Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 2, 2021

What We’re Reading

Eyes on Sheikh Jarrah

Supreme Court Hearing on Sheikh Jarrah Families Concludes without a Ruling ,

Today, the Supreme Court convened a hearing on a leave to appeal request submitted by the Al-Kurd, Jaouni, Abu Hasna, and Askafi families who are facing eviction from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah by the Nahalat Shimon settler company. The hearing took place before a panel of three judges – Yitzhak Amit, Noam Sohlberg and Daphne Barak-Erez. As a compromise, the justices proposed a settlement whereby the families would be afforded protected tenancy status on the condition that they would recognize Nahalat Shimon’s ownership over the land and pay a small rental fee to the settler group. The families rejected the proposition, objecting to Nahalat Shimon’s claims of ownership.”

Sheikh Jarrah Eviction Case: Court Offers Palestinians 'Protected Residents' Status,

The court session ended in a stalemate and another hearing was scheduled. The eviction is not expected to proceed in the near future….According to the proposed compromise, the Palestinians, who have been living in the neighborhood since the 1950s, would be categorized as protected tenants who cannot be evicted. The residents would have to pay a small rent fee to Nahalat Shimon, a settlers’ association that acquired the rights to the land that used to belong to Jewish families who lived in the neighborhood prior to Israel’s establishment in 1948. The representative of Nahalat Shimon, Attorney Ilan Shemer, opposed the compromise and demanded the families recognize the Jewish ownership of the land. The Palestinians agreed to the compromise but rejected the settlers’ demand. Justice Isaac Amit urged the sides to focus on the issue. “What we are saying is, let’s move from the level of principles to the levels of practicality,” said Justice Amit. “People must continue to live there and that’s the idea, to try to reach a practical arrangement without making various declarations. We have seen how much this interests the media. We want a practical solution.””

As four Sheikh Jarrah families await critical High Court ruling, Israeli settler opens fire, injures Palestinian,

“As four Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem today await a critical ruling from the Israeli High Court regarding their forced eviction from their homes, an Israeli settler opened fire and injured a Palestinian who was taking part in a solidarity event with the afflicted residents, according to local sources. They said a settler opened fire at the youth during a solidarity event with the Sheikh Jarrah residents lightly injuring him in the foot.” See alsoSheikh Jarrah: Israeli settler shoots Palestinian in East Jerusalem neighbourhood” (Middle East Eye) 

Palestine factions to Sheikh Jarrah: 'We will not let you down',

“In a solidarity message to the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, the Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza announced on Sunday that they would not give up their resistance against Israeli aggression…”We will not let you down,” the Palestinian factions asserted in a joint statement: “We tell you that the Palestinian resistance will continue defending you.””

Infringement of Palestinian Rights to their Homes and City,

“Together in Sheikh Jarrah and Batan al-Hawa, nearly 150 Palestinian families – totaling over 1000 people – are under threat of mass displacement due to discriminatory laws and state collusion with settler groups. These inequitable legal mechanisms afford Jews with the right to reclaim assets in East Jerusalem lost in 1948 now inhabited by Palestinians, while denying Palestinians the same right to recover lost properties on the Israeli side of the Green Line. Many of the families facing eviction are Palestinian refugees who lost homes in Israel in 1948 and now stand to be displaced for a second time by settlers who have no connection to the original Jewish owners or occupants of the properties. Although successive Israeli governments have framed these cases as standard property disputes, they are rather part and parcel of a coordinated and systematic campaign aimed at uprooting Palestinian families and supplanting them with settlers to create Israeli enclaves in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods.”

Occupation/Annexation/Human Rights

Settler Shoots at Palestinians With Israeli Soldier's Weapon, Footage Shows,

“A settler, armed with a weapon of an Israeli soldier, shot at Palestinians in the West Bank, after arriving at the scene in a military jeep, a human rights group video shows. Palestinians who were at the scene told Haaretz that the soldier gave the settler the weapon, while the Israeli military claims the settler “took the weapon from the soldier and shot in the air.”…In a video released by rights group B’Tselem, Palestinians are seen telling the army force at the scene that a settler shot in their direction. “The soldier gave him his M-16 and stood with the army jeep really close to him, 5 to 10 meters from there,” said a resident of al-Tuwani, who stood on the roof of his home during the incident.”

Israel grants 15,000 work permits to Palestinians ,

The Israeli government on Sunday granted 15,000 work permits for Palestinians from the West Bank to work in the construction sector. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the granting of 15,000 work permits was done in cooperation with the housing, finance, defense and regional cooperation ministries.” 

Palestine resistance will not release 'priceless' information about Israel soldiers,

“The Al-Qassam Brigades yesterday pledged that it “will not release priceless” information about Israeli soldiers detained in Gaza. In a statement issued to mark the horrific massacre carried out by the Israeli army during the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza, when 140 Palestinians were killed, including 75 children, the resistance faction said: “Six years have passed since the detention of Hadar Goldin and the Israeli occupation has failed to get any information about him, his life or his whereabout.” It stressed that it “will not release priceless information” about Goldin or any of the Israelis detained in Gaza, including the other Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, who was detained during the same Israeli offensive.”


U.S., Britain, Israel blame Iran for fatal drone strike on oil tanker; Tehran denies responsibility,

The United States, Britain and Israel on Sunday all accused Iran of carrying out a drone attack last week on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea that killed two people on board, raising fears of an escalating maritime war in the Middle East, as Tehran denied responsibility for the strike….Later Sunday, in apparently coordinated statements, the United States, Britain and Israel expressed certainty that Iran was responsible, without immediately providing evidence.” Also seeUK, Israel blame Iran for deadly ship attack” (Al Anadolu) 

Iran warns it will respond to any action over tanker attack,

Iran on Monday vowed to respond to any “adventurism” after the US and Britain joined Israel in blaming Tehran for a deadly tanker attack, claims it denies. Iran “will not hesitate to protect its security and national interests, and will immediately and decisively respond to any possible adventurism,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement. He dismissed US and Britain’s allegations as “contradictory,” and said that “if they have any evidence to support their baseless claims they should provide them.””

Analysis | Intel Implicating Iran in Tanker Attack Serves Israel's Diplomatic anti-Tehran Campaign,

“The information in the possession of intelligence agencies in Israel and the West does indicate that this is an operation by the air force of the Revolutionary Guards. The commander of the air force, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, has gotten from the Iranian leadership a kind of carte blanche to conduct drone attacks in the case of an Israeli operation. The attack was a response to an attack attributed to Israel that took place nearly two weeks ago in Syria, when within a week there were three attacks in that country. In one of them, near the city of Homs in the center of the country, an officer in the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards was wounded – not killed, as claimed in some reports.”

Report: 14 countries to form block against Israel's membership of African Union,

“Israel’s return to the African Union (AU) as an observer state has sparked a huge backlash in the continent with as many as 14 countries said to be ready to form a block to reject the occupation state’s membership. Online newspaper Rai Al-Youm reported that Algeria has agreed with South Africa, Tunisia, Eritrea, Senegal, Tanzania, Niger, ‌the Comoro Islands, Gabon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Liberia, and Seychelles to expel Israel from the AU.”

Egypt: Eight soldiers killed in Sinai ‘anti-terrorism’ operations,

“Eight Egyptian army soldiers have been killed in recent “anti-terrorism operations”, the armed forces said. According to a statement by the armed forces on Sunday, most of the fighting took place in the northern Sinai, where fighters loyal to the ISIL (ISIS) group operate, “during the last period”.”

Palestinian Scene

Ismail Haniya re-elected as leader of Palestinian group Hamas,

Ismail Haniya has been re-elected as leader of the Palestinian group Hamas, officials have said, cementing his control of the organisation which rules the besieged Gaza Strip.”

Questions for the Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs,

His reply was that he couldn’t meet because I write for an Israeli newspaper. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry (metaphorically). The Civil Affairs Ministry is the official intermediary between the Israeli occupation authorities and the institutions and citizens of the Palestinian Authority. Regular meetings with senior Israeli military and civilian officials and government ministers are part of its mandate.”

Inside '48 / Israeli Scene

Riots Shatter Veneer of Coexistence in Israel’s Mixed Towns,

“The Nakba is a continuous thing, it’s not over,” said Mr. Amer, the activist. “You see it in Sheikh Jarrah” — a reference to a Jerusalem neighborhood where 300 Palestinian residents face possible eviction to make way for Jewish settlers — “and you see it here in the economic problems, job issues, neglect, lack of access to loans that drives Palestinian citizens out.” Precariousness, a sense that their homes could always be taken, is a perennial condition of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Aside from seven Bedouin towns established in the Negev desert, no new Arab towns or villages have been built since 1948.”

Ex-minister Forms Knesset Gun Rights Caucus as Israel Mulls Tightening Restrictions,

“Likud lawmaker Amir Ohana announced the establishment of a Knesset caucus for “the promotion of the right to self-defense in Israel” on Tuesday, only days after Omer Bar-Lev, his successor as public security minister, announced that he was examining possibly tightening restrictions on gun ownership.In a Facebook post announcing the move, Ohana declared that while the “supreme and primary role of the state is to protect the safety and security of the individual,” citizens also have the right to defend themselves when “the state is unable to do so.””

US Scene

Seven House Democrats target nonprofit status of several Israel-related charities,

A group of seven left-wing House Democrats critical of Israel are urging the Treasury Department to review, and possibly revoke, the tax-exempt nonprofit status of several U.S.-based pro-Israel groups due to their links to Israeli groups supporting settlements. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), André Carson (D-IN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last month highlighting their concerns about the organizations, including the Central Fund of Israel, American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center, Qomemiyut and The Hebron Fund…The letter’s authors focus in particular on the Central Fund of Israel as allegedly “fueling the dispossession and displacement of Palestinains to make way for Jewish Israeli settlers,” claiming that “[its] grantees are notable for their essential role in supporting and enabling the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise.”

NSO Group continued

Israel is loth to regulate its spyware exports,

When international news organisations revealed that at least ten governments had used Pegasus, a powerful software tool created by Israel’s nso Group, to hack into the smartphones of thousands of people around the world, including politicians, human-rights activists and journalists, the Israeli government shrugged. None of its ministers has publicly commented…Israeli defence exporters privately expressed ridicule. “Arms companies can’t keep track of every rifle and bullet they sell to legitimate customers,” said one. “Why should we have higher expectations when it comes to software?…Israeli spying is a sexy subject and these reports are the price for doing business.””

‘Emergency Meeting’: Israeli Cyberarms Firms Scramble After NSO Scandal,

An emergency conference to which a number of leading offensive Israeli cyber firms were invited is being held Sunday in Tel Aviv in wake of the global investigation into NSO Group and alleged misuse of its Pegasus spyware by states across the world. Titled “Emergency Cyber Industry Meeting – Events of Recent Weeks”, the get-together is intended to allow the different firms active in the same field as NSO to come together, coordinate and find ways to cooperate in wake of the backlash caused by Project Pegasus.”

US consultants lined up to run fund that owns Israeli spyware company NSO,

Public investors in the private equity firm that owns a majority stake in the Israeli spyware company NSO Group are in talks to transfer management of that fund to Berkeley Research Group, a US consulting firm.

Analysis | As NSO Scandal Proves, Israel’s Real Red Line Is the ‘White’ Man,

The “NSO affair,” as Israeli media are dubbing it, didn’t really erupt two weeks ago, last month or even last year. There have been almost a decade’s worth of troubling reports about NSO (and other companies like it; it isn’t alone). They began with Shay Aspril’s 2012 report in the Israeli daily Calcalist, which sparked a storm in Mexico, about contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to sell sophisticated espionage equipment to police forces in the corrupt, crime-ridden country (quite a few articles have already been written about the corruption involved in such deals). More than five years ago, reports began surfacing about the abuse of Pegasus thanks to strenuous investigations by Citizen Lab, Amnesty and other organizations. On top of these were official reports by various countries.”