Top News from Israel & Palestine: July 19, 2021

What We’re Reading

Breaking News

“Ben & Jerry’s Will End Sales of Our Ice Cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”,

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.  We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year. Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.”


Also see:

Spotlight on Jerusalem

Amid tensions at Temple Mount, some 1,700 Jews visit holy site for Tisha B’Av,

“Some 1,700 Jews visited the Temple Mount on Sunday to mark the fast day of Tisha B’Av, which mourns the destruction of the two Jewish Temples that stood there, hours after Palestinian worshipers clashed with police at the holy site. In the wake of the clashes, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held an assessment of the security situation with Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev and police chief Kobi Shabtai, with the premier’s office saying in a statement that he had ‘instructed that the orderly and safe ascent of Jews to the Temple Mount should continue, while order is maintained at the site.’”


More Reports:



The Gen Z activist twins of Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem,

“Muna and Mohammed el-Kurd are 23-year-old siblings who have become social media stars with more than two million followers. They are famous worldwide for live streaming the violence they witness on their streets in their neighbourhood. Charlotte Edwardes meets them at home.”


Israel Won't Label West Bank Settlement Products, Consumer Protection Agency Says,

“Israel’s consumer protection authority has rejected a request that products made in Jewish settlements and outposts in the West Bank be labeled as products not manufactured in Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian organization Combatants for Peace had made the request based on the claim that such labeling would prevent misleading consumers who wish to avoid buying products made in Israeli settlements beyond its pre-1967 borders. The Consumer Protection and Fair Trade Authority’s legal adviser, Hana Weinstock Tiri, wrote that the head of the agency does not have the authority to declare that the locations are ‘not in the country of ‘Israel.’ The law on consumer protection, she said, has been applied to the West Bank, and the provision regarding product labeling states that it also applies to products produced in the territories.”

High Court Allows Transfer of Public Funds to Settlement Movement,

“Local councils in the West Bank may continue to hand over public funds to the Amana movement, a major organization involved in illegal construction in settlements and outposts, the High Court of Justice ruled on Sunday, rejecting a petition to stop the transfer of tens of millions of shekels to the pro-settler group.”

Occupation/De Facto Annexation

IDF razes over 50 Palestinian structures during US envoy Amr's visit,

“The IDF razed over 50 illegal West Bank Palestinian structures last week, while United States envoy Hady Amr was visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories last week. The US and the international community, have persistently spoken out against such demolitions, of which 400 have taken place this year, according to United Nations data. That’s more than the 393 structures razed in 2019. If the pace continues it is likely that more illegal Palestinian structures  will be demolished this year than the 664 that were razed last year.”


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Israel imposed tight restrictions on Palestinians in Hebron to secure settler raids,

“Israeli occupation forces yesterday imposed tight restrictions, closed Palestinian shops, and stopped Palestinians at checkpoints to secure raids by illegal Jewish settlers to an archaeological site in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Anadolu reported. A local activist told the news wire that the Israeli occupation forces accompanied groups of Jewish settlers who arrived in the archaeological area. Wafa news agency reported that the Israeli occupation forces closed the Bab Al-Zawyeh area in central Hebron, in addition to a road leading to Al-Shuhada Street.”

Jenin becomes flashpoint for Israel-Palestinian confrontations,

“ The city of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, is back to the forefront amid daily incidents in the past weeks involving clashes between armed young men of the Palestinian resistance in the area and Israeli forces.”

NGOs: 5,426 Palestinians arrested by Israel in 2021,

“Israeli forces have rounded up 5,426 Palestinians, including women and children, in the first half of 2021, according to Palestinian NGOs, Anadolu Agency reported. A total of 854 children and 107 women were among those detained since the beginning of this year, said a report by the Commission of Detainees’ Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner Society, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center. The month of May saw the highest number of arrests, with 3,100 Palestinians taken into Israeli custody, the statement said. The occupied city of Jerusalem came first with the highest number of arrests (1,699 detainees), it added.” Also see: Nine Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike against detention without trial (WAFA)

IDF probing Palestinian’s death, video of masked soldier shooting at village,

“Military Police opened an investigation into the death of a Palestinian man in the northern West Bank in May, following reports that he may have been killed in clashes provoked by armed settlers during which an off duty-soldier fired toward a village, the Israel Defense Forces said Monday. The incident occurred May 14, during the 11-day conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip, which also saw protests by Palestinians in the West Bank, as well as attacks by settlers on Palestinian villages. That day, Nidal Safadi was shot dead under unclear circumstances in Urif, a Palestinian village southwest of the Yitzhar settlement. Many residents of Yitzhar and nearby illegal outposts are hardliners who regularly clash with nearby Palestinian communities and Israeli security forces. Video footage from May 14, which was distributed by the anti-occupation B’Tselem human rights group, showed a bare-chested man wearing IDF pants with a shirt wrapped around his face as a mask apparently firing an M-16 rifle toward Urif, as at least two IDF soldiers look on. The military later confirmed that the shirtless man was an IDF soldier who lived in Yitzhar but was not on duty at the time.”

Israel’s Psychological Torture of Palestinian Prisoners and Their Families,

“As seen in the cruel decision to ban a jailed Palestinian political activist from her own daughter’s funeral, Israel’s goal is to deter people from resisting the settler-colonialization regime.”

Spotlight on the PA

US envoy warns Palestinian Authority's standing has 'never been worse',

“A senior US diplomat has warned Israeli officials that the multiple crises facing the Palestinian Authority (PA) have left it in a worse situation than he had ever seen, equating it to ‘a dry forest waiting to catch fire’.” Also see: Israel Considering Financial Relief to the Palestinian Authority Following U.S. Envoy’s Visit (Haaretz)

Family of activist who died in PA custody accuses Ramallah of cover-up,

“The family of a political activist who died in the custody of Palestinian security forces last month accused the Palestinian Authority on Saturday of trying to cover up his death. Relatives of Nazir Banat said they still have not received a document with an official cause of death and that the Palestinian Authority has made efforts to settle the matter out of court. ‘The behavior of the Palestinian Authority until this moment is criminal behavior, covering up a crime,’ Ghassan Banat, Nazir’s brother, told reporters.”

Palestinian Authority arrests singer for performing in settlement,

“Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested a Palestinian singer for performing in the Samaria settlement of Ariel. The singer, a resident of the West Bank village of Kafr ad-Dik, will be tried on charges of promoting normalization with Israel, people familiar with the matter told The Jerusalem Post. The singer was recently invited to perform at a party held by an Israeli factory for its Palestinian workers at the Ariel Industrial Park, the Palestinian sources said. ‘Contrary to the claims of the Palestinian Authority, settlers did not attend the party,’ one of the sources said. ‘The party was organized by the factory owners for the Palestinian workers.’”


US, Israel Agree to Improve Air Defenses,

“Israeli Air Force (IAF) representatives met this week with US air defense officials to discuss improving air defense systems during emergency situations for both countries. A statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson’s Unit announced that the purpose of the meeting was to improve the ‘collaborative readiness of the forces for the joint defense of Israel.’ The two countries signed a deal for updated air defense operational cooperation.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II to meet Joe Biden in Washington,

“In a turn of fortune for Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who has been dealing with a series of domestic and external crises, the 59-year-old monarch is set to become the first Arab leader to meet with US President Joe Biden when he visits the White House on Monday. A staunch US ally, the king has ruled Jordan for the past 21 years but experienced difficult relations with Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, who he believed was sidelining his country from regional developments.”


Also see:

Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid to visit Morocco as countries strengthen ties,

“Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is planning to travel to Morocco in early August to inaugurate the new Israeli diplomatic mission in Rabat, Israeli sources told me. Why it matters: Lapid would be the first Israeli minister to visit Morocco since the nations re-established diplomatic relations last December as part of a three-way deal with the U.S., in which the Trump administration recognized Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara.”

Surveillance, Tech, & Social Media 

Private Israeli spyware used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists worldwide,

“Military-grade spyware licensed by an Israeli firm to governments for tracking terrorists and criminals was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives and two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and 16 media partners. The phones appeared on a list of more than 50,000 numbers that are concentrated in countries known to engage in surveillance of their citizens and also known to have been clients of the Israeli firm, NSO Group, a worldwide leader in the growing and largely unregulated private spyware industry, the investigation found.”


International Media:


Israeli & Regional Media:

Investigating the Surveillance:

[DIFFERENT SCANDAL] Microsoft says Israeli company's malware used to hack dissidents, activists,

“Microsoft says it disrupted an Israeli private company’s unique malware that hackers in other countries used to spy on political dissidents and rights campaigners. After receiving a tip from researchers at Citizen Lab, a watchdog organization at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, Microsoft began investigating malware from a group it dubbed ‘Sourgum.’ Citizen Lab has assessed with high confidence that the actor Microsoft is calling Sourgum is an Israeli company that goes by the name Candiru. According to the watchdog, Candiru sells spyware that can infect and monitor a range of devices and platforms, including Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Its customers are exclusively foreign governments, Citizen Lab said. Candiru has reportedly previously sold to government agencies in Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.  Microsoft and Citizen Lab say the malware was used in ‘precision attacks’ targeting more than 100 people worldwide, including politicians, human rights activists, journalists, academics, embassy workers and political dissidents.Roughly half of the victims identified were located in the Palestinian territories, with the remaining targets in Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Spain’s Catalonia region, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Armenia and Singapore.” Also see: Citizen Lab’s report points to Israeli cyber’s lack of morals (CTech)

Google executive dismissed following blog post confessing antisemitism,

“Google has parted ways with an executive on Thursday, following a LinkedIn blog he posted in June, where he confessed to being antisemitic in his past, news sites reported…’Until recently, I was still an anti-Zionist. I believed Zionism was super evil,’ Awadallah wrote. ‘Zionism, as far as I understand it, is the need to have a safe home where Jewish people will no longer be persecuted like they were in the past. It is such a respectable goal – how can anyone, including myself, stand against that cause?,’ the Egyptian-American stated in his LinkedIn blog.”

Facebook Blocks Account That Posted Letter by Jailed Palestinian ex-MP,

“Facebook suspended for two months the account of a user who posted a letter from Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian political activist and former parliament member who is serving a prison sentence in Israel, written after Jarrar’s daughter’s funeral Tuesday. Omar Nazzal, a close friend of the Jarrars, was notified this week that his Facebook account is suspended for two months, shortly after he had posted the letter…Nazzal, a close friend of the Jarrars, is a journalist, and has been held by Israel in administrative detention in the past. He posted the letter to his Facebook account on Thursday morning. About five hours later, an announcement in English from Facebook appeared on his account, stating: ‘You can’t go live or advertise for 60 days. This is because you previously posted something that didn’t follow our Community Standards.’ The announcement, which cut off Jarrar’s letter at the top, allowing only the first sentence to be seen, continued: ‘This post goes against our standards on dangerous individuals and organizations, so only you can see it.’”

Antisemitism online: Interparliamentary task force releases report,

“…The forum, held in Jerusalem from July 13-15, was organized by Israel’s Foreign Ministry. ‘Israel has become the new excuse for the old antisemitism. And our enemies have free rein because there has been no commensurate response from Israel,’ he added. B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin addressed the forum as well, suggesting five approaches to fight antisemitism, including encouraging the endorsement of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.”

Hate Speech on Israeli Social Media Grew 9 Percent in Past Year, Report Shows,

“Hate speech on Israeli Hebrew-language social media grew by 9 percent over the past 12 months, compared with the previous 12 months, according to the Hate Index Report issued Sunday by the Berl Katznelson Foundation, in conjunction with the Vigo research institute…The populations that were most targeted by internet invective were Arabs, who suffered 32.7 percent of the offensive posts, followed by the ultra-Orthodox 17.4 percent) and the Israeli left (13.9 percent).”

Attacking Civil Society/Free Speech/Academia/Protests

'UN sponsoring groups urging Israel's boycott,' right-wing watchdog asserts,

“Im Tirtzu study finds that between 2016 and 2020, the UN funneled some $40 million to 19 Palestinian organizations associated with the BDS movement. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan plans to demand ‘comprehensive discussion about the UN’s financing mechanisms.’”