Top News from Israel & Palestine: July 5, 2021

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Palestinian Protests & Politics

Who is the Palestinian Authority protecting? Not us.,

“Today, Palestine resembles a war zone. What we are witnessing today reminds me of the stories I heard from older generations who lived through 1948, 1967, 1987. From Jerusalem to Haifa to Gaza and Ramallah, Palestinians are facing some form of violence, either from Israeli settlers, police and army, or from Palestinian authorities…For years, the Palestinian Authority has solidified its position by repressing and torturing Palestinian dissidents, reportedly with Israeli coordination. Though the Authority’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas, threatens to cease security coordination whenever Israel escalates its colonial project of ethnic cleansing, the relationship has continued. More recently, in July 2020, the Palestinian Authority halted security coordination with Israel. By November, the coordination had resumed. These agreements are nothing more than attempts to gain political power at the expense of protecting Palestinians. For years, Palestinian activists, analysts and dissidents have warned of unprecedented violence from both Israel and Palestinian authorities, which prioritize their own political agendas. Palestinians are left isolated and exposed, without protection or support, except from each other. On June 27, I watched a group of youths — bruised, beaten and heartbroken — seek refuge near a church in Ramallah. Fatah loyalists and Palestinian police were rampaging across the city, beating up protesters. This raises the question: What is the Palestine that the Palestinian Authority claims to represent and fight for, if its members are also a source of violence? Like Israel, the Palestinian Authority is frightened by unity. Like Israel, it is terrified by the fact that most Palestinians protesting in the streets are not under a factional banner. It claims that its fear is Hamas, echoing the speech of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli colonial discourse. Hamas has its own track record of abusing Palestinians and attempting to consolidate its own grip on Palestinian politics. Experiencing repression from all sides, it feels as though Palestinians have become pawns in a game of chess. We have resorted to documenting the daily violence, hoping to expose the crimes and testify against the criminals. Justice and freedom require a complete unearthing of both, the crimes that were committed in the dark, and those being committed now.”

Israel arrests Palestinian rights lawyer who protested Abbas,

“A Palestinian human rights lawyer was detained by Israeli forces early Sunday after taking part in a protest in the occupied West Bank against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his rights group said. The Independent Commission for Human Rights said Farid al-Atrash was detained at an Israeli checkpoint while returning from a protest against the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, where the PA is headquartered. It said al-Atrash was transferred to Israel’s Hadassah Hospital. Issa Amro, a prominent Palestinian activist and friend of al-Atrash, said he was released from the hospital hours later and was still being questioned by Israeli authorities. It’s unclear why he was hospitalized. Neither the Israeli military nor the police responded to requests for comment.”


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Palestinian Authority arrests lawyer, activists, amid Nizar Banat protests,

“Palestinian Authority (PA) forces arrested a Palestinian lawyer and three activists in front of the courts complex in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday morning, amid heightened tensions over the PA’s targeting of activists and demonstrators. Security forces detained Muhannad Karajah, a Palestinian human rights defender and attorney, and a member of Lawyers for Justice, a Palestinian group focused on human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. Sunday’s arrests occurred while a hearing was underway for activists who were arrested a day earlier over their political activism and their participation in a protest in Ramallah against the PA. Karajah had been heading to the court to represent activist Ghassan al-Saadi, as well as to follow up on the summons of another activist, Alaa al-Rimawi, over a speech he gave at the funeral of the Nizar Banat, a popular and outspoken activist who died in PA custody on 24 June.”

Palestinian women journalists speak out against 'deliberate' attacks by PA forces,

“The attack on Zaitoun is one of several instances of violence against women journalists in the course of their work covering the protests. The incidents indicate that Palestinian security forces are specifically targeting women journalists, as reflected in the escalating levels of hostility and violence towars them compared to their male counterparts. Attacks on women journalists have included physical violence, as was the case with Zaitoun and four others; confiscation of electronic devices used to cover the events; intimidation and harassment; chasing journalists in the street; arrest attempts and a ban on reporting. The assaults have continued even after the protests were over, with many female journalists receiving veiled threats that they will be discredited and defamed.” Also See – “As Palestinians Protest Death of Abbas Opponent, Women Are Assaulted in Response” (Haaretz // Amira Hass)

How subcontracting the occupation fuels gendered violence,

“Today, as we see Palestinian Authority thugs attacking Palestinian women for their opposition to the PA’s assassination of Nizar Banat, we must understand that, as it is basically tasked with subcontracting the occupation, the PA is also subcontracting the occupation’s weapons of war against liberation, which include intelligence-gathering that relies on exploiting the details of private lives as bait to silence dissent. For the past week, PA thugs have been arresting Palestinian women, stealing their mobile phones, and threatening to publish their private messages and photos if they failed to comply with PA security demands. This is a duplication of colonial tactics – an egregious form of national betrayal, and yet another reminder that Palestine will not be free until Palestinian women and gender non-conforming individuals are free not only of Zionist settler-colonialism, but also of the restrictions imposed by militarised, violent masculinities within Palestinian society. “

Amid Broad Dissatisfaction, Palestinian Authority Begins to Deal With Needed Reforms,

“Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and other ministers in his government have emerged as targets for replacement. This would lead to changes at the lower levels, including among the district governors, in the ranks of the security services and among the PA’s ambassadors in different countries. Fatah activists say the need for change arose even before Banat’s death, but the incident provides them with an opportunity. However, they emphasize that no agreements have been reached, and it still isn’t clear when any of this will be implemented. One sign of the effort to promote change is the return of former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to the public arena. Sources in Ramallah report that Fayyad met recently with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in the Muqata, and also had informal talks with PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj and Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh, who are members of Abbas’ inner circle. Fayyad abandoned Palestinian politics several years ago, and since then had been watched by the PA’s security service. A slate headed by Fayyad had planned to contend in the Palestinian elections in May that were canceled…Various sources in the PA are also calling to return to the path of elections after a new government is formed. They say elections will help deal with the public’s frustration. These sources also insist it will be easier to come to an agreement with Israel about allowing voting in East Jerusalem, because of the composition of the new Israeli government and because the Biden administration will mediate.”

West Bank & East Jerusalem

Palestinian Shot Dead by Israeli Army Amid Clashes Near Evacuated Settlement Outpost,

“A 20-year-old Palestinian was killed on Saturday by Israeli army fire, following clashes between residents of the West Bank village of Qusra and Israeli settlers, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Palestinian officials reported the man, Farid Ali Hassan, was hit with a live bullet in his chest. He was rushed from the scene, near Nablus, to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, in central Israel, where he was pronounced dead. According to Palestinian reports, two other Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire during the clashes, which began after settlers attacked Qusra…Ghassan Douglas, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of the settlement file in the northern West Bank, told Palestinian media talks are underway with Israel to retrieve Hassan’s body and bring him to burial.”

Vowing to return, settlers leave Evyatar outpost,

“Residents of the West Bank Evyatar outpost kept to their deal with the government and voluntarily left their small hilltop community at 4 p.m. on Friday, some two months after they first arrived. “We left the mountain, but our hearts remain there,” said Evyatar resident Amichai Ben-David…The Evyatar outpost was illegally built without any authorization. Settlers felt that they had the moral ground to construct a new community to protest the terror attack at the nearby Tapuah junction that claimed the life of 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta in the beginning of May. They also believe that grassroots action is needed to build new communities in Judea and Samaria, because they hold that the government has failed to advance such a project. “

Dozens of Palestinians injured as settlers storm Hebron-district town,

“Dozens of Palestinians were injured by Israeli military gunfire as Israeli settlers stormed Halhul town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to security sources. They confirmed that Israeli forces scores of armed Jewish settlers into the Nabi Yunis Mosque, located in the Palestinian-controlled Area A, sparking confrontations with Palestinian residents. Soldiers opened fire towards Palestinians protestors, injuring six protestors with rubber-coated steel bullets and causing dozens others to suffocate from tear gas.”

[Podcast] Rethinking Palestine: Sheikh Jarrah and Beyond,

“Muna Dajani joins host Yara Hawari to discuss how the #SaveSheikhJarrah campaign in support of her family and others in the Jerusalem neighborhood has acted as a catalyst for the ongoing uprising across historic Palestine against decades of Israeli settler-colonialism.”

Palestinian detainee remains on hunger strike for 61 days,

“Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails, Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, continues his hunger strike today for the 61st day in a row in protest of his unfair detention without charge or trial, according to the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission. The commission spokesman, Hassan Abed-Rabbu, told WAFA that Abu Atwan is suffering a severe deficiency in the amount of fluid in the body that endangers the functions of the vital organs in his body, including the heart and kidneys. He’s also experiencing permanent fatigue and headaches, as he refuses to receive any nutritional supplements. Abu Atwan has also lost more than 15 kilograms of weight and is suffering from tachycardia, in addition to the inability to speak and move. He’s also experiencing psychological and nervous pressure as a result of the deterioration of his health. On June 10, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected for the second time a petition by Abu Atwan concerning the abolition of his administrative detention. Abu Atwan is boycotting medical examination and treatment by the Israeli prison authorities.”


Bennett on Gaza strikes in response to arson balloons: ‘Things have changed’,

“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowed Sunday that Israel will continue to respond forcefully to any further attacks from Gaza, after the military struck Hamas targets following arson attacks from the enclave that caused fires in southern Israel. “I again clarify here: things have changed,” Bennett said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. He added: “Israel is interested in calm and has no interest in harming Gaza residents, but violence… will be met with a strong response.”

Israeli military infiltrates Gaza’s border, raze farmland,

Israeli military today infiltrated Gaza’s border, to the east of the city of Gaza, and razed farmlands, according to WAFA correspondent. He said that the ten Israeli military tanks and bulldozers advanced several dozens of meters to the east of Shaja‘iya neighborhood, and razed a large tract of farmland in the borderline area.”

Israeli Politics

Gantz, Shaked squabble over settlements as cabinet sorts out a West Bank policy,

“On Sunday, the right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper reported that Shaked last week told members of the Yesha Council — an umbrella organization representing many West Bank settlements — that the Supreme Planning Council​ of the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, which is required to sign off on settlement construction, would meet every quarter to approve the expansion of West Bank settlements. During the meeting, Shaked reportedly also told the Yesha Council representatives that the current government would continue the basic West Bank policies of the previous government. Gantz’s office resoundingly denied that such a decision had been made. “This never happened. There was never agreement on this matter in the coalition negotiations,” a spokesperson for the minister said in a statement.

Vote to extend Palestinian family reunification law coming down to the wire,

“Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has said that the law will finally come up to a vote on Monday, after several delays, and that she believes it will pass with support from opposition parties. According to a Monday report by the Kan public broadcaster, Shaked has agreed to a compromise requested by Meretz and Ra’am to renew the law for six months, as opposed to a year. But the interior minister reportedly refused to consider granting citizenship to Palestinians already living in Israel.”


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With Bennett as Prime Minister, Political Power Is in Israeli Settlers’ Hands,

“The agreement between the government and the settler criminals – who chalked up a victory last week on par with the pioneering settlement of Elon Moreh – is anything but a compromise. On the contrary, describing it in terms of a surrender also misses the point. Who exactly surrendered here? When we pull out of the sand our heads buried because of realpolitik and look properly at the makeup of the government – again, established out of necessity to replace Netanyahu – we have to reconsider the ideological hothouse of its leader, Bennett, the former head of the Yesha Council of settlements, and his partner Shaked. And when we do so, we start to be reminded that there are no ideological gaps between them and the “Evyatar pioneers,” as Shaked described them.”

Israel's new government compromises in West Bank, signaling continuation of Netanyahu's policies,

“Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli expert on Jerusalem, said that while he thought the new government would be more attentive to voices coming from the United States and Europe than Netanyahu’s was, it remained unclear whether that would affect policy. “After 54 years of occupation and 12 years of Netanyahu, the settler ideology is the DNA of official Israel and the organs of Israeli government,” Seidemann said. The situation in Eviatar indicated that the people who make the decisions are not brave enough to take on the settlers, but these policies could change with time, effort and courage, he said. Bennett, he said, remained an unknown quantity. “I don’t know who Bennett is because I suspect that he doesn’t know who he is either,” Seidemann said. “We’re about to find out.””

Court again delays resumption of Netanyahu trial, putting it off till July 19,

“The Jerusalem District Court on Monday said there would a further delay to the trial of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announcing it will restart on July 19 instead of next Monday as planned. It was the second time proceedings have been held up following a court order that defense attorneys be provided with new evidence gleaned from messages and emails on the phone of former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua, a key witness in the case.”

Ayman Odeh still wants to be Israel’s first Palestinian prime minister,

“In his first interview following the new government’s formation, the Joint List head talks Ra’am’s decision to join the coalition, his steadfast support for two states, and why he thinks he can lead Israel’s democratic camp to victory.”


Norway’s largest pension fund divests from firms linked to West Bank settlements,

“Norway’s largest pension fund announced Monday it had divested assets in 16 companies for their links to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including telecom equipment giant Motorola. “Motorola and other companies risk complicity in international law violations in occupied Palestine,” KLP, which manages some 95 billion dollars (80 billion euros) worth of assets, said in a statement. The divestment follows the February 2020 UN publication of a list of 112 companies with activities linked to Israeli settlements, considered illegal under international law.”


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