Top News from Israel & Palestine: June 9, 2021

What We’re Reading

Targeting Palestinian Activists & Journalists

New generation: Israel crackdown spotlights Palestinian ‘icons’,

“Israel’s detention of Palestinian activists and journalists is reinvigorating peaceful resistance, launching a new generation of Palestinian activists.” Also see: Israel-Palestine: The natural order of occupation is coming to an end (Middle East Eye)

Activists see Israeli police using violence to silence support for Sheikh Jarrah,

“Israeli security forces have embarked on a violent campaign to silence those protesting against the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem, Israeli and Palestinian activists said. The Israeli police, they said, burst into the homes of prominent activists and arrested them, assaulted marathon runners trying to support the Palestinian families, tear-gassed demonstrators and detained journalists. Sheikh Jarrah has become one of the most highly militarised zones in the city, with security checkpoints and a heavy police presence on the streets. The new measures effectively turned the small neighbourhood into a prison for its Palestinian residents, they said. ‘The Israeli police are treating the Palestinians of East Jerusalem as the enemy,’ said Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli attorney specialising in Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem and a world-renowned expert on the geopolitics of Israel.”

Israeli authorities ban Fatah member from entering Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah, Batn al-Hawa neighborhoods,

“Israeli authorities banned Fatah member in Jerusalem, Awad al-Salaimeh, from entering the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan’s Batn al-Hawa, in occupied Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinian families are being threatened with the forcible expulsion from their homes for the benefit of Israeli settlers. Local sources said Israeli authorities handed the Fatah member an order banning him from entering the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Batn al-Hawa for a period of 15 days.”

Report: 337 Israel violations against Palestinian journalist in May,

“Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate documented 337 Israeli violations against journalists and the media in the occupied Palestinian territories in May, including attacks carried out during the 11-day Israeli offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip. In a report issued yesterday, the Syndicate said it monitored and documented 337 violations against journalists, of which 110 were in Gaza and 227 in the West Bank. According to the Syndicate, three journalists were killed during the Israeli offensive on Gaza, 41 offices and media institutions were completely destroyed and 32 were partially destroyed, while homes of 27 journalists were targeted with missiles. Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, 227 violations against journalists were documented, which included the detention of journalists, prevention of media coverage and deliberate targeting of media staff. The syndicate said that 31 journalists were shot and injured, 32 suffocated from tear gas and others were injured after being deliberately targeted with stun grenades. The syndicate documented 12 arrests, 15 cases of confiscation and destruction of equipment, in addition to banning journalists’ access to Jerusalem.”

Gaza Strip

Major Jewish leaders join new initiative that focuses blame for the deaths of children in Gaza on Hamas,

“Major Jewish leaders around the world are supporting an initiative to place the blame for the deaths of dozens of children, killed in the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, on the Gaza-based terrorist organization. An image was created mocking the recent New York Times front cover which featured a collage of 67 Gazans under the age of 18 titled ‘They Were Just Children’ using information and statistics gathered from Hamas-run institutions in Gaza, and insinuating that Israel was at fault for their deaths. The image being shared online, seen over a million times, changes the name of the publication to ‘The New Woke Times’ and the same collage of children is led with the title ‘Hamas Wanted for the Murder of 67 Children’ and features pictures of Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Mohammed Deif and Yahya Sinwar. The concept is to place the blame on the real culprits for the tragedy.”

Army chief says IDF victory in Gaza conflict may not have deterred Hamas,

“Army chief Aviv Kohavi on Wednesday said the military had to be ‘modest’ in assessing the effectiveness of last month’s round of fighting with terror groups in the Gaza Strip, noting that tactical victories do not necessarily result in long-term calm.” Also see: Half of Jewish Israelis think there were no winners of Gaza war – Poll (Jerusalem Post)

Israel claims Hamas tried to hamper defenses from Gaza tower,

“Israel’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that Hamas militants tried to disrupt Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system from a Gaza building housing The Associated Press and other news outlets, prompting the Israeli air force to destroy the high rise last month. The AP said it has not seen evidence to support the claim.” Also see: Associated Press ‘yet to receive evidence’ of Hamas presence in Gaza building (Middle East Eye)

Trauma haunts Gaza children after Israeli war,

“Experts say the Israeli assaults damage the mental health of the Palestinian children and leave them in a trauma. ‘The psychosocial adjustment system in these children has been damaged due to the war, leading to behavioral and cognitive problems,’ Dua Abd Alhameed, a former clinical psychologist, told Anadolu Agency. ‘They will suffer for a long time from behavioral problems such as stress, extreme nervousness and severe responses. They may also suffer from panic attacks, nightmares and sleep disorders.’” Also see: ‘She screams when someone comes near’: Gaza children in trauma (Arab News)

Palestinian Officials Arrive in Egypt for Talks Ahead of Planned Meeting,

“Palestinian leaders, including Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and a delegation from President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for separate talks with Egyptian officials that aim to reinforce a ceasefire with Israel. Haniyeh’s visit came in response to a special invitation from Cairo, in advance of a broader meeting of Palestinian factions that could begin as early as next week, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said.”

Families of Israeli terror victims suing Qatari banks for compensation,

“Families of Israeli terror victims are suing for compensation from Qatari banks that they say have funded terrorist activity by Hamas, according to a collective lawsuit filed Wednesday. The NIS 1 billion civil action was filed at the Jerusalem District Court by the Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin organization on behalf of 120 plaintiffs from 24 families of terror victims. The lawsuit claims that Qatari banks and charities transferred money to the military wings of Palestinian terror groups, including sums handed over during the recent 11-day war in Gaza.”


Jerusalem: right-wing march through Old City rescheduled for next week,

“Israeli officials announced today that they will allow a far-right march through Jerusalem’s Old City to go ahead next week, despite cancelling the event yesterday due to fears of renewed tension between the occupation state and Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza. Hamas had warned against allowing the so-march through the Old City’s Muslim quarter. The army said on Monday that the permit for the march due to be held tomorrow had been withdrawn. An alternative route might be considered, it added. However, following a meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet yesterday, his office said that ministers had agreed the march can be held on Tuesday 15 June if organisers and police reach agreement.” Also see reporting in: Times of Israel, Israel Hayom, Al Jazeera, AP, Al Anadolu, Middle East Eye

Related news

Pro-march analysis & commentary

Israeli Supreme Court announces date for Sheikh Jarrah appeal hearing,

“Israel’s Supreme Court has set a date for a hearing on the planned forced expulsion of dozens of Palestinians from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. The hearing will now take place on 20 July. Sami Irshaid, a lawyer for Palestinian families facing expulsion said that an appeal had been presented to the court in the name of the Eskafi, Qasim, Al-Jaouni, and Al-Kurd families. Approximately 550 Palestinians face expulsion from Sheikh Jarrah after Israeli settler organisations laid claim to their homes.” Also see: Tweet from Jerusalem expert Danny Seidemann – “‘Supreme Court Justice order to fix a date for a hearing on the displacement in Sheikh Jarrah before the end of the legal calendar on July 20’. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but sometimes we make exceptions. Enough said.”

Sovereignty Youth launches battle for greater Jerusalem,

“This coming Thursday, the third Sovereignty Youth Conference will take place, which will be held at the Oz veGaon preserve in Gush Etzion. Hundreds of youths from all parts of the Land have already registered… ‘…we will set out in hasbara activities in the streets and with members of Knesset and ministers with the call to promote the Greater Jerusalem initiative,’ says Itamar Yom-Tov, one of the leaders of Sovereignty Youth.”

West Bank

Settlers shot Palestinian and mutilated his body as he lay dying,

“Ismail Tubasi was shot on Friday, May 14, just south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Tubasi, 27, from the Palestinian village of al-Rihiya, was transferred to a local hospital with severe wounds, where he was pronounced dead. According to evidence gathered by Local Call, it appears Tubasi was shot by Israeli settlers, who may have been accompanied by soldiers, after which he was brutally attacked with sharp objects as he lay incapacitated…The Israeli army refused to provide an official response to the incident, but military sources told the Israeli Public Broadcast Corporation (which picked up the story following Local Call’s initial investigation) that the soldiers arrived at the scene after the shooting. According to the same sources, the army reported to the police that a Palestinian had indeed been shot dead, yet the police has yet to open its own investigation.”

Netanyahu asks Gantz to delay demolition of Evyatar until next week,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Defense Minister Benny Gantz to delay the evacuation of the Samaria outpost of Evyatar until next week, after the next government is sworn in. Sources in the settlement movement say the move is designed to prevent one of the last acts of Netanyahu’s government to be the destruction of a Jewish community. Netanyahu prefers to hand over the decision to the designated prime minister, Naftali Bennett, who is not expected to rush the order to demolish Evyatar, to either regulate the community or find a solution for the dozens of families who have moved to the new settlement near the Tapuach junction.”

Israeli settlers place caravans on Palestinian land, a prelude to building an illegal settlement,

“Israeli settlers residing in illegal settlements in occupied West Bank began today the construction of a settlement outpost on Palestinian land located between the towns of al-Khader and Nahalin to the west of Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank, according to a local official.”

More from WAFA:

Fires rage near Jerusalem-area towns, prompting evacuations; arson feared,

“A major fire broke out in forested areas west of Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon, prompting the Israel Fire and Rescue Services to evacuate dozens of residents in the area. Later in the afternoon, several more fires broke out in the northern West Bank, including large blazes near the settlements of Ariel and Shavei Shomron.”

Israeli army shuts Palestinian NGO in Ramallah,

“The Israeli army on Wednesday shut the headquarters of the Health Work Committees, a Palestinian NGO, in the West Bank city of Ramallah for a period of six months, the organization said. The NGO said in a statement that Israeli forces stormed its premises in the Sutah Marhaba neighborhood in Ramallah, ransacked the office and confiscated its computers. According to the statement, the Israeli army sealed the main door with solid metal panels and ordered the immediate closure of two apartments in the building where the NGO is located for six months. The NGO said the army cited security reasons for the closure.” Also see: Israeli forces raid, close leading health organization headquarters in al-Bireh (WAFA)

Dozens of olive trees uprooted by Israel in West Bank: Farmer,

“Israeli forces on Wednesday destroyed some 150 olive trees in the occupied West Bank, according to a Palestinian farmer. ‘An Israeli force and bulldozers stormed our land and chopped down olive trees planted 10 years ago’ Mohammad al-Deik from Kafr al-Dik village, west of Salfit city in the northern West Bank, told Anadolu Agency. He said the Israeli army claimed that the trees were planted on a nature reserve. ;They prevent us from planting our own land, while bulldozers uproot the trees and construct settlements instead of them,’ al-Deik said.”


Syria reports Israeli attacks in Damascus, central province,

“Syrian state media reported late Tuesday an Israeli aerial attack near the Syrian capital of Damascus and in the central province of Homs, prompting a response from national air defenses. The target of the reported Israeli attacks were not immediately clear. The attacks are the first reported since the re-election of Syrian President Bashar Assad for a fourth seven-year term. The Syrian state news agency SANA said the Israeli attacks came over neighboring Lebanon. Loud explosions were heard in Damascus.” Also see: Syria says Israeli air attacks targeted Damascus (Al Jazeera), Syria: Israeli air strikes reportedly kill 11 pro-government fighters (Middle East Eye)

The Abraham Accords Passed Their First Big Test,

“When war broke out in Gaza, Arab countries chose rapprochement with Israel over solidarity with Palestinians.” Also see: Israel-Palestinian violence prompts ‘uncomfortable’ Israel-UAE conversations (YNet)

Israeli Domestic Politics

This Is What We Know So Far About the Bennett-Lapid Government Agreements,

“Although the terms under which the new coalition deals were finalized will only be revealed on Friday, the agreements’ key elements are clear.”

Israel: Knesset committee chaired by Arab MK stripped of its power,

“The Knesset Interior Committee, headed by Arab-Israeli MK Mansour Abbas, has been stripped of its power due to the agreement to establish a new coalition ‘government for change’, reported on Tuesday. The committee is one of the most important in the Israeli parliament. It covers security, internal security, planning and building. These are the most sensitive and burning issues for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Its powers will be shifted to a new committee yet to be formed and headed by the Yesh Atid party led by Yair Lapid, a key player in the proposed new government. ‘It is clear that we stripped Mansour Abbas of his powers,’ one member of the new coalition told Israeli TV. ‘What? Have we turned crazy because of giving him the authority to monitor the police?’ Others claim that the committee move happened in coordination with Abbas.”

Pressure on New Hope: 'Civil Administration can't stop Arab takeover of Area C',

“Israeli nationalist organizations and local leaders on Wednesday morning sent an urgent letter to New Hope’s Chairman MK Gideon Sa’ar, as well as its MK Ze’ev Elkin, calling on them not to compromise on management of illegal Arab expansion in Area C. Signatories to the letter include the Shiloh Forum, Regavim, My Israel, the Young Settlements Forum, and the leaders of local authorities in Judea and Samaria. In their letter, they urged the New Hope MKs not to allow the formation of a new administration for Judea and Samaria to be subject to the Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s (Blue and White) authority, to avoid it ‘being buried’ in the Defense Ministry…’In order for the administration to succeed in fulfilling its purpose and put a halt to the Palestinian occupation [sic] of Area C, it must be in your hands,’ it concluded.”

‘Traitors’: Fears of violence grows as Netanyahu clings to power,

“…Netanyahu is seemingly inclined to jeopardise Israel’s democracy for the slim chance to somehow remain in power, primarily for personal reasons, Divine said [Donna Robinson Divine, professor of Jewish Studies and Government at Smith College]. ‘His determination to remain in office as a way of avoiding prison if he is convicted on the charges against him have compromised state institutions.’ Nevertheless, the implications of Netanyahu’s selfish modus operandi are vast and dangerous, according to Geva. ‘We are witnessing a desperate politician who has been in power for a long time and is fearful of what will happen if he is no longer PM. Netanyahu has a strong support base, and it is possible that some violence will ensue in response to his claims. Possibly some of this violence will be directed at members of the predicted government, in particular members of right-winged parties whom Netanyahu is portraying as traitors.’”

Also see:

Police question Gopstein, Marzel on suspicion of incitement to racism,

“A statement issued by Lehava group said the two were interrogated after group re-issued videos originally published in 2018 that addressed ‘the causes and dangers of assimilation.’”

The U.S. 

‘Obama 2.0’: Israel pleased with Biden handling of Gaza war, but alarmed by Dems,

“In recent meetings with US Jewish leaders, senior Israeli officials both within and outside the government expressed their satisfaction with the Biden administration’s handling of last month’s Israel-Gaza conflict, while conveying significant concern regarding trends in the Democratic Party, where criticism of Israel has increasingly gone mainstream.”  Also see: Secretary Blinken calls out UNRWA antisemitism in US Congress (Jerusalem Post). And yet, also see: Is Biden administration encouraging continued Palestinian bad behavior? (JNS)

Basking in the Spotlight on Israel, GOP Hopefuls Storm the Holy Land,

“Within days of the Gaza cease-fire, Mike Pompeo, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham flew to Israel and Nikki Haley is about to arrive, all vying to show solidarity and throw mud at the Democrats’ policy in the Middle East.” Also see: For GOP hopefuls, Israel is the new Iowa (Jewish Insider)

Over 100 human rights groups urge Biden to halt Israel arms sales,

“More than a hundred humanitarian organisations published an open letter published on Tuesday urging US President Joe Biden to ‘immediately halt’ impending arms sales to Israel. Signatories to the letter include the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Democracy for the Arab World Now and Defence for Children International – Palestine. ‘The planned arms sales to Israel would send a signal of support for Israel’s recent conduct in occupied Gaza and East Jerusalem, which includes likely violations of international humanitarian law,’ the co-signed letter read. The groups expressed concern that the ‘situation remains extremely fragile’ with Israeli forces continuing raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque following a ceasefire agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.” Also see: There is still time to stop the $735 million arms sale to Israel (Responsible Statecraft)

Poll: 45% of Democratic voters favor decreasing military aid to Israel,

“A poll of likely US voters conducted during the final days of the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza-based terrorist groups found a split among Democrats on American policy toward Israel and the Palestinians, with nearly half wanting to decrease military aid to the Jewish state. In response to the question on financial assistance, 45% of Democratic voters want a decrease in military aid to Israel from the current annual funding level of $3.8 billion compared to 25% of Republicans and 35% of Independents.” Also see: Biden’s support for Israel during Gaza conflict gets mixed results among voters, poll finds (JTA)

Anti-Israel protesters block Zim ship from Oakland port,

“Israeli-owned company says it will seek other places to unload cargo as BDS-backers plan more actions to keep ships from US cities.”