Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 6, 2021

What We’re Reading

Israel, Lebanon, Iran

Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel Trade Cross-Border Fire Amid Iran Tensions,

“The Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah fired barrages of rockets towards Israeli forces on Friday, drawing retaliatory fire from Israel into south Lebanon, in a third day of cross-border salvos amid wider regional tensions with Iran. Suggesting its attack was calibrated to avoid further escalation, Hezbollah said it had targeted open ground near Israeli forces in retaliation for Israeli air strikes that had also struck open areas. Israel said it did not wish to escalate to a full war, though it was ready for one. ‘Our understanding is that Hezbollah deliberately aimed at open areas in order not to escalate the situation,’ Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Amnon Shefler told reporters.”


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Iran vows 'decisive' response to 'foolish' Israeli action,

“A spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said that his country will respond firmly to any “foolish action” by Israel. ‘In another brazen violation of International law, the Israeli regime now blatantly threatens Iran with military action,’ tweeted Saeed Khatibzadeh. ‘We state this clearly: ANY foolish act against Iran will be met with a DECISIVE response…. Do not test us.’ The Iranian official insisted that Israel’s behaviour stems from ‘blind Western support’ for the apartheid state. Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said recently that Israel is ready to launch a military attack on Iran. The hawkish former army chief of staff described Tehran as a ‘global problem’.”

Occupation, Settlements, Apartheid

Israel demolishes buildings near Hebron and vows to 'purge' Palestinian Bedouins,

“Israeli forces demolished several Palestinian houses and agricultural premises in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, in a move condemned by the Palestinian Authority (PA) as an ‘ethnic cleansing operation’. Israeli bulldozers razed two residential buildings belonging to the Jaradat family in Sair, a town near Hebron city. At the same time, Israeli forces used batons and shot tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse Palestinians who protested the demolition. A Palestinian was hit by a bullet in the abdomen, and several suffered from suffocation caused by tear gas, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.”

EU Diplomats Reject Israel’s Settlement Expansion in Palestinian Territories,

“European diplomats have rejected Israel’s policy of settlement construction and expansion in Palestinian territories. A statement said Thursday that ‘EU and like-minded countries visited Beita village in response to rising levels of settler violence and the building of an illegal Israeli outpost on top of Mount Sabih, resulting in regular clashes and casualties. For months, the people of Beita have been exposed to serious incidents of settler violence and the building of an illegal Israeli outpost on Mount Sabih, which risks capturing up to 30 % of Beita’s land,’ said European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff also stated via his representative. ‘These developments have left many families suffering. Several Palestinians lost their lives, including two children,’ he said. ‘The policy of settlement construction and expansion in occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law, and Israel must protect the Palestinian population from these violent attacks,’ he added.” Also see: European diplomats visit Beita village engulfed in a struggle against an Israeli settlement plan (WAFA)

US State Department calls on Israel not to evict Sheikh Jarrah families,

“The US State Department has urged Israel to refrain from evicting Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah area of occupied East Jerusalem. Nevertheless, spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Thursday that the department believes that the proposal offered by an Israeli court this week is a matter for the Israeli and Palestinian parties to consider. ‘We’ve said this just this week and many times before that: families should not be evicted from their homes in which they have lived for decades,’ explained Price. ‘We have encouraged Israeli authorities to avoid evictions and other actions that exacerbate tensions and that undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution.’ Price declined to answer a question on whether any US diplomat had met or contacted the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah to make any ‘compromise’ in the case.”

Israel increasing abuse of detained Palestinians, rights group says,

“Israel has escalated its abusive practices against Palestinian prisoners, including the use of medical negligence, amid fears of the spread of coronavirus, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club warned yesterday. ‘A state of extreme tension prevails in Section 3 of Ashkelon Prison, which is designated for security prisoners, due to the escalation of [Israeli] abuse and the tragic conditions the prisoners face around the clock,’ the body said in a statement, pointing out that the rising number of sick prisoners, and the prison administration’s continued policy of medical negligence ‘exacerbates the state of tension’.”


Hamas Agrees to Israel, U.S. Approving List of Qatar Cash Recipients,

“Hamas has agreed that Israel and the United States will examine the list of families in the Gaza Strip who were chosen to receive a monthly stipend from Qatar as a condition for transferring the money. Israel and the U.S. will ensure that the list of 160,000 families does not include any people who are Hamas activists or suspected of terrorism. Hamas agreed not just because of the Israeli and American demands, but also because of pressure from the Palestinian banks which will transfer the Qatari money to Gaza, sources involved in the matter said. The banks are afraid they will be exposed to lawsuits if the money reaches members of terrorist organizations.”


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UNRWA to probe 10 staff members for anti-Israel hate speech,

“The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) pledged to investigate 10 of its staff members for anti-Israel hate speech following a report by the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch that highlighted such activity. ‘The Agency takes each allegation seriously. It has immediately launched a thorough investigation,’ UNRWA stated. Earlier this week, UN Watch reported that 22 UNRWA school employees had authored social media posts that glorified terrorism including against Israel, denied Israel’s right to exist, advocated violence over peace, put Hitler in a positive light and blamed Jews for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Inside the Green Line

Palestinian-Israeli MK rejects forgery, fraud claims by Israel court,

“An indictment was filed against a former Palestinian member of the Knesset (MK) Haneen Zoabi on Wednesday who was accused in April by an Israeli court of fraud and forgery. The indictment included 12 other members of the Balad Party, a Palestinian-dominated leftist political party in Israel….The party has previously labelled the charges as ‘political persecution’. In a post on her Facebook page on Tuesday, Zoabi accused the public prosecutor of attempting to turn the matter into a criminal case and rejected the claims… ‘Even after retiring from my parliamentary work, the Israeli media continued to use my name with the aim of incitement and intimidation,’ she wrote.”

Palestinian Authority/PLO

Palestinian Authority faces severe financial crunch as bills go unpaid,

“PA government cannot meet its obligations to contractors and faces struggle to pay workers, and as Israel mulls steps designed to strengthen it economically and donors consider increasing financial aid, the West Bank economic crisis keeps growing, with potentially harsh consequences.”

Ben & Jerry’s

Ben and Jerry’s decision to stop business relationships with the illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT is consistent with international law ,

“Ben and Jerry’s decision to stop selling its products in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is a legitimate and necessary response, in line with its responsibility to respect international law and human rights…Israel’s establishment and maintenance of settlements breaches the international law rules governing what an occupying power may do in a situation of military occupation. Moreover, in addition to the inherent illegality of the settlements themselves, the settlement enterprise is inextricably linked to gross and systematic human rights violations against Palestinians. Given these circumstances, companies cannot do business in, or have value chains and business relationships with illegal settlements, without contributing to serious violations of both international humanitarian law and human rights law. The settlements, their infrastructure, and land under their control comprise over 60 per cent of the occupied West Bank while Israel confiscated one third of land in occupied East Jerusalem for building and expanding settlements. Settlements use resources which should be used for the benefit of the occupied population, which is entitled to special protection under international humanitarian law. The fact that a thriving settlement economy provides a significant incentive for the development and expansion of the settlements carries enormous implications and potential consequences for the companies involved.”