Top News from Israel & Palestine: July 26, 2021

What We’re Reading

Gaza Strip

The Gaza ceasefire is shaky and another war may be coming soon,

“As soon as the 11-day Israeli war on Gaza ended in May, preparation began in Israel and in the strip for a new confrontation. It was clear from the start that the ceasefire brokered by Egypt was fragile and may not last long. The temporary truce was concluded under pressure from the United States but it did not settle the most triggering issues between the two parties. As a result, conflict between Israel and Hamas could be easily reignited in the near future.”


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Following Gaza explosion, Palestinians angry at Hamas for weapons caches in residential areas,

“Anger at the Hamas terrorist group that runs the Gaza Strip – and other Islamists active in the enclave – bubbled over, as Palestinian factions and human rights organizations called for the cessation of weapons storage in residential areas. The demand came following a large explosion Thursday morning, which rocked the Al-Zawiya market area of Gaza City, in which one person was killed and at least 14 wounded, including six children. Initial reports suggested that it might have been a gas leak, but footage showed that the detonation of weapons caused the type of explosion. Hamas said that it had launched an investigation into the explosion, although it has not yet provided any details, according to The Jerusalem Post. Other Palestinian factions have also demanded a thorough investigation and the bringing of those responsible to account for their actions.” Also see: Palestinians accuse Hamas of storing weapons in residential areas (Jerusalem Post)

West Bank & East Jerusalem: Occupation/De Facto Annexation

Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli troops in West Bank,

“Palestinian health officials on Friday said that a 17-year-old youth was shot and killed as Israeli troops stormed a village in the occupied West Bank. The shooting occurred in Nabi Saleh, a village where residents have held numerous demonstrations over the years against the expansion of a nearby Israeli settlement on their land. The official Palestinian news agency WAFA identified the teen as Mohammed Tamimi, a member of a large extended family that lives in the village. Bilal Tamimi, a resident and relative of the teen, said he was shot in the back during a clash that erupted after Israeli troops entered the village.”


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Palestinian Teen [a different one] Dies of Wounds Sustained in May Clashes,

“A 17-year-old Palestinian died on Monday, two months after he was wounded in the neck by Israeli gunfire during clashes near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health authorities said. The shooting occurred during one of numerous clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces during the 11-day war in May between Israel and Hamas, the fourth conflict since the militant group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. A statement from Palestinian health authorities said Youssef Nawaf died after a May 14 gunshot wound in the neck damaged his spinal cord, leaving him in critical condition.” Also see: Palestinian Teen Dies of Wounds Two Months After Clashes With Israeli Forces Near Ramallah (Haaretz)

Over 140 Palestinians hurt after Israeli troops attack anti-settlement protesters,

“More than 140 Palestinians were injured on Friday by Israeli troops in the West Bank village of Beita, medics said, during protests against an illegal Israeli settlement outpost. Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Beita, located in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to protest against the nearby outpost of Evyatar, an AFP correspondent said. The area has seen regular demonstrations against illegal settlement expansion on Palestinian land. The Palestinian Red Crescent said 146 Palestinians were hurt as a result of the Israeli army assault, including nine by live fire, 34 by rubber-coated bullets and 87 by tear gas. The Israeli army said in a statement that it had used ‘riot dispersal means’ against the Palestinian protesters after they had thrown rocks.” Also see: Clashes Erupt as Settlers Stay in Abandoned Israeli Army Post in West Bank (Haaretz)

IDF: Palestinian hurling firebombs, rocks shot in West Bank; 2 others arrested,

“A Palestinian assailant who was throwing firebombs and rocks at an Israeli car was shot in the West Bank on Saturday, the army said. Two other suspects were arrested after a chase, the Israel Defense Forces said. The military said the three Palestinians were hurling Molotov cocktails and stones at an Israeli vehicle near the settlement of Mevo Dotan. Soldiers moved to arrest them and thwart a potential terror attack, opening fire in their direction and hitting one suspect. His condition was not immediately known. The other two were apprehended a short while later, the military said.” Also see: Israeli forces injure Palestinian passenger after shooting at vehicle in West Bank (The New Arab)

Settlers rebuild abandoned outpost near Hebron,

“Illegal Israeli settlers embarked today on rebuilding a colonial settlement outpost which was evacuated two months ago near the town of Yatta, in the Hebron province in the south of the occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Commission in Hebron, told WAFA that a group of Israeli settlers broke into the site of the abandoned settlement outpost and embarked on installing residential facilities and caravans there. Two months ago, Palestinian anti-colonization protesters removed the outpost and pressed the colonial Israeli settlers who had settled there to leave the site.”


More from WAFA:

Israeli forces release Palestinian woman's body after withholding for over 40 days,

“Israeli forces released on Friday night the body of a Palestinian mother they shot and killed last month, after holding it hostage for more than 40 days, her family said. Israeli forces fatally shot Ibtisam Kaabneh, 27, from Jericho, on June 12 at Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, claiming to have stopped an alleged ‘attempted stabbing attack’.”

Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem forced to demolish own house to avoid paying heavy fees,

“A Palestinian resident of occupied East Jerusalem was forced at orders from the West Jerusalem Israeli municipality to demolish his own house located in Jabal al-Mukabber neighborhood under the pretext the house was built without a permit in order to avoid paying heavy costs and fines. Ali Khalil Shqeirat told WAFA that Israeli municipality staff gave him the demolition order on Wednesday and was told that if he does not demolish it himself, the municipality will demolish it and force him to pay exorbitant fees and costs. He said that to avoid paying the large costs, he proceeded to demolish his 70-square-meter house, which he lives in with his wife, using manual tools.”

Where is the price for destroying a Palestinian village?,

“Diplomats can see that the new Israeli government is continuing to expel Palestinians. Why are their states still rewarding these crimes with honors?”

Ben & Jerry’s vs Lawfare

Israeli Law Center Moves to Seize Ben and Jerry’s Rights to Manufacture Ice Cream in Judea and Samaria After Announced Boycott by Vermont Company,

“Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center informs food giant Unilever that since Unilever has now abandoned its Trademark ‘Ben & Jerry’s’ in certain areas of Israel (that it calls ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’) Shurat Hadin will control the Ben & Jerry’s name for use in those abandoned areas and form a new company to manufacture and distribute ice ream under the Ben & Jerry’s name.”


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I Was Targeted by NSO Spyware. Here's How Israel Is Helping Modi Undermine India's Democracy,

“Modi’s India and NSO: For two years, aided by Israeli technology, my own government spied on me. This is what it’s like to be targeted, why Israel must shut down sales of Pegasus, and why authoritarian cowards troll and intimidate – but they won’t silence me.”

Pegasus: NSO Group boss says Qatar or BDS behind spyware scandal,

“NSO Group co-founder and CEO Shalev Hulio has told an Israeli newspaper that ‘Qatar or the BDS movement – maybe both’ are behind the scandal surrounding his company’s Pegasus spyware…When asked who he thought was behind the scandal, Hulio replied: ‘I believe that in the end it will turn out to be Qatar, or the BDS movement, or both. In the end, it’s always the same entities. I don’t want to sound cynical, but there are people who don’t want ice cream to be imported here [to Israel] or for technology to be exported,’ he added, referencing the controversy surrounding Ben and Jerry’s’ decision to stop selling its product in occupied Palestinian territories.”


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Israel Domestic Scene

Israeli Military Issued 'Sweeping Ban' on Arab Truckers During Gaza Fighting,

“The Israeli military banned contractors from sending Arabs as drivers to military bases during the recent round of fighting in the Gaza Strip, forcing them to miss work. This is contrary to claims that Arab drivers refused to come to work following the clashes in mixed cities during the escalation. Well-informed sources say the Israel Defense Forces allowed the smears against the drivers to be published for immaterial reasons that were related to budget struggles with the treasury.” Also see: The Israel Discrimination Forces (Haaretz)

Shaked's party to leave government if settlement freeze is agreed,

“Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has confirmed that her Yamina party will leave the coalition government if it agreed to a request from the Biden administration to implement a building freeze in West Bank settlements, Israeli media reported on Friday. Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Israeli Makor Rishon newspaper, Shaked spoke about her party’s red lines. ‘If the government does something that is ideologically serious in my view, we will not be a part of it. For example, if the US administration demands a freeze in the West Bank [settlement building], there will be no government,’ the Yamina MK asserted.”

A landmine named Ayelet Shaked,

“Even after the Knesset failed to renew the law that bans Palestinians married to Israelis from automatically receiving citizenship, the interior minister is persisting with her efforts to block the applications of those wishing to join their families in Israel – but can she win?”

Palestinian Authority/PLO

Exclusive: Palestinian Authority’s Hussein Al-Sheikh Tells The Media Line PA Is Ready for Direct Talks With Israel,

“Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh is one of the leading figures in the Palestinian Authority hierarchy and is one of President Mahmoud Abbas’ closest advisers. Al-Sheikh is the point person to Israel in all security matters and chairs the dialogue between the Palestinian government and the United States administration. Al-Sheikh, who rarely gives public statements and has not given a full interview in some years, sat down with The Media Line’s Felice Friedson in his Ramallah office for this exclusive conversation that included the current political situation, the next steps in jumpstarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the American role in the conflict and internal security issues.”

Palestinian Authority Demands Activating Role of Int’l Quartet,

“The Palestinian Authority has called for activating the role of the International Quartet, which has been almost frozen for several years. ‘We demand that the role of the International Quartet be activated, and we support the Russian invitation for a ministerial-level meeting for this committee,’ announced member of the Fatah Central Committee and Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh.”

Israel, US discuss strengthening Palestinian Authority,

“Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has discussed with acting US ambassador to Israel, Michael Ratney, an initiative to strengthen the Palestinian Authority (PA). On Friday, Gantz posted on Twitter: ‘This morning, I met with Michael Ratney. We discussed the importance of economic and social initiatives to strengthen the PA.’ Gantz also confirmed that he discussed with the US official: ‘Trust-building measures to benefit the security of the region.’ On Israeli-US ties, Gantz announced: ‘In the face of increasing security threats, the unwavering bond between the US and Israel is vital.’ He stressed: ‘We will continue to work together to address local and regional challenges.’”  Also see: Former PA official: ‘Israel seeks building confidence with Abbas’ (Middle East Monitor)

Court: PLO must pay ship hijacking victims nearly NIS 1m.,

“The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday ruled that the Palestine Liberation Organization must pay nearly NIS one million to the estates of two Israeli victims of a 1985 ship hijacking.”

The colonial idea that built the Palestinian Authority,

“Israel tried for years to create a body that would control Palestinians on its behalf. It was the liberation movement’s leaders that helped it succeed.”

Region & Normalization

Jordan king confirms meeting Israel's Bennett, Gantz,

“King Abdullah II has confirmed meeting Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defence Minister Benny Gantz, saying that the meeting with the officials was ‘very encouraging.’ In an interview with CNN, King Abdullah said: ‘It was important for me not only to meet with the Palestinian leadership. I met the prime minister [Bennett], I met General Gantz. We really have to get back to the table.’ However, he said: ‘This government may not be the most ideal government to, in my view, a two-state solution, which I think is the only solution.’” Also see: Jordan can’t be Palestinian homeland in two-state solution – King Abdullah (Jerusalem Post)

Israel launches direct flights to Morocco,

“At a ceremony sending off the El Al flight attended by Moroccan envoy Abderrahim Beyyoudh, Israel’s Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said the service would boost ‘trade, tourism and economic cooperation between the countries,’ according to an El Al statement.”

Amir Hayek appointed as Israel's Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates,

“Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday appointed Amir Hayek as Israel’s permanent ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. The post is currently held on a temporary basis by Eitan Na’eh. Amir Hayek is the president of the Israel Hotel Association. He previously headed the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel and was Director General of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.”

Algeria Denounces AU’s Granting Israel of Observer Status,

“Algeria condemned on Sunday the African Union’s (AU) decision to grant Israel observer status. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the move will not impact the AU’s firm stance and support towards the Palestinian cause. It confirmed that the Union maintains its commitment to embodying the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Israeli judo star perseveres after 2 opponents’ withdrawals,

“Tohar Butbul could only shake his head in resignation after the Israeli judo star’s first two potential opponents dropped out of the Tokyo Olympics shortly before they would have faced him…Algeria’s Fetih Nourine withdrew from the Games on Saturday when he learned he would meet Butbul if he advanced to the second round Monday, explicitly citing his support for Palestinians for his decision. On Monday, Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool didn’t show up to face Butbul in their round of 32 bout despite weighing in earlier.”

Iranian Dissidents to Visit Israel,

“At the end of July 2021, a delegation of eight Iranian opposition members will visit Israel to take part in cultural and political meetings planned by the Institute for Voices of Liberty (IVOL). These meetings could lay the basis for a future relationship between Israel and Iran after the collapse of the ayatollahs’ dictatorship.”