Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 27, 2021

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New from FMEP

FMEP Legislative Round-Up: August 27, 2021,

Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!

  1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
  2. On the Record

Of special note: Americans Split on Military Aid to Israel, Say Political Status Quo Unacceptable (Chicago Council on Global Affairs)

At the White House: Updates

Biden to Bennett: US prefers diplomacy with Iran, but we’ll ensure they never get the bomb,

“Speaking after their one-on-one meeting, US President Joe Biden tells Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that he prefers the diplomatic route to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but if that fails, the US is willing to consider “other options” to ensure Iran “never” gets the bomb.” See also Live Updates | Alongside Bennett, Biden Says There Are ‘Other Measures’ if Iran Nuke Talks Fail” (Haaretz); “Bennett closes remarks by quoting Isaiah as Biden did yesterday” (ToI)

Bennett said looking to use Kabul bombing to push tougher US stance on Iran,

“A source close to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tells Channel 12 that the premier is looking to use yesterday’s Kabul bombing to push Biden to take a more forceful stance against Iran, as the US president faces criticism from Republicans for not being tough enough on terror.” 

See also: Iran Nuclear Quarrel Is Biden’s Next Challenge” (Bloomberg) and “Merkel Cancels Planned Israel Visit, Citing Afghanistan Emergency, Evacuations” (Haaretz) 

Biden’s Meeting With Israeli Leader Delayed After Kabul Attack,

““On behalf of the people of Israel, I share our deep sadness over the loss of American lives in Kabul,” Mr. Bennett said in a statement Thursday. “Israel stands with the United States in these difficult times, just as America has always stood with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the United States.””


Also see

Blinken tells Israel PM Bennett 'Palestinians deserve freedom' ahead of Biden encounter,

“US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said Blinken underscored that “Israelis and Palestinians alike deserve equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and dignity”. This “is important in its own right and as a means to advance prospects for a two-state solution”, Price continued in his summary of Blinken’s remarks.”


Analysis from Yousef Munayyer (Twitter):“…“important in its own right” is very interesting & new lingo. This suggests that the US might see Palestinian freedom as a goal EVEN IF the 2SS isn’t going to happen. (Most Americans agree with this btw) That would be a pretty big and important change from past. This is the first time I have seen this specific language used and each and every word in these statements is carefully chosen for a reason. That said, it will be interesting to see if it is repeated by the President and also consistently thereafter.”

Activists protest Naftali Bennett’s White House visit,

““Biden is actively endorsing a right-wing leader of an apartheid state,” said Palestinian Youth Movement’s Laura Albast in a statement. “The visit indicates that ‘the peace process’ is not about peace — it is about continuing Israeli expansion at the cost of Palestine and its people. The events of the past three months signify a new era of youth organizing for Palestine. We will not back down and will continue resisting to call for an end to forced expulsion, demolition, administrative detentions, and ethnic cleansing.” See alsoPro-Palestine activists rally in Washington against Israeli prime minister’s visit” (Middle East Eye) and “US Palestine solidarity activists rally against Bennett’s visit” (Al Jazeera)

US organizations demand Biden pressure Bennett to end systematic violations of Palestinian rights,

“Dozens of US organizations Thursday demanded US President Joe Biden pressure Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to end Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian rights….“Palestinians have suffered under, and resisted, Israeli ethnic cleansing, military occupation, and crimes of apartheid since the creation of the state of Israel,” they said. “The U.S. has enabled those policies by sending billions of dollars in unconditional military funding and by regularly shielding Israel from accountability in the international arena.””

Mr. Bennett Goes to Washington: Analysis

Opinion: Israel’s prime minister is not seeking a reset. He just wants more cover for apartheid and colonization.,

“As part of his plan to present a new image, Bennett is seeking to “shrink the conflict” by making conditions more tolerable for Palestinians while maintaining Israeli domination, much like Trump’s vision for “economic peace.” This approach will also feature exalting the Abraham Accords — Israel’s recognition pacts with U.S.-backed authoritarian regimes — as models of peace. Bennett will likely support increasing U.S. aid for the Palestinian Authority, which is part of Israel’s security apparatus; just recently it arrested dozens of Palestinian human rights defenders in an effort to quash dissent.”

Opinion | Naftali Bennett and the Myth of the Status Quo,

“Under the myth/deception of a status quo that is a balanced compromise, manufactured by centrist politics that cleave to an imaginary “will of the people,” the Bennett government will advance more than ever the perpetuation of the existing situation, entrenching the current balance of power in the territories for generations, making the possibility of a two-state solution more remote than ever – and all of this courtesy of its left wing.”

Analysis | Bennett-Biden Meeting Is Historic, but That Doesn’t Make It Important,

“For Bennett, visiting the White House as a new prime minister is a rite of passage, a symbolic and ceremonial moment. However, beyond the photo-op, he has little hope of swaying Biden from his desire to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement that Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from in May 2018…Likewise, Biden, who has a good understanding of internal Israeli politics, is fully aware that he has no hope of getting the new Israeli government, with its ideologically diverse coalition, to make any major concessions on the Palestinian front. He knows that the chances of relaunching a diplomatic process between Israel and a sclerotic Palestinian Authority right now are next to zero. So why waste time trying?”

Bennett’s swap of Palestinian statehood for stability is a mirage,

“It is hard to apply the word stability to the current situation. So if Bennett has no intention of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he needs a plan for stability that would address all these factors, and he needs one now.”

US-Israel Relations

Why Israel's Best Friend in Congress Doesn't Think His Party Has an 'Israel Problem',

“With Prime Minister Naftali Bennett presenting his case of “shrinking the conflict” with the Palestinians to the Biden administration, Deutch gave a ringing endorsement to the philosophy of empowering Palestinians through economic means….“When [Bennett] talks about shrinking the conflict, if we’re able to support Israel in taking meaningful steps to help and increase the opportunities for Palestinians, of course we ought to be supportive of those efforts,” he adds.”

Who are Israel's other lobbies?,

“AIPAC and CUFI both face a generational threat, recent studies show. A “sizable minority” of American Jewish voters, mostly younger, believe Israel is “committing genocide and apartheid,” according to a poll for the Jewish Electorate Institute, JTA reported. There has been “a sharp drop in support” for Israel among evangelical Christians under 30, according to a poll commissioned by the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  It also showed 45% of these young evangelicals voted for Joe Biden last year, compared to 26% for Donald Trump. Similar findings came out of a study by University of Maryland Prof. Shibley Telhami. “There has been a clear drop in the support of Israel among younger evangelicals, and an increase in support for Palestinians,” Telhami told Foreign Policy.”

West Bank & Jerusalem

Israel, PA discuss potential aid to Ramallah amid fears of economic collapse,

“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government has been in talks with the Palestinian Authority to send hundreds of millions of shekels to Ramallah amid the latter’s growing budget crisis, sources in Jerusalem and Ramallah told The Times of Israel. A tentative agreement for an Israeli financial package worth NIS 800 million ($247 million) to the PA has been formulated, an Israeli official said on Friday, with another official familiar with the matter describing the deal as “practically done.” There had been plans to announce the package before Bennett’s trip this week to Washington, where the Biden administration is looking for Israel to act on rhetoric in favor of “deescalating the conflict” with the Palestinians and to advance measures that strengthen the PA. However, the financial package was not finalized in time for that.”

'Alone and handcuffed': Palestinian mother fears giving birth inside Israeli prison,

“Anhar al-Deek, 25, is approaching her due date, but unlike most mothers, Anhar fears the birth of her child. She feels it is safer that he stays inside her womb than behind bars in the Israeli prison where she is being held, where she feels nothing but fear and anxiety….In a short report, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa documented the experiences of seven female prisoners who gave birth in prison, finding that they had all suffered, particularly as their arms and legs were chained to the bed during labour and the birth.” 


Also see

Palestinians injured by rubber bullets as Israeli forces suppress anti-settlement protests,

“Israeli forces cracked down on anti-settlement protests in villages across the occupied West Bank on Friday, The New Arab’s Arabic-language site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, reported. Dozens of Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to violently disperse a peaceful protest that started from the main mosque of the village of Beit Dajan near Nablus, in the northern West Bank. In the village of Beita also near Nablus…Israeli forces stopped a march reaching the mount’s summit by firing rubber bullets and tear gas…Israeli troops also clamped down on protests that erupted in Massafer Yatta, a cluster of Palestinian hamlets south of the city of Hebron, arresting seven journalists covering the events, according to local activist Fuad Al-Amour.”

Palestinian family forced to demolish own home in Jerusalem,

“A Palestinian family from the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan embarked today on demolishing their own home after they were forced to do so by Israeli municipality, according to local sources. Members of the Simrin family said they were forced to demolish their own home after the Israeli municipality issued a demolition order against it under the pretext it was built without a permit, and in order to avoid paying unreasonable demolition costs to the Israeli municipality in the event it carried out the demolition.”

Insiders’ Jerusalem ,

“Below is our analysis of the state of play regarding the Sheikh Jarrah evictions in the wake of the Supreme Court hearing…A Very Tentative Bottom Line:

  • It appears less rather than more likely that this will all end in a settlement agreement
  • If there is to be no agreement, a Court ruling is inevitable, and a ruling against the residents and in favor of the settlers is more, rather than less likely
  • Regardless of what transpires, the grassroots protests and the international engagement are absolutely essential in maintaining the possibility of even a partially satisfactory outcome
  • While focus on Sheikh Jarrah is critical, so is resolute engagement on the other locations of potential displacement in East Jerusalem. By no means take one’s eye off Sheikh Jarrah, but it is also essential to focus on Um Haroun and Batan al Hawa.”


Israel to allow goods into Gaza in bid to ease tensions,

“COGAT, the chief IDF liaison body to the Palestinians, said in a statement late Wednesday that it would increase imports of new automobiles, commercial goods and equipment for civilian projects in the Gaza Strip, as well as issue more permits for Gazan merchants to enter Israel starting Thursday.” See alsoIsrael permits additional goods to enter Gaza” (Al Monitor)

UN, Palestine team remove unexploded Israel bomb from Gaza building,

“The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) yesterday extracted an American-made Israeli missile that was dropped on a five-storey apartment building during the occupation state’s latest war on Gaza in May. The ordnance had not exploded. The GBU-39 type missile is often used by the occupation army to destroy Palestinian buildings. It took the UNMAS team and explosives engineers from the Palestinian police force 14 days to retrieve the missile, which penetrated five floors and landed in the foundations of the building.” 

The Palestinian Authority

Palestinian Activist’s Family Seeks International Justice,

“The family of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat, who died in Palestinian custody in June, stepped up its quest for international justice on Thursday, turning to British police and the UN, AFP reported….Banat’s family has said it has no confidence in the PA’s capacity to deliver justice, and called for an international probe. A statement from the family’s lawyers, the British firm Stoke White, said they have asked Britain’s Metropolitan Police to open an investigation under the principle of universal jurisdiction.”

Dardashe — Bonus Episode — Inès Abdel Razek,

“In this special episode Salem [Barahmen] is joined by with Rabet’s very own advocacy director Inès Abdel Razek. Together they talk about the recent arrests of activists by the PA for simply demonstrating.”

30 Activists Were Arrested Last Week. What Made the Palestinian Authority Change Its Tune?,

“On Saturday, August 21, social and political activists were arrested in Ramallah’s Al-Manara Square before they could hold a protest demanding to put on trial those responsible for killing Palestinian activist Nizar Banat. Banat, a critic of the Palestinian government, was killed during his arrest on June 24….The above question, in other words, is what made unnamed senior officials in the Palestinian Authority behave so stupidly again? Why further lower the public image of the PA and Fatah by ordering the arbitrary arrests – in some cases involving violence – of people who had proved their perseverance and proud national stance when they had been imprisoned by Israel? If they had been permitted to demonstrate in peace, fewer people would have noticed that the protests were continuing. Some say this reflects the confusion within the PA. Others say it indicates that the senior officials are alienated from the people, and from reality. Still others see an automatic imitation of other Arab regimes under which Palestinian leaders spent a considerable part of their lives.”

Squad Congresswoman persona non grata in Palestinian Authority,

One of the members of the so-called “Squad” a group of far-left US Congresswomen, is now persona non grata in the Palestinian Authority, according to Jerusalem Post journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. “The US Congresswoman who smeared President Mahmoud Abbas on social media is persona non grata in Palestine, according to a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah,” Toameh wrote on Twitter Thursday.”

Palestinian Authority losing control of West Bank, say insiders and activists,

“The PA’s fragility has been front and centre for months, say insiders and observers, starting in April with President Mahmoud Abbas’s postponement of parliamentary elections, and then in May as the PA was largely sidelined when Israel bombarded Gaza….The arrests last weekend, say activists and the PA insider, are only the latest sign of the PA’s weakened hand, which they say has left them wondering whether it is losing control of the West Bank.”

Senior Fatah official contracts COVID-19,

“Fatah director Jibril Rajoub, 68, announced today (Friday) by Facebookthat he has contracted COVID-19.”  Also seePalestine logs over 1800 COVID cases, six deaths” (WAFA)

Inside the Green Line // Israeli Scene

Months After Mob Attack, Only One Arrest: ‘They Refuse to Admit Jews Could Do This’,

“After waiting months for police investigations to be completed and arrests made in connection with the violent incidents, three members of the town’s council have sent a letter of protest to the country’s police chief, Kobi Shabtai, demanding action. “We, the members of the Binyamina-Giv’at Ada Council, are asking you to command the Israel Police to deal with these incidents with urgency and severity. We ask ourselves: Why are these attackers roaming free among us without consequences and without any kind of deterrence that will prevent them from attacking again?” they wrote….Despite the fact that the local police were given “photos, videos and documentation of the cases and many people involved in these incidents,” the letter said that “from conversations we had with witnesses, it became clear to us that some of them were not questioned at all and no real effort was made to find all the culprits and bring them to justice.”…The experience in Binyamina reflects the national picture following the wave of Jewish-Arab violence during the 11-day conflict in May. On June 3, the police announced the end of what had been called Operation Law and Order, during which thousands of police officers, Border Police and reserve duty officers were deployed around the country to quell riots and inter-ethnic violence – particularly in cities where Jews and Arabs live in close proximity. According to the police, 2,142 people were arrested in the operation of whom 91 percent were Arab.”

Opinion | Dani Dayan's Appointment Is the Final Step Toward Politicizing Yad Vashem,

“When Eitam was nominated, an op-ed published in The Forward posed the question: “What if an American university appointed a known, vocal racist with no academic training in the field to head its Holocaust Studies program? Surely an outcry would occur.”…In what world can a person who doesn’t believe in equal rights and who wants to erase a narrative of a another people head an institution dedicated to documenting the most horrible consequences of the actions of a nationalistic, racist regime? How can Holocaust survivors and their descendants view this place as hallowed when it’s subject to cronyism and immediate political expediency?”