Top News from Israel & Palestine: February 10, 2020

What We’re Reading

Occupation/Human Rights

Palestinian teen shot in head by Israeli forces delayed en route to hospital,

“Last Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot Muhammad Shtewi, 15, in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet while he was spending time with friends at a public spring near Kufr Qaddum, a Palestinian village in the West Bank. The teen is now hospitalized at the intensive care unit of the Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem. Witnesses to the shooting, including people who accompanied Shtewi to the hospital, described a disturbing scene: not only did soldiers shoot Muhammad in the head while he was not engaged in any violent activity, but for 25 minutes, an Israeli police officer held up the car that was taking Shtewi to be treated. The teenager continued to bleed from the head, his arrival at the hospital delayed.” Also see: Haaretz – The IDF Troops Weren’t at Risk, but They Shot a Palestinian Boy in the Head Anyway

Israel accused of torturing Palestinians after fatal bombing that killed teen,

“One of the men was hospitalized with kidney failure and 11 broken ribs. Another was nearly unrecognizable to his wife when he was wheeled into a courtroom. A third was stitched up after being attacked by a security dog. Then the three Palestinians were returned to their Israeli interrogators. They had been swept up in a sprawling manhunt launched after a roadside bomb killed a 17-year-old Israeli girl and wounded her father and brother as they hiked down to a spring last August in the West Bank. The attack raised fears of a sophisticated terror cell that might strike again, and Israeli interrogators appear to have treated it as a ticking time-bomb scenario. Israeli and Palestinian rights groups say there is strong evidence that they tortured several detainees in violation of Israeli and international law.”

Israel blocks Palestinian agricultural exports in escalating trade crisis,

“Israel blocked Palestinian agricultural exports on Sunday in the latest escalation of a monthslong trade war that comes amid fears of renewed violence as well. Following Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s instructions, the military said it would not allow Palestinian farmers to transfer their products through the Allenby border crossing into Jordan, the West Bank’s only direct export route to the outside world.” Also see: Al Jazeera – Israel blocks Palestinian agricultural exports via Jordan

Turkey hands Palestinians Ottoman land archive,

“The Turkish government has handed over electronic copies of the deeds of Palestinian lands from the Othman archive, Palestinian media reported today, noting that this would help Palestinians counter illegal Israeli settlement. According to Quds Net News, the archives consist of 36,000 pages which include details about the ownership of the Palestinian land during the five-century Ottoman rule of Palestine.”


Israel Strikes Gaza Targets After Rocket Fire,

“The air force struck targets in Gaza on Sunday night after a rocket was fired at Israel’s south from the enclave, the military said, amid tensions between Israel and Palestinians in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s presentation of the Mideast peace plan.The military said a number of facilities used by Hamas were targeted, including a training area.”

Netanyahu, Bennett threaten Hamas with targeted killings,

“Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday issued a thinly-veiled threat against Hamas, warning Israel might have to resort to targeted killings if the terror group continues to launch attacks on Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip.”

Gantz denounces gov't failure to stop Gaza rockets, balloons,

“…Gantz, together with Labor leader MK Amir Peretz and Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, denounced the government for its failure to restore quiet in southern Israel and the Gaza border region and its failure to bring about long-term calm in the region.”

For the first time in months, Egyptian security delegation visits the Gaza Strip,

“Egyptian intelligence officials arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday, in their first visit to the coastal enclave in several months. The delegation, led by Ahmed Abdel Khaliq, the head of the Palestinian bureau in the Egyptian General Intelligence Services, entered Gaza by way of the Erez crossing, the sole pedestrian passageway between Israel and the small territory, several Palestinian news outlets reported. The last visit of Egyptian intelligence officials to Gaza took place on September 8, the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Information Center reported.”

'Slow death': Israeli dams flood Gaza crops ahead of harvest,

“For five months, Palestinian farmers like Naim al-Khaissi had cultivated and irrigated their lands in the besieged Gaza Strip, waiting for the end of January to harvest vegetables from eastern farmlands located close to the separation barrier with Israel. But after all of their hard work, Palestinian farmers woke up to the news that Israeli authorities had emptied out the nearby rainwater storage, effectively flooding Gaza crops only a few days before harvest season. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, Israel’s opening of the dam’s gates caused more than $500,000 worth of damage to more than 332 hectares of land in January alone.”

Annexation/“Deal of the Century” Watch

Israelis in ‘diplomatic blitz’ ahead of UN Security Council vote,

“Israelis at the UN are in the midst of a “diplomatic blitz” ahead of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Tuesday speech and a possible vote on a draft resolution condemning the US peace plan and settlement annexation.The US intended to veto the resolution, while other countries considered abstaining from the vote as of Monday morning.”

Criticism of US Mideast peace plan softened in United Nations draft resolution,

“A reworked Palestinian resolution has dropped its initial condemnation of US President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan, opting for less confrontational language, ahead of a UN Security Council vote, a copy obtained by AFP shows. The latest draft also no longer mentions the United States by name, as the plan’s author, and couches its criticism in milder language than in the original. The changes come as diplomatic pressure mounts ahead of Tuesday’s Security Council vote, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to be on hand for.”

African leaders reject Trump's Middle East peace plan as 'illegitimate',

“African leaders on Sunday rejected and condemned US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan as ‘illegitimate,’ and voiced ‘solidarity with the Palestinian cause.’ According to French news agency AFP, African Union Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told assembled heads of state that the plan unveiled in late January represented the ‘umpteenth violation of multiple United Nations and African Union resolutions.’ Mahamat criticized the fact that the proposal was outlined ‘without international consultation’ and that it ‘trampled on the rights of the Palestinian people.’”

Netanyahu: Israel drawing up map for West Bank annexations,

“Israel has begun to draw up maps of land in the West Bank that will be annexed in accordance with U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed peace plan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday. ‘We are already at the height of the process of mapping the area that, according to the Trump plan, will become part of the State of Israel. It won’t take too long,’ Netanyahu said at an election campaign rally in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.”

U.S. envoy stalls on annexation amid Netanyahu rhetoric,

“The U.S. ambassador to Israel, a staunch supporter of the settlement project, appeared to stall Sunday on the issue of Israeli annexation of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. apparently directly contradicting the prime minister’s claims that Israel has already kicked off the controversial process.”

Settler leaders call on PM to ‘put US in its place,’ swiftly annex W. Bank land,

“Settler leaders reacted in fury to US Ambassador David Friedman’s Sunday clarification that the White House would not support immediate and uncoordinated annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel, with one prominent West Bank mayor calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ignore the warnings from Washington and put the Trump administration ‘in its place.’”

US envoy explains deal’s asymmetry: We trust Israel, but PA can’t keep a bargain,

“The White House’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ strongly favors Israel because it is a democracy that can be relied upon to uphold any agreement, whereas the Palestinians have a long way to go before they are trustworthy partners, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Sunday.”

US will not request our recognition of Palestine, Netanyahu says,

“The US will not request Israel recognise the State of Palestine as part of its ‘peace deal’ for the Middle East, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the cabinet meeting yesterday.”

Annexation? 66% of Land Auctioned in Israel Was in West Bank,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing for the annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and the Israel Lands Authority appears to be doing its part to help. In January, two-thirds of the land the government agency offered for residential construction was over the Green Line. All told, the ILA last month advertised land designated for 3,254 housing units, 2,136 of them in settlements, including Karnei Shomron, Givat Ze’ev, Ma’aleh Adumim and Efrat.”

Palestinian lawyers threaten to sue those who 'accept' Trump plan,

“Palestinian lawyers have launched an initiative to file lawsuits in the US and Europe against politicians and businessmen who accept US President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled plan for Mideast peace.”

Former Israeli PM says Abbas is the sole peace partner,

“Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the sole peace partner for his country, Yedioth Ahronoth has reported. Abbas, confirmed Olmert, is trusted by the Israeli security services. ‘Abu Mazen’s [Abbas’s] security cooperation with Israel has undermined terrorism against our citizens,’ explained Olmert. ‘He is the only partner to achieve peace with us.’”

Arab & Muslim Countries

US arranging meeting between Netanyahu and Saudi crown prince - report,

“Talks are being held between teams from Israel, the US, Egypt and Saudi Arabia on a potential summit in Cairo, whereby Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman could meet, according to a report in the Jewish News Syndicate.The JNS report is based on senior Arab diplomatic sources. The sources indicated that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his team have been mediating between representatives from Israel and Saudi Arabia over the past few months to set up the meeting.”

Oman stamp declares Jerusalem the capital of Palestine,

“Oman is honouring Palestine and its capital Jerusalem by issuing commemorative stamps that read ‘Al Quds – the Capital of Palestine’ as part of a collaboration with the Arab Permanent Postal Commission. The initiative was established by the Arab League in 1954 to represents the Arab world’s support for the Palestinian cause. The stamps launched by Oman Post yesterday feature an image of the Dome of the Rock Mosque which sits in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem and the flag of Palestine, along with a white dove symbolising peace.”

Turkey won’t allow ‘Deal of Century’ to threaten peace,

“Turkey will never allow the peace in the region to be disrupted by the US’ so-called ‘Deal of Century’ Mideast peace plan, said Turkey’s president today, reported by Anadolu Agency. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks came in a statement he sent to the current 3rd Conference of the Inter-parliamentary Jerusalem Platform in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. In his message to the platform, Erdogan underlined the meaning and the importance of such a conference in this critical period and added that ‘the so-called ‘Deal of Century’ [which] declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel is nothing more than a dream that threatens peace in the region. We will not allow this dream to come true. We do not recognize this plan, which means annexation of Palestinian lands, completely destroys Palestine, and completely seizes Jerusalem. We never accept this attempt, which accepts a two-state solution on the surface but actually means legitimizing the Israeli occupation under the mandate of the American administration.’”

Malaysia meeting in support of Jerusalem,

“International parliamentarians gathered in Malaysia this weekend to defend the city of Jerusalem as well as the Palestinians, Anadolu Agency reports. On the second and last day of the 3rd Conference of the Inter-parliamentary Jerusalem Platform in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, the parliamentarians came together to discuss Jerusalem and the US’ so-called ‘Deal of Century’ Mideast peace plan.”

Israeli Elections

Overturning Knesset decision, court narrowly okays candidacy of Joint List MK,

“The High Court of Justice on Sunday narrowly upheld the candidacy of hardline Joint List MK Heba Yazbak, overturning a January decision by the Central Elections Committee to bar her from running in the March 2 election over her alleged support of terror. Efforts to bar Yazbak, a member of the Arab nationalist Balad party in the Joint List alliance, were based on two Facebook posts…”

Kahol Lavan Lawmakers Denounce Colleague’s anti-Arab Bigotry,

“Knesset members from Kahol Lavan and other parties condemned remarks made by Kahol Lavan MK Yoaz Hendel in an interview with Haaretz Hebrew edition Friday seen as insulting to Arabs and Jews of Middle Eastern or North African origin. ‘There are people who came here from all kinds of countries; some came with the mentality of a concert in Vienna and some came with the mentality of darbukas,’ Hendel told Ravit Hecht, referring to a type of goblet drum popular in the Middle East. He also called Arab culture ‘a jungle.’”

Personal info of 6m. Israelis leaked after Likud uploads voter info,

“The personal information of 6,453,254 Israelis was leaked after the Likud Party uploaded the entire Israeli national voter registry to an application, according to Haaretz. The leaked information includes names, identification numbers, phone numbers and addresses.”