Top News from Israel & Palestine: April 15, 2021

What We’re Reading

Occupation, Annexation, Human Rights

Thousands celebrate Independence Day at Sa-Nur,

“Thousands of Israelis traveled to the site of the former Israeli town of Sa-Nur in Samaria Thursday, to celebrate Israel’s 73rd Independence Day. The festive gathering included performances, arts and crafts, and other activities. The event was organized by the Samaria Regional Council in conjunction with activists looking to resettle Sa-Nur. Sa-Nur and three other Israeli towns from northern Samaria were evacuated as part of the Disengagement Plan in the summer of 2005. Thursday’s event is the largest gathering of Israelis at the site of the evacuated town since 2005. The Israeli military permitted Israeli nationals to enter and leave the site of the former town freely via shuttles during the event from the nearby town [settlement] of Mevo Dotan.”


For more on how settlers in the West Bank celebrated Israel’s Independence Day, see:

The Master Plan for Building in Jerusalem? Preserve a Jewish Majority,

“The westward expansion, tall towers, addiction to cars and damage to open spaces are additional ways the capital is being marred, the city’s former urban planning chief tells Haaretz.”

Jordan slams Israeli police bid to silence call to prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque minarets,

“Jordan on Wednesday condemned Israeli police for sabotaging door locks at four Al-Aqsa Mosque minarets in a bid to silence the Muslim call to prayer. The move came after waqf officials, who oversee Jerusalem’s holy sites, refused to turn off loudspeakers on the first day of Ramadan. They said the Israelis had wanted it quiet while new soldiers prayed at the Buraq (Western) wall. Jordanian officials claimed employees of the Jordan-run Jerusalem waqf and Al-Aqsa affairs department were harassed during the police operation.”


Also see:

UNESCO board unanimously adopts resolution on old Jerusalem, its walls,

“UNESCO Executive Board, during its 211th session, has unanimously adopted a resolution on old Jerusalem and its walls. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Deifallah Fayez on Wednesday said that adopting the resolution was the result of Jordanian diplomatic efforts, in cooperation with Palestinians and the Arab and Islamic groups in the organisation, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. Fayez pointed out that the resolution stresses all aspects of the Jordanian stance on the old town of Jerusalem and its walls, including Islamic and Christian holy sites in the city. He noted that the resolution reiterated considering all Israeli procedures aimed at changing the nature of the holy city and its legal status quo as null and void. The resolution calls on Israel to halt its illegal and unilateral procedures at Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif and in the old city and its walls.”

Remembering the Deir Yassin massacre 73 years later,

“Deir Yassin is a Palestinian village situated on a hilltop, a short distance from the west of Jerusalem. If you try to find it on a map today, you will be disappointed, as the village has been completely razed to the ground. In its place, in 1951, the newly-created State of Israel built a psychiatric health centre, making use of some of the village’s buildings that remained intact. But Deir Yassin is more than a village; its story encompasses the entire Palestinian tragedy.”

Trees, fence cut, equipment stolen, construction work damaged as Israeli settlers break into West Bank village,

“Israeli settlers broke into the northern West Bank village of Jaloud, southeast of Nablus, late last night, cut trees and a fence surrounding a plot of land, stole equipment and caused damage to construction material at the site, according to Ghassan Daghlas, a local official. He told WAFA that settlers from Ahla settlement outpost built on Jaloud village land broke into a plot owned by a local citizen near the settlement outpost, cut trees he recently planted, poured 30 sacks of cement on iron bars used for the construction, and stole building equipment. He said the landowner discovered the vandalism as he went to his land this morning.”


US Policy

US secretary of state: Israel’s group of friends to grow wider in years ahead,

“In Independence Day message, Antony Blinken says US will urge more countries to normalize, lauds Jerusalem’s vaccine effort, vows to strengthen all parts of bilateral relationship.”

Rep. Betty McCollum Leads Effort to Block Israel From Using U.S. Aid to Destroy Palestinian Homes,

“Since 2015, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., has been the leading congressional critic of Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children, introducing multiple pieces of legislation that would bar Israel from using U.S. military aid to arrest Palestinian youth. By targeting Israel’s detention of Palestinian children — just one aspect of Israel’s military occupation, but one that involved a highly vulnerable population — McCollum was attempting to make her bills appeal to the widest swath of Democrats possible. For most others in her party, the check the U.S. wrote to Israel every year was not up for debate. McCollum is now planning to introduce legislation on Thursday that would bar U.S. aid from subsidizing a wider array of Israeli occupation tactics, an indication of just how far the debate over U.S. aid to Israel has come in the past six years.”


Also see:

Foreign Ministry: Palestine waiting for a strong US position against settlements,

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said today that the State of Palestine is waiting for a strong position from the international community, and the United States in particular, against Israel’s ongoing illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian Territories. In a press statement, the Foreign Ministry said the occupation authorities have escalated construction of housing units in the illegal settlements and the construction of settler-only roads and tunnels, mainly in occupied East Jerusalem and its surroundings…’This [Israeli] colonial settlement system puts the international community, including the new US administration, in front of a serious challenge, which specifically requires the administration of the US President to have a clear position, consistent with its statements about its rejection of settlement and annexation, and its opposition to the unilateral measures taken by the occupying power.’”

US said to scold PA over death threats toward Palestinian-American Abbas critic,

“The US has raised concerns over death threats made against a well-known Palestinian-American activist critical of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a report said Tuesday. Fadi Elsalameen, originally from as-Samu, a village south of Hebron, recently traveled there from Washington, DC. Upon his arrival, the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade terror group issued an official statement threatening to shoot him.”


International Scene

Palestine mission: UK PM's failure to back ICC probe into Israel war crimes 'regrettable',

“UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of his government’s opposition of the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into war crimes committed by Israel is ‘deeply regrettable’, the Palestinian Mission to the UK said in a press release today. In a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel, Johnson wrote: ‘We oppose the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Palestine.’…In response, the Palestinian Mission to the UK said: “It marks a low point in UK-Palestine relations and undermines the UK’s credibility on the international stage. The letter is a contradiction of international law. It is a contradiction of British policy. It subverts the rules-based global order. And it sets back efforts to secure a lasting and just peace in Palestine.” Also see: UK charities condemn British PM’s comments on the International Criminal Court’s investigation on Palestine (WAFA)

Spain allows Israeli agent to interrogate Palestinian journalist in Madrid,

“The Spanish security services have allowed an Israeli agent from the Mossad spy agency to interrogate a Palestinian journalist seeking asylum, Wafa news agency has reported. The incident at the Civil Guard building in the capital has been condemned by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. The syndicate called on the Spanish government to assume its responsibilities by ensuring the security of Muath Hamid and his family. It also called for the Spanish authorities to open an investigation into what happened during the interrogation.” Also see: ‘I fear revenge’: Al-Araby TV journalist ‘interrogated by Mossad’ considers leaving Spain (The New Arab)


Canada’s third-largest party endorses boycott of Israel,

“Members of Canada’s progressive New Democratic Party (NDP) have voted overwhelmingly to endorse a boycott against Israel during its recent party convention. At its virtual party convention on April 10, the NDP—the third-largest party in Canada—adopted the resolution ‘Justice and Peace in Israel-Palestine’ that calls for a boycott of products emanating from Israeli settlements, as well as an arms embargo on Israel.”


A Palestinian prisoner in Israel on his 29th day of hunger strike punished by transferring him to another prison,

“The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) today transferred a hunger-striking prisoner to Asqalan Prison in southern Israel in order to punish him for being on 29 days of hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention, according to the Prisoners Affairs Commission. It said in a press statement that Imad Sawarka, who has been on a hunger strike for 29 consecutive days, was punitively transferred from the Naqab Prison to Asqalan Prison. It added that Sawarka, a 37-year-old father of five children from Jericho, has been on hunger strike in protest against extending his administrative detention for the third time in a row. Sawarka was detained in July of the last year, and the Israeli intelligence has issued three administrative orders against him, each lasting for four months. He is a former prisoner who spent a total of 10 years in Israeli detention facilities.”

Israel: new law will revoke citizenship of Arab prisoners,

“A draft bill has been proposed in the Israeli parliament which, if passed into law, would see citizenship stripped from any Arab-Israeli prisoner who accepts a stipend from the Palestinian Authority. The PA pays such stipends to help prisoners’ families.”

Incarcerated Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, begins 20th year behind bars,

“Fatah Central Committee member and lawmaker, Marwan Barghouti, today began his 20th year in Israeli imprisonment. Barghouti, 62, a resident of the Ramallah district town of Kobar, is the first Fatah Central Committee member and lawmaker to be detained by the Israeli forces and sentenced to five life sentences for his role in the Palestinian resistance movement.”



Free Speech, Lawfare, & Weaponization of Antisemitism

Lawfare Project urges Zoom, UC Merced to cancel event featuring Palestinian terrorist,

“In letters to Zoom and UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz, the organization notes that the event featuring Leila Khaled could violate federal law by providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.” Also see: San Francisco State University to Hold New Webinar With Palestinian Terrorist Leila Khaled After Zoom Refused to Stream Event Last Year (The Algemeiner)