Top News from Israel & Palestine: July 6, 2021

What We’re Reading

Inside the Green Line

Israel blocks law that keeps out Palestinian spouses,

“Israel’s parliament early on Tuesday failed to renew a law that bars Arab citizens from extending citizenship or residency rights to spouses from the occupied West Bank and Gaza, in a tight vote that raised doubts about the viability of the country’s new coalition government. The 59-59 vote, which came after an all-night session of the Knesset, marked a major setback for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The new Israeli leader, who had hoped to find a compromise between his hard-line Yamina party and the dovish factions in his disparate coalition, instead suffered a stinging defeat in a vote he reportedly described as a referendum on the new government. The vote means the law is now set to expire at midnight Tuesday. “The opposition last night delivered a direct blow to the security of the country,” Bennett said Tuesday, accusing his opponents, including former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of choosing “petty politics” over the nation’s wellbeing.”


More Coverage & Analysis

Netanyahu now in role of shadow prime minister,

“It was Netanyahu himself who decided on the strategy to take down the Citizenship Law. He worked day and night on it, convincing his allies and rallying the ranks of Likud and ultra-Orthodox Knesset members. In general, ever since he left the prime minister’s office, he seems to be enjoying his new job as head of a shadow government. He has already challenged the inexperienced new prime minister on issues surrounding security, foreign policy and the coronavirus. Now he plans to go back to the Likud’s huge base across the country, to ensure that his supporters do not abandon the party. A former Likud minister who spoke on condition of anonymity told Al-Monitor, “Netanyahu has a plan to go from city to city, from the north all the way to the south, in order to spur the right and the Likud into action. That way, when there is an election, he will be ready.””

The Palestinian Scene

Palestinian security forces round up protesters in Ramallah,

“The Palestinian Authority has rounded up more than 20 Palestinians who protested in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday over the killing of activist Nizar Banat, before police attacked a sit-in staged by families of those detained. Some detainees were released early morning on Tuesday, though others remain in custody awaiting to be transferred for public prosecution. Police began rounding up demonstrators at Al-Manarah Square in Ramallah on Monday, where activists had arrived to join the protest over the death of Banat, a fierce PA critic who died in custody in late June. Several activists were arrested on the site and the rally was dispersed before it could begin.”

U.S. Support Is Keeping the Undemocratic Palestinian Authority Alive,

“…the trend of authoritarianism in the occupied Palestinian territories has beenon the rise for years. It is a product not only of a self-serving and corrupt political elite butalso of an anti-democratic U.S. policy that acts as a bulwark for Abbas’s autocraticleadership and an Israeli political agenda that has closed the door on Palestinianindependence and turned the PA from a proto-state government into a subcontractor ofoccupation, policing Palestinian population centers and preventing any challenge toIsraeli rule. Over time, as the prospects of a Palestinian state recede completely, the PA isbecoming increasingly one-dimensional, sapped of its nationalistic mission, and isgradually being folded into Israel’s regime of permanent control over the Palestinians.”

Palestinian plainclothes security agents further popular dissent,

“The international actions of the Palestinian security forces — both uniformed and plainclothes — was strong. UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said that the Palestinian government is obliged “to ensure freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly,” and that the Palestinian security forces must “act to provide safety and security” for the exercise of human rights, including peaceful assembly. “Any unnecessary or disproportionate use of force must be promptly, transparently and independently investigated,” she continued. Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq condemned the attacks carried out by the PA security forces against the participants of the peaceful assembly. It also condemns allowing members of the security forces in civilian attire to hold a rally in support of the executive authority in the city center of Ramallah. Al-Haq notes that this exemplifies “discrimination between citizens regarding their enjoyment of their constitutional rights, which the Palestinian Basic Law considers being constitutional crimes not subject to a statute of limitations, and constitutes a grave violation of the state of Palestine’s obligations arising from its accession to international human rights conventions.” While Palestinian and international human rights organizations investigated and condemned what happened and have made official requests for an investigation of the violation of Palestinians’ rights to freedom of expression, it seems that the most dangerous result of what happened has been the struggle within families and the community endangering the very fabric of Palestinian society.”

Palestinians demonstrating against the death of regime critic Nizar Banat are advancing the agenda of Israel, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, a mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority (PA) said Monday.,

“Palestinians demonstrating against the death of regime critic Nizar Banat are advancing the agenda of Israel, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, a mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority (PA) said Monday…In an editorial, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida printed that protestors were deceitful and that their calls for justice over the Banat killing were “characterized by obscenity and lack of unity and national and moral values.””

PA violence is part of Israel's colonial regime,

“This sorry state of affairs was entirely predictable – the consequence of a colonial set-up where the natives are controlled by their own kind. Colonial rule has historically nurtured a client leadership that owes its positions and privileges to the coloniser, and Israel is no exception. The client leadership’s main function is to repress popular resistance by any means. Creating a police force for that purpose was necessary, and repression was the inevitable result. In that sense, the PA, which has more or less followed this colonial model, is as much Israel’s victim as is the population it governs. It should be seen in that light, rather than as a bunch of villains. The idea of creating Palestinian governance within a situation of colonial occupation was always nonsense, unless that colonisation was intended to end.”


Report: UN to oversee transfer of Qatari aid to Gaza,

“The United Nations will oversee the transfer of Qatari money to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian paper reported Sunday, resolving one of the sticking points in negotiations after the 11-day war fought in May between Israel and the Hamas terror group that rules the Strip. Israel had insisted that Hamas could not be allowed unfettered access to the funds on the grounds that it had previously used international assistance earmarked as humanitarian aid to replenish its weapons stores and build more of the attack tunnels that crisscross the coastal enclave.”

Israel, Hamas edge toward agreement on mechanism for Qatari aid money,

“Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar published this morning, that in talks with international and Qatari officials, Hamas had agreed to consider a mechanism by which Qatari money would be distributed through Palestinian banks and under the supervision of the UN. Yesterday, unnamed official Israeli sources told Israel’s army radio that reports on such a new mechanism were not exact. Still, if any such mechanism is indeed established, it should not only help battling the dire economic crisis in the Strip, but also lay the ground for advancing a deal between Israel and the Hamas.”

Occupation, Settlements, Apartheid, Human Rights

Israel, Palestinian Authority to Form Joint Committee for Economic Ventures,

“During its first meeting, expected within a few weeks, the committee is expected to advance two Palestinian requests that have already been made. The first is to issue an additional 17,000 work permits to Palestinian laborers to work in construction and industry in Israel. The second is to help advance the regularization of the Palestinian Fuel Administration, following a reform being pushed by the Palestinian Energy Ministry regarding the purchase of fuel for the PA’s use. At the same time, Palestinian ministers are expected to visit the offices of their Israeli counterparts to promote further coordination between the two sides.”

Al Walajeh under Heightened Risk of Mass Demolition after State Files Motion to Dismiss Appeal,

“Last week, the state filed a motion to dismiss the Al Walajeh residents’ appeal pending at the Supreme Court along with the injunction currently protecting 38 homes from demolition in the Jerusalem portion of the village. In the event that the appeal is dismissed, the injunction would be lifted, placing the 38 homes at imminent risk of being razed and some 300 Palestinians under threat of largescale displacement. Since the demolitions would fall under the jurisdiction of the National Enforcement Unit, they would likely be executed very swiftly. The court has given the residents’ attorney until July 11 to submit a formal response to the state’s motion to dismiss.”

In order to expand settlement, Israelis fence off tract of Palestinian land southwest of Bethlehem,

“Israeli settlers today fenced off a tract of land belonging to al-Jab‘a village, southwest of Bethlehem, according to a local official. Head of al-Jab‘a Village Council, Dhiab Masha‘le, told WAFA that settlers from the colonial settlement of Beit Ayn fenced off an eight-dunum plot of land in a move intended to expand their illegal settlement, which forms part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc….Under the Oslo Accords of 1993, the Palestinian Authority was given limited control over a tiny pocket of land accounting for 3.5 percent of the village’s total area. Israel maintained control over the remainder 96.5 percent, classified as Area C. The village is flanked by a section of Israel’s apartheid wall and three colonial settlements, Bitar Illit from the north, and Geva’ot and Rosh Zurim settlements from the east. Israel also confiscated further land for the construction of the settler-only by-pass roads, which extend for 5.6 kilometers on the village land. Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, confiscating and isolating some 5,527 dunams of fertile land (accounting for 69 percent of the village area), depriving the villagers of access to their fertile land and pushing them into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.”

Israeli authorities demolish school under construction in East Jerusalem,

“The Israeli occupation authorities on Tuesday demolished a school under construction in the Dahiyat al-Salam neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the Israeli authorities used a bulldozer to demolish the school, which they said was built without a permit. The demolition process included confrontations between a number of Palestinians and the Israeli army, which provided protection to the teams who carried out the demolition. Eyewitnesses noted that the Israeli forces arrested at least one Palestinian. On the other hand, the Israeli municipality in occupied Jerusalem forced Yousef Abu Ghannam, a local resident, to demolish his house, in the town of al-Tur. This is the second time the house, home to 20 people, is demolished with the pretext of having no construction permit. The municipality had earlier warned Abu Ghannam to demolish his house, saying it would otherwise demolish it, and fine him to pay a fee.” Also See – “Israeli forces demolish school near Jerusalem” (WAFA)

Palestinian forced by Israeli municipality to demolish his house in Jerusalem neighborhood,

“The Israeli occupation authorities today forced a Palestinian to demolish his house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur to avoid paying exorbitant costs if the Jerusalem municipality carries out the demolition on its own, according to WAFA correspondent. He said that the Abu Ghannam family, which owned the house, opted to tear down its three-story home on its own to avoid paying over $60,000 in costs to the municipality for the demolition costs. The municipality claimed the house was built without a permit and therefore issued a demolition order against it giving the owner the option to tear it down himself, otherwise, the municipality would demolish it and force him to pay costs.”

Israel Closes Case Against Shin Bet Agent Who Used Violence on Palestinians,

“The Israeli state prosecutor decided against indicting a Shin Bet security service officer suspected of committing acts of violence against Palestinians, despite testimony by fellow operatives and an army commander as well as the agent’s own admission that he employed unnecessary violence.”

Rights group urges action to stop Israel’s revocation of residency rights of Palestinian from East Jerusalem,

“In light of a decision by Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked to revoke the right of Salah Hamouri, a Palestinian resident of occupied East Jerusalem, to live in his city, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association today called for urgent intervention to stop decision. On Tuesday 29 June, Shaked announced the adoption of the recommendations to revoke the permanent residency of Salah Hamouri based on “breach of allegiance”, confirming her intentions to proceed with approving the process. The revocation of Hamouri’s residency must still be approved by the Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, and Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar. “This arbitrary, punitive and unlawful decision entails profound violations of human rights, constitutes grave violations of international humanitarian law, and represents yet another example of Israel’s protracted and systematic policies and practices intended to silence human rights defenders. Residency policies, embedded in Israel’s regime of racial domination and oppression, are designed to maintain a perilous legal status for Palestinians in East Jerusalem and uphold an Israeli-Jewish demographic majority in the city,” said Addameer in a statement.”

Israel demolishes facilities in Silwan, Jerusalem,

“Khalil al-Tafakji, head of the maps department at the Arab Studies Society in Jerusalem, told Al-Monitor, “The demolishing of a small facility in Silwan with the assistance of a large Israeli force was a trial balloon. Israel wants to explore the Palestinian or international reactions. The demolition in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood had turned into a public opinion case that led to US, European and popular pressures. The deportation decisions in that neighborhood were eventually frozen.” He noted that the demolition process is part of an Israeli program set forth in 1973 based on an Arab minority and a Jewish majority. The demolition policy is part of the process of Palestinian deportation. Tafakji argued Israel’s actions in Silwan are based on three main points. He explained, “Israel will encircle Palestinian neighborhoods with settlements by invoking Israeli laws. It will penetrate Palestinian neighborhoods by establishing outposts. Then, it will fragment Palestinian communities by reducing the number of Palestinian homes inside the neighborhoods that have been subject to Judaization.””

Life in Sheikh Jarrah has become a 'big prison' under Israeli siege,

“On 16 May, after a suspected car-ramming incident, the Israeli police placed cement blocks at three locations around the neighbourhood, with military police forces manning the posts at all times. Since then, Diab has been forced to keep his personal ID on him when out, in case he needs to go to the grocery store at the entrance to the neighbourhood. “The permanent security posts have turned our lives into hell,” he says. “We have become prisoners in our own home as they prevent non-residents from entering the neighbourhood, forcing us to present our IDs and asking us questions, just like an interrogation, whenever we need to leave or enter.” Diab stays up guarding his house until sunrise, before his brother takes over the watch in fear of a sudden attack by settlers. “I fear the recurrence of what happened to the Dawabsheh family when settlers burned their house in the village of Duma while they were sleeping,” he says, in reference to the 2015 attack that killed a Palestinian couple, their 18-month-old son, and left four-year Ahmed Dawabsheh badly burned. Every now and then, Diab goes to the iron gate, on a leg fractured by Israeli forces during attacks in May, to inspect the situation on the street and talk to neighbours before returning home.”

Surveillance, Big Tech, Media, Free Speech

Amnesty, research groups map out global reach of Israeli NSO Group’s spyware,

“An interactive online platform created by research agencyForensic Architecture, and supported by Amnesty International and the internet watchdog group Citizen Lab, has mapped the global spread of the spyware Pegasus, made by Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO Group. Titled “Digital Violence: How the NSO Group Enables State Terror,” the website shows, for what is said to be the first time, geographic areas in which Pegasus spyware has been deployed worldwide, and interviews lawyers, activists and other civil society figures about their experiences. Forensic Architecture, based in the University of London, investigates human rights violations by states, police forces and corporations.”


Visit the site: “Digital Violence: How the NSO Group Enables State Terror

Repression Diplomacy The Israeli Cyber Industry,

“The Israeli government funnels hundreds of millions of dollars into supporting, funding and coordinating industrial and academic research and development (R&D) and promoting the Israeli cyber industry internationally. In recent years, Israel has signed cooperation agreements in the field of cyber with over 90 states and international organizations.2 Through research partnerships, Israeli universities play a major role in facilitating connections between the Israeli industry and the rest of the world. Israeli scientists and companies participate in EU Framework Programmes projects such as FP7, Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. Under FP7 (2007-2013) alone, Israeli entities received over US$1.06 billion in grants and gained over US$2.4 billion…Cyber exports are the latest chapter in Israel’s long and lethal history of exporting repressive technologies to authoritarian regimes for economic and diplomatic gains. Business and economic ties reinforce, and at times pave the way for diplomatic relations and international cooperation, as can be seen in the recent normalization of political and economic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to journalists, researchers and human rights activists, Israeli cyber products have been used by repressive governments to track and detain activists, persecute LGBT people and silence political dissent. Though Israel formally adheres to export controls on dual-use items regulated under the Wassenaar Arrangement, it does not publicly disclose information on export licenses to specific companies or general licensing policies, undercutting prospects of accountability.”

Analysis & Commentary

Beyond Discrimination: Apartheid is a Colonial Project and Zionism is a form of Racism,

“In this essay, I will explore the dominant Palestinian tradition first by highlighting Palestinian intellectual thought on Zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination. I will also review the legal analysis underpinning Israel’s apartheid regime, which reflects its Zionist ideology rather than the outcome of a failed political project to establish a Palestinian state. The essay will then show how Zionism is better understood as a political and intellectual analog of apartheid in order to emphasize that Israel did not become a discriminatory regime but is defined by such discrimination.  I will conclude with thoughts on the international responsibility to end the apartheid of our time.”

Israel and the Palestinian Authority Know How to Scratch Each Other's Back,

“Some of his friends are convinced that the Israeli security forces arrested him at the request of the Palestinian security agencies. It’s possible to understand this paranoid conclusion – about the brotherhood of security services that collaborate with each other and share an interest in suppressing protests. On Sunday, the PA itself arrested Mohannad Karajah, another lawyer who spoke out against Banat’s killing and the suppression of protests, and held him for several hours…But let us not belittle the autonomy of the decisions and actions taken by the occupation authorities here. Harassing people by means of interrogations, arrests, trials, detention and fines for the crime of realizing their civil right to demonstrate and criticize are the usual tactics of the Israeli oppression regime that calls itself a Jewish and democratic state.”

The Real Reason Lapid Went to Abu Dhabi,

“As a presumptive prime minister (if the rotation holds) and avowed supporter of a two-state solution minus dividing Jerusalem, Lapid doesn’t not grasp the importance of the Palestinian issue. But given the makeup of the Israeli government—in which the right seems to dominate and the left acquiesces—he’s making a virtue out of necessity. An early visit to Ramallah, for example, would have been terrible politics and policy, especially if Lapid had nothing meaningful to say, or offer. Nor is Biden pressing Israel hard on the Palestinian issue. Rather, even though he knows the Abraham Accords are no substitute for a solution to the Palestinian issue, he has heaped praise on the one aspect of the peace process that’s working since taking office. In fact, there are reports that his team is even considering appointing a special envoy to manage the accords’ care and feeding.”

Looking the Nakba Dead in the Eye,

“A new film by director Michal Weitz, which serves as reckoning with her family history, should once again remind Israeli society to deal with its past”