Top News from Israel & Palestine: June 10, 2021

What We’re Reading

West Bank

Three Palestinians, including two PA intelligence officers, shot dead by Israeli forces in Jenin,

“Israeli occupation army and Special Forces killed two members of the Palestinian Authority’s Military Intelligence force during a pre-dawn raid late Wednesday night into Jenin city in the northern occupied West Bank in search of wanted Palestinians, one of whom one was also killed during the raid, according to security and medical sources. The Ministry of Health said Adham Yasser Eleiwi, 23, and Tayseer Ayasa, 32; who are members of the PA’s Military Intelligence force were killed during an Israeli force raid into the city of Jenin in search of wanted Palestinians, one of whom was also killed in the shooting. He was identified as Jamel al-‘Amori, a freed prisoner from Israeli jails. They were killed when Israeli Yamam Special Forces, dressed in civilian clothing, attempted to detain wanted Palestinians outside the headquarters of the PA Military Intelligence Unit headquarters in Jenin. A third member of the intelligence forces was critically injured in the shooting, which necessitated his transfer to the hospital for treatment. A general strike will be observed in the northern West Bank district of Jenin today to mourn the Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire.”


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Israeli forces attack Palestinians with rubber bullets, tear gas,

“Israeli forces attacked Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus early Thursday.  According to Palestine’s official Wafa news agency, Israeli troops intensively used tear gas to make way for the entry of Jewish settlers into the area around Joseph’s Tomb, a mausoleum in Nablus. Palestinians were affected by the gas despite being in their homes. Later, Israeli forces attacked Palestinians with rubber bullets and tear gas. No statements have been issued by Palestinian health care authorities or the Israeli army. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers were reported to have confiscated a large sum of money from an exchange office in the West Bank city of Hebron. The owner of the office, Galib Merish, said in a video that the soldiers confiscated $130,000, 40,000 dinars (around $27), 300,000 shekels ($92,531) and €20,000 ($24,337), which in total reportedly corresponded to $310,000.”

Amnesty raises alarm as Israel shuts Palestinian health provider,

“Israel’s move to shut down a key healthcare body in the occupied territories will have ‘catastrophic consequences’ for Palestinians in need of medical attention, global rights group Amnesty International warned. Israeli army forces raided the Palestinian Union of Health Workers Committee (UHWC) headquarters in Ramallah on Wednesday, breaking down the door, confiscating computers and memory drives, and issuing a military order forcing the office to close for six months…Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.”


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Israel Orders Evacuation of Settlement Outpost Built on Palestinian Lands,

“The Israeli army announced Wednesday a decision to evacuate an ‘illegal’ settlement outpost built on Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank within a period of eight days. Israelis set the Evyatar settlement outpost in Beita village, south of Nablus, and constructed buildings and facilities there. According to the army decision, no construction materials are allowed into the town during this period. It said it will demolish the buildings after this period if settlers don’t evacuate them voluntarily. Settlers have constructed several houses in the outpost, in addition to building concrete houses in the past days and paving roads between them.”


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Approval to make Cave of Patriarchs accessible expected within 2 weeks,

“Israel’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday confirmed Arutz Sheva’s report that the process of making the Cave of the Patriarchs (Me’arat Hamachpelah) accessible was frozen, but added that within two weeks, Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) is expected to approve the construction.” For background on this project see, Humanitarianism Hebron Style (Emek Shaveh, 5/5/20)

Arson suspected in Jerusalem, West Bank fires,

“Authorities are concerned that fires which raged to the west of Jerusalem Wednesday were man-made, potentially as deliberate acts of arson. Additional fires occurred in the north of the West Bank. While wildfires are common in Israel during the summer months, and human error or negligence could have caused the fires, foul play is being examined as a line of inquiry. ‘We did not see any lightning in the skies over the country today, and we will clarify if this was arson or not later,’ Fire and Rescue Commissioner Dedi Simchi told Channel 13 news.” Also see, from the archives – Before the fires are out, Israeli politicians blame the Arabs (+972 Magazine, 11/25/16)


US warns of escalations, provocations ahead of flag march in Jerusalem,

“The US State Department on Wednesday warned of ‘provocations’ ahead of a flag march scheduled for next week in Jerusalem. Spokesman Ned Price said all sides should do everything to try to ‘prevent escalations, and provocation’ that might renew violence. ‘We believe it’s essential to refrain from steps that exacerbate,’ he said.”

Citing public safety concerns, police bar far-Right MKs from marching in east Jerusalem,

“Knesset Security Chief Maj. Gen. Moshe Griff on Wednesday barred Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, as well as several other MKs from marching through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem with Israeli flags on Thursday. Ben-Gvir and the other lawmakers had planned to use their parliamentary immunity to stage the march to protest the rescheduling of a flag march through the city by Jewish nationalists. The move was slammed as an unnecessary provocation during a sensitive time security-wise…The decision to prevent Ben-Gvir’s plan despite his parliamentary immunity is highly irregular. Otzma Yehudit’s leader said he would petition the High Court of Justice on the matter…Organizers…have rejected the alternative routes suggested by the police, saying, ‘Unfortunately, the outline presented to us by the police does not express the purpose of the parade, by the Jewish people, with Israeli flags in the Israeli capital.’”


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Israeli forces attack sit-in staged in Jerusalem to protest forcible expulsion of two Palestinian families,

“Israeli police attacked today a sit-in held in front of the Israeli Central Court in occupied Jerusalem city in solidarity with two Palestinian families who are threatened with the forcible expulsion from their homes in Silwan’s Batn al-Hawa area for the benefit of settlers. WAFA correspondent said Israeli forces violently suppressed the sit-in which was held in front of Israel’s central court, where a hearing was held to look into the case of Salem Ghaith and Jawad Abu Nab families, who are one of the hundreds of Palestinian families threatened with the forcible expulsion from their homes from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah for the benefit of Israeli settlers. The police detained three protesters who were identified as Basel al-Dweik, Adel al-Silwadi, and Nitham abu Ramooz, after severely beating them up.” Video of the demonstration is here; video of the demonstration being violently broken up is here.”


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1,500 Palestinian homes face demolition in Jerusalem's Silwan,

“The Al-Bustan neighbourhood in Silwan, which is south of the Old City, has 119 families in 88 buildings that are under threat of demolishment to make way for an Israeli archaeological park.”

Silwan: 170 members of a Palestinian family face eviction in three neighbourhoods,

“In the Palestinian town of Silwan, nestled in the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem to the south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, around 7,000 residents are all too familiar with the threat of forcible displacement also facing the residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, 3.5km to the north. The Odeh family is one of the town’s families who have not known peace of mind for years. Of its 170 members, those living in houses in the town’s al-Bustan and Wadi Yasul neighbourhoods are facing the danger of demolition under the pretext of living in houses built without permits. Meanwhile, others living in the Batn al-Hawa neighbourhood are being threatened with eviction in favour of Israeli settlers who claim they have ownership over the land.”

Occupation forces destroy structures in Jerusalem's al-Isawiya,

“Israeli occupation forces today demolished a shed and razed a Palestinian-owned land in the neighborhood of al-Isawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources. Amjad Hasan Mustafa, a local Palestinian citizen, told reporters that he had previously been been notified by the municipality of the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El about the demolition of the shed, under the pretext of building without Israel’s permission.”

Gaza Strip

'They took my soul': The human cost of Israel's war on Gaza,

“After 11 days of deadly Israeli attacks, the 21 May ceasefire between Hamas and Israel saw life in Gaza return to ‘normal.’ However, while the fighting has ended, families across the besieged coastal territory are now left to mourn the loss of their loved ones, livelihoods, and homes. The Israeli military assault killed at least 254 people, including 66 children and 40 women. Nearly 2,000 people were injured, including 600 children and 400 women, according to an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report. The Israeli bombardments destroyed 1,148 housing and commercial units and partially damaged 15,000 others, leaving over 100,000 civilians displaced in UN schools and other hosting communities. Following the ceasefire, nearly 8,000 people are still displaced, living in schools, as their houses have become uninhabitable. The New Arab follows the stories of four Gazans after the ceasefire, revealing the grief, fear, and destruction behind these numbers.”

Israel asks Egypt to prevent cement reaching Gaza Strip,

“Tel Aviv has asked Cairo not to bring cement or other building materials into the Gaza Strip so they are not used by “terrorists” to build military fortifications, reports Israel’s channel Kan. According to Kan, cement, building supplies and fuel are entering the Strip freely. Last week Egypt sent a convoy of engineers and building equipment to Gaza to aid efforts at reconstruction following 11 days of Israeli air strikes which killed 254 people including 66 children. More than 2,000 residential units were ruined and five hospitals were hit…Egyptian engineers inspected the damage to residential buildings and towers and helped remove the rubble from the destroyed buildings.”

Hamas denies Israel's claim it had offices in AP building in Gaza,

“Hamas yesterday denied Israeli claims that it had offices in Al-Jalaa Tower, which housed news organisations AP and Al Jazeera. In a statement, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said: ‘Israel is trying to whitewash its black image and cover up its crimes against civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip.’ This came one day after AP executives met with Israeli Ambassador to Washington and the UN Gilad Erdan, who claimed that Israel bombed and destroyed the 12-story building because it included Hamas’ offices that were used to ‘developing an electronic jamming system to be used against the Iron Dome.’”

UN calls for assisting Gaza, as US discusses blocking Palestinian factions' access to funds,

“The United Nations urged the world to increase aid to Gaza as Palestinian officials warned of a humanitarian and health disaster in the Strip. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the need to establish a mechanism to prevent Palestinian factions from accessing funds being sent for reconstruction.”


Biden embraces a Trump policy in backing Arab-Israeli deals,

“The Biden administration is laying the groundwork for a renewed push to encourage more Arab countries to sign accords with Israel and working to strengthen existing deals after last month’s devastating war in the Gaza Strip interrupted those diplomatic efforts. The embrace of the so-called Abraham Accords is a rare carryover of a signature Trump administration policy by President Joe Biden and other Democrats.”


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Saudi Arabia deploys new Israeli spyware to hack activists' phones: Report,

“An Israeli cyber company has provided Saudi Arabia with an offensive hacking technology that compromises targeted smartphones and turns them into spying devices, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday. Quadream, a Tel Aviv-based company, has reportedly sold to Saudi authorities a program called Reign, which has the ability to hack phones, extract their data and turn them into tracking devices. Reign does not require the targeted phone owner to click on a malicious link in order to be able to hack the device, and reportedly has the ability to eavesdrop through the microphone, extract stored messages, photos, videos and emails, and run the phone’s navigation system, effectively turning it into a tracking device.”

Christians pledge unconditional support for Israel at prayer breakfast,

“Dozens of Evangelical Christians came together on Thursday for the annual Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast in the Holy City only days after a prominent Christian leader openly threatened to eradicate Evangelical support for the Jewish state because he did not like the results of the Israeli election. The breakfast took place at the Friends of Zion Museum in the City Center. Participants prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and passionately sang Psalms as they shared their faith in God and spoke of their unwavering support for Israel.”

Israel shuns EU envoy,

“The Israeli foreign ministry effectively boycotted Sven Koopmans, the new EU envoy for the Middle East peace process, during his first visit to Jerusalem last week, Israeli officials tell Axios. Why it matters: Israeli officials said the boycott was to protest against EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s handling of the recent Gaza fighting. They claim Borrell didn’t condemn Hamas’ attacks strongly enough or give sufficient support to Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Hackers target Al Jazeera amid broadcast of Hamas-Israel negotiations documentary,

Al Jazeera said it was targeted by repeated hacking attempts in recent days as it prepared to broadcast a documentary on Israel’s indirect negotiations with Palestinian faction Hamas. The Doha-based news network said its service provider prevented the attackers from gaining access to their platforms.”

Israeli Domestic Scene

Fights over settlements holding up coalition deal signings,

“Coalition agreements among the parties forming the new government have yet to be completed, due to disputes over how to handle Judea and Samaria, sources in Yamina said on Wednesday night. The disputes include who will oversee efforts to prevent Palestinian construction in Israeli-controlled Area C, and how roads between settlements would be funded while Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli is transportation minister. Michaeli has not permitted such roads to bypass her authority, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Knesset on Wednesday that the IDF under his control must retain sole authority over construction issues in the West Bank.”

Likud whip: new government won't last long enough for Lapid to become PM,

“Miki Zohar says new coalition would be ‘paralyzed’ in its decision-making and sees Bennett as no more than a lame-duck prime minister in a government in which the left would always come on top on ‘all fundamental and crucial’ issues.”

Netanyahu Had Adelson and Trump. Who Are Bennett and Lapid's Allies in D.C.?,

“The prospective prime ministers both have friends in high places on both sides of the political aisle in D.C., and will be endeavoring to make Israel a bipartisan issue once more.”


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Netanyahu Attacks 'Radical Left' J Street; Organization Slams Damage to U.S.-Israel Relations,

“Netanyahu targets J Street in Facebook post, claiming the organization is glad to see him out of office due to their support for the Iran nuclear deal. J Street: Hopefully next PM will repair relationship with Dems and U.S. Jews.”

Activists, Journalists, Free Speech

'We have failed': Journalists unite and demand truthful coverage of Israeli occupation,

“Over 250 journalists, including reporters from The Washington Post, WSJ and LA Times, sign letter calling on media to stop obscuring oppression of Palestinians.”

Tell Facebook: Stop Silencing Palestine,

“7amleh, Access Now and Sada Social have received hundreds of reports that social platforms are suppressing Palestinian protest hashtags, blocking livestreams, and removing posts and accounts.”

Arrests targeting Palestinians in East Jerusalem and across Israel continue in wake of conflict and protests,

“In recent weeks, a campaign of detentions has swept up Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Arab citizens all over Israel, amid an ongoing surge in Palestinian activism and on the heels of the worst communal violence in years.” Also see: New generation: Israel crackdown spotlights Palestinian ‘icons’ (Al Jazeera)

PA cracks down on West Bank activists,

“After the cease-fire in Gaza, Palestinian security services are accused of stepping up political arrests in the West Bank.”

Fatah spokesman: Israel should stop using allegations of anti-Semitism against criticism of its apartheid regime,

“Fatah spokesman and member of its Revolutionary Council Osama al-Qawasmi said that Israel should stop using the allegation of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism against the world criticism of the apartheid regime it imposes on the Palestinian people and its colonial occupation. He said in a statement that the majority of Jews in the US and other countries criticize and condemn the Israeli occupation and its apartheid regime. ‘Are those Jews also against Judaism and Semitism?’ he questioned.”