Top News from Israel & Palestine – May 21, 2021

What We’re Reading

Top Headlines

Israel, Hamas agree to cease-fire to end bloody 11-day war,

“At 2 a.m. local time, just as the cease-fire took effect, life returned to the streets of Gaza…At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1,710 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not break the numbers down into fighters and civilians. Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, were killed…

Here’s what to know:

  • A day after a cease-fire took effect at 2 a.m. local time, leading to celebrations in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, clashes broke out near the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
  • Both Israel and Hamas claimed to have come out on top. Israeli Defense Minster Benny Gantz pointed to “unprecedented” military achievements, and a senior Hamas figure claimed “victory.”
  • Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket attacks continued until minutes before the cease-fire, but then stopped.
  • The Palestinian death toll in Gaza stands at 232, including at least 65 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. In the West Bank, at least 21 Palestinians have been killed in the past week, officials there said.
  • The death toll in Israel stood at 12, including two children, after police said two Thai workers were killed Tuesday by rockets fired from Gaza.”

Israel police storm the complex following Gaza ceasefire,

“Israeli security forces have fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at worshippers in al-Aqsa Mosque, hours after thousands gathered at the holy site to celebrate the announcement of a ceasefire in Gaza. Footage released on social media showed Israeli police firing into crowds of Palestinian worshippers shortly after they had congregated for Friday prayers.”

More on Israel’s Raid on Al-Aqsa

  • “Israeli Police Enter Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to Confiscate Palestinian Flags” (Haaretz)
  • “Hours after Gaza ceasefire, Palestinians, police clash on Temple Mount” (The Times of Israel)
  • “Palestinians Claim Victory as Gaza Cease-fire Faces Early Test” (Haaretz)
  • “Palestinians clash with Israeli police outside Al-Aqsa Mosque hours after ceasefire” (JTA)

Fragile cease-fire leaves Gaza in shambles, Netanyahu’s future in question and Jerusalem on verge of erupting again,

“Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said “riots” broke out Friday afternoon, following prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque, involving hundreds of Palestinians who “threw rocks and petrol bombs at police officers.” He said they were then dispersed by Israeli police. Similar flare-ups around the sacred compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, known as the Temple Mount by Jews and as the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims, triggered the Israel-Hamas conflict 12 days ago.”

Israeli security establishment said to recognize IDF damage to Hamas was less than initially thought,

“During Operation Guardian of the Walls, the IDF attacked roughly 40 percent of Hamas’s rocket launchers, but found it difficult to hit other sites, particularly due to a lack of intelligence, the security officials tell Haaretz. The officials add that Hamas has maintained its ability to fire large quantities of rockets at Israel, even after the latest round of fighting. Roughly 4,360 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel during the operation, about 3,400 of which crossed into Israel.”


More Israeli Reactions

  • “Netanyahu: Any Gaza rocket fire will be met with ‘whole new level of force’” (The Times of Israel)
  • “Right-wing lawmakers pan Netanyahu for ceasefire with Hamas” (The Times of Israel)

Ceasefire will not quell Palestinian uprising, says Nasser al-Qudwa,

“The uprising of Palestinians in Jerusalem and Israel will not die down despite a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Nasser al-Qudwa, one of the most prominent politicians in the West Bank has told Middle East Eye. “The mere fact of reaching a kind of ceasefire in Gaza is not going to do the trick,” Qudwa said in an interview conducted before the deal to end the current round of fighting came into effect early on Friday morning. “It’s not going to solve all the problems and most probably we will see more of the same, more of the flare up situations and more confrontations and maybe even one more confrontation in Gaza, or between Gaza and Israel itself.” Qudwa, the nephew of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, said the events of the past two weeks had proved beyond doubt the need for the Palestinian leadership to reform.”


More Palestinian Reactions

  • “Hamas downplays damage to tunnel network” (Al-Monitor)
  • “Hamas chief says it has destroyed process of Arab states normalizing with Israel” (The Times of Israel)
  • “In pictures: Palestinians across West Bank and Gaza celebrate ceasefire agreement” (Middle East Eye)
  • “Palestinians rally in thousands after Hamas-Israel ceasefire in Gaza” (The New Arab)
  • “Palestine celebrates beginning of Gaza ceasefire after 11 days of Israeli air strikes” (Middle East Eye)

Palestinian Authority Will File Complaint Against Israel at ICC, Palestinian PM Says,

“Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the Palestinain Authority plans to file a complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, claiming it had committed war crimes in Gaza in its recent operation in the enclave, including against women and children. The PA said in a statement that 20 Palestinian families have been almost completely wiped out in Gaza, in addition to the mass destruction that was caused by Israeli airstrikes in the Strip.”


Gaza has ‘significant trauma needs’, UN says,

“The World Health Organization (WHO) tallied “significant trauma needs” in Gaza. A total of 8,538 people had been injured across the besieged enclave and 30 health facilities had been damaged, it said.” Also See – “WHO issues $7 million emergency appeal for Palestinians amid conflict” (The Times of Israel)

UNICEF delivers convoy of humanitarian aid for Gaza, including 10K COVID vaccines,

“The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, says it organized a convoy of 12 containers of medical supplies that entered Gaza today. The shipment includes one container of first-aid kits, two containers of 2,000 triple blood bags, saline-glucose solution, one container of fire extinguishers, two containers of antibiotics and other infection-control medications, and 10,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.”

Hamas breaks out of its Gaza cage,

“While there is a deep debate among Palestinians about Hamas’ involvement, Baconi added, the same cannot be said about the international community. From what he sees, foreign governments remain “very much frozen” in their perceptions of the Islamist movement as “irrationally attacking Israel for some decontextualized, unknown reason.” Without a reckoning of these misconceptions, he said, the world will simply go back to normalizing the daily oppressive violence imposed by Israeli rule on all Palestinians, of which Gaza is an illustrative component, rather than an exception.”

My Grandfather Bought a Home in Gaza With His Savings. An Israeli Airstrike Destroyed It.,

“Our grandfather had an apartment in the building, which he had bought with his life savings and left for his children to inherit. It was now reduced to rubble and ash. This is a lesson that Palestinians across generations have never been allowed to forget: Home is fleeting and can be taken away at any moment. My grandfather, Abdul Kareem, knew this all too well. The story of his life can be told through all of the homes that he has lost…There is almost a sense of shame in grieving over the loss of property when entire families have been killed in Gaza. But this too is a critical function of the occupation, which compounds Palestinian dispossession by not only the loss of one home after another but also the right to mourn them. That apartment was the home my grandfather built after a lifetime of exile, everything he had worked toward until the last years of his life. The feeling of longing that pulled him back to Gaza and every moment of joy, pain and loss in his life were built into the walls of that apartment. It was a place he hoped his grandchildren might one day be able to visit. But I realize now that it wasn’t that simple. When I consider all of the homes that he lost, I know my grandfather could not have expected any physical structure to be his lasting legacy. Instead he left us with something that cannot be taken away. His struggle to return home embodied the hope, resilience and audacity that all dispossessed Palestinians pass on from one generation to the next. We build, they destroy, and we build again.”

To Be a Grandmother, a Mother and a Woman in the Bombarded Gaza Strip,

“What does it mean to be a grandmother, a mother and a woman that God put on this piece of earth called Gaza during these times?”

Israel bombs ice cream factory in Gaza,

“Sami al-Ghazali, the owner of the Maatoug Booza Factory, never thought that his investments in the local ice cream business in Gaza’s supposedly safe industrial zone would vanish in a blink of an eye. But on May 17, his factory was bombed by Israeli artillery shells and completely destroyed. “I invested more than $500,000 to establish the factory in a safe area far from any potential Israeli attack,” Ghazali told Al-Monitor. The factory produced over 5,000 liters of Italian gelato per month, a favorite among Gazans. “Refrigerators, raw materials, machines and equipment, power lines for commercial production, all have been destroyed. It is so difficult to rebuild all this,” he said. Anas al-Khudary, the owner of the Foamco Mattress factory in Gaza, was too shocked to continue speaking with Al-Monitor. On May 17, fire broke out in the northern Gaza factory after it was hit by an artillery shell. The factory, which stretched over an area of six dunums, was the main source of mattresses in the coastal enclave. One of the factory workers who spoke to Al-Monitor said the losses are estimated at $4 million.”

‘We Have No Option but to Die’: Living Through an Airstrike in Gaza,

“It felt like blast waves were hitting my face and body. It felt like our neighborhood was under attack. I staggered to my window to look outside. I got scared — Israel was lashing out, striking randomly and everywhere…Ayman, the youngest, said he wanted to run away to a safer place. But my mother said no. “Where are you going to go?” she said. “There are no safer places. There is no safer place. Die with me.””

Occupation, Annexation, Apartheid, Human Rights

‘We don’t sleep’: Sheikh Jarrah Palestinians decry harassment,

“Iskafi is from one of the Palestinian families facing expulsion and waiting for a final decision from the court. He said on Sunday night police locked the family in their house for the whole night until the next evening. “They put three to four soldiers at the door of each of our houses to keep us locked inside. Whenever we tried to get out they said to us: ‘You stay inside or we will beat you.’”

How Palestinians are asserting their right to live in the holy city,

“Jalal Abukhater, a Palestinian writer and activist, told +972 that the series of events escalating in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and elsewhere are partly a result of Palestinians reclaiming their spaces, their voices, and their right to exist in the holy city. “We are reclaiming a certain sovereignty over our areas and neighborhoods of Jerusalem, which angered a lot of Israeli extremists when the Jerusalem Day march was rerouted,” Abukhater said, referring to the yearly parade by Jewish ultra-nationalists through Jerusalem’s Old City, in which they often wave Israeli flags, chant racist slogans, and sometimes attack Palestinian bystanders to mark the day of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. As tensions mounted in the lead-up to the march, Israeli authorities decided to block the Israeli Jews from marching through the Old City. “They were unhappy they didn’t subjugate Palestinians enough, and that we stopped this very provocative, racist, extremist parade from coming to our neighborhoods for the first time in the history of the occupation of Jerusalem,” said Abukhater.”

Israelis Tell Him to Go to Gaza, Palestinians Call Him a Collaborator: The Life of a Stateless Jerusalem Reporter,

“Born in East Jerusalem, he’s stateless and didn’t know a word of Hebrew until five years ago. But then Suleiman Maswadeh, who spoke to Haaretz before the flare-up in Gaza, decided he wanted to succeed. Today he’s the Israeli public broadcaster’s correspondent in Jerusalem.”

48 Israel

Jews Arrested on Suspicion of Stabbing Israeli Arab in Jerusalem Last Week,

“In a separate incident, four Jewish men were charged Friday with assaulting an Arab man in the central city of Bat Yam.  According to the prosecution, witnesses heard one of the suspects chanting “death to Arabs” during riots in the city while he was carrying a metal chain and a knife.” Also See – “Court charges three Bat Yam lynching suspects with attempted murder” (Jerusalem Post)

Jaffa's New Normal: Checkpoints, Stun Grenades and Police Brutality,

“The police didn’t officially announce a curfew in Jaffa, but for the city’s Arab community, that’s the routine now. There’s no shortage of examples: Temporary checkpoints have been set up in the streets, the police are operating overtly and covertly, and at night police set out to raid mosques. Throughout the city, Arab residents repeatedly report that the police are delaying them, in incidents that at best end only with the residents providing identification and answering questions. And the consequences for the fabric of life are also evident. Businesses remain closed and the tension in the streets is palpable. Many of the residents prefer to stay home all day. “It feels like our parents’ stories about the military regime,” said Rawan Bisharat, a Jaffa resident who lives near the Bat Yam border, on Tuesday. Some of the sights are reminiscent of Hebron, she said. “The police enter neighborhoods ostensibly in order to calm things down, and throw stun grenades. We have no security. We don’t know where it will come from – the settlers or the police. And what’s most disturbing is that the media doesn’t talk about it.””

Umm al-Fahm man shot dead in front of wife and children; police suspect criminal motive,

“A 42-year-old Umm al-Fahm resident was shot dead while in his car in the city, police say. The man, Tarek Agbaria, was shot to death at close range in front of his children and wife, whom he was returning from the hospital after the latter gave birth, Haaretz says. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. Police believe the shooting was criminally motivated.”

In Lod unrest, Arab fury against ‘settler’ Jewish newcomers boils to surface,

“Israel has seen widespread civil unrest in recent days, with mixed Arab-Jewish cities emerging as a front line in the violence. Protests by Arab Israelis against Israeli policies in Jerusalem and Gaza exploded into violent riots. Jewish extremists struck back with revenge attacks, with violent mobs attacking Arabs in Ramle, Bat Yam and Acre. No city has seen as much violence as Lod, which lies in Israel’s heartland. A mere twenty minutes from Tel Aviv, the city’s name has also long been synonymous with neglect, crime and official dysfunction.” Also See – “Hateful rioting in Lod gives way to cautious rebuilding, but unease persists” (The Times of Israel)

Lydd’s Palestinians are leading a new uprising,

“The events in Lydd and other Palestinian cities in Israel are part of the most widespread uprising among Palestinians inside the Green Line since October 2000. They represent a new kind of protest, which the Israeli public, the media, and the police are struggling to contend with…Shariki said the causes of the recent events in the city run deep. “Hatred doesn’t develop in a day or two,” he said. “It’s not Al-Aqsa or Musa [Hassuna]. It’s a years-long process that has brought us to this point. Netanyahu is going all-in. He has nothing to lose.””

Ra’anana school principal filmed throwing rocks at Arab protestors in Lod riot,

“The Education Ministry filed a complaint on Thursday against a school principal who was filmed throwing stones at Arabs in the central city of Lod amid intense riots that swept the city. Sagi Rosenbaum, the principal of a Ra’anana state-run religious school, was identified by his students and their parents in footage seen in a short documentary produced by the Kan public broadcaster on the violent clashes in the central city.”

As Israeli Jews, we demand international intervention against apartheid,

“Like in Apartheid South Africa, we call upon the international community to intervene in defense of the Palestinians by placing pressure on Israel to end the occupation and the siege, allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, reach a just and democratic solution, and establish a state of all its citizens.”

The U.S.

Hour-by-hour: Biden’s behind-the-scenes push for cease-fire,

“Biden and Netanyahu’s talks were just a small sample of the furious diplomacy that the White House conducted. The president and senior aides had over 80 engagements — by phone or in person — as it looked for an endgame to the fighting, according to the White House. Biden’s speech celebrating the cease-fire lasted just 3 ½ minutes — delivered just in time for evening news broadcasts. He reiterated his belief that Israel has a right to defend itself, expressed condolences for Palestinian civilians who died in the Israeli bombardment and promised that humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip was on its way.”

Also See

  • “With Gaza ceasefire, Biden can claim success for ‘arm around Israel’ approach” (The Times of Israel)
  • “Biden Commends Netanyahu for Bringing Gaza Violence to Close” (Haaretz)”Democrats Welcome Israeli-Palestinian Cease-fire but Warn It’s Not Enough” (Haaretz)
  • “Biden commends Israel, Hamas cease-fire; vows to continue ‘quiet relentless diplomacy’” (Jewish Insider)

U.S. Looks to Rebuild Gaza, but Aid Could Hinge on Hamas’s Rocket Arsenal,

“A senior Biden administration official said the United States was planning to be at the fore of an international response, most likely costing billions of dollars, to include restoring health and education services, and other reconstruction. The senior official said that rebuilding Gaza — which will most likely be coordinated through the United Nations — was at the top of a list of festering diplomatic obstacles that the administration would face between Israel and the Palestinian Authority now that the fighting was to wind down. Mr. Biden is expected to consider other initiatives. American diplomats who had shelved the prospects of brokering a broader peace agreement between the two sides will take a new look at the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, said the senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. The Biden administration will also refocus on how to build on new alliances between Israel and Arab states that were brokered last year, largely at the behest of President Donald J. Trump.” Also See – “Biden may spearhead effort to revive Gaza, in part to gain leverage on Hamas” (The Times of Israel)

Biden leaning toward Thomas Nides as ambassador to Israel,

“President Biden is closing in on his pick for ambassador to Israel, with Thomas Nides, a former deputy secretary of state, most likely to be the pick, a source familiar with the process told Axios…In the mean time, Secretary of State Tony Blinken is considering plans to send senior diplomat Michael Ratney to Jerusalem to serve as the acting U.S. ambassador to Israel, according to Israeli officials, who told Axios that Ratney is expected to arrived on June 1. That’s an acknowledgment that, in the midst of the crisis in Gaza, the Biden administration is understaffed in the region. Ratney’s appointment would place a more senior and experienced head of mission on the ground until the new ambassador is appointed and confirmed…State Department officials notified the Israeli government on Wednesday that Ratney would be appointed as chargé d’affaires at the embassy in Jerusalem, Israeli officials said. The State Department declined to comment. Ratney, a career diplomat who served as consul general in Jerusalem under Barack Obama and later as special envoy to Syria, would replace Jonathan Shreier, the career diplomat who had been serving as chargé d’affaires since Jan 20. Shreier would remain as deputy head of mission. Ratney, the more senior diplomat, has close relationships with Palestinian leaders from his previous posting in Jerusalem. He served as deputy assistant secretary of state for the Levant and Israel-Palestinian affairs during Donald Trump’s first year in office, and worked with the Trump team on their first steps on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He left in Dec. 2017 after the decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and moved to the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Ratney’s wife, fellow career diplomat Karen Sasahara, was the last U.S. consul general in Jerusalem before the consulate was closed down by Trump and merged into the U.S. embassy.” Also See – “Biden to send diplomat Michael Ratney to Jerusalem until new ambassador tapped” (The Times of Israel)


Blinken to visit Middle East 'in the next few days',

“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit the Middle East “in the next few days,” he said on Twitter on Thursday after a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took effect in Gaza. “I will be visiting the region in the next few days and look forward to meeting the (Israeli) foreign minister and other Israeli, Palestinian and regional officials,” he tweeted.”

How The Gaza Violence Marked A Shift In The American Political Debate Over Israel,

“For decades, Democrats and Republicans alike have stood by Israel, almost unconditionally, insisting the country has a right to defend itself. President Biden did that throughout the recent conflict as Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets into Israel. Now, Biden has pledged to help replenish Israel’s air defense system while promising humanitarian aid to Gaza, which was pounded by fierce Israeli airstrikes before a cease-fire took effect early Friday. But this latest violence marked a shift in the American political debate over Israel. The criticism from the left was louder than in the past, with progressives pressuring Biden to speak up forcefully in support of Palestinians, who saw a far greater civilian death toll in recent days.”

Big Tech, Media, Censorship & Quashing Free Speech to Silence Criticism of Israel

The Attacks on Palestinian Digital Rights,

“The report is based on reports of digital rights violations from May 6 – 19 and the responses of social media companies to these reports…7amleh documented more than 500 reports of Palestinian digital rights violations with the support of the public and civil society during the aforementioned period, which showed a significant increase in the censorship of Palestinian political speech and narrative online…Some platforms issued public statements addressing concerns from activists and organizations that they are censoring Palestinian political speech. However, their explanation only focused on technical issues and did not adequately explain the high rate and diverse types of censorship documented by rights advocates. As digital rights advocates know, censorship of Palestinians on social media is an ongoing issue and the recent increase in reports and violations represents an escalation of an already existing problem, instead of a new trend. Additionally, it is likely that the efforts of the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s Cyber Unit — which over the past years submitted tens of thousands of cases to companies without any legal basis — is also behind many of these reported violations…7amleh also received 40 reports that exposed the hate speech and incitement to violence directed towards Palestinians and Arabs online, including reports of Israeli extremist groups mobilizing lynch mobs on WhatsApp and Telegram. This incitement extended to the offline and led to the killing of two Palestinians during this time. Although social media companies were able to remove part of this content following 7amleh’s submission of reports, hate speech and content inciting to violence online persists, which points to the longstanding issue of a lack of sufficient investment in identifying, monitoring and actioning on hate speech and violent content directed at Palestinians and Arabs. The Israeli authorities also used geolocation tracking to identify worshipers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and send them messages from the Israeli government on their phones threatening that they would be held accountable for participating in violence.”

An Old Conflict With Digital Twists,

“What I saw in the Israeli WhatsApp groups was a notch different from what we’ve seen in India or Myanmar or at the Capitol riot in January where people spread hate or misinformation online, but it wasn’t targeted at individuals or businesses. I and people who study misinformation had never seen organized violence on social media or communications apps in quite this way…There has been Palestinian violence against Israelis, but we didn’t find online mobilization in the same way. One Israeli official told me, in dark humor, that there is so much surveillance of Palestinians by the Israeli police and security forces that WhatsApp mobs would be found before they had a single member.”

An interview with Emily Wilder, recent Stanford grad fired from AP job over criticisms of Israel,

“Emily Wilder, a journalist and 2020 graduate of Stanford University, started a new job as an Associated Press news associate based in Maricopa County, Arizona, on May 3. Two weeks later, she was unceremoniously fired by the news outlet after conservatives resurfaced old social media posts that drew attention from Republicans as prominent as Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. In Wilder’s eyes, her firing is the latest example of right-wing cancel culture.”

US campuses become a growing front in Israeli-Palestinian conflict,

“The volatile climate at the University of Michigan reflects rising tensions across several US campuses in the wake of the eruption of violent clashes in Jerusalem three weeks ago. Renewed fighting in the Middle East has prompted students in universities across America, emboldened by last summer’s wave of Black Lives Matter protests, to rally against more than half a century of Israeli occupation and to call for an international boycott modeled on the ostracism of apartheid South Africa. In turn there has been a sharp increase in attempts to quell the protests, with reports that Palestinian students and their allies have faced harassment online. Palestine Legal, an advocacy group that defends supporters of Palestinian rights, told the Guardian that they had received a marked increase in requests for legal help since the violence flared in Jerusalem. “In the past two weeks there has been a surge of complaints coming in to us from students whose posts on social media have been censored, who have falsely been accused of antisemitism or have even faced death threats,” a Palestine Legal attorney Amira Mattar, who is herself Palestinian American, said. Similar complaints have been raised by the opposing side. “There is a distinct uptick in antisemitism and anti-Israel rhetoric on campus and on social media,” said Matthew Berger, a spokesperson for Hillel. “Jewish students are being personally targeted and subjected to hatred online for expressing their personal support for Israel.” The toxic atmosphere on some US campuses has been long in gestation. Last year Palestine Legal took on 213 cases involving attempts to quash pro-Palestinian advocacy.”

Palestinians Have Been Censored on Facebook for Years, But Now It’s Even Worse,

“None of Facebook’s statements so far address the egregious censorship their users across the world have experienced over the past two weeks,” Marwa Fatafta, Middle East policy manager with human rights advocacy group Access Now, told VICE News. “People in the region are angry and frustrated for being actively censored while Facebook continues to brush off the issue and pin it on ‘technical errors’.”

The New York Times Distorts the Palestinian Struggle,

“In this study, I will identify bias against Palestine in a newspaper of international importance – the New York Times – as a case study in the scope of a larger problem of anti-Palestinian bias in American news coverage. I will center my analysis on two important periods in the modern history of the Palestinian struggle – the First and Second Intifadas – both marked by periods of rapid change and an increase in global conversation about Israel and Palestine. From this analysis, I intend to, first, provide a more rigorous computational and qualitative analysis of rhetorical bias in the Times than other content analysis studies have to date and, second, develop an accurate measure of how bias in the Times evolved between the Intifadas.”

When Israel Censored Poets for Being 'Tools of Expression of Arab Nationalism',

“Some 50 years ago, Druze poet Samih al-Qasim was indicted for not complying with state censorship rules before publishing a book of poems. Not all members of the Hebrew Writers Association agreed to act on his behalf. Finally, with Prime Minister Golda Meir’s intervention, his trial was canceled.”

News from the Region

On the sidelines, Hezbollah looms large over Gaza battle,

“Hezbollah’s shadow loomed large during Israel and Hamas’ two-week battle, with the possibility it could unleash its arsenal of missiles – far more powerful than Hamas’ – in support of the Palestinians. Instead, Hezbollah stayed on the sidelines. And if a ceasefire that took effect early Friday holds, another Israel-Hamas war will have ended without Hezbollah intervention.”

Despite Gaza bloodshed, few see Abraham Accords derailing,

“Far from the rubble of Gaza, where a ceasefire agreement appears to be holding and Palestinians mourn loved ones killed over 11 days of relentless Israeli bombing, plans are still quietly under way for the upcoming opening of the Israel-Gulf Cooperation Council Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The chamber was established only in February, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco normalised relations with Israel last year under the Abraham Accords.”

Top Analysis & Commentary

[Podcast] More than History: 1917, 1936, & 2021,

In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” Professor Sherene Seikaly offers historical framing and comparisons necessary for understanding what’s happening with Palestinians now, from the general strike to the ongoing Nakba to questions of Palestinian leadership.

Israel Is Falling Apart, Because the Conflict Controls Us,

“Although many Israelis scoff at the left-wing tendency to blame the occupation for the country’s problems, and Mr. Netanyahu has insisted for years that the conflict doesn’t control our lives, reality says otherwise. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dominates Israeli politics, muscling out sound policymaking in other critical areas of life. The conflict is suffocating liberal values, eroding Israel’s democratic institutions. Israeli leadership at large is collapsing under its weight. It is time to accept that it’s not just that Israel controls Palestinians in the conflict. Palestine also controls Israel. The occupation and the festering political conflict since 1948 have permeated every part of our society, political and social institutions, and well-being. If Israel and its supporters can view the situation in this light, they might reach different conclusions about what’s best for the country.”

A Cease-Fire, and New Ideas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories,

“The most intractable problems facing Israel and the Palestinians cannot be bombed away. When the dust settles, the misery and resentment will remain, starting in motion the next round of fighting. It is not in the interests of Israel, the United States or the rest of the world to make life unlivable in Gaza or to see another generation of children grow into adulthood knowing no government but Hamas, no economy but blockade and no certainty about the future except periodic bombardment.”

Is this the beginning of the end of apartheid?,

“The record of struggles against colonialism since 1945 support reaching the conclusion that the side that wins a legitimacy war will eventually control the political outcome, despite being weaker militarily and diplomatically.”