world consequences. Groups that commission these surveys often stand to benefit from depicting antisemitism as a growing and urgent problem; fear-mongering makes for good fundraising. In this case, the findings are likely to also be used to advocate for policies that limit free speech — policies that many American Jews supposedly represented by these surveys would chafe against. In order to persuasively advocate for such policies, AJC uses a rhetorical sleight that obscures both American Jewish perceptions of specific political groups, and their views of where antisemitism is most likely to be rooted….The other survey released on Monday, by Hillel and the ADL, found that a third of Jewish college students in the U.S. had experienced antisemitism in the last year, and did not clearly distinguish between, say, hearing anti-Zionist statements in a class or protest and seeing a swastika on a Jewish fraternity house.” See also these two articles from the JTA “New study from Hillel and ADL finds a third of students on campus experienced antisemitism in last year” (JTA) and “Antisemitism fears prompted 4 in 10 American Jews to change their behavior last year: AJC survey

Members of Congress launch international task force to combat online antisemitism,

“A bipartisan group of members of Congress will announce on Tuesday the creation of a new global inter-parliamentary task force to combat digital antisemitism….The goals set by the task force, as reviewed by Jewish Insider, include raising awareness about online antisemitism and establishing a consistent message in legislatures across the world to hold social media platforms accountable. The group will also work to adopt and publish transparent policies related to hate speech.”

Sunrise DC apologizes ‘unequivocally’ for singling out Jewish groups but still denounces Zionism,

“In our statement we named three Jewish organizations and criticized their positions on Israel, but did not mention other organizations in the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition with similar positions. We apologize unequivocally for this. We now understand the way our action has fueled antisemitism, which benefits white nationalism and political movements that built power by dividing us, and endangers Jewish people drastically,” the group wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

Florida halts new investments in Ben & Jerry’s parent company over West Bank sales boycott,

“Florida state entities will cease new investments in Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, as of Tuesday, because the ice cream maker plans to stop selling its product in the West Bank. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, in July triggered a 90-day review mandated by Florida law which mandates divestment from companies boycotting Israel. Ben & Jerry’s says it is ending its sales only in the West Bank and is seeking the means to continue sales in Israel, but Florida law does not make the distinction between Israel and the West Bank. As of today, the 90-day review, during which companies may notify Florida of any plans to reverse course, ends. Unilever, which has disavowed the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, has previously said it has no control over Ben & Jerry’s business decisions, due to an internal agreement between the conglomerate and the ice cream manufacturer’s independent board.”


Israel, UAE send signal to Iran during Israeli air force drill,

“The Israeli air force (IAF) conducted its fifth Blue Flag drill this month, with for the first time the participation of squadrons and fighter pilots from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Greece, France and India. In another first, the chief of the Emirate air force, Vice Marshal Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed al-Alawi, arrived in Israel to observe the exercise, joining the heads of air force commanders from 10 other countries.” See alsoSudan coup puts normalization with Israel in jeopardy” (Al Monitor)

UAE, Morocco to take part in Miss Universe in Israel amid calls for boycott,

“Candidates from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Morocco will take part in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel in December, ignoring calls for a boycott. The 70th Miss Universe competition will be held in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat on 12 December, confirmed the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. The UAE will take part in the pageantry for the first time, while Morocco is returning to the competition for the first time in 40 years.” See also: Mandla Mandela calls for boycott of Miss Universe competition in Israel (Middle East Eye)

Culture, Art, Creativity, History

For the Sake of Truth,

Poet and activist Mohammed El-Kurd discusses his debut collection, the vexed meanings of visibility, and the long history of Palestinian freedom struggles.” See also “Young Palestinian journalist racks up international photography awards” (Al Monitor) and “With watercolour on canvas, Malak Mattar brings her homeland to life” (Assembly: A Malala Fund Publication) 

Huge restored mosaic goes on display in Jericho,

“One of the largest mosaic panels in the world has been unveiled after a $12 million multi-year restoration project at Hisham’s Palace in Jericho in the occupied West Bank, Reuters reports. The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities on Sunday unveiled the Umayyad-era mosaic, a total of 38 carpet-like mosaic panels covering 827 square metres.”

Bonus Reads

How social media is failing Palestinians,

“It is now more or less a matter of public understanding that Palestinians are disproportionately subject to content moderation online, as well as being more frequently censored or harassed as a result of their speech. Sometimes the culprits are the explicit takedown policies and actions of social media companies like Facebook. Other times, platforms are merely the catalyst, and individuals acting on behalf of larger political movements utilize social media with the intent of harassing, targeting, or deplatforming users who comment on Palestinian affairs. In either case, the online sphere continues to be a hostile place for supporters of Palestinian self-determination. Despite some recent limited efforts, many companies and their stakeholders, including Facebook, have a long way to go in mitigating the effects of this seemingly systematic discrimination.”

Whose Promised Land? A Journey Into a Divided Israel,

“To many, Haifa symbolizes Arab-Jewish coexistence. It has a larger Arab population than most Israeli cities. The deputy mayor is Arab. The city’s art museum is currently celebrating several Palestinian painters. But to Palestinian residents like Asmaa Azaizeh, a poet who runs literary events in the city, Haifa remains as occupied as the West Bank…Every time she drives into the city, the office blocks built on the destroyed Arab neighborhood underscore her sense of alienation, reminding her that most Arab residents fled the city in 1948. “They tell me to my face,” she said, “that this is not yours.””

From Minneapolis to Jerusalem: On Black–Palestinian solidarity,

“Two possible futures can be conjectured: Either the continuation of an increasingly fascistic, exclusively Jewish state conjoined to the open air prison of Gaza, or a democratic, integrated Arab and Jewish state that may or may not be called Israel or Palestine. The latter would be the salvation of Israel, otherwise condemned to the kind of social decay you might expect under apartheid conditions. Who is tasked with this salvation? In the US, whatever possibility there is of national redemption, of the abolition of America as it is and its recreation as it could be, inheres in black America. (James Boggs dreamed that the black revolution would culminate in a constitutional convention.) Similarly, it is only the presence of Palestinians that now keeps alive the possibility of making a demos out of the disaster of Israel. Brutalized beyond belief, there is no reason for Palestinians to choose this path over those of destruction or despair. That they still strive to do so, through protest, through resistance, through ongoing unity, is an act not of violence but of grace.”