Top News from Israel & Palestine: May 4, 2021

What We’re Reading

Occupation, Annexation, Human Rights -- Jerusalem

After Few Days of Calm in Jerusalem, Tension Are Set to Escalate Again,

“A week after the police barricades were removed from Damascus Gate, and after days of relatively few confrontations between Palestinians and police, the tensions in East Jerusalem are escalating again. The direct cause this time is the fear that Jewish settlers will move into homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, after several Palestinian families are facing eviction suffered legal defeats recently. A large demonstration was held overnight Monday in Sheikh Jarrah. Ten people were injured after clashes erupted with the police, according to the Palestinians. The police said two people were arrested for hurling rocks and assaulting police officers.”


Also see:

Occupation, Annexation, Human Rights -- West Bank

Another night of settler violence in West Bank,

“Night of settler violence: Two Palestinian vehicles were attacked separately with stones, injuring passengers; hate crime carried out in Burin. @YeshDin field researcher reports that last night a number of attacks were carried out in the WB against Palestinians & their property.” [see thread for more details, including photos].


Also see, from WAFA:

Palestinians torch vehicle used in shooting attack as IDF arrives to seize it,

“The vehicle that is believed to have been used in a drive-by shooting attack at a northern West Bank junction leaving three Israelis wounded was found outside a nearby Palestinian village on Monday. Photos of the car began circulating on Palestinian social media showing that it was hit by at least two bullets, one of which shattered the back windshield and the other hit the trunk door. That matched the claims by soldiers at the scene, who said they returned fire at the vehicle after the driver shot and gravely wounded two Israeli teenagers, and a third lightly. Shortly after the spotting of the vehicle outside the town of Aqraba, Israel Defense Forces troops arrived at the scene in order to confiscate the evidence. Clashes subsequently broke out between the soldiers and Palestinian locals, who managed to set the van alight before it was seized by the troops.”


Also see:

Likud aims to pass bills on direct elections, death penalty, outposts,

“…The bills include legislation that would initiate direct elections for prime minister, cancel the 2005 Gaza Strip withdrawal, institute the death penalty for terrorists, prevent the entrance of migrant workers, add more judges to and enable the bypassing of the Supreme Court, legalize unauthorized West Bank outposts and cancel Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s rotation with Netanyahu as prime minister.”

Israeli forces demolish structures, seize land near Bethlehem,

“Israeli forces today demolished two structures and seized a plot of land in the southern district of Bethlehem, according to sources. Ahmad Salah, a media activist, told WAFA that Israeli forces forced their way to the area between al-Khader town and Beit Jala city, south and west of Bethlehem, where they tore down a shack and a car wash purportedly for being built without permits. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers seized a plot of land, located to the east of Tuqu‘ town, east of the city.”

Former Israel PM Olmert warns against continued attacks on Palestinians,

“Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has asserted that the continued targeting of Palestinians leaves the latter with no choice but an uprising, adding that the situation is on the brink of a breakdown. In an article he penned for Israeli newspaper Maariv, Olmert wrote that continuously attacking Palestinians and deliberately and excessively inflicting harm on them pushes them towards an uprising. He referenced the current situation in Jerusalem, noting that it is on the verge of collapsing and could quickly escalate.”

International Community

US condemned violence by both Palestinians & Jewish extremists,

“The United States condemned both Palestinian and Jewish extremist violence on Monday as unrest rocked the West Bank in the aftermath of a shooting attack Sunday at the Tapuach Junction that left two Israeli, 19-year old seminary students, in serious condition at Beilinson Hospital. ‘We condemn the shooting attack on innocent civilians in the West Bank yesterday, as well as reported retaliatory attacks, and wish the victims a quick recovery. Terror and violence solve nothing,’ said the United States.”

Germany rejects HRW’s apartheid charge against Israel,

“Germany dismissed on Monday a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report which stated that Israel’s actions in Palestine constitute apartheid. Asked about the report at a press briefing in Berlin, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the HRW viewpoint that ‘Israel is committing the international law crime of apartheid is explicitly not endorsed by the federal government.’ ‘We don’t think that is a correct assessment,’ Seibert added.”

UN committee to examine Palestinian apartheid charges against Israel,

“A United Nations arbitrations committee is poised to examine a Palestinian Authority complaint that Israel has committed acts of apartheid.The move comes as civil society allegations against the Jewish state on the issue of apartheid by Israeli left-wing NGOs such as Yesh Din and B’Tselem and by the US based Human Rights Watch have made headlines. Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva issued a sharp retort on the matter Monday, after the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) said Friday it planned to advance the matter. CERD ‘has applied discriminatory standards against Israel to justify its outrageous decision on the admissibility of the politically motivated Palestinian complaint,’ the mission said.”

Lebanon, Israel Resume Indirect Talks on Maritime Border,

“After a nearly six-month pause, Lebanon and Israel on Tuesday resumed indirect talks with US mediation over their disputed maritime border. The resumption comes after a new US administration took over. Lebanon has sunk deeper into it economic and financial crisis that started in late 2019 – a culmination of decades of corruption and mismanagement by the political class.”


Israel's Continuing Post-Elections Machinations

Netanyahu’s Likud moves to advance direction elections for PM,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party moves to advance legislation to hold direct elections for premier without further parliamentary elections, hours before his mandate to form a government expires. The proposal, which could allow Netanyahu to retain the premiership despite his right-wing religious bloc again falling short of a majority in the March 23 elections, is one of a number of bills that Likud is seeking to get approval to fast-track during a meeting of the Knesset Arrangements Committee later today. There does not currently appear to be a majority to approve the bill. The other proposals that Likud wants to be able to hold a plenum vote on tomorrow are: a bill to cancel the 2005 ‘disengagement’ from the Gaza Strip and several West Bank settlements; a bill to introduce the death penalty for terrorists; a bill to bar migrant ‘infiltrators’ from entering the country; a bill to limit parties’ ability to claim standing in lawsuits; a bill to change the way Supreme Court justices are selected; ‘the attorney general bill’; a bill to ‘regulate’ illegal settlement outposts; a bill allowing the Knesset to overrule Supreme Court rulings; a bill on disqualifying evidence; and a bill to cancel Netanyahu’s power-sharing agreement with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, which is anchored in law.”


Also see:

Rivlin said set to ask Lapid to form coalition, won’t give mandate to Bennett,

“President Reuven Rivlin will likely tap Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid with forming the next government if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to do so by the Tuesday night deadline, but will likely not consider offering it to Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, according to Hebrew media reports. Netanyahu was given the first opportunity to cobble together a coalition, on April 6, after receiving 52 recommendations to Lapid’s 45.  Rivlin, who as Israel’s president is tasked with mandating a lawmaker to form a government, can give Netanyahu an extension after his 28 days end Tuesday night, hand the mandate to another lawmaker, or send it to the Knesset for a 21-day period, after which fifth elections would automatically be called if no one can form a government. The president prefers the second option, according to Hebrew media reports Monday, and is slated to transfer the government-forming mandate to Lapid as he received the second most recommendations when Rivlin consulted with party representatives after the March 23.”


Also see:

Likud to haredi lawmakers: We're recommending Bennett as PM,

“The Likud is planning on recommending Yamina chief Naftali Bennett as prime minister once Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a new government expires, a senior Likud official said, according to a report by Kan Tuesday. Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin (Likud) told haredi lawmakers in closed talks that the Likud is planning on recommending that Bennett receive a mandate from President Reuven Rivlin to form a new government.


Also see:

In bombshell recordings, Shaked calls Netanyahus ‘tyrants’ with ‘lust for power’,

“Senior Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked described Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as ‘dictators’ and ‘tyrants’ with a ‘lust for power,’ and said the premier only cares about his ongoing corruption trial, in bombshell recordings aired on Monday. The recordings were played on Channel 12, as Netanyahu was engaged in a last-minute attempt to draw Yamina into a right-wing coalition, with his deadline for forming a government set to expire on Tuesday night.” Also see: ‘We won’t go with the left, Netanyahu and his wife are like dictators’ (Arutz Sheva)


Israel and the challenge of apartheid,

“The Human Rights Watch report has caused considerable discomfort in large segments of Israeli society and the Jewish world. But instead of viewing this document, with its compendium of violations increasingly conforming to legal definitions of apartheid, as an unmitigated threat to Israel’s very existence, Israelis who care about the country, its moral fabric, its guiding principles and its future viability might do well to view its publication as a warning signal that compels a much-needed reassessment of their normative foundations and their future course.”

Reviving a Palestinian Power: The Diaspora and the Diplomatic Corps,

“Summary: The PLO diplomatic corps is a main point of contact for Palestinian refugees and exiles. How can this help revive national aspirations? In the first study of its kind, Zaha Hassan, Nadia Hijab, Inès Abdel Razek, and Mona Younis review the corps’ legal foundations, days of glory, shifting roles, and interaction with the diaspora and solidarity groups. They present clear, doable recommendations to the PLO and to the diaspora.”

Is Israeli-Palestinian confederation all it’s hyped up to be?,

“…Confederation is posited as a response to the status quo, one that obviates the need to address many of the key problems with conventional two-state frameworks: settlements and settlers seemingly too numerous to evacuate, the division of Jerusalem, and the rights of Palestinian refugees. Yet in sidestepping these problems, confederation proponents must also acknowledge the new and serious complications that would arise from this model.”

How Did Conservative Abbas Become a More Legitimate Coalition Partner Than Ayman Odeh? ,

“…How, in this election campaign, did the conservative Mansour Abbas, representative of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, become a more legitimate coalition partner than Ayman Odeh, the secular politician who dedicated himself to forging a political partnership with Jews in the Hadash/Joint List movement? To the Jewish mainstream, both entities symbolize ‘forbidden’ solidarity with the Palestinians’ national aspirations; both have candidates on their slates who are viewed as controversial, as it were, by the same people. The differences between them, in the eyes of racists who from the get-go rule out any partnership with ‘the Arabs,’ should not have really existed. And they don’t. In terms of political partnership, the differences are completely imaginary and were cooked up by the master con artist himself.”

Is ousting Netanyahu really worth elevating Naftali Bennett? ,

“…the lack of good alternatives doesn’t change the fact that the idea of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is something well worth fearing. Bennett’s political raison d’etre is to vanquish any possibility of a Palestinian state while establishing permanent Israeli control over most of the West Bank. If he achieves that aim, the vast majority of Palestinians who live outside this area would continue to live under Israeli military occupation, even with promises that they’ll be given some measure of ‘autonomy.’”

Palestinian access to water & attacks on wash structures in Area C,

“…Currently, it is estimated that 659,237 Palestinians in the West Bank have limited access to water, with 480,000 of these persons considered ‘vulnerable’ as a result. According to the World Bank, the oPt is considered water-scarce with lower to middle-income levels in terms of water. In 1993, the Oslo II interim agreement provided details on water management in the West Bank. Despite stating that ‘Israel recognizes the Palestinian water rights in the West Bank’, ‘both sides recognize the necessity to develop additional water for various uses’, and that Israeli authorities are responsible for providing the agreed amount of water to Palestinian communities, Israel today enjoys 87 percent of these shared water resources, with Palestinians only able to access the remaining 13 percent.”

Israel buries Palestinians in numbered graves,

“The Israeli authorities returned April 22 the body of Youssef Abu Jazar, a 16-year-old Palestinian who was killed on the Gaza border with Israel while taking part in the return marches called for by Palestinian factions between March 30, 2018, and December 2019…The detention of Youssef’s body shone light on the issue of Israel’s ‘cemeteries of numbers.’ The graves of Palestinians buried in these cemeteries bear a metal plate marked with an identification number, instead of a name. Each number refers to a file on the slain Palestinians that is kept by the Israeli security services. Some of the bodies withheld by Israel are kept in refrigerators and others are placed in covert stone graves with identification numbers. Israel uses these bodies as a bargaining chip in negotiations for prisoner swap deals with the Palestinians.”