Top News from Israel & Palestine: April 21, 2021

What We’re Reading

Occupation, Annexation, Human Rights

Israel official calls for executing Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem,

“Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Aryeh King, yesterday called on Israeli police to execute Palestinian protesters who take to the streets of the holy city at night, Shehab news agency reported. He proposed a change in police policy regarding dealing with protesters and stop using traditional means to disperse them. According to the Israeli TV Channel 7, King said that shooting the protesters ‘is the only way which can end the night protests phenomenon.’”


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'Like Spy Agencies': Inside the Latest Frontier of the Jewish Settlement Movement in Jerusalem,

“Two weeks ago, in the dead of night, dozens of settlers moved into two new buildings in Silwan. This is part of a broader plan to unite all the Jewish buildings in Silwan into a single neighborhood. Guards are recruited by the organization Ateret Cohanim (both voluntary and paid) to stay in the buildings until the families move in. One of them was Eran Tzidkiyahu, a left-wing tour guide and expert on Jerusalem’s geopolitics who wanted a close-up look at Silwan’s Jewish settlements.”

The Israeli Soldiers Took Her Aside and Undressed Her. The Cruelty Only Started,

[Note: After FMEP’s news round-up was published, Haaretz amended the headline to read: “The Israeli Female Soldiers Took Her Aside and Undressed Her. The Cruelty Only Started”]

“Earlier this month something happened quietly in Israel, something that didn’t make headlines but which confirmed what we already knew: The Shin Bet security service can operate with complete impunity, no matter what its people do. The first criminal investigation of Shin Bet agents ever ordered by the Justice Ministry was closed without fanfare and without any indictments, even though the ugly deeds were witnessed by people other than the victim – soldiers, in this case. Even though this sick act was a vaginal and anal search – twice in each orifice. Even then there is no price to pay.”

Israel detains Palestinian journalist in West Bank,

“Israeli forces detained a Palestinian journalist in a raid on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to local residents. Alaa al-Rimawi, the director of a private media network, was arrested by an Israeli force in the al-Ersal neighborhood in the city, the residents said. Clashes erupted between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces, who used rubber-coated bullets and teargas canisters to disperse the angry Palestinians, according to eyewitnesses.”

Israeli occupation issues demolition and stop construction orders against 13 Palestinian-owned houses,

“Israeli occupation authorities today issued demolition and stop construction orders against 13 Palestinian-owned houses in the village of Qabalan, south of the occupied northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to an official source. Ghassan Daghlas, a local official, said that the Israeli forces raided the village and handed the orders against the 13 houses located in the northern part of the village under the pretext that they were built without a permit and that they are located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli military rule.”


More from WAFA:

US Policy

Breaking the Israel-Palestine Status Quo,

“A new U.S. approach should prioritize protecting the rights and human security of Palestinians and Israelis over maintaining a peace process and attempting short-term fixes.” Also see webinar launch of the paper, ft discussion with the authors + Lara Friedman, Salih Booker and Khaled Elgindy.

Regional/International Scene

Gantz warns Hezbollah 'will suffer grave consequences if it challenges Israel',

“Defense minister tours IDF northern front, where IDF troops remain on high alert over tensions with the Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist group.”

In First, Zionist Youth Movement in U.K. to Boycott Israeli Ambassador,

“Conservative Jewish movement Noam members are refusing to participate in an online conversation with Tzipi Hotovely, the Israeli ambassador to the U.K., because of her political and religious views.”

UAE receives Israeli envoy to Gulf states,

“The UAE received Zvi Heifetz, Israel’s special envoy to the GCC states, in Abu Dhabi as both countries reviewed the progress of their bilateral relations since signing a peace agreement last September. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, welcomed the Israeli official to explore further UAE-Israeli relations and mutual cooperation in areas such as trade, investment and tourism, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.”

Palestine's UK Mission welcomes clarification on British government position from the ICC,

“The Palestine Mission to the United Kingdom today welcomed clarification regarding Britain’s position from the International Criminal Court (ICC). ‘We appreciate the UK government’s support of the ICC, no exceptions,’ said Husam Zomlot, Palestine’s head of the UK Mission, in a tweet. ‘We also appreciate the role of the opposition in clarifying matters. War crimes must be punished no matter who commits them.’ In response to a question by Wayne David, member of the UK parliament, on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s position on the ICC, James Cleverly, head of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, said the government supports the independence of the ICC.”

Israel boosts security of overseas diplomatic missions,

“Israel’s Foreign Ministry has revealed that it has taken extra security measures at its diplomatic missions around the world, fearing possible Iranian retaliation. According to Ynet News, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman met on Monday to discuss the concerns about possible Iranian attacks. ‘We are seeing increased intelligence indicating possible targeting of Israeli emissaries abroad,’ Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz told Israeli diplomats yesterday. ‘We take this information seriously and are concerned for the safety of our emissaries and their families and are taking all possible precautions.’”

Israel's state comptroller to head EUROSAI,

“State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman voted as president of the prestigious European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, which includes 49 countries.”

Israel - Post-Elections Mayhem

President Rivlin expected to hand mandate directly to Knesset,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has two weeks remaining from his 28-day mandate for secure majority backing in the Knesset for a new government, but has yet to make significant progress in breaking the ongoing political stalemate. According to a report Wednesday morning in Israel Hayom which cited officials close to the president, should Netanyahu fail to build a new government by the end of the 28-day mandate, President Reuven Rivlin is expected to hand over the mandate directly to the Knesset, without nominating a second candidate.”


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Netanyahu admits Ra’am-backed government not an option, urges direct vote for PM ,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said he sees no option of forming a government backed by the Islamist Ra’am, after the Arab Israeli party voted against his bloc Monday in a key Knesset vote. Rather, Netanyahu said the only options to avert his opponents taking power or a fifth election are Gideon Sa’ar reneging on his New Hope party’s central campaign promise not to join forces with the Likud leader, or holding special, one-off direct elections for prime minister, an idea floated — and criticized by many — in recent days.  ‘We don’t need Ra’am,’ the prime minister said at a press conference. ‘We need direct elections so that we can form a government.’”


Also see:

Palestinian Scene/Elections

Presidential spokesman: The leadership is committed to holding elections as per presidential decrees,

“Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh today stressed the leadership’s commitment to conducting Palestinian elections in accordance with the presidential decrees and the specified dates. He told the official Voice of Palestine radio that nothing will change nor there a disruption that contradicts with the Palestinian interest since these elections are a Palestinian demand and all disruption from here or there are not worth anything. Abu Rudeineh reiterated that Jerusalem is a red line and that the Palestinian people will not concede it nor accept a state with provisional borders or anything that contradicts the decisions of the Palestinian National Council and the United Nations resolutions. He stressed that no decision will be taken regarding Jerusalem in any form without going back to the leadership, the factions and all the forces. ‘The elections will take place on time and efforts are underway with all parties, including the European Union, which is trying to make every effort possible but is unable to force Israel to allow the elections,’ said the presidential spokesman.” Also see: Abbas adviser: Palestinian elections ‘very likely’ to be postponed (Times of Israel)

Abbas faces tough decision on Palestinian elections,

“Time is quickly running out on the possibility of avoiding the unpredictable results of the upcoming Palestinian elections. Pressure is mounting on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel or postpone a set of elections — legislative on May 22, presidential on July 31 and Palestinian National Council on Aug. 31 — that he had decreed on Jan. 13. The Israelis are not interested in elections that will remind their own people and the world that there are Palestinians on the other side of the nearly erased Green Line. The United States under President Joe Biden has avoided making any decision on the Middle East giving climate change, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia and Yemen the priority on their foreign agenda. Jordan and Egypt are also worried about the upcoming elections although for different reasons. All those countries plus hordes of those Palestinians close to Abbas who are afraid of losing power or even sharing power are trying their hardest behind closed doors to get out of the risky business of elections, whose results are still hard to predict.” Also see: Palestinian Elections: As In 2006, A Dangerous Idea (Elliott Abrams in Fathom Journal)


Israel shutters remaining COVID hospital wards as infection rate continues to drop,

“Designated hospital wards in Hadera, Tiberias and Safed were the last to close down this week. More encouraging signs that the coronavirus pandemic is significantly on the wane in Israel was revealed Tuesday as the last few remaining hospitals with designated COVID wards announced they would close them.” Also see: With most adults now vaccinated, Israelis are busting loose (Washington Post)

Palestine records 1,748 Covid-19 cases, 18 deaths,

“Palestine today recorded 1,748 new Covid-19 cases and 18 deaths, according to Health Minister Mai Al-Kaileh. She announced that 1,748 Palestinians tested positive for the highly contagious virus and 18 others died of it in the occupied territories. Among the new 1,748 cases, 480 cases were recorded in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 1,268 others in the besieged Gaza Strip.”

Free Speech, Lawfare, & Weaponization of Antisemitism

Florida university accused of fostering anti-Palestinian racism,

“In first case of its kind, Palestinian student files civil rights complaint against Florida State University for discrimination based on his national origin.”

Zachor Legal Files Amicus Brief Urging an En Banc Rehearing of 8th Circuit's Decision Regarding Arkansas’ Anti-BDS Law,

“Zachor Legal Institute filed an amicus brief with the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals supporting a petition by the State of Arkansas asking for an En Banc Rehearing of a panel’s decision on Arkansas’ Anti-BDS Law.”

Four main Welsh political parties express support for IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,

“On Monday, leadership of the four main political parties in Wales expressed support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism and stated their opposition to boycotts of Israel.”

IHRA amendment threatens to stall Arizona Holocaust education bill,

“Arizona’s Holocaust education bill seemed like a sure thing. But that may no longer be the case. The bill recently hit a snag in the State Senate, where Sen. Paul Boyer (LD-20) advocates including an amendment that contains the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism into the bill. ‘Passing the bill without the IHRA definition would leave our legislative intent unfulfilled and vulnerable to exploitation,’ he said. But Arizona House Rep. Alma Hernandez (LD-3), who first introduced the bill in January 2020, said including the IHRA language threatens the bill’s bipartisan support and further delays something that has been ‘agonizingly close for three years.’ ‘Proponents of the IHRA definition, of which I am one, should run separate legislation, as opposed to attempting to seize this bill,’ she said. Adding IHRA language to the bill would restart the vetting process, and the push comes just a year after the Senate failed to show broad support for IHRA.”