Top News & Analysis from Palestine & Israel: May 7-13, 2022

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

On Shireen Abu Akleh's killing,

In the FMEP webinar on Thursday, Lara Friedman opened with this statement: “I want to take a moment to acknowledge that Palestinians around the world are in mourning today. Yesterday Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while doing her job, reporting the news from the West Bank, by what multiple eyewitnesses have attested unequivocally was an intentional shot by an IDF soldier. Sherene was one of Palestine’s greatest reporters. She dedicated herself to journalism in order to tell Palestinians’ stories and raise their voices through her work at Al Jazeera. She appeared in Palestinian homes and homes across the Arabic speaking world. And here I want to quote a friend of ours, writer and analyst Tariq Baconi, who wrote “Sherene was a quote brilliant woman who reported truth to power. She was a model journalist for a whole generation of Palestinians, particularly those of us who grew up in exile, unable to return.” Speaking as someone who’s followed Israel/Palestine issues for years, speaking as the foundation, we are familiar with the pattern of the Israeli Government and Israeli military, engaging in denial, deflection, gas lighting, blaming Palestinians for their own deaths, like the Israeli government official who yesterday described Palestinian journalists as being “armed with cameras,”  implying, it sounded like the Palestinian journalism is a form of terrorism, and Palestinian journalists are by extension legitimate targets. We remember, we are watching, we are documenting, and we will continue to use our platform to elevate and center Palestinian voices speaking about the myriad forms of violence that Palestinian suffer under Israeli apartheid. And today especially we want to tell our Palestinian partners, friends, and audience that we share in your sorrow and we stand with you in demanding justice.”

The Weaponization of Israel/Palestine in US Elections Campaigns,

In the run-up to the 2022 mid-term elections, Israel/Palestine has come up over and over, including with the decision by AIPAC’s new political action committee to endorse a long list of Republicans who sought to overturn the last presidential election; the huge investment by pro-Israel organizations and funders in targeted races, including in Michigan and Ohio; and the controversial recent decision by a Jewish Democratic pro-Israel organization to endorse a (non-Jewish) candidate in a primary battle against a (Jewish) incumbent previously endorsed by that same organization, apparently as retribution for the incumbent’s slightly more progressive views on Israel/Palestine. What is going on now and how is it different from the past? For a deep dive into how Israel/Palestine is manifesting as an issue in the 2022 political cycle and what that means for the future, please join FMEP for this timely event, featuring Peter Beinart and Rania Batrice, in conversation with Lara Friedman. 

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.

Shireen Abu Akleh

Shireen Abu Akleh: Israeli forces assault mourners carrying casket ahead of burial,

Israeli forces fired stun grenades and assaulted mourners carrying the coffin of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh outside a Jerusalem hospital on Friday, ahead of her funeral service and burial in the Old City. Palestinian mourners insisted on carrying Abu Akleh’s coffin on their shoulders from the St Joseph French Hospital to the Roman Catholic church in the Old City, before taking her to her final place of rest, the Mount Zion cemetery. Before they could leave the hospital premises, Israeli forces attacked them, pushing them back, storming the yard and making arrests. An Al Jazeera livestream captured the moment mourners nearly dropped Abu Akleh’s coffin as Israeli forces beat them.” Also see this video: “The closest video of the #Israeli police suppressing the funeral procession of Shireen Abu Aqleh as the coffin was leaving the French hospital towards the cemetery” and Police rush crowds at Al Jazeera reporter’s funeral; her casket nearly falls (Times of Israel)

Israeli forces beat mourners carrying Abu Akleh’s body: Live news,

“Israeli actions surrounding Abu Akleh’s funeral are “highlighting the occupation”, Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker said. Dekker, speaking from occupied East Jerusalem, noted that police had entered Abu Akleh’s home on the day she was killed, removed a Palestinian flag and told mourners to turn off patriotic music. On Thursday night, Abu Akleh’s brother was summoned by Israeli authorities and told to instruct mourners not to carry Palestinian flags or to recite Palestinian chants. “No showing of Palestinian unity, no showing of Palestinian identity,” Dekker said. “I think this is what it’s really about.””

Israel, in shift, investigates possibility IDF soldier killed American journalist,

“A day after a Palestinian American journalist was killed during an Israeli raid in a West Bank city, the Israeli military said that it was investigating the possibility that the fatal shot may have been fired by one of its soldiers, according to an Israel Defense Forces official…The acknowledgment that one of Israel’s soldiers might have been culpable marked a significant backtrack from Israel’s initial explanation for the shooting — that Abu Akleh was “most likely” hit by fire from Palestinian militants.” See also: Shireen Abu Akleh killing: Eyewitness account of Al Jazeera journalist’s shooting (Middle East Eye) and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s colleagues recount her killing (Al Monitor)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants ICC to 'chase down the criminals' who killed Shireen Abu Akleh,

“The Palestinian Authority is referring the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court (ICC), President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday…”We refused and we refuse a joint investigation with the Israeli authorities,” Abbas said during a state funeral ceremony for Abu Akleh in Ramallah. “We will immediately go to the International Criminal Court to chase down the criminals.””

Al Jazeera condemns Israel’s killing of Shireen Abu Akleh,

“In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine, Shireen Abu Akleh, targeting her with live fire early this morning, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, while conducting her journalistic duty, clearly wearing a press jacket that identifies her a journalist, covering the Israeli occupation forces storming of Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Al Jazeera Media Network condemns this heinous crime, which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty. Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen. It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen. The Israeli authorities are also responsible for the targeting of Al Jazeera producer Ali al-Samudi, who was also shot in the back while covering the same event, and he is currently undergoing treatment. Al Jazeera extends its sincere condolences to the family of Shireen in Palestine, and to her extended family around the world, and we pledge to prosecute the perpetrators legally, no matter how hard they try to cover up their crime, and bring them to justice.”

Opinion | For Us, Palestinians, Shireen Abu Akleh Was a Legend,

“Abu Akleh wasn’t just another very professional journalist or a great reporter, she was the voice of my generation. She shaped our political consciousness to a large degree, and over the course of two decades was a notable model for commitment, professionalism, honesty, humanity and quality. It’s no wonder that she became an icon.” See also Ayman Mohyeldin On The Killing Of Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh (MSNBC),  Shireen Abu Akleh did the stories no one wanted to do, says colleague (NPR interview with Dalia Hatuqa), Shireen: Voice of the voiceless victims silenced (Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera), Shireen Abu Akleh: Friends and colleagues mourn slain Palestinian journalist (Middle East Eye), and Remembering Shireen Abu Akleh: A Beloved Palestinian-American Journalist Killed by Israeli Soldiers (IMEU’s This is Palestine podcast with Diana Buttu and Omar Baddar)

The killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, explained,

“For Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch, the situation reflects the larger structural dynamic. “Their calls for investigations [are] as if it’s a few bad apples in a situation that’s otherwise normal, but that’s not the reality. Palestinians live in a situation of grave underlying structural violence,” he told me. “This underlying daily reality of apartheid and the cold violence of structural repression leads to the hot violence of bloodshed and the killing of Palestinians.” See also Shireen Abu Akleh: How Western media failed slain Palestinian journalist (Middle East Eye), Democrats cautiously condemn Israel’s killing of Shireen Abu Akleh (The New Arab), and Shireen Abu Akleh: Who said what in US Congress on slain reporter (Al Jazeera)

"Time tested playbook" ,

“The Israeli government is a masterful agent of propaganda & disinformation. They weaponize the fog of war to spread false information & sow confusion. We see this in action now after the murder of @AJENews journalist Shireen. They have a time tested playbook…So there you have it — the 5 steps of Israeli gov crime coverups: 

  1. Lie and Build Doubt 
  2. Change the Frame
  3. Promise an “investigation”
  4. “It was a mistake”
  5. Justice…Never, Gaslighting…Always

Keep an eye out for them as the crime of Shireen’s murder plays out…”

"Israeli soldiers/police...systematically targeting journalists documenting their actions",

“THREAD: Eyewitnesses say journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was targeted by the Israeli military. This isn’t the first time Israeli soldiers /police have been accused of systematically targeting journalists documenting their actions. Here are some recent examples…The International Federation of Journalists has also recently submitted a case to the ICC. It says that Israel’s systematic targeting of journalists and its failure to properly investigate killings amount to war crimes.” See also Palestine: ICC case filed over systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists (International Federation of Journalists)

B’Tselem’s field researcher in Jenin documented the exact locations,

“This morning, B’Tselem’s field researcher in Jenin documented the exact locations in which the Palestinian gunman depicted in a video distributed by the Israeli army, fired, as well as the exact location in which Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed…Documentation of Palestinian gunfire distributed by Israeli military cannot be the gunfire that killed Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.” See also “Abu Akleh killing: Analysis refutes video blaming Palestinians” (Al Jazeera) and “Haaretz Check | Palestinian Gunman in IDF Video Unlikely to Have Killed Al Jazeera Journalist” (Haaretz)

Israel Murdered Shireen Abu Akleh,

“According to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, fifty Palestinian journalists have been killed since 2000. Reporters Without Borders say at least 144 journalists have been wounded by Israeli forces, including with bullets, batons, and stun grenades, since 2018. Just last month, a formal complaint was lodged with the International Criminal Court by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) regarding Israel’s ‘systematic targeting’ of Palestinian journalists. Separately, the I’lam – Arab Centre for Media Freedom, Development and Research last year found that attacks on and acts of harassment against Israeli-Palestinian journalists and media workers covering demonstrations and violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories were overwhelmingly committed by Israeli forces. ​​Just a few days ago, Israeli soldiers attacked and wounded local reporter Basil al-Adraa in the village of al-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills while he was reporting on the Israeli soldiers’ order for a Palestinian to take down a makeshift structure he had built there. The soldiers were reportedly unhappy when al-Adraa tried to film them. Therein lies the goal: stifling the documentation of the ethnic cleansing and systematic oppression in which the Israeli forces are engaged, so that it can proceed with minimal awareness raised and zero accountability faced.”

Masafer Yatta: Court-authorized Forced Population Transfer

Armed with High Court expulsion order, Israel’s bulldozers arrive in Masafer Yatta,

“Last week, Israel’s High Court authorized, in neat and polished legal language, the expulsion of over 1,000 Palestinian residents from eight villages in the Masafer Yatta region of the occupied West Bank, following a 22-year legal process over the fate of those living inside “Firing Zone 918.” On Wednesday, the Israeli army launched its first eviction operation in the area since the ruling, destroying nine homes in two of those villages, leaving 45 Palestinians homeless…It is impossible to know whether the military will repeat the act of mass deportation that occurred in 1999, particularly in today’s age of social media and international pressure. What we do know, however, is that a 70-year-old woman will be sleeping on the floor next to the ruins of her home.” See also: Israel Begins Demolition in Contentious West Bank Village Following Court Ruling (Haaretz)

"Why is the international community so silent?" ,

WATCH: A family of 9 children torn apart and evicted in Masafer Yatta. It happened yesterday, days after the Israeli occupation announced it plans to destroy all our villages in Masafer Yatta. To destroy us. Why is the international community so silent?” See also #SaveMasaferYatta: Campaign sounds alarm over Israeli eviction ruling (Middle East Eye video featuring Basil Al-Adraa)

Israeli Activists Report Settler Attacks, Military Roadblocks on Way to West Bank Demonstration,

“The Israeli military issued an order on Friday preventing buses from going into the West Bank through a crossing that leads to the Palestinian hamlets of Masafer Yatta, blocking Israeli activists from joining a demonstration against their eviction….About 200 left-wing activists, including Meretz lawmaker Mossi Raz, marched from the Meitar crossing toward the demonstration’s meeting point in Masafer Yatta. Some of them reported attacks by settlers, and five were reported wounded. One of them taken to hospital…Knesset member Raz said that masked settlers hurled stones at the activists and that one kicked him. He added that police forces used stun grenades and that the military declared the area a restricted zone…Four buses of Hadash party activists, including lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman, were blocked on the way to the demonstration. The activists got off the bus and started protesting in place.” See also “More than 400 people protested at four different locations after being blocked by the military from arriving at the villages in #MasaferYatta against the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their lands in that is the occupied West Bank #SaveMasaferYatta” (South Hebron Hills Watch)

In Masafer Yatta, Palestinians Brace for a Second Expulsion,

“In the villages of Masafer Yatta, the memory of the earlier expulsion is still alive, and the news of a possible second expulsion revives old traumas. [Jinba resident Hadara Ali Jabarin:] “What do they think? That we’re not like you? Didn’t God create us too?”…Eiman, 36, said she is astonished at people’s lack of understanding of the future that awaits her community if they are expelled. “Most of the people here don’t have land or a home in Yatta and also don’t have money to buy them,” she said. “Our source of income is the sheep, and the sheep need space. It’s impossible to move to the city with sheep.”” See also Palestinians facing eviction by Israel vow to stay on land (AP)

Editorial | Israel's High Court of Justice, the Occupation's Rubber Stamp,

“In view of the selective expulsion based on nationality, it will no longer be possible to refute the argument that an apartheid regime has replaced the military occupation in the territories. Occupation is temporary by definition; apartheid is liable to persist forever. The High Court approved it.” See also: Opinion | Another Phase of the Palestinian Nakba, With Israeli Court Approval (Hagai El-Ad//Haaretz) and Israel’s High Court Rules in Favor of Forced Population Transfer (Jewish Currents)

Only Palestinians can decide whether to boycott the occupier’s court,

“Any lawyer who has ever handled a case in which the chances of success are slim recognizes these accompanying benefits of human rights litigation. Often the hope, and even the strategy, is that it is these peripheral successes that will be realized…Time is a very important accompanying benefit. Many litigations significantly postpone the carrying out of an unjust act or policy…These long stretches of time allow for political organizing, mobilization of diplomatic pressure, and the securing of significant media coverage — none of which would be possible were the state’s plans carried out quickly…Another example of a side product of litigation is information. Litigation can expose a lot of details about a policy or practice, which can, in turn, be of use to a public or political struggle…Litigations can bear other fruit: a legal process can often deepen public awareness and grab the media’s attention regarding the subject under legal scrutiny…After all the calculations and assessments, it is not, ultimately, up to lawyers or NGOs to decide. The decision belongs to the Palestinians. It is they who must choose whether to make use of the occupier’s courts or to boycott them. In the meantime, thousands of Palestinians opt to take that chance each year. Be it out of lack of other options or out of distress, this is the choice they are making.”

Apartheid/Occupation/Human Rights

Israel advances plans to build nearly 4,500 settlement units in West Bank,

Israel advanced plans on Thursday to build 4,427 housing units for settlers in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli NGO revealed. The high planning committee of Israel’s civil administration – an authority that runs the occupied West Bank – approved 2,791 units and initial endorsements for another 1,636, according to Peace Now, an NGO that monitors Israeli settlement expansion.”

Israeli forces raze Jerusalem homes, leaving 40 Palestinians destitute,

“Early in the morning, Israeli forces and bulldozers arrived at the Silwan town and removed residents of a three-storey building owned by the Rajabi family ahead of its demolition. Residents had little time to move their belongings, an eyewitness told Middle East Eye, and were assaulted by police for resisting the demolition along with neighbours who arrived at the scene to show support.”

Israel’s arrests of Palestinian children under the spotlight,

“Defense for Children International Palestine says 500 to 700 Palestinian children are arrested and prosecuted in the military courts each year. In this episode, we take a closer look at their detention in Israeli prisons.”

'Capturing Terrorists Is Not Enough': Bennett Pushes for Civilian National Guard,

“The Israeli government will establish a new “civilian national guard” to fight terrorism, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Sunday, after Israeli forces captured two Palestinians who murdered on Thursday three Israelis in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad. “Capturing the terrorists is not enough,” Bennett said in a cabinet meeting on Sunday. “We are in a new phase in the war on terror. The highest-priority task for the Israeli government is to restore personal security to the citizens of Israel.””

Opinion How media coverage whitewashes Israeli state violence against Palestinians,

“However, Western media coverage routinely labels this situation as “complicated,” portraying this state violence as “clashes” and “tensions” between two sides. Headlines in outlets such as the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, NBC News and others use language that fails to recognize the power imbalance between the Israeli military apparatus and the native Palestinian people. This is a pattern we have seen over and over again in media coverage of Palestine. Palestinians are not killed; we simply die. When Israeli forces raid our neighborhoods in the middle of the night, bomb our children, demolish our homes, colonize our land and kill our people, we are somehow equal instigators. Media descriptions regularly imply a false symmetry between occupier and occupied, propping up anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic narratives that blame the Palestinian people for Israeli aggression.”

US Scene

Former ADL chief Foxman endorses Stevens in Michigan, says Levin ‘leaves a lot to be desired’ on Israel, antisemitism,

“Former Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman endorsed Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) in her primary race against Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) in a Detroit News op-ed published Tuesday morning, accusing Levin in an interview with Jewish Insider of being weak on Israel and antisemitism…“He uses his Jewishness [and] respected political family name as a cover for softness on both issues,” Foxman said.”

Jewish congressman calls attacks by AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups ‘ridiculous’,

““The idea that the right-wing on Israel crowd has some monopoly of loving Israel is nonsense,” Levin said, defending his record in support of Israel and the role he’s played in building bridges with the far left…Levin suggested that AIPAC is irritated by the fact being the ”most identifiable” Jewish member with “a pretty f***ing conventional” view of Israel – listing his support for aid to Israel and the replenishment of the Iron Dome missile defense system and opposition to BDS – who has stood up to say that “the only way to have a secure and peaceful homeland for my people is to fully realize the political human rights of the Palestinians.”… He stressed that he sees himself as an interlocutor who can inspire the next generation of Congress members to stand in line with the idea of two states for two people – supporting Israel’s security while standing up for Palestinian rights. “Here I am a Jew, a proud Zionist, who can talk to people across lines,” he said. “I can talk to IfNotNow, I can talk to JVP [Jewish Voice for Peace], I can talk to Palestinians, I can talk to other Arab Americans, I can talk to anybody.””

Republicans Slam New White House Press Secretary as 'anti-Israel' Over Support for AIPAC Boycott,

“Republican and pro-Israel figures have sharply criticized incoming White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, describing her as “anti-Israel” over her previous criticisms of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee…While working as national spokesperson and senior adviser for the progressive MoveOn public advocacy group, she encouraged Democratic Party presidential candidates to boycott AIPAC’s annual policy conference in 2019.”

The ADL vs. Antisemitism

Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism? ,

“New Yorker: “So if I were a Palestinian in the West Bank and I thought that my situation really stunk, and that we should have one democratic state that covers all this territory—is that in practice anti-Semitic? No one is going to argue with you that many people who are anti-Zionist are also anti-Semitic. But people who would want a democratic state or states in that area, or would even want Israel to be a democratic state without a religious character—is that anti-Semitic?” Jonathan Greenblatt: “I get it. I understand what you’re saying. What I’m talking about is not the Palestinian who is displaced from their village in 1948. Not talking about that. I get that as an idea, but, in practice, what I’m dealing with are the students at Rutgers University, who, when they read off the names of Holocaust survivors, or people in their family who died during the Holocaust, their fraternity is pelted with eggs, and students who claim some fidelity to anti-Zionism or Palestinian nationalism harass them.””

Opinion | The ADL’s Crazily Irresponsible Crusade Against anti-Zionism,

“By erroneously equating left-wing human rights activism to the powerful and fast-mounting threat of anti-democratic authoritarianism on the Right, Greenblatt and the ADL are actually helping to shift the focus on antisemitism away from where it belongs, undermining the much-needed concerted effort to protect the imperiled foundations of multiracial democracy in the U.S.” See also ADL CEO Misrepresents Report on Antisemitism to Attack Palestinian Groups (Truthout // Brant Rosen)

Anti-Zionism is not (necessarily) antisemitism,

“Greenblatt is guilty of what he is so vehemently blasting: the delegitimization of another people’s national narrative. That is what makes his charge so dangerous. While Israelis and Palestinians can compromise on land and resources, on the status of Jerusalem and even on a future solution for the refugee problem, they cannot be asked to wholeheartedly accept the other’s national narrative. They can try to recognize the other’s narrative, but they are not going to embrace it.”


Jared Kushner’s New Fund Plans to Invest Saudi Money in Israel,

“Jared Kushner’s new private-equity fund plans to invest millions of dollars of Saudi Arabia’s money in Israeli startups, according to people familiar with the investment plan, in a sign of warming ties between two historic rivals. Affinity Partners, which has raised more than $3 billion, including a $2 billion commitment from the kingdom’s sovereign-wealth fund, has already selected the first two Israeli firms to invest in, these people said.”