Top News from Israel & Palestine: July 12, 2021

What We’re Reading

Relations Btwn the PA, Israel, & the U.S.

[Israeli] Gov't to deduct NIS 597m. from Palestinian Authority over ‘pay for slay’,

“The security cabinet on Sunday authorized the deduction of the amount the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the Ramallah-based government. The deduction came to NIS 597 million, which the National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing in the Defense Ministry reported was the sum of PA funds that went to indirect support for terrorism in 2020. PA funding for terrorists has increased since 2019, when it totaled NIS 517.4m. The cabinet authorized that it had read the report, and the Finance Ministry may begin deducting one-12th of the sum each month, according to law.”


Also See

U.S. Envoy Hady Amr Visits Israel and Palestinian Authority,

“U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories this week. Amr will meet with Israeli and Palestinian private sector representatives and government officials to follow up on the recent visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. He will also meet officials from the United Nations.”

Palestinians said drafting list of demands if limited peace talks resume,

“The reported move comes amid indications that the Biden administration is interested in mediating fresh talks that would seek to improve the situation in the West Bank and Gaza and the relations between Israel and the PA, without aiming to reach a comprehensive and final peace deal. According to the Channel 12 news report, the list of demands is still being kept under wraps. Among the demands reportedly on it are the opening of Palestinian Authority political institutes, including the highly symbolic Orient House, and resumption of PA activities in East Jerusalem, which were largely halted or curtailed since 2001 due to the Second Intifada. The PA would also want the situation on the Temple Mount to return to how it was two decades ago, when Israel Police activity was limited and visits by Jews to the Mount were greatly restricted. An end to settlement expansion and Israeli construction in East Jerusalem are also on the list, according to Channel 12.”

PA’s Abbas calls to congratulate Israel’s new president,

““I spoke this evening with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who called to congratulate me on entering my new role,” tweeted Herzog. “I thanked him and stressed that it is my intention to continue to maintain ongoing contact with him as past presidents have.” Herzog, whose role is mostly ceremonial, added that he hopes “to assist in advancing relations and with hopes for peace between two nations living side by side.”” Also See – “President Abbas in telephone call with Israeli president stresses need to achieve comprehensive peace” (WAFA)

Family of terror victim seeks to confiscate property of suspected killer,

“The family of 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta, who was killed in a terrorist attack in the West Bank in May, plans to file a civil lawsuit in both Israel and the United States seeking to impound the land on which his accused killer’s house stood before it was demolished by the IDF last week…The army demolished the house of suspected terrorist Muntasir Shalabi in the village of Turmus Iyya near Ramallah after the High Court rejected an appeal on behalf of his estranged wife who said she lived there with three of their children but without him. “We will file the lawsuit in both Israel and the United States, as the terrorist is a U.S. citizen, and we will pursue the killer’s assets,” said attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat Hadin Law Center, who is representing the Guetta family. “It will be an unprecedented procedure that will teach the terrorists and their dispatchers that there will be no corner of the world where our hands will not reach them. That the victims of terrorism will continue to pursue them forever,” she said.”

Israeli reconsideration of PA ties may be too little, too late - analysis,

“The PA is getting weaker by the minute and it is happening just when Israeli politicians are finally ready for rapprochement. After years of neglect, during which then-prime minister Netanyahu explained to Israelis that the Palestinians do not matter anymore, not to the world and not even to the Arabs, Israel now has to deal with an explosive Gaza that remains under Hamas control and a no less explosive West Bank, where demonstrators chant, “Down with the regime” and demand the resignation of the 85-year-old Abbas.”

Settlements, Apartheid, Human Rights

Palestinians call on Israel to release jailed MP Khalida Jarrar for daughter's funeral,

“Palestinian rights groups on Monday called on Israel to release Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian lawmaker and political prisoner, in order for her to attend her daughter’s funeral. Suha Ghassan Jarrar, 31, was found dead on Sunday evening in her house in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian news media reported. The reports said she had died of a heart attack and had previously suffered from illnesses, without giving more details. Suha had been working as a legal researcher at Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation based in Ramallah, since 2017. In an obituary, Al-Haq said that Suha was “a fierce advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom, and dignity”. In March, Khalida Jarrar was sentenced to two years in prison by an Israeli military court for “inciting violence” and belonging to a “banned organisation”.”

Israel vows to keep razing terrorists’ homes, as victim’s father pans US rebuke,

“Israel won’t stop demolishing homes of accused terrorists to appease Washington, a minister said Saturday, as the father of a terror victim expressed “shock” at the recent US criticism of the razing of his son’s killer’s home. “We are doing what’s good for the State of Israel,” Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel of the New Hope party told the Kan public broadcaster.”

Once Again, Israel Plans to Build Villas on the Village That Has Become a Symbol of the Nakba,

“A decade after the previous battle to prevent construction on the remnants of the village of Lifta in northwestern Jerusalem, the Israel Land Authority now plans to issue a tender for the construction of an affluent neighborhood in the area of the abandoned village that has become a symbol of the Nakba for Palestinians…Lifta was one of hundreds of villages left abandoned after the Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, but is unique in that it has been left in place as a silent monument, and was not demolished or repopulated like many other towns. Because of this, the area has become a pilgrimage site and an educational tool. UNESCO even added Lifta to a tentative list in preparation for possibly declaring it a World Heritage Site, and the World Heritage Trust named it as one of 25 endangered sites.”

Two Palestinians forced to self-demolish their homes in occupied Jerusalem,

“Two Palestinian residents of occupied Jerusalem were forced today to demolish their houses with their own hands to avoid paying high costs and fines after they received demolition orders from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem, according to local sources. In Jabal al- Mukaber area, resident Jamal Ajaj tore down his house with his own hands to avoid paying exorbitant costs if the Jerusalem municipality carries out the demolition on its own.”


More news of the routine violence of occupation from WAFA:

Settlers throw stones, fire fireworks at Border Police near Yitzhar,

“Settlers threw stones and fired fireworks towards Border Police who were removing a tent in a closed military zone next to the settlement of Yitzhar on Sunday night. Border Police, police officers and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories worked to remove a tent located in a closed military zone near Yitzhar on Sunday night and were attacked by rioters who threw stones at the security forces who responded with riot dispersal measures. Closer to the morning, a number of rioters fired fireworks and threw stones at the security forces. The forces were unable to locate the rioters after searches.”


More on settlers

Interior Ministry said told to stop processing Palestinian reunification bids,

“Interior Ministry workers have been told to not process any requests by Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza Strip seeking to obtain Israeli residency through marriage to Israelis, Army Radio reported Sunday. The report, which did not cite any sources, said that officials in the ministry were waiting to see if Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked will again try to renew the so-called Palestinian family reunification law, which blocks that route to citizenship.”

Palestinians hesitant to celebrate as family reunification ban fails,

“Palestinians realize that the measure failed to pass not out of love for them, nor because Israeli lawmakers realized that the law is racist and keeps families apart, but rather because of the squabbling between the right-wing parties who actually do support it. The Likud voted against the law to embarrass the government it was left out of. Arab Knesset member Aida Touma told Al-Monitor that dropping the law at this stage is of great importance because it reflects the depth of the political crisis in Israel, and because it gives hope to thousands of Palestinians. Touma stressed that this is a temporary victory and the battle continues over reuniting Palestinian families, pointing out that the Israeli government is already working on a similar law.”

‘We want to make the climate movement in Israel-Palestine much more political’,

““The effect of climate injustice can be felt on all of the land between the river and the sea,” said Yuli Gershoni, one of the founders of One Climate, during a tour stop at the Beit Yattir dairy barn. “It is a very rich biological ecosystem between Asia, Africa, and Europe, which also makes it very sensitive to environmental changes,” she continued. The roads, checkpoints, and walls built to serve the settlements disrupt the flora of the area, she added. They also affect the natural migration patterns of fauna, and disturbs their natural nesting sites.”


Also See

The artists fighting Israel's crackdown on culture,

“For Palestinian and Israeli artists calling out the occupation, Israel’s policies mark a deliberate attempt to silence dissent”


Israel Expands Gaza Fishing Zone, Cross-border Trade After Continued Quiet,

“Following a lull in fighting between Israel and Gaza and a security assessment, Israel widened Gaza’s fishing zone from nine to 12 nautical miles on Monday, according to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. In addition, Israel will also allow the transfer of medical equipment, fishing gear, raw materials for Gaza’s industry and textiles via the Kerem Shalom crossing. In turn, Gazan textile exports will be admitted into Israel. Israel had most recently decided to expand the designated fishing area for Gazan fishermen from six to nine nautical miles in June. A Hamas source told Haaretz that the relief announced by Israel is merely a return to the situation prior to the latest round of hostilities. They added that “it is clear” that the new government has realized that it is “impossible to link any relief” for Gaza with the return of Israeli captives that Hamas is holding as well as the bodies of Israeli soldiers, which the government had previously sought to do.”

[Israeli] Ministers to review new plan for allowing Qatari funds into Gaza — report,

“Ministers in the high-level security cabinet are set to be presented on Sunday with a new Israeli proposal that will allow Qatari funds into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Channel 12 news reported Saturday. The plan, aimed at enabling aid to reach Gaza without enriching the Hamas terror organization, reportedly calls for Qatar to send $30 million to the Strip each month. Of that amount, $10 million will be transferred via the United Nations and go toward fuel purchases; another $10 million will go toward assistance for families through Gaza’s postal bank (after affirming that those families have no ties to terror); and the final $10 million will be put toward a cash-for-work program.”

Qatari envoy arrives in Gaza for first time since May conflict,

“Qatari envoy to Gaza Mohammed al-Emadi arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night for the first time since Operation Guardian of the Walls, according to Palestinian media. The envoy is in the strip to discuss the humanitarian situation with officials in the coastal enclave and to follow up on the implementation of Qatari projects. Al-Emadi will also discuss the issue of distributing funds to poor families in the strip and reconstruction of buildings destroyed in the conflict. Israel’s security cabinet met on Sunday, with one of the reported topics under discussion being the transfer of Qatari funds to Gaza, which has been held up for weeks by Israel.”


Also See

In apparent world first, IDF deployed drone swarms in Gaza fighting,

“Mass swarms of dozens or hundreds of drones guided by artificial intelligence are widely considering to be one of the more worrying weapons making their way into the modern battlefield, one with the potential to be far cheaper and thus more available to non-state actors than other advanced munitions. The world saw a taste of that emerging military technology, albeit a limited one, in May during the 11-day conflict between Israel and terror groups in Gaza, when the Israel Defense Forces used flocks of drones over the Strip to spot rocket launches by Hamas and attack those sites in what appears to be one of the first significant, publicly acknowledged real-world use of the concept. The military’s use of drones in this way was initially kept classified during the fighting, but has since been permitted to be published in part.”

Gazans nabbed after infiltrating into Israel armed with knives,

“Four Palestinians, some armed with knives, were detained by Israel Defense Force soldiers after infiltrating into southern Israel on Saturday, the military said. On Saturday morning, an unarmed Palestinian, who crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip through the southern section of the border fence, was detained and questioned by IDF soldiers. Later Saturday, three suspects carrying a number of knives were detained by soldiers in the same area after infiltrating from the coastal enclave, according to the IDF.”

Israeli authorities seize cryptocurrency transfer from Hamas,

“Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) last week released information regarding the seizure of cryptocurrencies which had been transferred to the Hamas organization. The report detailed that this was the first time such a wide variety of cryptocurrencies was seized, as the seizure also included cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin – Tether, Ether, XRP and more. The sum which was seized reportedly included funds meant for, but not limited to, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades (the Hamas military wing).”

Inside the Green Line

After Ra’am demand, government moves Bedouin agency to Welfare Ministry,

“Government ministers voted Sunday on a motion to move the Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouin in the Negev from the Economy Ministry to the Welfare Ministry, in a move designed to placate the Ra’am party. The move had been planned to take place next week, but was moved up over Ra’am’s threats. The Islamist party said Sunday that it was halting its parliamentary cooperation with the coalition — denying it a majority, at least temporarily, at a critical time in which the government must muster a Knesset majority to pass the state budget.”


More on this story:

Netanyahu vacates prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem,

“Benjamin Netanyahu and his family vacated the Israeli prime minister’s official residence early Sunday, nearly a month after the longtime leader was ousted from office with the formation of an alternate government. A family spokesman confirmed the Netanyahus left the residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem shortly after midnight, in line with a deadline agreed upon last month with newly inaugurated Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.”

The Palestinian Scene

Palestinian Authority Study Endorses Sheikh Jarrah 'Popular Struggle' Model,

“The study was carried out at the request of senior Fatah officials following an unprecedented drop in confidence in the Palestinian Authority’s leadership among Palestinian residents of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Among the reasons that the study was commissioned was an earlier opinion survey by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research that Hamas had gained support following its military confrontation with Israel… According to the research, “the popular struggle” – that is, the protests that broke out in May amid tensions over the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah – “is the best model to enlist the international community in support of the Palestinian struggle against Israel.” The researchers wrote that the Fatah activity in East Jerusalem – encouraging the residents to protest and confront Israeli security forces – was a model for confronting Israel “and also managed to garner support from the younger generation.” The turning point, according to the study’s authors, was “that Hamas diverted attention from the Temple Mount to Gaza by firing rockets into Israel.”  The authors noted a sharp divide, however, between the leadership of Fatah and the movement’s grass-roots activists. “The Palestinian public, particularly the younger generation, is frustrated,” they stated. The younger generation, according to the study, “sees the lack of activism by the leadership, its failures in understanding the needs of the public and in identifying and taking advantage of opportunities.”…Restoring Fatah’s standing as “defender of Jerusalem” and the representative of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem will require it to “permit the younger generation to fulfill key roles in the organization’s leadership and invest in the young people in Jerusalem who work for Israelis and speak their language, but in times of crisis lead the struggle against Israel.” “

Almost 14 million Palestinians living worldwide, state stats show,

“There are currently 13.8 million Palestinians worldwide, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday, with 5.23 million people living in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip. The statistics were provided in a joint statement from the PCBS and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on World Population Day.”

Hosting Abbas, Erdogan says he won’t stay silent on ‘Israeli oppression’,

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul Saturday to discuss bilateral ties, reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to reports. The closed-door meeting took place at the Vahdettin Pavilion in Istanbul, an official residence assigned to the president of Turkey. There, the two leaders discussed regional developments and steps to strengthen bilateral ties, Turkey’s Communications Directorate said, according to the Anadolu News Agency. “It will not be possible to establish lasting peace and stability in the region as long as Israel’s policies continue,” Erdogan said Saturday, according to the news agency.”

Regional News & Normalization

Bennett: Israel ‘on alert’ over Lebanon crisis,

“Israel is monitoring the crisis in Lebanon to ensure it does not spill over the border, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday. “Lebanon is on the verge of collapse, like every country that Iran takes over,” he said at the opening of the cabinet meeting. “The citizens of Lebanon are paying a heavy price for the Iranian takeover of the country.” Israel is “watching the situation closely… and we will continue to be on alert,” he added.”

UAE to open Israel embassy in Tel Aviv on Wednesday,

“The United Arab Emirates will open its embassy in Israel on Wednesday, with President Isaac Herzog attending the historic event. The embassy will be situated in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building, also known as the Bursa. The ceremony, hosted by UAE’s ambassador to Israel, Mohammad al Khaja, will include a reception, flag raising, ribbon-cutting ceremony, and VIP tour.”

Oman’s foreign minister: We won’t be 3rd Gulf country to normalize Israel ties,

“Oman’s Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi said in an interview published Saturday that his country will not be the third Gulf nation to normalize ties with Israel when asked about a recent call with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. In the interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic-language daily, Busaidi also affirmed his country’s support for “achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of the two-state solution” adding that “this is the only option.” “We support the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and we respect the sovereign decisions of states, just as we expect others to respect our sovereign decisions,” he said.”

Two Jordanians Sentenced to Prison in Plot Against Monarchy,

“A closed court sentenced a former confidant to Jordan’s king and adviser to the Saudi crown prince, along with a cousin of the monarch, to 15 years in prison.”


Also See

Can Israel, Jordan be good neighbors once again? - editorial,

“Israel is obviously interested in extending a helping hand to its neighbor. Jordan, for its part, should accept the hand in friendship. Good ties between the two countries benefit both – and the region.”


Also See – “Netanyahu Blasts Bennett, Jordan King: Israel Gives Them Water, They Help Iran” (Haaretz)

Where the Abraham Accords are (and aren’t) going,

“Israel will likely have its next diplomatic openings in the Islamic world not in the Persian Gulf, but instead in impoverished parts of sub-Saharan Africa where countries such as Niger, Mali, and Mauritania could have their economic interests advanced by joining the Abraham Accords. It will be important to see what actions Abu Dhabi might take to incentivize these African countries, many of which are major recipients of Emirati aid, to formalize ties with Israel. Enhanced Emirati assistance in exchange for normalization with Israel was already evident in Sudan’s decision to normalize ties with Israel, and the UAE may take a similar approach with these and other predominantly Muslim and poor African states.”

Free Speech, Big Tech, & Media

In D.C., Demonstrators Agree That Antisemitism Is un-American; but Israel Muddies the Waters,

“Several thousand people spent a sweltering afternoon in front of the U.S. Capitol at a rally on Sunday that denounced antisemitism as un-American and made the case that Jewish identity and support for Israel are inextricable…The rally drew a broad array of sponsor organizations, covering the religious spectrum and many right-wing and central pro-Israel mainstream Jewish organizations. Notably absent were representatives of more left-wing groups that were asked to join but opted out of attending because some of the sponsoring groups adhere to a definition of antisemitism that encompasses harsh criticism of Israel, including the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. Groups like J Street and Americans for Peace Now oppose BDS, but object to defining it as antisemitic.”

Police Want Facial Recognition Systems Installed Across Israel,

“The police are promoting a bill that would allow the force to use facial recognition systems in public spaces across Israel without the need for a warrant, according to a draft of it made public on Thursday. If the bill becomes law, police would be allowed to use facial recognition cameras to match people’s faces to the data stored in police databases. Some experts warn that the bill does not sufficiently address the issue of privacy, fearing police might use it to establish its own biometric database. The draft bill states that the proposed systems would help “thwart offenses that could harm a person’s wellbeing or security,” investigate “criminal patterns,” expose crimes and identifying suspects and enforce restraining orders.”

Analysis & Commentary

Op-Ed: Defend Israeli and Palestinian human rights workers,

“With the ICC investigation looming, this is a critical moment for Israel’s human rights organizations. The new Israeli government has a choice to make. It may be tempted to follow in Netanyahu’s footsteps when it comes to human rights defenders, agreeing to the ultra-right camp’s proposals to delegitimize and ultimately render Israel’s human rights organizations illegal. But this government — made up of parties from the right, left and center — includes among its ministers and coalition members some of the country’s staunchest human rights defenders. They’ll need support from the international community to protect the human rights sector. If the Biden administration is serious about its commitment to a human-rights-first foreign policy, then speaking up to protect Israeli and Palestinian human rights defenders should be part of that agenda.”

Opinion | In a Moment of Honesty, Lapid Revealed Israel’s Antidemocratic Essence,

“Lapid’s confession about the Citizenship Law’s demographic essence has no intrinsic value, just as there is no intrinsic value in the discussion on any malicious policy. The “confession” has value only if the one making it also acknowledges the injustice.”


Also See – “Israel’s foreign minister admits it’s an apartheid state” (Mondoweiss)

Opinion | Fight Israel's Settlers, Not Its ultra-Orthodox Community,

“But if we’re already entering the problematic area of examining the values of various sectors of society, the amount the state invests in them and what it receives in exchange – along with the question of equality of rights and obligations – then, here too, the Haredim ought not be the first target of the reform. Far ahead of them is a group that’s stronger and wealthier than they are; a group that does much more damage to the state and is much more strongly attached to its teats, to use language usually reserved only for Haredim; a group whose political power is immeasurably greater and whom almost no one dares oppose, certainly not the way they oppose the Haredim. That group is the settlers.”