Top News from Israel & Palestine: December 3, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation, Annexation, & Human Rights

$48 billion is the estimated revenue loss by Palestine from 2000-2017 due to occupation,

“The fiscal cost of occupation for the Palestinian people, over the 2000-2017 period, is estimated at US$47.7 billion, or thrice the size of the Palestinian economy in 2017, and it continues to rise, according to the latest UNCTAD report to the United Nations General Assembly. The report entitled “Economic cost of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people: Fiscal aspects’ says the figure comprises lost public revenues and interest payments. It includes $28.2 billion in estimated accrued interest and $6.6 billion of leaked Palestinian fiscal revenues to Israel.”

Israel's spastic shifts in fishing zones endanger Palestinians,

“Of note, the Gaza Strip fishing zone was expanded to a maximum of 15 miles at the beginning of April for the first time in 20 years, as per the first phase of the Egyptian-brokered truce reached at the end of March between Israel and Hamas. Since then, Israel has reduced and expanded the fishing zone between 6 and 15 nautical miles about 20 times, linking it to marches and protests along the Gaza-Israel border. The zone changes have resulted in substantial losses for the fishermen. The fishermen, however, still hope the zone will be expanded to 20 miles, as outlined in the 1994 Oslo Accord, which Israel has been violating since 1996. Nizar Ayyash, head of the Palestinian Fishermen’s Association in Gaza, told Al-Monitor, ‘Every time changes are made to the allowable fishing zone, fishermen lose either their nets or their boats, as Israel sinks all fishing tools in the restricted fishing area. This is not to mention firing at fishermen, while many have difficulties to return to their shores when they lose their boats’.”

Gaza Protests on Israeli Border to Resume After 3-week Pause,

“In a statement following a meeting between organizers and representatives of Palestinian factions in Gaza, they said the protests were a “legitimate tool in the Palestinian people’s struggle.’ The planned demonstrations along the border fence, titled ‘The March of Return Continues,’ will come after three consecutive weeks of relative calm in which Hamas decided to call off protests along the fence due to the ‘sensitive security situation and the political crisis in Israel’.”

Ireland Announces Funding of 8.8m for Construction of Solar Plant in Gaza,

“Ireland will fund the construction of a 7.5MW solar power plant providing clean, reliable energy to the NGEST wastewater treatment plant in Northern Gaza, in partnership with the French Development Agency, said a statement by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Tuesday. ‘Many of these solar panels will stand in land previously designated as off-limits by the Israeli authorities,’ said Minister Mazen Ghunaim Tuesday in the strip. ‘We know that only a political solution can lead to real development in Gaza’.”

For Hebron Settlers, New Neighborhood Announced by Israel Is Only the Beginning,

Amira Hass writes, “Without a doubt, the settlers of Hebron and their many collaborators have proved in the past 50 years their ability to add and build more buildings for Jews – which stand out in the whiteness of their stones during the daytime, and in the bright, blinding light their spotlights cast on them and their surroundings at night, all hours of the night. But the settlers, military authorities and Civil Administration have mainly proved their talents, with documented methods known to all, at emptying out the center of Hebron of its Palestinian residents via routine harassment, and a series of orders and restrictions on movement imposed by the army.”

New details on covert Israeli operation in Gaza revealed,

“New details have emerged about a botched Israeli intelligence operation in the Gaza Strip in November 2018 that sparked deadly Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket fire. Eight undercover Israeli agents – who were disguised as Palestinians and had taken the aliases of a real family in Gaza – entered the coastal enclave on November 11 last year with the objective of planting listening devices on Hamas’s private communications system, an investigation by Al Jazeera Arabic’s Ma Khafia Aazam (Tip of the Iceberg) programme revealed.”

Tourism in Israel? U.S. charity's offer with Gaza hospital project irks Palestinians,

“A U.S. charity building a tent hospital in the Gaza Strip is causing Palestinian unease by offering foreign medical volunteers the opportunity of weekend tourism in Israel, just across the volatile border…Now, however, eyebrows are being raised in Gaza over a Holy Land pilgrimage pitch on the Louisiana-based organization’s website that is promoting an endeavor to improve health services strained by years of conflict. The 50-bed encampment in northern Gaza across from Israel’s Erez border crossing ‘will offer a wonderful opportunity to work in an important and productive project and, at the same time, to see and enjoy the Biblical sites of Israel’, the website said. Volunteers at the facility would be expected to work and live onsite Monday through Thursday but they ‘will be free to go to Israel and tour’ on their days off, it said.”

Israeli Politics

Netanyahu, Gantz to meet in another bid to form unity government,

“The heads of Israel’s two largest political parties – Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud and Benny Gantz of Blue and White – were to meet Tuesday evening in yet another attempt to agree terms for a unity government before the period in which they can do so expires next week and Israel automatically heads to its third round of elections in a year.”

Right-wing Lawmaker Says Bloc Will Stick With Gantz if Netanyahu Breaches Rotation Pact,

“All of the leaders of the right-wing bloc in the Knesset are committing to ensure that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abides by any rotation agreement reached with Kahol Lavan leader MK Benny Gantz, Ayelet Shaked of the right-wing Hayamin Hehadash said on Monday. Shaked was referring to a proposed arrangement to break the current deadlock in forming a government. It would have Netanyahu serve as prime minister for six months, after which Gantz would take over. Responding to concern that Likud would dissolve the government rather than ceding power, Shaked said: ‘If Likud decides to dissolve the government after six months, we, the entire bloc, would remain with Gantz’.”

Knesset adviser: Giving Bennett defense portfolio violates basic law,

“Naftali Bennett can remain defense minister even though his appointment to the position was not authorized by the Knesset, the legislature’s legal adviser Eyal Yinon told the High Court of Justice on Monday. Yinon responded to a petition to the court, saying that Bennett’s appointment should have been brought to a vote in the Knesset, but it can stay in place because the vote was skipped due to a flawed interpretation of the law, Globes reported.”