Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 10, 2021

What We’re Reading

Occupation, Annexation, Apartheid

Israel asking US to push Palestinians toward compromise on Sheikh Jarrah,

“Israel has asked the Biden administration to use its bully pulpit to encourage several Palestinian families facing Israeli eviction from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah to accept a compromise proposed by the Supreme Court that would allow them to stay put for the foreseeable future, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Monday.“The deal allows the Palestinians to climb down [from their position], and we asked the Americans to encourage the families to do so before it’s too late,” the official said, confirming the request first reported by the Haaretz daily. he Sheikh Jarrah evictions have been a rallying cry for Palestinians in recent months and sparked violent clashes in East Jerusalem that spread far beyond the contested city — and were even partly responsible for the flare-up between Israel and Gaza terror groups in May.” Also See – “Israel to US: Convince Sheikh Jarrah families to accept compromise deal” (WIN)


More from Sheikh Jarrah:

Israeli Court Blasts Police for Arresting Palestinian Without Warrant, Evidence,

“Police arrested a Palestinian for alleged car theft last week then showed up in court without evidence, resulting in the court releasing the man and referring the case to the Justice Ministry department that investigates police misconduct due to suspicions that police beat the man while arresting him. Police officers, escorted by soldiers, burst into Mahmoud Ibrahim’s home in Beit Liqya, near Ramallah, before dawn last Sunday, claiming he had stolen a car near Modi’in. They had no warrant for the arrest, and Ibrahim said they beat him, causing injuries to his head and hands…At the remand hearing the next day, the police asked the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court to extend Ibrahim’s detention alleging that Ibrahim was suspected of making threats, interfering with a police officer in the line of duty and conspiracy to commit a crime. But the request didn’t even mention car theft, which even the police representative conceded outright…“This isn’t a police force, it’s a mafia,” he said. “I’ve made mistakes in my life and I’ve paid for them. This time, if I did something, if there’s evidence, let the court put me in jail. But the judge released me on the spot.””

Palestinian Woman Shot During Attempted Stabbing of Soldier in West Bank, Israeli Army Says,

“A Palestinian woman attempted to stab a soldier near the Yitzhar junction and was shot by security forces, the IDF announced on Tuesday night, saying that they had “thwarted an attempted terrorist attack.” According to initial details, soldiers approached the suspect at the West Bank junction because she appeared suspicious to them. When they approached her, she pulled out a knife. In response, the soldiers proceeded to fire at her lower body.”

After String of Fatalities, IDF Chief Urges: Reduce Shooting of Palestinians,

“IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi asked senior Central Command officers to take action to reduce the number of shootings of Palestinians by soldiers in the West Bank, which has risen considerably over the past three months and particularly over the last three weeks. In his meeting Sunday with the Central Command brass he asked that more senior officers be assigned to some military operations to assure that higher-ranking personnel are present to make more of the decisions…Over the past three months more than 40 Palestinians have been shot to death in clashes with soldiers, some of them non-combatants killed by mistake. This number includes 27 Palestinians killed during Operation Guardian of the Walls in Gaza in May.” Also See – “LISTEN: Israeli Settlers Call the Shots as Palestinian Fatalities Mount” (Haaretz)

Road in historic Battir town destroyed by Israel despite protest of municipality,

” Israeli bulldozers today destroyed a one-kilometer long road in the town of Battir, to the west of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, despite a strong protest by the Battir municipality, according to local sources. They said municipality staff and local residents attempted to stop the destruction of the road and were attacked by Israeli soldiers securing the destruction of the road for the bulldozers injuring a member of the town council and a staff member.”

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian homes in Nablus-area village,

“Israeli settlers attacked today Palestinian residents’ homes in the village of Orif, south of Nablus, according to a local official. Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of the settlements file in the northern West Bank, said settlers from the settlement of Yitzhar, an illegal Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land, attacked residents’ homes in the village of Orif, but were confronted by the village residents who were able to fend them off. Clashes reportedly broke out between the village residents and Israeli soldiers who provided settlers with protection. No injuries or arrests were reported.”

Opinion | No, Palestinian Textbooks Are Not Antisemitic,

“The study’s findings unequivocally refute the exaggerated and overgeneralized accusations by conservative Israeli organizations about antisemitism and incitement to violence in Palestinian textbooks. It reveals “numerous instances [in which] the textbooks call for tolerance, mercy, forgiveness and justice” and distinguishes among various types of Palestinian criticism of Israel and among textbooks in various subjects (such as religious studies). Palestinian textbooks do contain examples of antisemitism, incitement to violence, glorification of violence and dehumanization of Jews or Israelis, but according to the researchers their frequency is limited. But this bears repeating: The Palestinian nation would have to be a saint for its textbooks to be completely free of such examples, in light of the expanding occupation, the widespread dispossession and the dehumanization from the Israeli side, which are supported by the enormous resources that are at the disposal of the strong party in the conflict.”

PA funds security prisoners with Israel's approval, right-wing group claims,

“The Palestinian Authority transfers funds to security prisoners in Israel with the approval of Israeli authorities, a right-wing advocacy group claimed on Monday. The Justice Ministry said the funding of Palestinian prisoners was conducted in accordance with the law.“All funding for prisoners goes through the Israel Prison Service which acts as their trustee. The contract with the Postal Company had been formalized after careful consideration and authorized by legal authorities,” it said.”


[Video] Inside Gaza, Capturing the Toll of War,

“After a cease-fire was declared, Yousur Al-Hlou, a video journalist for The New York Times, and Neil Collier, a former Times staff member who now works as a freelancer, traveled to Gaza, a process that took several days and involved going through numerous security screenings, quarantining in Jerusalem and securing permission from Hamas. Amid bombed-out buildings, they spoke with survivors, then produced a 14-minute video that was published last month that tells the story of the war and its aftermath through the eyes of those residents.”

Gaza Reconstruction: Toward a Self-Determined Mechanism,

“A new reconstruction mechanism must revitalize the Palestinian national struggle as a prerequisite for rebuilding Palestinian infrastructure. It must also be designed to end the Palestinian political division, so as not to limit its scope to Gaza. That is, the new mechanism should lay out a plan for a unified Palestinian political sphere which defies their fragmentation, and which contributes to strengthening Palestinians’ confidence in their leadership as a means to achieve a desired political future. This would necessitate the formation of a supervisory committee for the reconstruction mechanism – a committee whose membership would include politically and socially diverse Palestinians from across all parts of colonized Palestine.”

Gaza's school year to start next week, Education Ministry says,

“The Education Ministry of Gaza will start the new school year next week, Palestinian media reported on Tuesday. The new school year will start on August 16, with the education ministry maintaining all coronavirus protocols to protect Palestinian students.”

The Palestinians

69 Hamas members sentenced to prison in Saudi Arabia,

“Hamas has expressed “shock” at the ruling issued by a Saudi court against a large number of Palestinians and Jordanians residing in the Kingdom. According to Hamas, 69 of its Palestinian and Jordanian members and supporters were sentenced by a Saudi court on Sunday to prison terms ranging from three to 21 years.  The men were arrested three years ago and accused of affiliation with a terrorist organization and raising funds on its behalf. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated by Saudi Arabia and a number of Gulf states as a terrorist organization.”

Palestinian Authority, Hamas divided on Iran,

Well-informed sources in the Fatah movement told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity there was no general decision by Fatah and its Central Committee to participate in the Iranian opposition conference. The sources said the participation may have been based on Ahmad’s personal decision, but he cannot participate in such conferences without obtaining the approval of President Mahmoud Abbas. In his speech at the Iranian opposition conference, Ahmad expressed his solidarity “with the Iranian people and their national resistance, headed by Rajavi.” “We in Palestine are proud of the friendly and brotherly relations that have been binding us with the Iranian resistance for more than half a century now. This brotherly struggle is aimed at conquering injustice, oppression and backwardness inside Iran in order to gain freedom and impose democracy, all the while preventing the imposition of the policy of Wali al-Faqih on the friendly Iranian people,” Ahmad said.”

U.S. Relations with Israeli & the Palestinians

CIA director to visit Israel, Palestinian Authority,

CIA director Bill Burns will visit Israel on Tuesday for the first time since assuming office for talks that are expected to focus on Iran, Israeli officials tell me. He’s also expected to meet Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah. Why it matters: Burns will arrive in Jerusalem with tensions running hot between Israel and Iran over an alleged Iranian attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker and amid escalation between Israel and Hezbollah on the Israeli-Lebanese border. He’ll meet David Barnea, director of the Mossad intelligence agency, and he’s expected to meet Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other senior defense and intelligence officials. Israeli officials say the talks will focus on Iran’s nuclear program and regional activity, and that Israel hopes to hear more about U.S. policy toward the new Iranian government and a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal. Burns is also expected to visit Ramallah to meet Palestinian intelligence chief Majed Faraj. He’s also expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Israeli officials say.” Also See – “CIA Chief to Visit Israel, West Bank” (Haaretz)

Israel appoints bipartisan negotiator as ambassador to US,

“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the appointment of Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Herzog as Israel’s next ambassador to the United States Aug. 6. The cabinet approved the appointment Aug. 8 and Herzog will soon fly to Washington and take up the position already vacated after the elections by Ambassador Gilad Erdan. Under the Netanyahu government, Erdan served both as ambassador to the United States and as Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, and will not retain the latter position.” Also See – “Herzog discusses climate crisis, antisemitism with US veep Harris” (The Times of Israel)

Birthright Cancels Remaining Summer Trips to Israel Over New COVID Quarantine Rule,

“Taglit-Birthright will be canceling all its remaining trips to Israel this summer as of Wednesday, now that all passengers arriving in the country from the United States will be required to quarantine. A spokesperson for Birthright, which provides free, 10-day trips to Israel, said that 42 trips had been canceled because of the new seven-day quarantine rule. Americans have accounted for a large share of Birthright participants since the organization resumed activities in May following a 14-month hiatus.”

Normalization News

Israel, Saudi in 'direct contact' over Iran, big Jordan decision coming: Israeli minister,

“Israel and Saudi Arabia are in direct contact about regional foe Iran, an Israeli minister has said. Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Frej said there were “understandings” with Riyadh and other Gulf countries about Iran, Alhurra reported on Monday, with meetings on the issue taking place.”

Israel-Morocco economic ties warming up,

“Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visits Rabat later this week with more bilateral agreements to be added to last month’s cybersecurity agreement.”

Abraham Accords helped end Gaza war, says Bahraini ambassador to U.S.,

“Bahrain’s ambassador to the U.S., Abdulla bin Rashid Al Khalifa, on Monday credited the Abraham Accords with reducing the death count and duration of Israel’s recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza, the Times of Israel reported Tuesday. “A couple months ago… we saw a true reflection of how the accords can bring about peace,” said Khalifa in an interview organized by the ROPES civil society group.”

NSO rival Quadream in talks with Moroccan gov't,

“The biggest winners from the international investigation of Israeli cyberattack company NSO have been its rivals. One of them is Quadream, which has its development center in Ramat Gan, and sells products thorugh its Cyprus-based parent company. A source close to the matter has told “Globes” that Quadream representatives last week visited the offices of the Moroccan security services in order to discuss selling its surveillance systems to the Moroccan government.”

Analysis & Commentary

Beyond Business as Usual in Israel-Palestine,

“Ideally, foreign powers would go further still. They would recognise that the conflict’s current manifestation is becoming increasingly unsustainable; that depriving the Palestinian people of a unified national voice by dividing them will lead to neither peace nor surrender; that neither Jews nor Palestinians have a unique claim on self-determination; and that the way forward should be based on the overriding principles of respect for international law and protecting people’s rights in Israel-Palestine (notably those whose rights are least respected, the Palestinians, including those living as refugees outside the territory), regardless of whatever form a political solution takes. They also need to do more to hold the sides accountable – Hamas for its indiscriminate attacks; Israel for its policies of systematic discrimination, dispossession and de facto annexation; and the Palestinian Authority for its repressive measures targeting individuals and groups that are critical of it. Interim measures are urgently needed, but the latest bout of fighting offers still more evidence that a rethink of the entire edifice of the peace process is long overdue.”

Liberal Zionism is dying. Will foregoing the Jewish state save it?,

“Today, it is not provocative to say that the liberal Zionism espoused by groups like Breira and Peace Now is in a deep crisis. Not only has reality seemingly left the ideology behind, but the ideology itself has not really offered any new ideas in 30 years. The two-state solution is effectively dead, yet to abandon it is to cut out the very core of liberal Zionist identity — much like Chabad coming to terms with the fact that their beloved rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, is not the messiah. And so, the dogma continues because it must, because that is how dogma functions; it is impervious to “facts on the ground.” All of this and more is addressed at length in Omri Boehm’s new book, “Haifa Republic: A Democratic Future for Israel.” Boehm argues that slogans such as “Jewish and democratic” and “two states” have become “empty clichés,” devolving the conversation around Israel into a shouting match between “chauvinistic Zionists” and the anti-Zionist left. For Boehm, liberal Zionists have largely been sidelined because the ideology they promote cannot square with the reality we see. For all their claims to liberal values, they are in fact defending an illiberal state, and cannot quite come to terms with that.”

Is the UAE buying silence at US think tanks?,

“Two weeks ago the Department of Justice indicted billionaire Tom Barrack — a long-time friend of Donald Trump and top fundraiser for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign — for allegedly working as an unregistered foreign agent of the United Arab Emirates. While the indictment sparked discussions of Barrack being just the latest in a long line of Trump allies indicted for allegedly doing the bidding of foreign powers, there has been next to no discussion of the UAE being implicated in masterminding yet another scheme to covertly meddle in U.S. politics…Yet, despite the Barrack indictment asserting that a foreign dictatorship orchestrated a campaign that successfully influenced the president of the United States on major foreign policy issues, the most prominent foreign policy think tanks have been mum about the UAE’s role in this illicit influence operation. This follows the deafening silence from think tanks when the UAE was caught conspiring to make more than $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions from 2016 to 2018 and when the UAE spent $2.5 million on a covert campaign to turn Congress against their Qatari rivals in 2017.”