Top News from Israel & Palestine: March 4-10, 2022

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

FY22 Omnibus Approps – Detailed Examination of Middle East Provisions,

“On 3/9/22 the House passed – by a voice vote – HR 2471 – a bill originally comprised of the “Haiti Development, Accountability, and Institutional Transparency Initiative Act,” but now re-purposed to become the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022” (text). Before passing the bill, the House held two votes adopting the various sections of the House-Senate agreement (here and here)…The House-Senate negotiated text is a 2741-page omnibus bill, made up of all outstanding appropriations bills (as a reminder – these bills should have been passed months ago – the fact that they weren’t passed has meant that the government has been running thanks only to continuing resolutions). These include two appropriations bills that have a lot of funding and programs related to the Middle East: Defense (also see Joint explanatory statement for this title) and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (starting on page 1273 of the bill; also see Joint Explanatory Statement for this title): In addition, the bill includes two extraneous (non-appropriations) titles, one of which is related to Israel and the Middle East. See below for a detailed examination of all the Middle East-related elements in the bill.”

Israeli Apartheid & the Climate Crisis,

As evidence of the current & future climate crisis continues to mount,  FMEP and key activists & researchers look at the dynamics of climate change for Palestinians. How do the realities of apartheid in Israel/Palestine, and additionally Israel’s siege and recurring bombardment of Gaza, affect Palestinians’ access to clean water, sustainable land, consistent electricity, and food security? What bearing do these Israeli-imposed environmental limitations have on Palestinians’ ability to stay on their land? And what does “climate justice” mean, and what could it look like for Palestinians? Featuring Khalil Abu Yahia (Gaza-based scholar), Jessica Anderson (Visualizing Palestine), and Manal Shqair (Stop the Wall Campaign) with Dr. Sarah Anne Minkin (FMEP).

Israeli Apartheid, the Supreme Court, and Land Confiscation: The Case of Masafer Yatta ,

On March 15, 2022, the Israeli Supreme Court is expected to render a decision on whether the state of Israel will be permitted to carry out a large expulsion of Palestinians in the West Bank. The Palestinians in question live in an area of the South Hebron Hills called Masafer Yatta, residing for many generations in small, shepherding-based villages. In the early 1980s, in violation of international law, the IDF declared the area a firing zone (“Firing Zone 918”) — an action viewed by experts as taken with the clear Israeli objective of displacing the Palestinian residents of the area and taking control of the land. Consistent with that analysis, for decades, Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta have faced constant threat of expulsion, home demolitions, confiscation of their property, harassment and violence at the hands of both the Israeli army and Israeli settlers. Featuring Ali Awad, a writer and activist from Tuba – one of the villages slated in Masafer Yatta – and Maya Rosen, a Jerusalem-based Palestine solidarity activist, and FMEP’s Sarah Anne Minkin. 

Who Are Palestine’s People? with Dr. Maha Nassar,

In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” FMEP’s Sarah Anne Minkin speaks with Dr. Maha Nassar, associate professor in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona and 2022 FMEP Fellow, about the question of “Who are Palestine’s people?” This question anchors Dr. Nassar’s new research into the communities that made their homes in Palestine over the last 1500 years. This deep dive into history sheds light on Palestinian nationalism, the Palestinian diaspora, and potential paths forward.

Original Reseach,

FMEP publishes two resources on (most) Fridays: Lara Friedman’s Legislative Round-Up and Kristin McCarthy’s Settlement & Annexation Report. To subscribe to those reports, click here.

Apartheid//Occupation//Human Rights

Two Palestinians, Including Unarmed 18-year-old, Killed in Israeli Raid in Jenin, Witnesses Say,

“Two Palestinians were killed during an overnight raid by Israeli forces at the Jenin refugee camp. One of them, according to witnesses, was an unarmed 18-year-old, and the other a member of Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad.” See alsoIsraeli forces detain 24 Palestinians in West Bank raids” (WAFA) and “Palestinian injured by Israeli army gunfire last week dies of his wounds” (WAFA) and “Israeli forces fatally shoot two Palestinian teens in occupied East Jerusalem” (Middle East Eye)

Israel Reinstates Ban on Palestinian Family Unification,

“After more than 200 hours of deliberations, the Israeli Knesset approved the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), 2022, by a 45-15 majority vote on 10 March 2021. The Law bans the unification of Palestinian families, as it prohibits the Interior Minister from granting residency or citizenship status to Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who are married to Palestinian citizens of Israel. It also bans unification between a citizen or resident of Israel with spouses from “enemy states”, including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. In response, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel issued the following statement: “Israel’s Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law is one of the most racist and discriminatory laws in the world. No other state bans its citizens from exercising their basic right to family life, based solely on their national or ethnic identity. For 18 years, the Knesset has repeatedly renewed the ban, and the state has defended the legality of the measure before the Israeli Supreme Court using unsubstantiated and baseless security arguments. This facade has finally been removed, as the Law’s current initiators have not, even for a moment, hidden their goal, which is to maintain a Jewish majority. The legislators based the legitimacy of their actions on the 2018 Jewish Nation-State Law, which constitutionally enshrines Jewish supremacy over Palestinians.“

To widen a road, J’lem municipality will destroy Palestinian homes,

“On Feb. 28, dozens of Palestinians from across Jerusalem came to Jerusalem City Hall to protest the municipality’s decision to demolish dozens of houses in Jabel Mukaber, a village that Israel annexed to the city in 1967. Under the pretext of expanding a major thoroughfare that runs through the village into a highway, the demolitions provide a case study in how the supposedly unified city treats half of its population…Although the protests are focusing on the expansion of the city’s so-called “American Road,” the problem goes far beyond a single proposed highway. According to Muhammad Aliyan, an attorney representing some of the residents, there are 5,000 demolition orders pending for Jabel Mukaber alone. “We’re talking about a village of 32,000 residents,” he says. “You could count the areas designated for housing on one hand. And meanwhile, the Nof Zion [Jewish] settlement was greenlighted for construction in the very heart of the village. And houses are being demolished as we speak.”” See alsoPalestinians strike in Jerusalem neighborhood in protest of planned home demolitions” (WAFA)

The Palestinian Kids Braving Israeli Demolition of Their Homes,

“Ali Awad, who lives in the village of Tuba, cannot remember a time when he wasn’t living under the threat of eviction. His grandmother, Zuhur, raised 15 children in the village, under that same threat. Jaber Dababseh, a resident of Halat a-Daba’ lives in a makeshift structure and is collecting materials to rebuild his house. His home was demolished five times last year….In recent decades, Israel has frequently used the declaration of firing zones in the West Bank as a pretext to uproot Palestinians from their land. 18 percent of the West Bank has been taken by the army and the government through this method. This photography project seeks to provide a glimpse of daily life in Masafer Yatta, to get to know the local residents and their creative ways of resisting eviction.” See more about Masafer Yatta and Firing Zones in “Israeli Apartheid, the Supreme Court, and Land Confiscation: The Case of Masafer Yatta,” recorded on March 9, 2022. 

When an Israeli chicken farm has more rights than a Palestinian village,

“Over the past few decades, industrial cow, sheep, and chicken farms attached to Israeli settlements have increasingly encroached on Palestinian land belonging to villages like ours in the South Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank. In addition to developing at the expense of traditional Palestinian agriculture, which has been practiced by our communities for centuries, the settlement farms are posing significant health hazards to Palestinian residents, their herds, and the local environment — all while benefitting from infrastructure denied to surrounding Palestinian villages….In Umm al-Khair, we find it especially absurd that the chicken farms have better infrastructure than our residents. We suffer from a constant lack of water and are prevented from connecting to the electricity grid; the farms, meanwhile, have constant access to water, and are not only permanently connected to electricity but also have backup generators in case of an emergency. Seeing the electricity lines pass directly over our village is a constant reminder that the animals get rights that we as Palestinians are deliberately denied. More importantly, we know that building these farms in Masafer Yatta is yet another strategy of the occupation to displace us Palestinians from our homes, and is no less dangerous than its policy of declaring 12 of our villages as falling under Firing Zone 918 — thereby sanctioning our displacement.” See more on Israel’s use of agricultural farms to dispossess Palestinians in the West Bank in this 2/17/22 FMEP webinar, “Apartheid & Dispossession: Views from the West Bank.”

Israel to Decide for Palestinians Which Foreign Lecturers Can Teach at West Bank Universities,

“Israel will permit Palestinian institutions of higher education to employ lecturers from overseas only if they teach in fields that have been designated as essential by Israel, and only if the lecturers and researchers are accomplished and possess at least a doctorate, according to a new set of procedures by the Defense Ministry…The new procedures come after 15 years of Israel gradually tightening limitations on entry of citizens of friendly countries, whose destination is the Palestinian communities (and not settlements) in the West Bank. The worsening limitations also target spouses of Palestinian residents, businesspeople, lecturers and students…The petitioners hoped that the new procedure would respect the right of the Palestinians and their institutions to operate according to their choices and needs in developing the Palestinian economy, business and academic ties with other countries. The new policy, however, codifies a stricter approach and further intensifies the invasive interference of COGAT in the civil and family affairs of Palestinians.”

A Judicial Reprieve for Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah,

“Last Tuesday, March 1st, a three-judge panel of Israeli Supreme Court justices issued a surprise ruling allowing four Palestinian families slated for eviction from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah to stay—for now. The lawyer for the families, Sami Irsheid, said that the ruling made him “happy and proud.” This ruling may set a precedent for some 30-odd families who face similar legal circumstances…[Saleh} Diab has been involved in organizing and participating in protests in Sheikh Jarrah since 2008, when settlers first began moving in. Since then, he said, he has been arrested more than 20 times. When asked about the significance of last week’s ruling, he said “There is no justice in the Israeli courts. They got up in a tree and didn’t know how to get down.” Yes, he said, there will be no eviction in this case, but there are so many other instances of eviction, demolition, and violence that are still happening “and the ones who suffer are the simple people.” Indeed, last year alone, more than 100 homes were demolished in East Jerusalem. There are over 150 families threatened with eviction in East Jerusalem, including 40 in Sheikh Jarrah alone, Tatarsky told Currents. Those families’ legal situation is different from Diab’s—and their cases remain unknown and uncertain.”

Israel Asks Court for More Time to Decide on Khan al-Ahmar, Citing Ukraine War,

“The Israeli government is seeking an additional 30 days to inform the High Court of Justice of its current stance on a petition demanding the evacuation of the Bedouin West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar, an issue that has attracted widespread international opposition.”

Israel-Palestine: Israeli settlers erect new outpost on Unesco World Heritage site,

“Israeli settlers have set up a new outpost in the village of Battir in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, sparking concern amongst locals who fear the outpost will lead to further confiscation of their land. Just after midnight on Monday, a group of Israeli settlers, accompanied by armed Israeli soldiers, arrived on a mountaintop on the outskirts of Battir, a Unesco World Heritage site famous for its lush green hilltops and ancient terraces. “They brought two mobile caravans, a large tent, a water tank, and some sheep, and set up on the top of the hill,” local activist Hassan Muamer told Middle East Eye.”

Trump-era Israeli settlement growth proceeds in his absence,

“The growth of Israel’s West Bank settler population accelerated last year, according to figures released by a pro-settler group on Thursday, despite renewed American pressure to rein in construction on occupied territory that the Palestinians want for a future state. The figures show that a settlement surge initiated when President Donald Trump was in office shows no sign of slowing down. Trump provided unprecedented support for Israel’s claims to land seized in war, reversing decades of U.S. policy.”

Israel Drops Terrorism Charges of Six Accused of Attacking Arab in Plea Bargain,

“The State Prosecutor’s Office has reached a lenient plea deal with six Israelis accused of attacking a 60-year-old Arab man in a mosque during last May’s fighting in Gaza….According to the indictment, which alleged that the assault was intentional and organized, three of the defendants arrived armed with weapons to the parking lot of the Sidna Ali mosque in Herzliya during Ramadan. They met some 12 others, and after the police car defending the prayer service left, attacked Haj Yihya after confirming that he was an Arab…After a long nine-month arbitration process, the indictment in the case was amended to remove the “act of terrorism” charge, which would have doubled the defendants’ sentence.”

More than 10,000 Palestinians trapped after being hit by Israel's arbitrary travel bans in 2021,

Israel slapped travel bans on more than 10,000 Palestinians from the West Bank last year, according to a freedom of information request seen by Haaretz, measures deemed arbitrary and unfair by human rights groups. Information released by the Israeli Civil Administration show that 10,594 Palestinians were prevented from travelling abroad due to “security reasons”. Those affected were often unaware of the restrictions until they attempted to leave the occupied West Bank and many found the bans to be totally arbitrary.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine

On Watching Ukraine Through Palestinian Eyes,

“To be clear, the international community should hold human rights abusers and law violators to account, and the swift action against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrates unequivocally that such action is possible when governments have the political courage to do so. But not doing so when our allies are the oppressors, or when the victims look different than us, has significant costs, most directly for people like the Palestinians and others with a generally darker complexion and eyes, but also for the world at large. When international law is enforced only when it suits powerful nations to enforce it, and ignored when it suits powerful nations to ignore it, then international law does not exist as anything other than an instrument of power. If we want there to be an international norm against aggression, colonization, and the acquisition of land by force, we can’t keep making exceptions for our friends when they violate it. When we do such things—and we have done so consistently when it comes to Israel, for example—we make it clear that there is no rules-based international order; there is only the rule of power. Might makes right.” See also: US accused of hypocrisy for supporting sanctions against Russia but not Israel (The Guardian)

How the Russia-Ukraine war exposed European hypocrisy over Palestine,

“Before Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, I was asked during several conversations with European policymakers: “What can Europeans do to address the injustice in Palestine?” But when I suggested a list of desired interventions, I got in return fake smiles, rolled eyes, or suggestions that these were unrealistic demands. For example, when I suggested that Europeans should support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, the answer was: “No, no, that belongs to another era.” When I recommended a quick, unified European response to Israeli atrocities, I was told: “That does not exist; we are fragmented and very different, and the process of establishing a consensus is unfeasible.” On resistance, it “is not a word we like to hear in our policy domains. That is inherently aggressive, and most likely violent.” How about solidarity, I asked? “Well, we prefer diplomacy. That is more modern and less activist.” Liberation? “That is unattainable. What about self-governing?” Read the text and think of Palestine. Read it again and think of Ukraine….Therefore, as painful as it might sound, the “Ukraine moment” offers Palestinians a strategic opportunity to set the record straight where resistance, refugees, freedom, liberation, political rights and BDS are concerned…Palestinians should not shy away from the narrative and practice of resistance, and should push against its criminalisation – not only because it is an effective way to change power dynamics and attain rights, but also because resistance is justified and necessary in the face of military occupation and oppression.”

Palestinian Authority remains neutral on Ukraine,

“Palestinians remain silent about the Russian war on Ukraine, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) has yet to take an official stance on Moscow’s military attack that was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin Feb. 24. The PA appears to be trying to avoid any negative political repercussions that could result from a stance it might have on the ongoing war….The PA also relies on European financial aid estimated at $300 million annually, bookmarked for vital sector developments, most notably infrastructure projects. This is not to mention that the European Union’s political position is adherence to a two-state solution, opposition to Israeli settlements and implementation of projects in Area C in the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control. The PA also awaits the US administration to implement its pledges to open a consulate in East Jerusalem, reopen the PLO offices in Washington and resume economic assistance — all of which are gains the PA believes it could lose should it take a stance in favor of Russia. Meanwhile, the PA maintains good friendly political and economic relations with Moscow, which it cannot sacrifice by taking a hostile position against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” See alsoAiming to avoid picking sides, PA rebuffs US request to condemn Russian invasion” (Times of Israel)

Opinion | Ukraine War: How Israel Is Helping Putin Crush Anti-war Protests in Russia,

“The Israeli government has authorized the Israeli Cellebrite company to sell its mobile phone hacking device to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (Sledstvenny Komitet), which serves President Putin as a key tool of internal repression and political persecution in the country. The device, known as a Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), that allows all information to be extracted for a mobile phone and to recover information that was erased….The Cellebrite system was used in late 2020 to hack into the cell phones of Lyubov Sobol and other activists in the Anti-Corruption Organization headed by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, later poisoned and imprisoned by Putin. This civil society organization was then outlawed and Sobol was forced to go into exile. Navalny is still in jail….Unfortunately, it is likely that some of the anti-war protesters in Russia now courageously braving 15-year jail sentences will, once arrested, have their mobile phones confiscated and hacked using the Cellebrite system.”

Zelensky to speak to Israeli Knesset members,

“Israeli media reported Wednesday that Ukraine’s government requested a chance to address the legislature. The request came just as the Knesset session was adjourning for renovations to its building in Jerusalem, Haaretz reported. Instead of appearing on large screen before lawmakers, Knesset members and Zelensky will meet over Zoom.”

Israel seeks to contain flood of Ukrainian refugees,

“Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced yesterday a framework plan for welcoming 5,000 Ukrainian refugees and for temporarily regularizing some 20,000 Ukrainian nationals residing in Israel mostly illegally.”

Palestinians in Ukraine fear another exodus,

“Palestinians residing in Ukraine, most of whom have sought refuge over the past years to escape the repeated Israeli wars, are facing the risk of emigration again due to the devastating Russian invasion. The Palestinian community in Ukraine is one of the largest Arab communities in the country, with approximately 4,000 people, including citizens, students and business owners. Most live in the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, currently a prime military target of the Russian advance.”

Who is protecting the Palestinians fleeing Ukraine?,

“The plight of Palestinian students in Ukraine further confirms this pattern. And, remarkably, it has also shed light on a still under-discussed aspect of the refugee crisis: the role of diplomatic protection in enforcing the rights of non-nationals. When the reports of racism at the border emerged, African governments immediately responded with protest to European states and at the UN demanding that their citizens be equally protected. But despite multiple reports of discrimination against Palestinian students, no state has raised similar protest on their behalf. During international crises, Palestinians living under indefinite occupation, including East Jerusalemites, often fall between the cracks in diplomatic protection due to both Israel’s failure to recognize and allow a sovereign Palestinian state, and Israel’s simultaneous refusal to ensure the rights of Palestinians as subjects under its de facto rule. This raises a crucial question with real-world consequences: to what extent must Israel extend its diplomatic protection to Palestinians studying abroad, including those currently fleeing Ukraine?” See alsoWhich refugees have the right to go home?” (+972)

Justifications for Destroying a People,

“The arguments Russia’s government deploys to dehumanize Ukrainians are strikingly similar to the ones Israel’s government uses to dehumanize Palestinians.”

Our Oligarch,

“Abramovich has given half a billion dollars to Jewish charities over the past two decades, sending money linked to Putin’s kleptocratic regime circulating through Jewish institutions worldwide…A 2020 investigation by BBC Arabic revealed that Abramovich has used front companies registered in the British Virgin Islands to donate more than $100 million to a right-wing Israeli organization called the Ir David Foundation, commonly known as Elad, which has worked since the 1980s to move Jewish settlers into occupied East Jerusalem. Elad also controls an archeological park and major tourist site called City of David, which it has leveraged in its efforts to “Judaize” the area, including by seizing Palestinian homes in the surrounding neighborhood of Silwan and digging under some to make them uninhabitable. Abramovich was responsible for nearly half the donations Elad received between 2005 and 2018, the last year for which records are available, making him by far its largest funder.” See also UK sanctions Russian oligarch and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (CNN) and “Yad Vashem suspends ties with Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich” (Times of Israel)

Ukraine: Responding to Racist Media and Global Double Standards ,

“I asked Palestinian friends what they felt about the racist media coverage over the war on Ukraine and the double standards of global support. These were their responses.”

Quashing Critique of Israel and Advocacy of Palestinian Rights // Lawfare

‘Vogue’ Erases “Palestine” from Instagram Post about Gigi Hadid ,

“In an Instagram post on Sunday, Gigi Hadid posted that she would be donating her earnings from Fashion Month to Ukranian and Palestinian causes, stating, “I am pledging to donate my earnings from the Fall 2022 shows to aid those suffering from the war in Ukraine, as well as continuing to support those experiencing the same in Palestine.” Vogue covered Hadid’s announcement in an article titled “Gigi Hadid Is Donating Her Fashion Month Earnings to Ukrainian Relief,” which quoted her caption almost in full.A day after the photo was posted, its caption was edited to omit the quote from Hadid’s original statement mentioning Palestine. Beyond Instagram, the actual Vogue story was also edited to remove one of the two original instances of Palestine being mentioned — specifically a quote of the final line of Hadid’s post…Somehow, a major publication scrambling to edit out the word “Palestine” from an article and social media post about a Palestinian supermodel donating to Palestinian relief did not ring cancel-culture alarm bells for any of the various commentators who spend their days scouring the internet for instances of self-censorship.” See also this tweet from the IMEU: “UPDATE: After initially removing Hadid’s mention of Palestine, Vogue edited their Instagram post for a second time, now accurately reporting Hadid’s pledge to donate her earnings to both Ukrainians and Palestinians” andVogue magazine under fire for editing out Palestine from Gigi Hadid Instagram post” (Middle East Eye)

US: Ben & Jerry's sued by Israeli ice cream distributor over settlement boycott,

“The Israeli manufacturer and distributor for Ben & Jerry’s has filed a lawsuit against the American ice cream maker and its parent company Unilever for terminating their business relationship. In a court filing in the US District Court for New Jersey on Thursday, the Israeli company American Quality Products (AQP) and its owner Avi Zinger argued that Ben & Jerry’s decision to halt its operations in the occupied Palestinian territories violated both Israeli and US law because the move amounts to a full boycott of Israel.”

U.S. Scene

Spending bill includes funding for nonprofit security, Iron Dome, support for Abraham Accords,

“Also included in the bill is $1 billion in supplemental Iron Dome funding that had been stalled as a standalone measure in the Senate for months due to opposition from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who had been demanding that funding be reallocated to Iron Dome from Afghanistan aid. The omnibus bill additionally includes the Israel Relations Normalization Act, which seeks to support and expand the normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. That legislation had been tied up in the Senate by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who objected to language supporting a two-state solution. It had not yet come up for a House vote as a standalone measure….The bill also provides the full $3.3 billion in Israel aid expected under the 2016  Memorandum of Understanding, $50 million for the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, $6 million for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, $5 million to support new hate crimes data collection regulations, $1.3 billion in aid for Egypt — subject to increased human rights conditions — and $1.65 billion in assistance for Jordan.” Also see Lara Friedman’s analysis of the bill. 

'Truly Horrifying': AIPAC Criticized for Endorsing GOP 'Election Deniers',

“The decision by AIPAC, the most influential pro-Israeli lobby group in the U.S., to endorse 37 Republican members of Congress who refused to accept President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, is attracting criticism from pro-Israeli experts, writers and former U.S. officials, some of whom have worked with AIPAC for years.” See alsoAIPAC’s decision to endorse and fund over 35 candidates who voted to overturn election results on January 6th is a slap in the face for American democracy” (J Street)

Trump ally Mike Pence in Israel for talks with far-right activists and Sheldon Adelson widow,

“Former US Vice President Mike Pence is in Israel, where he has met a wealthy Republican donor and far-right Israeli activists. Prompting speculation about a run for president in 2024, on Monday, Pence met with Dr. Miriam Adelson at her home in Jerusalem…In addition to meeting with Dr. Miriam, the former Vice President was also pictured meeting with far-right activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir in Hebron on Wednesday.” Also see this tweet from Matt Duss: “This is like a foreign leader coming to the US and hanging out with the Proud Boys.” and this tweet from David Sheen: ““Also in occupied Hebron today attending the love-in between Mike Pence and his wife and Kahanist leaders Itamar Ben Gvir and Baruch Marzel was billionaire Simon Falic, #1 funder of the Kahane movement and its anti-miscegenation terror squad Lehava (video)

First MEPPA award grants announced as board fills out,

“The U.S. Agency for International Development announced the first funding grants on Tuesday from the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, a new funding mechanism approved last year by Congress to provide funding for joint Israeli-Palestinian business ventures and people-to-people projects. The first awards, announced in Jerusalem yesterday by USAID Deputy administrator Isobel Coleman, will provide $3.3 million over four years to provide training, funding and mentorship opportunities to established and aspiring businesswomen, as well as $2.2 million over three years to support small and medium business enterprises and their leaders.”

NYU urged to shut down Tel Aviv campus after Amnesty report on Israel,

“Last year, nearly 600 faculty, staff, students and alumni signed a statement pledging non-cooperation with the Tel Aviv programme “until the Israeli state ceases its military campaign and takes action to end discriminatory policies that limit Palestinian students’ access to education”…That pressure has intensified at NYU, with students and activists demanding the university suspend its Tel Aviv programme, citing the Amnesty report. “NYU cannot, in good conscience, operate an academic centre in an apartheid state while claiming in its non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to be committed to creating an environment free of harassment and discrimination based on race, colour, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity or citizenship status,” wrote Trace Miller, managing editor of the Washington Square News, NYU’s independent student newspaper. An NYU spokesperson responded to the letter, saying that the university has made an affirmative decision to embrace global engagement. “Closing NYU Tel Aviv would run counter to that intrinsic aspect of the university’s character,” they said.”


Israel's president exchanges friendly gestures in Turkey,

“Israel’s President Isaac Herzog and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered joint statements celebrating Herzog’s exceptional visit this afternoon in Ankara. The two met at the presidential palace in Ankara, where there will be a state dinner for Herzog and his wife tonight…Herzog’s visit to Turkey is the first of its kind in over a decade, marking a significant shift in the deteriorated relations between the two countries.”

UK judge overturns Home Office decision on Israeli asylum seeker,

“A UK judge has ruled that a 22-year-old Israeli seeking asylum in the UK, over fears he will be conscripted and forced to commit war crimes, would face “inhuman and degrading treatment” if he was returned to his home country. In a decision handed down in late February, Judge John McClure said the rabbinical student, who has been granted an anonymity order, would likely suffer a “serious deterioration in his mental health” and has been granted leave to remain in the UK, which is subject to renewal. The student and his lawyers have welcomed the ruling, which overturned a Home Office decision in December 2020, but said on Friday that the decision failed to address key aspects of their argument, and they have applied to appeal for his asylum at a higher tribunal. Namely, they said, the court had overlooked their argument that Israel is an apartheid state, a wider context that was critical to prompting the student to flee the country. “I am saddened that it centred its decision around my mental health rather than the persecutory nature of Zionism,” the student said in a statement.”

Palestinian Scene

At Birzeit, a student strike rallies Palestinians of all stripes,

“Palestinian students at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank have claimed victory after a month-long lock-out strike for free speech on their campus….Birzeit University, located just outside Ramallah, is the only Palestinian institution of higher education in the occupied West Bank and Gaza that holds free and democratic elections to its student union, which is open to all student societies irrespective of political affiliation. At least six student political groups are active on campus; Al-Kutla al-Islamiyya and the Progressive Democratic Student Pole are classified by Israel as terrorist organizations due to their association with Hamas and the PFLP, respectively. The last few years have seen a sharp uptick in arrests by Israeli authorities of students affiliated with these societies, including mass arrests of students active in the PFLP-affiliated group….The recent tensions with management peaked when the Israeli army raided the Birzeit campus on Jan. 10 during one of the protests against the disciplinary decision, during which five students were arrested — including Al-Kutla al-Islamiyya’s Barghouti, who was shot and wounded in the raid….In the wake of the raid — which, to many on campus, served as a reminder of the close collaboration between the PA and the Israeli occupation — the student societies changed tactics and escalated their protests to a lock-out strike, with activists picketing the gates to the campus and preventing lecturers and students from entering.”

The Mobilizing Power of Palestinians in Lebanon,

“For over seven decades, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have suffered from inhuman conditions in overcrowded camps rife with poverty, unemployment, and lack of access to education. This commentary argues that despite these conditions, which are continuously deteriorating along with the economic and political collapse in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have repeatedly demanded their social, political, and economic rights by collective action and mass mobilization. The most recent mass mobilization in the Palestinian camps against discriminatory Lebanese policies took place in the summer of 2019. This commentary will examine the 2019 Palestinian Hirak al-Mukhayyamat, or the Movement of the Camps, and the different ways Palestinians made their voices heard. Indeed, in addition to the Hirak, Palestinians joined the revolutionary Lebanese street in the autumn uprising of that same year, effectively defying the institutionalized discrimination that has contained them in sequestered and destitute refugee camps. Despite the continuous violations of their rights by the Lebanese government, the complicity of UNRWA and their funders in these violations, and most importantly, the neglect of what remains of Palestinian leadership in the diaspora and in Palestine, Palestinians in Lebanon have sought justice time and again.”

We Are Palestinians, and We Refuse to Leave Our Homeland,

“Salah Hamouri is a French Palestinian lawyer, researcher, and former political prisoner from al-Quds (Jerusalem). His repeated arrests by Israel have been the subject of considerable controversy in his mother’s native France, with enormous civil society campaigns mobilizing for his release. In this article, he gives a firsthand account of his struggle, the battle for Jerusalem, and the wider fight for Palestinian justice.” See alsoIsraeli forces re-arrest French-Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri amid ongoing persistent harassment” (The New Arab)

Israeli Scene

I was arrested for protesting the siege. Here’s why I refuse to stand trial,

“As Israelis, we are born into the Zionist project, which is based on the ongoing dispossession of the indigenous Palestinians. But alternatives to this project of subjugation exist: we can live alongside Palestinians rather than at their expense. And as Israeli citizens, we can use the privileges granted to us by the apartheid regime to dismantle the system of discrimination and oppression. For the sake of everyone living here — regardless of nationality or religion — we can join the struggle for Palestinian liberation.” 

Opinion: Why this new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan deserves attention,

“Still, the most-cited political and psychological obstacle to a two-state agreement is the ever-growing number of Israeli settlers. The response from Husseini, Beilin and their colleagues is to let settlers stay if they wish, as permanent residents of Palestine. They are right that this would solve the evacuation problem, though not for a reason stated in the text. In this scenario, very few settlers are likely to remain. When it sinks in that they will be members of a minority in an Arab state, they will want to return to the Jewish state. They may hesitate until their neighbors start leaving. But then they will also want to go — to sell their homes to Palestinians or perhaps to the government of Israel or Palestine, which will designate their houses or apartments for Palestinian refugees.”

What I Didn’t See as a Jewish Israeli,

“Yet despite her identity as a liberal Zionist who was against racism and discrimination, Thier writes that her own education as a Jewish Israeli meant that “I did not know that I lived behind an invisible wall. I did not know how much I did not know.” In this excerpt from “Seeing Zionism at Last,” her essay in A Land With a People: Palestinians and Jews Confront Zionism, Thier describes a pivotal moment that opened her eyes to the fundamental injustice of the Nakba, the violent dispossession of Palestinians from their land.”

Bonus & Long Reads

Navigating the surveillance technology ecosystem: A human rights due diligence guide for investors,

“Cyber-surveillance (surveillance) technologies are fundamentally reshaping our societies. While certain technologies within the surveillance sector can serve legitimate law-enforcement and national security purposes with appropriate government oversight and accountability, many are being used to systematically violate a range of human rights. This includes reinforcing discrimination, promoting censorship of the media, violating individuals’ right to privacy, facilitating detention and forced labour, and enabling attacks against human rights defenders…Grounded in the perspectives of digital rights advocates, HRDD modelling experts, and investors, this Guide seeks to assist investors of all sizes, types, and geographies to navigate the surveillance technology ecosystem and strengthen their human rights due diligence.”

My detention in the morning hours of March 8th,

“I am concerned about the fact that space for the freedom of expression is shrinking in Jordan.”

How Opponents of the Israeli Occupation Are Losing the Digital War,

“In her new book, Duke University’s Rebecca Stein proves the limits of video images in exposing the truth”