Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 9, 2021

What We’re Reading

Occupation/Annexation/Apartheid/Human Rights

West Bank: Israeli arrest raid in Beita injures scores,

“Israeli forces wounded at least 53 Palestinians and arrested six overnight on Sunday amid a crackdown on protesters in the northern occupied West Bank village of Beita who are denouncing the establishment of a new settlement outpost in the area, according to local media. Night protests have been ongoing for months in the area, opposing the creation of the Eviatar outpost on Jabal Sabih, located between the Palestinian villages of Qabalan, Yatma, and Beita, south of Nablus….According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 53 Palestinians were treated following the raid, including four people hit on the head by tear gas canisters, while another 47 suffered from suffocation because of the tear gas. The crackdown comes two days after a Palestinian man, Imad Ali Dweikat, was shot dead by Israeli fire in Beita during a protest. Dweikat was the seventh Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in Beita since May when residents of the village started protesting on a nearly daily basis calling on Israel to dismantle Eviatar.”


See also:

Senior Israeli Official's Appointment Approved Despite Demolition Order for His Settlement Home,

“The appointment of a new Interior Ministry chief can go ahead despite a demolition order against the designated director-general’s home in a West Bank settlement outpost, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit ruled on Monday….According to the attorney general’s Monday statement, Hirsch’s appointment should not be disqualified due to the demolition order, in part because the land his home is built on is expected to be reclassified as state land….Kida is an illegal outpost of around 80 families. It was established without a master plan or building permits, and as of November 2020 it has 110 pending demolition orders against it.”

Israel's policy of withholding bodies leaves Palestinian families in limbo,

“Israel’s long-standing policy of withholding bodies of Palestinians killed while allegedly attempting to attack Israeli targets has been used on and off for decades. After unofficially halting its policy of withholding bodies in 2004, Israel resumed the practice six years ago. According to the Palestinian National Campaign to Retrieve the Bodies of Martyrs, Israel has withheld the bodies of 81 Palestinians since 2015, holding them in morgue freezers. As a popular uprising unfolded across Palestine in May and June this year, the policy once again came back to the fore, with 11 dead Palestinians withheld since….While Israel has been withholding bodies of Palestinians since 1967, with many buried in the infamous “cemeteries of numbers,” the practice has increased exponentially since the Palestinian offensive that began in September 2015, marked by small-scale lone-wolf attacks.”

Israel begins constructing corridors, elevator at Ibrahimi Mosque,

The Israeli occupation authorities have begun renovating the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron today, implementing the Judaisation project that includes building corridors and the installation of an elevator to facilitate access for Jewish settlers.” See also Petition by Emek Shaveh and Palestinians against plan to build lift at Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron has been Rejected” (Emek Shaveh)

Settlers assault farmer, sons in Bethlehem-district village,

Israeli settlers today assaulted a Palestinian farmer and his sons in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem, according to local sources. Deputy Mayor of Kisan, Ahmad Ghazzal, said that a group of settlers severely beat Hussein Ibayyat along with his sons as the latter inspecting a plot of land they have rented from its Palestinian owner for cultivation. The assailants came from the nearby colonial settlement outpost of Ibei Hanahal, which was built on lands confiscated from the village.” See alsoPalestinian sustains bruises in settler attack east of Nablus” (WAFA)


Israel attacks Hamas sites in Gaza in response to fire balloons,

“Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip on Saturday in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave, Israel’s military said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the attack that targeted what the Israeli military said was a rocket launching site and a compound belonging to Hamas, the political group that governs Gaza. Hamas had no immediate comment.”

PA official: Deal reached to send Qatari cash to Gaza, but challenges remain,

“Qatar and the Palestinian Authority have agreed on a broad framework to again transfer Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip, but Palestinian banks are holding up its implementation, a senior PA official said on Thursday….The tentative agreement revealed by Majdalani has prompted concern among Palestinian banks, which are said to be worried about being slapped with sanctions should their money go to Hamas. The international community largely boycotts the terror group and cracks down on financial institutions that deal with it.” See alsoQatari Fund to Gaza to be Settled Soon” (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Students in Gaza celebrate passing final exams despite war trauma,

“When asked what pushed him to study amid the offensive, Ahmed said, “I thought to myself: maybe I wouldn’t die, and in case I don’t I have to be prepared.””

To fight unemployment, these Gaza women are returning to the land,

“Ghaidaa, Aseel, and Nadine were tired of looking for work in Gaza. So they rented a plot of land, started growing vegetables, and became a phenomenon.”

Artistic, musical events bring some joy to grief-stricken Gaza,

“The Gaza Strip has been witnessing an uptick in artistic activities after a stagnation that lasted for years, mainly due to the Palestinian division and Hamas’ control of the coastal enclave. The Islamic movement espouses a fundamentalist ideology, which prompted many in Gaza to halt their artistic activities, such as musical evenings, in order not to raise debate or face any problems with the authorities. Today, however, Gaza’s tourist resorts and hotels are again organizing musical events following an increase in domestic tourism activities this summer. Gazans have been flocking to hotels, resorts and cafes that opened their doors to vacationers and included among their summer programs’ evening art events.”

Gaza fishermen are caught between a rock and a hard place,

“The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Gaza pointed out that the Israeli occupation has imposed a strict land, air and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2006. “This makes the life of more than 2 million people in Gaza unbearable,” said Nizar Ayyash. “Fishing is one of the sectors most affected by the blockade. More than 4,500 fishermen, who collectively have around 50,000 dependants, have lived and worked under extreme pressure and stress due the Israeli measures related to the blockade.” According to the Oslo Peace Accords signed in 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Palestinians should have unrestricted access for fishing up to 20 nautical miles off the Gaza coast. However, they have never been allowed to venture more than 16 miles. Normally, they are restricted to 12 miles; often it’s much less.”

Lebanon / Iran / Region

Nasrallah Says Crisis in Lebanon Won’t Stop Hezbollah From Responding to Israeli Actions,

“Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday that Thursday’s events – Israel’s strikes in Lebanon following a barrage of rockets fired by the Iran-backed group from southern Lebanon into Israel – is a dangerous development, the likes of which have not been seen since the last war between the two sides. “We are willing to sustain damage now, and not allow Israel room to maneuver in Lebanon,” Nasrallah said in a televised address. “Yesterday’s message was clear: Despite the hardships in Lebanon, we will not hesitate to respond.” He added that Hezbollah operated according to a clear equation: “open land for open land,” referring to the group’s decision to aim its rockets primarily at unpopulated areas in northern Israel. “We will not allow this equation to be broken.” He added, “Don’t count on the fact that there is a crisis in Lebanon,” referring to the country’s dire economic and political situation. “Israel cannot gamble on a loss of control or dispute within Lebanon, because despite all of the disputes, the resistance forces will continue to act.”” See alsoHezbollah will retaliate to any Israeli attacks, Nasrallah warns” (Al Jazeera)

Israel PM: Lebanon Responsible for Attacks, Hezbollah or Not,

“Israel’s prime minister said Sunday he holds the Lebanese government responsible for rocket fire launched from its territory, whether the Hezbollah group launched the weapons or not. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s comments came days after one of the heaviest flareups in violence between Israel and Hezbollah in several years and indicated Israel could expand its response if the rocket fire continues.”

Saudi Arabia: Dozens of Palestinians and Jordanians sentenced after mass trial,

“A Saudi court on Sunday issued various sentences against 69 Palestinian and Jordanian detainees, with some handed jail terms of up to 22 years, over alleged support for the Palestinian Hamas movement. Dozens of Palestinians have been detained and facing trial before a terrorism court since February 2019, including businesspeople, academics and students. Sources in the besieged Gaza Strip have previously told Middle East Eye that they believed the crackdown was linked to warming ties between Israel and Riyadh.” See alsoSaudia Arabia sentences dozens of Palestinians, Jordanians” (Al Jazeera)

In First Call to Western Leader, Raisi Asks Macron to Secure Iran's Nuclear 'Rights',

“In his first phone call to a Western leader, the new president of Iran asked his French counterpart Monday to help secure Iran’s “rights” in now-stalled talks to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Ebrahim Raisi, the hard-line cleric and protégé of Iran’s supreme leader who took office last week, told French President Emmanuel Macron that the U.S. and European Union must implement their commitments under the landmark 2015 deal, the official IRNA news agency reported….Even as tensions rise in the region and Tehran gradually abandons its own commitments under the nuclear deal, Raisi’s remarks signal the new administration’s willingness to return to the table.”

Inside the Green Line / Israeli Scene

Hundreds of Palestinians Married to Israelis Apply for Residency Since Ban Expired,

“Hundreds of mixed Israeli and Palestinian families have filed for unification in the past 30 days, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said Monday, a month after the Knesset refused to extend a long-standing regulation denying permanent residency status to Palestinians married to Israelis. Before the July vote, in which the temporary amendment to the Citizenship Law was voted down for the first time since the early 2000s, the Immigration and Population Authority received on average 1,000 reunification requests from Palestinians annually, Shaked told Israel Radio. There have been 785 requests in the past month. Shaked added that the Immigration and Population Authority also received 2,000 Palestinian requests to upgrade their temporary residency permits to full citizenship since the law expired. “This is the damage caused in one month [because] the law wasn’t passed,” the minister said.”

Israeli prime minister appoints new ambassador to Washington,

“Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday nominated Mike Herzog as Israel’s next ambassador to Washington. Herzog, who is one of Israel’s most experienced and respected strategic thinkers, is the brother of Israel’s President Issac Herzog. Why it matters: Herzog will be a key player in building the relationship between the new Israeli government and the Biden administration — navigating the differences on thorny issues like the Iran nuclear deal and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict….Herzog, who worked in recent years as a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is very well known and respected in U.S. foreign policy and national security circles. He has close relationships with both Democrats and Republicans.” Also seeIsrael appoints bipartisan negotiator as ambassador to US” (Al Monitor)

Israeli councils 'illegally' bar Palestinians from accessing beaches, citing Covid-19 rules,

“The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) said on Sunday that the municipal authorities of Netanya, Akka, and Hadera have enforced new restrictions on non-residents under the pretext of Covid-19 safety measures. The rights group sent a letter to Israel‘s attorney general arguing that the measures are illegal…Adalah said the decision contravened the government’s Covid-19 regulations, which do not restrict movement in public, open spaces. The Corona Cabinet in Israel is the only authority with the mandate to enforce any measures related to the pandemic, the rights group said, arguing that the city council has therefore violated the law.

Israel prosecutors call for extending solitary detention of Sheikh Raed Salah,

“Israeli public prosecution yesterday submitted a request to extend the solitary confinement of the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Raed Salah, for additional six months….After two years under house arrest, in August 2020 Salah began a 17-month jail term on incitement charges.”

U.S. Scene

FMEP Legislative Round-Up: August 6, 2021,

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Hearings & Markups
3. On the Record

“This week saw a surge in bad faith attacks on members of Congress who are critical of Israel – and in particular, members of Congress who are critical of Israel who also happen to be women, women of color, and Muslim. A quick review.”

Scoop: 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.”

Peter Beinart Called for the Elimination of the Jewish State. Ben And Jerry’s Tapped Him to Defend Israel Boycott to Franchisees.,

“The company’s decision to invite Beinart—an advocate for the Israel boycott movement who has called for the abolition of the Jewish state—to address insider objections indicates that it is doubling down on its criticism of Israel in the face of internal and external fallout. Thirty Ben & Jerry’s franchise store owners recently sent a letter to the company, which is owned by Unilever, asking it to “re-examine and withdraw” its boycott decision. Unilever has responded with reassurances that the company remains committed to doing business in the Jewish state even as its subsidiary continues its boycott. Beinart told the Washington Free Beacon that he was not compensated by Ben & Jerry’s or Unilever and has no financial arrangement with either company. He said he was invited to speak on the call because he has publicly promoted boycotts of contested areas of Israel.”


Pegasus: Spyware scandal lays bare cracks in Israel's cyber security 'success' story,

“When it comes to the profits generated by cyber companies, the picture is far from clear. As private companies that are not traded openly in stock exchanges, these companies keep their list of customers, the size of their contracts and the cost in time and materials for each project secret, and even their financial reports – total revenue, operating costs and profits – are not easy to come by.”

Former State Watchdog Warned Israel About NSO Almost a Year Ago,

Former state comptroller and retired judge Joseph Shapira warned senior Defense Ministry officials of a conflict between defense technologies and human rights, citing the NSO Group as a potential bad actor 10 months before it decided to open an investigation into the Israeli cyber firm. Despite Shapira’s warnings to the Defense Ministry body responsible for overseeing Israeli defense exports, the Defense Export Control Agency did not take any major steps against the company, and the investigation was launched only last month, in the wake of the scandal and international criticism that erupted following publication of the global Project Pegasus investigation.”

UK: Pro-Palestine activists occupy Israeli drone maker's London offices,

“Pro-Palestinian activists have occupied the London headquarters of the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems. Friday’s takeover of the offices in Holborn is the latest in a series of direct action protests by Palestine Action against Elbit, whose drones have been used in combat over the skies of Gaza. In a statement, Palestine Action said it had scaled the entrance of Elbit’s building and was “currently occupying the site and preventing operations”….According to Palestine Action, it has disrupted Elbit’s operations for 105 days out of 365, across the company’s 10 UK sites, plus those of their drone parts supplier APPH.”