Top News from Israel & Palestine: July 15, 2021

What We’re Reading

West Bank

Israel forces demolish Palestinian Bedouin community in West Bank,

“Israeli forces demolished an entire area housing a Palestinian Bedouin community near the city of Ramallah, in the central occupied West Bank, on Wednesday morning. Israeli soldiers, accompanied by a crane and army vehicles, stormed the community of al-Qaboun and demolished 11 structures – including tents, tin houses and sheep pens – and confiscated tractors, water tanks and solar energy units. Palestinian activist Fares Kaabneh told official Palestinian Authority (PA) news agency Wafa that Israeli forces also confiscated the debris of the demolished tents and tin homes, in order to prevent the Palestinians from rebuilding their community again. The demolished structures belonged to 11 Palestinian families in al-Qaboun, located near al-Mughayyir, a village northeast of Ramallah close to the eastern slopes of the Jordan Valley. There are almost 150 Palestinians from 30 families living in the al-Qaboun Bedouin community. Located in Area C – the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civilian control, where Palestinian construction is largely banned – the residents of al-Qaboun are under perpetual threat of home demolitions.”


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Israeli settlers continue to set up mobile homes on occupied Palestinian land to expand settlement,

“Israeli settlers continued today to set up mobile homes near the villages of Jalud and Qariot, to the south of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, in order to expand an illegal settlement, according to sources. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors colonial settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told WAFA the settlers seek to expand the illegal settlement of Shavot Rahel by adding more mobile homes and planting trees on land nearby owned by Palestinians. He explained that the settlers are proceeding to expand their settlement despite an Israeli court ruling to halt all construction until it looks into an appeal by the Palestinian landowners against the settlers’ infringement on their lands. To be noted, Israeli settlers set up on Monday seven mobile homes in the vicinity of the same settlement.”

Joint militias: How settlers and soldiers teamed up to kill four Palestinians,

“A Local Call investigation reveals how on a single day in May, Israeli settlers and soldiers cooperated in attacks that left four Palestinians dead. The unprecedented spate of joint assaults has inaugurated a new era of terror.”

Israel detains 45 Palestinian students who visited family of prisoner,

“Israeli occupation forces yesterday detained 45 Palestinian university students after they visiting the family of a prisoner whose house was demolished by the occupation earlier this week, Sama news agency reported. The students were forced to disembark from the bus they were riding, handcuffed and later transferred to prisons. According to Sama, Israeli occupation forces also blocked a number of university students at the entrance of the Turmus ‘Ayya neighbourhood, north of Ramallah. ‘Following intelligence and operational efforts, the army, the Shabak and the border police detained tens of Hamas terrorists from the student cell at Birzeit University in the village of Turmusia,’ the Israeli army said in a statement. ‘Some of the detained students were directly involved in terrorist acts, including transferring money, incitement,’ it added.”


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Israeli occupation forces demolish water reservoir used for drinking and irrigation,

“Israeli forces Thursday demolished a water reservoir set up on lands belonging to the villages of Beit Dajan, to the east of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, according to local sources. Tawfiq Haj Mohammad, an activist, said that the Israeli forces raided the village and demolished the water reservoir that had a capacity of 500 cubic meters of water and was used for drinking and irrigating purposes, noting that it belongs to the village council. He added that a previous decision to demolish the tank was halted through legal institutions, but Israeli authorities returned today and demolished it while it was full of water resulting in the water flooding and damaging nearby lands.”

Gratuitous Cruelty: On the Burial of Suha Jarrar,

“It is often said that the most unbearable pain a person can be forced to endure is to bury their child. Yet Israel, in an act of gratuitous cruelty meted out without a second thought, demonstrated its eagerness to inflict a level of suffering more unbearable still.” Also see: Damn Them All (Gideon Levy) (Haaretz)

Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Workers’ Rights: COVID-19 and Systemic Abuse,

“The Israeli regime has been systematically violating the rights of Palestinian workers in Israel and its illegal settlements since 1967. How have these violations been exacerbated since the COVID-19 pandemic? Al-Shabaka’s guest contributor, Ihab Maharmeh, examines Israel’s ongoing abuses of Palestinian workers’ labor and human rights. He offers recommendations for securing these rights and for holding Israel accountable.”


Palestinian family left homeless in Silwan (Video report),

“The image of seven-year-old Ruqayya, forced to sleep in her father’s car as her family home is destroyed, has gone viral. The child belongs to the Husseini family living in Silwan, occupied East Jerusalem. The Palestinians were ordered to self-demolish their home by Israel or face a 200,000 shekels ($61,000) fine.”

Why Jews Are Increasingly Going on Pilgrimage to the Temple Mount,

“…while many Temple Mount activists are motivation stems from nationalism, it is also intrinsically bound up with messianism, including, in many cases, the desire to eventually rebuild the temple and restart the sacrificial cult. (Ultra-Orthodox Jews believe that these goals must await the coming of the messiah.)”

Israeli club calls off match with Barcelona over Jerusalem,

“The owner of Israel’s Beitar soccer club says he has called off a friendly match with Barcelona over its refusal to hold the event in contested Jerusalem. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, annexed it in a move not recognized internationally, and considers the entire city its capital. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the city’s status is one of the thorniest issues in the decades-long conflict. Beitar owner Moshe Hogeg said he was forced to cancel the match ‘with great sadness’ because he refused to give in to what he said was a ‘political’ demand. Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion expressed support for the decision, saying teams that intend to ‘boycott’ Jerusalem should be barred from Israel altogether.” Also see: Beitar Jerusalem scraps Barcelona preseason friendly in row over game’s location (Times of Israel)

Israel deports 4 Jerusalemite ex-prisoners from city,

“Israeli occupation authorities have expelled four Palestinian former prisoners from the city of Jerusalem for periods ranging from three to six months under the pretext of being members of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, Arabi21 reported. Jerusalem based activist and former prisoner, Nasser Al-Hedmi, told Arabi21 that the Israeli intelligence services recently summoned him to a police station along with three other former prisoners to inform them that they are banned from accessing certain areas in the city and from speaking to a number of people who will be identified later.”

A reading into the story of Jerusalem,

“For two years, Grassroots Al-Quds has carried out excessive research in order to update our community stories: detailed profiles of 39 Palestinian neighborhoods, villages and refugee camps in the Jerusalem district. We are super excited and proud of the result!”

Hamas/Gaza Strip

Qatar envoy returns to Gaza after Israel talks,

“Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi returns to the Gaza Strip after several hours in Israel for meetings with senior members of the defense establishment. Emadi is expected to meet with the Hamas leadership in Gaza to discuss the negotiations for a new agreement between Israel and the terror group in the wake of their conflict in May.”

I returned to Gaza after 15 years. This is what I saw,

“…Above all, anger about Palestinian disunity continues to simmer, but ironically, people are also divided over whom to blame: Israel and the Arabs, Hamas and Fatah, or all. The Gazan situation is highly complex, so the blame game isn’t an easy or accurate exercise. Oftentimes, it’s only a venting technique; allowing people to feel a sense of control over an abnormal and uncontrollable situation. No one knows how long this situation will endure, but most agree that Gaza’s political complexities, much like its misery, are manifold. They go well beyond the mere Israel-Palestine situation and the internal Palestinian disagreements, well into the regional and international power balances and alliances.”

Hamas: Ready for national unity to serve Palestine cause,

“Head of Hamas Political Bureau in Gaza Yahya Sinwar announced on Wednesday that his movement is ready for a national unity that serves the Palestinian cause. Sinwar’s remarks were delivered during a meeting with prominent Palestinian businessperson Munib Al-Masri, who visited Gaza, the Hamas website reported.”

Iron Dome almost knocked out Israeli F-15 during recent Gaza fighting,

“Interceptor missile locked onto jet, mistaking it for rocket fired by terror organization from the Strip; IDF says incident is under investigation.”

US Policy

USAID chief Samantha Power defends US funding for Palestinians,

“Samantha Power, chief of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), on Wednesday defended Washington’s economic assistance to Palestinian agencies, arguing that despair in the occupied Palestinian territories did not benefit anyone. At a Senate hearing discussing the agency’s budget proposal, Power faced several questions from Republicans about President Joe Biden’s push to restore Palestinian funding, which had been slashed by his predecessor, Donald Trump. Power stood by the aid programme and assured lawmakers that the aid would not benefit Hamas, and was accompanied by a stringent vetting process that ensured it did not violate US legal restrictions.”  Also see: Power emphasizes Israeli role in clearing Gaza aid during latest congressional hearings (Jewish Insider)

Inside the Green Line

Knesset rejects bill to strip terrorists of citizenship,

“Likud MK Avi Dichter, one of the authors of the legislation: ‘Today the government proved it is being held hostage by the Arab parties. We will not rest. This law will pass.’”


Likud MK advances law to prevent reopening of US consulate for Palestinians,

“Ex-mayor Barkat warns Jerusalem will turn into ‘Palestinian consular capital,’ though several such missions already exist; Israel set to approve move, but has asked for more time.”


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Israeli demolition in West Bank sparked tensions with top Democrat,

“House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) last week called Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to protest over the demolition of a house in the West Bank owned by a Palestinian American accused of carrying out a terror attack, Israeli officials tell me. Why it matters: The demolition — which sparked the Biden administration’s first criticism of the new Israeli government on the Palestinian issue — took place while Meeks was leading a bipartisan delegation to Israel…Between the lines: ‘If we did it after the delegation left, this incident could have been averted,’ the official added, noting that Lapid didn’t like the timing either and understood why Meeks was upset.”

Turkey, Israel want to improve ties after presidents’ call: AKP,

“Turkey and Israel agreed to work towards improving their strained relations after a rare phone call between their presidents, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK Party said on Wednesday. The two countries expelled ambassadors in 2018 after a bitter falling-out. Ankara has condemned Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians, while Israel has called on Turkey to drop support for the Palestinian group Hamas that governs Gaza.”

Free Speech/Academia/Protests

Cornel West quits Harvard citing school's opposition to his support for Palestinians,

“Cornel West, an American philosopher and known support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, announced Tuesday that he was resigning from Harvard University, citing the school’s opposition to his support for the Palestinians. West posted his ‘candid letter of resignation’ on Twitter, in which he claimed that he was denied extended tenure at the school solely due to his pro-Palestinian views. ‘To witness a faculty enthusiastically support a candidate for tenure then timidly defer to a rejection based on the Harvard administration’s hostility to the Palestinian cause was disgusting,’ he wrote. ‘We all knew the mendacious reasons given had nothing to do with academic standards … I knew my academic achievements and student teaching meant far less than their political prejudices.’”

Illinois investigates company for support of antisemitic BDS campaign,

“The Illinois Investment Policy Board committee on Israel boycott restrictions launched a formal inquiry into the Chicago-based multinational investor company Morningstar for alleged violation of its anti-BDS law.”