Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: September 9-16, 2022

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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 Masafer Yatta

Guns and Bats on Palestinian Land: Video of W. Bank Brawl Seems to Contradict Israeli Claim,

“In the video, the Jewish settlers can be seen arriving at al-Tuwani, near the Havat Maon farming outpost, where they waved the bats. At this point, Hafez Huraini – who was later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder – can be seen lifting a hoe. According to Huraini’s lawyer, at this point the Israeli settler hit Huraini with a bat, though this was not captured on film. Immediately afterwards, the video shows another Israeli settler, who was wearing army pants and armed with a rifle, firing at least six shots in the air…The Israeli settler sustained serious head injuries during the violent brawl, and Huraini broke his arm in the attack. On Monday, Huraini was arrested on suspicion of attacking the settler, though his family told Haaretz that contrary to accounts by settlers, the injured Israeli and another Israeli man had attacked the father and his son first – a claim that appears to be corroborated by the video.” See also A Palestinian Defended Himself Against a Settler Attack, His Family Says. He Was Arrested and Remains Detained (Haaretz)

More resources:

How Israeli media reported a ‘lynching’ that never happened,

“On Monday, the Israeli media lit up with reports of a suspected “lynching” of an Israeli settler by dozens of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The alleged victim, Itamar Cohen, by some accounts a “shepherd,” was near Ma’on settlement in the South Hebron Hills when around 30 Palestinians supposedly “ambushed” him, sending him to hospital with a fractured skull. By Wednesday, however, in the wake of an investigation by +972 and Local Call, the Israeli press began walking back its claims. The “lynching,” it turns out, had never taken place. A 23-minute video that recorded the entire event from beginning to end, but which had not been seen by the Israeli public until late Wednesday, revealed exactly what took place. Moreover, the incident began when settlers from a nearby outpost had descended, armed, onto private Palestinian land, and assaulted the Palestinians working there. The footage, which was handed over to Israeli police on Tuesday night, shows Cohen approaching a group of Palestinian farmers from the direction of Havat Ma’on, a settler outpost. Cohen, who was masked and armed with a metal pipe, arrived with a group of four other settlers, one armed with an M-16 rifle, and another also masked and carrying a club. Cohen starts waving a pipe in front of a Palestinian farmer, Hafez Hureini, who in response waves the shovel he was using to work the land. In the video, you hear someone being struck;  the camera doesn’t capture the moment of impact, instead panning to another settler from the Havat Ma’on outpost, dressed in military pants, holding an M-16 and firing several times into the air. In the course of the attack, Hureini had both his hands broken. At a certain point, the video shows Cohen falling to the ground, then immediately getting back up. The Palestinians call the police, after which Cohen leaves the scene, still masked and with the pipe in his hand. Ten minutes later, according to Magen David Adom, their emergency hotline received a call asking for medical assistance. Afterwards, Hureini was arrested and is waiting to be brought before a military court for attempted murder.”

On the lack of any accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

Tuesday newsletter,

“According to experts on the Israeli military, even a change to the open-fire regulations might do little to prevent Israeli soldiers from killing Palestinian civilians. Interviews with Israeli soldiers conducted by Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli army veterans who expose the abuses of occupation, reveal that even the existing limits on the use of live fire are often ignored by army commanders and rank-and-file soldiers…In the killing of Abu Akleh, however, the IDF appears to have violated even its own permissive policies. According to an August report in Axios by Israeli reporter Barak Ravid, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Gantz that, in the Abu Akleh incident, he thought that “either the rules of engagement weren’t followed or they need to be reviewed if an Israeli soldier shot Abu Akleh while she wore a bulletproof vest that was marked ‘press.’” But according to last week’s IDF report, the soldier who likely shot Abu Akleh did follow the rules of engagement…As the dispute between Israel and the US over the IDF’s open-fire regulations plays out, the Abu Akleh family continues to demand that the US do more to ensure justice for the slain journalist. “Saying that for there to be accountability, they need to change the policies—that is not enough,” said Lina Abu Akleh, Shireen’s niece. “That doesn’t hold the Israeli soldier who killed her accountable. It falls short.””

Shireen Abu Akleh: Key US senator demands answers on killing,

“United States Senator Patrick Leahy, a senior Democrat, has raised a series of questions about the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh in a statement that also suggested that US aid to Israel could be restricted to ensure accountability. A US law that carries Leahy’s name prohibits military aid to countries that commit human rights violations. On Thursday, the veteran senator said it “must be” applied to Israel if Abu Akleh, who was Palestinian American, was killed intentionally.” See also Statement On Shireen Abu Akleh in the Congressional Record by Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) and Foreign Relations Committee Passes Van Hollen Amendment Requiring State Department to Provide Report on Shooting Death of American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Israeli Assault on Palestinian Civil Society

How an Israeli raid on a Palestinian rights group unfolded,

“The Forensic Architecture study group, which is based at the University of London and runs an investigations unit in partnership with Al Haq, mapped and synchronized footage of the raid from the office’s four CCTV cameras, and shared it exclusively with The Washington Post. “The footage shows a real contradiction between what the [Israeli] Ministry of Defense is saying Al Haq and its sister human rights organizations are, and how its soldiers behave in the field,” said the report’s lead researcher, who spoke on the condition of anonymity over fears of backlash from Israeli authorities.” See alsoThe Raid of Al-Haq’s Office: 18 August 2022” (Al Haq & Forensic Architecture, including this video posted on YouTube.)

Israeli officials in D.C. try to justify terrorist designation for 6 Palestinian NGOs,

“An Israeli delegation held talks in Washington last week to try to convince the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies to back Israel’s designation of six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organizations, three Israeli officials told Axios…Israeli officials admitted to Axios the designation has harmed Israel’s image in the U.S., especially inside the Democratic party…The delegation presented U.S. officials with updated intelligence on the Palestinian NGOs and what Israeli officials say is evidence of the organizations’ alleged involvement in terrorism, Israeli officials said.”

Apartheid/Occupation/Human Rights

2022 Already the Deadliest Year for West Bank Palestinians in 7 Years,

“As of Monday, 81 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank so far this year, making it the deadliest year since 2015 – in which 99 were killed. Seventy-eight of the 81 were shot by Israeli security forces, three were killed by Israeli civilians, and one more whom the Palestinians say was shot by Israeli forces despite IDF claims that he was likely killed by armed Palestinians. About 31 of the Palestinians who died this year were killed in the Jenin region, where Israeli forces have been conducting nightly raids since the wave of terror attacks by Palestinians in Israel began in late March. Seventeen of the Palestinians were killed in the Nablus region, which is surrounded by Israeli settlements and where security sources say the power of the Palestinian Authority is weakening.”

Israel watches closely as West Bank seethes,

“Palestinians are waking up almost every day to news of violence and armed clashes across the West Bank. The armed clashes, which for months had been limited to the Jenin refugee camp and the old city of Nablus, have now expanded to other areas of the West Bank, including the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, al-Faraa camp near Tubas, the village of Rujib near Nablus, the village of Silwad near Ramallah and the towns of Burqin and Qabatiya near Jenin…Signs indicate that a significant escalation would be likely in the last third of this year in the West Bank, in light of the increased daily Israeli attacks, the accelerated settlement projects, the daily raids into cities, villages and towns, and the possibility of a large-scale Israeli army raid into the northern West Bank, which could lead to an explosion of the whole situation. Israeli officials and analysts are concerned about the growth and expansion of the armed resistance in the West Bank.” See also As violence spreads, Israel braces for escalation in West Bank (Al Monitor)

Israelis take note: Armed resistance to occupation is legal, not terrorism,

“The use of force to achieve liberation is legitimate. The manner in which force is used is governed by the laws of war, the main purpose of which is to protect uninvolved civilians on both sides. The relevant laws of war are designed first and foremost to protect civilians who are not participants in the cycle of violence and to limit that violence to actual combatants. Israel, however, recognises no such category of Palestinian combatants; from Israel’s standpoint, any resistance, even nonviolent resistance, to its occupation and oppression poses a danger to security that is easily recognised as terror, as when Israel recently declared the six most prominent Palestinian NGOs to be terror organisations. This is a two-way distortion by Israel. Just as it treats every Palestinian action, even those directed against soldiers, as acts of terrorism, so too does Israel paint any Israeli action taken against Palestinians as legitimate, even when those Palestinians are civilians.”

Military Court Watch Newsletter - August 2022,

“Detention figures – According to data issued quarterly by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 30 June 2022, there were 4,402 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in detention facilities including 137 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 7% decrease in the number compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 10% compared with 2021. Five children were held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 67% of child detainees were transferred to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. More statistics

HaMoked to the Minister of Defense: The revised procedure for the entry of foreigners to the oPt is still fundamentally flawed and must be frozen until it is amended,

“In its letter, HaMoked reasserted that the new procedure is highly restrictive and needlessly hampers the entry of foreign passport holders to the oPt and their ability to stay there without interruption. The procedure would harm thousands of families where one of the spouses is a foreign national. It would disrupt the routine functioning of education and academic institutions, and prevent many foreign passport holders from working, volunteering or studying in the oPt, damaging the local economy and society.  All this, without any legal basis or reasonable grounds, and contrary to Israel’s obligation to act for the benefit of the protected population living under occupation…In view of the numerous flaws of the procedure and its harsh ramifications, HaMoked demanded that the procedure be frozen until it is fundamentally revised to uphold the basic rights of the Palestinian population.”

Palestinian Scene

Reconstituting the PLO: Any Place for Hamas and Islamic Jihad?,

“While it took Fatah just one year to accede to the PLO after issuing its 1967 statement, neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad have been able to join to this day. This is mainly due to the fact that, for many years, neither movement could separate its political from its religious beliefs without completely undermining its core tenets and losing its constituencies. However, in the last three decades they have spent in the Palestinian arena, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, particularly Hamas, have evolved their position toward the PLO. This paper discusses the evolution of each Islamist movement over the past three decades as well as its growing pragmatism. It discusses the ways in which the obstacles to bringing the two organizations into the fold are now more political than doctrinal, and identifies the entry points to rebuilding the Palestinian national movement.”

Israeli Scene

Why So Many Young Israelis Adore This Racist Politician,

“Ben-Gvir leads Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), a far-right party that will be running in the upcoming November 1 election (as it did in March 2021) together with Bezalel Smotrich’s no-less extreme Religious Zionism party. According to recent polls, Religious Zionism – as their joint slate is known – could become the third or fourth largest party in Israel, and Ben-Gvir could become a minister if Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu succeeds in forming the next government. A disciple of Meir Kahane – the racist, American-born rabbi whose Kach party was eventually banned from the Knesset – Ben-Gvir has threatened to deport “disloyal” Israelis, including two current Arab lawmakers…Ben-Gvir’s recent surge in the polls is often attributed to his growing appeal among young Jewish Israelis – particularly ultra-Orthodox men and traditional Mizrahi voters from the country’s geographic periphery. What became abundantly clear last week was that his appeal is spreading to less likely quarters – in this case, one of the last bastions of the secular left in Israel…But it came as no surprise to Israel Democracy Institute researcher Or Anabi, who has been tracking the growing popularity of the right in Israel – especially among young people – in recent years. His brand-new analysis, based on the results of half a dozen surveys conducted this year, shows that about 60 percent of Jewish Israelis identify today as right-wing. Among young Israelis (ages 18 to 24), it tops 70 percent. Indeed, according to his analysis (published here for the first time), Ben-Gvir’s party performs significantly better among young voters…Ben-Gvir’s recent surge in the polls, he says, reflects growing racism in Jewish society as a whole. “In the past, Jewish Israelis defined themselves as right or left based on how they viewed the conflict with the Palestinians and its solution,” he says. “But nobody is talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the status of the territories anymore. Increasingly, Jewish Israelis are defining themselves as right or left based on their attitude to the Arab minority living within Israel.”

Palestinian Joint List splits ahead of Israel elections,

“A bloc of parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel has split ahead of the fifth Israeli elections in less than four years, a move that could dilute the minority’s political influence and aid right-wing former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power. Israeli media reported late Thursday that the nationalist Balad party will run separately from the other two parties in the Joint List. If it does not meet the minimum threshold, Balad would not enter the next parliament and its votes would essentially be wasted.”


Point. Click. Occupy: Warfare as white-collar tech job,

“While Israeli soldiers are eager to translate their military service into a selling point on LinkedIn, corporate tech workers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the ways in which their labor advances state violence. Amazon employees have penned letters condemning contracts with the Israeli Defense Forces. Google developers have staged walk outs over collaborations with the Pentagon. However, these isolated actions have yet to congeal into a sustained movement—and the militarization of the tech sector continues apace. Israeli military databases logging Palestinians’ biometric data, biographical information, and patterns of movement are housed on cloud services managed by Amazon and Google employees. Israeli generals name the facial recognition cameras, sensors, and drones that track Palestinians across urban space after IBM’s “Smart Cities.” For now, Israeli veterans who come to view their mandatory service critically recount how they built up Israel’s surveillance regime the same way dissidents of Silicon Valley reflect on their role scaffolding surveillance capitalism. Both had been seduced by the promise of personal momentum and self-optimization, both lost sight of the big picture—or never really wanted to see it in the first place.”

Ariel Koren on Google’s Relationship with the Israeli Military,

“On September 9, Peter hosted an online discussion entitled, “Ariel Koren on Google’s Relationship with the Israeli Military.” He was joined by special guest Ariel Koren, who recently quit her job at Google after claiming the company retaliated against her for opposing Google’s growing partnership with the Israeli military. There aren’t many people who can explain, from the inside, how high-tech companies approach human rights, and there aren’t many people in any industry who jeopardize their careers over issues of conscience—Ariel is among the few.”

40th Anniversary: Sabra and Shatila

Sabra and Shatila: Jewish nurse recounts horrors of Palestinian massacres,

“On the 40th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, Siegel recounted how she and other nurses struggled to take care of the hundreds of wounded Palestinians, how she herself was nearly executed, and how justice continues to remain elusive despite the magnitude of the atrocity…”The Phalange came in and started to kill people. They started to massacre people, but in the most horrendous way with axes and knives. Some of these pictures, some of these stories, are just horrendous,” she said…”The Israelis shot flares into the air. One of the other physicians and myself, we went to the top floor of the hospital during this time, and we saw flares going up in the air and lighting up neighbourhoods of the camp followed by gunfire,” Seigel said.” See also Sabra and Shatila massacre: What happened in Lebanon in 1982? (Al Jazeera)


Shifting Growing Palestine Support into US Policy,

“Since the 2021 Unity Intifada, Palestinians have garnered increasing support across the US. As a result, pro-Israel lobbies have ramped up their efforts to criminalize Palestine advocacy and quash Palestine solidarity on Capitol Hill. What does this shifting terrain signify for the Palestine solidarity movement in the US and for US policy on Palestine? What can Palestinians in Palestine and the US do to translate this growing support into actionable policy? Join Al-Shabaka’s policy analyst and board member, Zaha Hassan, and US Policy Fellow, Tariq Kenney-Shawa, for a discussion with host Nadim Bawalsa about bridging the divide between US public discourse and policy on Palestine.”