Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 31, 2021

What We’re Reading

Gaza Strip

IDF chief threatens response as Gazans riot on border for 3rd night,

“Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Monday for a third straight night of riots, as the head of the Israel Defense Forces warned that the army would not hesitate to respond to any violence. Gazans from so-called ‘night confusion units’ set tires alight and rolled them toward soldiers stationed along the frontier, and lobbed improvised explosives, in a repeat of violence seen along the border the previous two nights. As Israeli troops responded, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said three Palestinians were wounded from IDF live fire and three more suffered tear gas inhalation.”


Also see:

Why Gaza's popular protest movement has returned,

“With few other options, the border protests have become one of the only outlets for Palestinians to express their anger at Israel’s blockade, internal political divisions, and deteriorating living conditions.”

Gaza needs Israeli siege lifted fully, says UN envoy,

“The UN envoy for the Middle East peace process told the Security Council on Monday that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip needs to be lifted fully. ‘Although movement and access in and out of Gaza should be further improved, no amount of humanitarian or economic support on its own will address the challenges facing Gaza,’ said Tor Wennesland. ‘The current gradual approach is a holding operation and not a strategic way forward and a solution for the people in Gaza.’”

'Government didn't want Palestinian deaths before PM's US trip',

“MK Nir Barkat (Likud) has requested of the Knesset Speaker that he establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Barel Hadarya Shmueli…’The government ordered the IDF to ‘contain’ the events on the border with Gaza and not to cause Palestinian deaths in advance of the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington,’ Barkat accused. ‘The fighters who were stationed on the border, facing Palestinian rioters, were ordered to contain the riots and were left exposed and confused from these orders. The death of Barel Hadarya Shmueli raises harsh questions regarding such orders, emanating from the political echelon, and demands the establishment of a parliamentary commission of inquiry that will investigate the connection between the order given by the government to the army, and the military failures at the scene.’” Also see: IDF soldiers protest: Let us defend ourselves (Arutz Sheva)

West Bank

​​Israel detains 7 journalists for documenting arrest of unarmed Palestinians,

“Seven Palestinian journalists were arrested by Israeli occupation forces on Friday while covering nonviolent protests in the occupied South Hebron Hills.The journalists said they were being arrested for being in a ‘closed military zone’ however the military’s rules allow them to be in such areas, Haaretz reports. Palestinians were protesting plans to expropriate their lands by Israel. Eyewitnesses from the scene said there had been no violence and occupation forces had not used force to disperse the crowd, however, a Palestinian resident was arrested and when journalists documented the arrested, ‘they detained me as well’, Mashour Wahwah, who works for Wafa news agency, told the newspaper. The journalists were taken to the police station in the nearby illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba.The video documenting part of the incident shows a soldier saying: ‘We’ll arrest all the journalists. Is that what you want?’ In another video, one can hear soldiers shouting at the journalists to sit, followed by one of the journalists saying: ‘Don’t hit me.’ The journalists’ cameras were taken from them.The journalists were released after being detained for four hours. They were ordered to return on Sunday. Wahwah has since filed a complaint against the soldier who he says used violence against him.”

Israel must probe 'heinous' settler attack on Palestinian teen - UN Envoy,

“Israel must investigate the brutal assault on a Palestinian teen by right-wing Jewish extremists that took place earlier this month, urged United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland. ‘On 17 August, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was attacked in the northern West Bank, during which a group of Israeli settlers kidnapped the boy, tied him to a tree, and brutally assaulted, cut and burned him,’ Wennesland told the United Nations Security Council on Monday. ‘I am deeply concerned by this heinous act and I expect the Israeli authorities to undertake a swift, thorough and transparent investigation and ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable,’ Wennesland told the Council when it convened in New York for its monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Israeli forces demolish livestock barns in northern Jordan Valley,

“Israeli forces today  demolished three livestock barns in Khirbet Ibziq community, northeast of Tubas in the occupied northern Jordan Valley, according to a local official. Mutaz Bsharat, an official in charge of monitoring Israeli colonial settlement activities in Tubas district, told WAFA that Israeli forces raided the community and tore down two 120-square-meter tents used as livestock barns belonging to Muhammad al-Hroub. The forces also demolished another 60-square-meter tent used as a livestock barn belonging to Adel al-Hroub. The tents were torn down purportedly for being built without construction licenses. The soldiers later declared the community as a closed military zone.”

Israel issues stop-work orders against a mosque, houses in West Bank village,

“The Israeli military government today issued stop-work orders against a mosque and nine houses in the southern West Bank village of Nahalin, west of Bethlehem, according to Nahalin deputy mayor Hani Fanoun. He told WAFA that the orders were issued against four already inhabited houses and a mosque and five other houses that were still under construction on the pretext they were built without a permit. An order was also issued to stop work on building retaining walls.”

How Beita became a model of Palestinian resistance against Israel,

“Over the past few months, young men in Beita have developed creative means of resisting settlers and the Israeli army’s bullets – in a campaign they call a ‘state of confusion’. This is a combination of traditional resistance methods, such as throwing stones and burning tyres, and novel tactics like using lasers, loudspeakers, alarms and false sounds of explosions. Protesters and others participating in protecting the land from settlement expansion have organised themselves into groups operating in day and night shifts, each with a particular mission. The area is constantly populated, and residents of Beita regularly make trips there.”


Israelis break into Palestinian-owned land in Jerusalem, demolish retaining wall,

“Israelis today broke into Palestinian-owned land in Wadi al-Rababa area of Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem and demolished a retaining wall, according to one of landowners. Ahmad Sumrein said Israelis tore down a 10-meter-long retaining wall built many years around a plot of farmland belonging to the Sumrein family in the southern part of Wadi al-Rababa. He added that the wall was demolished under the flimsy pretext of cleaning up the plot of land while pointing that Israeli settlers intruded upon it a year ago. The Israel Nature Reserve Authority along with the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem have been targeting Wadi al-Rababa for many years, seeking to turn it into a park. All the land in the valley is owned by Palestinians who every year cultivate and plow the land, planted mainly with olive trees.”

Palestinian Authority & Israeli Govt

Israel OKs gestures to Palestinians after high-level meet,

“Israel’s defense minister on Monday announced a series of gestures aimed at strengthening the Palestinian Authority, including plans to loan $150 million to the cash-strapped autonomy government in the occupied West Bank. The announcement came a day after Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the first high-level meeting between the two sides in years. The stepped-up contacts and Israeli gestures mark a shift in direction after the complete breakdown of communication between Abbas and Israeli leaders in recent years. Israel’s new government has said it is interested in bolstering Abbas in his rivalry against Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group. ‘The stronger the Palestinian Authority is, the weaker Hamas will be,’ Gantz was quoted as telling Israeli military correspondents Monday. ‘And the greater its ability to govern is, the more security we’ll have and the less we’ll have to do.’”


Also see:

Civil Affairs chief says Palestine and Israel agreed on the reunification of Palestinian families,

“Member of Fatah Central Committee and the Head of the General Authority of Civil Affairs, Hussein Al Sheikh, said today in a tweet that there was an agreement with the Israeli government on Palestinian family reunification. ‘We have reached an agreement with the Israeli government on the Palestinian families’ reunification file, to have 5000 as a first batch in the road to finalizing this file entirely in a prearranged timeframe,’ he said in a tweet.”


Also see:

Palestinians not optimistic about future, PA faces dwindling popularity,

“The latest opinion poll published by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) on Aug. 25 showed that 65% of the Palestinians believe that Palestine is going in the wrong direction. It also showed that optimism for the future has decreased from 65% to 48%, and the percentage of those who believe that the establishment of a Palestinian state is more elusive increased from 44% to 58%. Meanwhile, 67% of the respondents supported revoking the Oslo Accord, and 61% opposed security coordination between the PA and Israel. According to the poll, 69% frown upon the PA’s handling of the killing of Banat and the ensuing events, while 60% said that the investigation committee that was formed by the Palestinian government is not impartial. Also, the poll showed that the negative evaluation of the government’s performance increased from 37% before the killing of Banat to 55% after he was killed.”

Palestinian Authority has not received donor funds in first half of this year,

“he Palestinian Authority (PA) did not receive any donor funds in the first half of 2021, according to its monthly budget. A report by Maurice Hirsch that was published by Palestinian Media Watch on Sunday said recent reports suggest that European Union (EU) funding to the PA has merely been delayed for ‘technical reasons.’ The delay in aid is causing major financial difficulties for the PA, said Hirsch.”

Region & World

How Palestinian resistance inspired a new generation of labor activism,

“Israel’s latest assault on Gaza has prompted US labor unions to mobilize at unprecedented levels, further establishing Palestinian rights as a core component of progressive politics.”

Drought diplomacy boosts Israel-Jordan ties,

“Israel and Jordan are poised for an unprecedented increase in water cooperation amid increasing climate pressures.” Also see: Israel-Jordan ties boosted by rare alignment in interests on water, energy (Times of Israel)

'If I win elections, Canadian embassy will be moved to Jerusalem',

“Leader of Conservative Party of Canada Erin O’Toole pledges to move embassy to Jerusalem if he is elected prime minister at the upcoming elections slated to take place on Sep. 20.”

How Israel is being drawn into the Algerian-Moroccan feud,

“‘Algeria was indeed dismayed at Morocco’s decision to resume diplomatic relations with Israel, and more recently, Algeria criticized Morocco for advocating on Israel’s behalf in gaining observer status in the African Union,’ said Sarah Feuer, an expert on Arab politics and fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.”

First-ever Bahraini ambassador to Israel announces arrival in Hebrew,

“Khaled Al Jalahma, the first-ever Bahraini ambassador to Israel, kicked off his tenure on Tuesday with a trilingual social-media post. ‘I am honored to announce that I will be arriving in Tel Aviv today to begin my post as #Bahrain’s first Ambassador to #Israel,” Al Jalahma tweeted in Hebrew, Arabic and English.”

Bonus Reads

President Biden: Don't Fall for the Israeli-Palestinian 'Economic Peace' Fallacy,

“Bennett is not the first to come up with the idea of focusing on what’s often called “economic peace” at the expense of a political solution to the conflict. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu popularized the idea even before returning as Prime Minister in 2009. The “economic peace” concept holds that instead of political resolution, Israel will advance material improvement for Palestinians out of pragmatism, and for Israel’s own self-interest in stabilizing the region. And Netanyahu was joined by the Trump Administration, whose long-awaited peace plan, called “Peace to Prosperity,” was heavy on prosperity at the expense of politics (and peace). Indeed, a more accurate term for ‘economic peace’ would be ‘gaslighting.’”

Netanyahu's Enduring Legacy Is Stifling Talk of the Palestinian Problem,

“Finally, some pertinent comments about Benjamin Netanyahu, by a person who knows him: Amit Segal, senior commentator for Channel 12 TV.  Over the weekend, Segal gave an interview to Yedioth Ahronoth. The Channel 7 news website sorted the wheat from the chaff for us, quoting comments by the political pundit regarding Netanyahu’s achievements as a statesman…Based on hundreds of hours of conversations with Netanyahu, as attested to by Segal, the commentator determined that ‘Netanyahu is a great ideologue. People said he was zigzagging, but he did so until he got what he wanted.’ And what did he want? ‘Netanyahu has a mega-target: to smother the Palestinian idea, and on the way there he has paid a price. But look at Tel Aviv, the leftist bastion. Who’s talking about this issue there? Netanyahu succeeded in stifling any talk about the Palestinian problem.’”