Top News from Israel & Palestine: May 7, 2021

What We’re Reading

Eyes on Jerusalem

Violent clashes erupt as Palestinians resist dispossession at Jerusalem neighborhood,

“Israeli police Friday overnight violently cracked down on Palestinians resisting forceful eviction and dispossession in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, according to local sources and WAFA correspondent. They said that a sizable Israeli police forced its way into the neighborhood for the third consecutive night as Palestinians and solidarity activists gathered to break their Ramadan fasting in solidarity with 40 Palestinians, including 10 children, who face the imminent risk of being kicked out from their homes in the neighborhood to replace them with an entirely Jewish settlers. Police, some mounted on horses, attempted to violently disperse the protestors, firing tear gas, stun grenades and skunk water towards them…Meanwhile, an armed settler opened fire toward a group of Palestinians in the neighborhood. No injuries were reported though. Another settler attacked a Palestinian youth who was on his way from his workplace to his house near the neighborhood using a sharp object, wounding him.The casualty was rushed to a hospital for urgent treatment.”

Also see: 

Jerusalem on the Verge: Dispossession & Violence in Sheikh Jarrah,

Watch or listen to the recording of yesterday’s webinar with Budour Hassan, Aseel Albajeh, and Lara Friedman. This webpage includes a full list of resources relating to Sheikh Jarrah.

Jerusalem: Police Arrest 15 in Sheikh Jarrah Clashes ,

“Jewish and Arab protesters began hurling objects at one another shortly after breaking the Ramadan fast at nightfall, prompting Israeli security forces to attempt to separate between the groups. Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, a lawmaker under the Religious Zionism party, set up a makeshift office in the neighborhood on Sunday, sparking nightly protests between Arab residents and their Jewish neighbors.”

Far-right MK vacates Sheikh Jarrah ‘office’ in return for more policing in area,

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir agreed on Friday to vacate what he declared to be a parliamentary office in Sheikh Jarrah in return for a police presence near homes claimed by right-wing Jews in the tense East Jerusalem neighborhood until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.” 

Watch: Deputy Mayor of #Jerusalem, Arieh King, tell a Palestinian activist "it's a pity" he wan't shot in the head, last night in #SheikhJarrah,

Standing next to the Deputy Mayor is Member of Knesset Itamar Ben Gvir of the Jewish Power party (now part of the Religious Zionist party). 

European powers tell Israel to stop settlement expansion amid tension in Jerusalem,

“France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain urged Israel on Thursday to halt settlement-building in the occupied West Bank….”We urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the European nations said. “If implemented, the decision to advance settlements in Har Homa, between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, will cause further damage to the prospects for a viable Palestinian State.””

Also see: 

UN: Pending Israeli evictions in East Jerusalem could be a ‘war crime’,

The United Nations urged Israel on Friday to call off any pending evictions in East Jerusalem, warning that its actions could amount to “war crimes.” Israel dismissed the tensions as a “real estate dispute.” See also:UN coordinator concerned by surge in West Bank tension” (MEMO)

Members of Congress on the record re: Sheikh Jarrah Pending Evictions & Escalation,

As of 12pm Friday, the list includes these Members of Congress: Cori Bush, Debbie Dingell, Chuy Garcia, Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, and Rashida Tlaib.

Palestinians criticise social media censorship over Sheikh Jarrah,

Palestinians have slammed social media companies for shutting down their personal accounts and censoring content about attacks on residents and activists by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah….Social media users from the ground and around the world have uploaded and shared video content and images about the attacks, using the hashtag in both English and Arabic #SaveSheikhJarrah. Yet many have complained that their accounts have been censored, limited, or shut down altogether. “Social media companies are silencing Palestinian voices while they’re fighting for their survival on the ground,” Marwa Fatafta, a policy member of the think tank Al Shabaka, told Al Jazeera. “This is not a one-off incident, it’s a sequel to wider systematic censorship and discrimination targeting mainly those who are marginalised and oppressed, often at the behest of oppressive regimes.””

See also:“We succeeded to take back part of the suspended accounts and removed content by contacting the social media companies. if you still encounter such issues, contact” (Twitter // 7amleh

‘We are all Hamas’: Palestinians wave terror group’s flag on Temple Mount,

“Video showed throngs of people on the compound, some of whom were waving the green flag of Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Gaza Strip.” See also Israel detains Al-Aqsa guard, bans sheikh from entering mosque” (MEMO)


Israeli Soldiers Kill Two Palestinians After Shooting Attack on IDF Base Near West Bank,

“Two Palestinians were shot dead and one was critically injured by Israeli fire after the three of them shot at an Israeli military base near the West Bank. The three Palestinians, who were carrying homemade rifles, opened fire at soldiers who were stationed at the Salem base near the West Bank city of Jenin, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.” 

“‘Major attack’ in Israel foiled as 3 gunmen shot in firefight near military base”,

Three Palestinians who opened fire at Border Police soldiers near a military base in the northern West Bank on Friday had initially planned to commit a “major attack” against civilians in central Israel, army and police officials said on Friday.”

Occupation forces assault journalists near Jenin, smash camera,

Israeli occupation soldiers today assaulted a group of journalists at Salem military checkpoint and camp, northwest of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, and smashed a camera belonging to Palestine TV at the site, according to press sources. The journalists had arrived at the scene following reports that two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint and a third one injured, but were denied access into the site by the occupation army who also attacked some of them using teargas.”

Israeli settlers assault Palestinian south of Hebron,

Israeli settlers Thursday evening assaulted a Palestinian in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron city, according to a local activist.Coordinator of the Protection and Steadfastness Committee, Fouad al-Amour, told WAFA that a group of settlers hurled stones toward a 59-year-old Palestinian who was heading back to his house in Khirbet al-Mafqara community, inflicting cuts and bruises in his hand….The assailants came from the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Havat Maon.”

Palestinian journalist launches hunger strike to protest administrative detention,

A Palestinian journalist is on hunger strike to protest his administrative detention by Israel. Alaa al-Rimawi, a reporter for Al-Jazeera Mubasher and director of the local J-Media Network news agency, marked his 17th day on a hunger strike on Friday after being placed under detention for three months.”

‘We put our souls into this land’: Palestinians mourn land lost to settler arson attack,

“”There were around 50 settlers that came down from Har Bracha,” Saeed told Mondoweiss, referring to one of three settlements and settler outposts located in the area around Burin. “They came down the mountain and started setting a bunch of fires to the land and trees in the area,” he said. According to Saeed, when a group of local youth from Burin attempted to go put out the fires, that came under attack from settlers who threw stones and attempted to physically assault the Palestinian residents. He added that a group of Israeli soldiers were also in the area, and fired tear gas and sound bombs at the Palestinians, forcing them to retreat.” See also:Israeli settlers burn Palestinian lands in northern West Bank” (Middle East Eye)

“Israeli soldiers fatally shoot Fahmeyeh al-Hrub (60), although she posed no danger” ,

“The footage of the incident proves that al-Hrub, who lost her job several months ago and was reportedly grappling with mental health issues, posed no risk to the forces’ lives at any stage. The soldiers’ conduct is a true reflection of the open-fire policy employed by Israeli security forces when they are targeted or allegedly targeted in attempted stabbings by Palestinians. This policy, backed by senior government and military officials, allows for the use of lethal fire against any Palestinian holding a knife, regardless of the degree of danger posed.”

Also see: Occupation army hands over body of slain Palestinian woman” (WAFA)

Over 180 Israeli Intellectuals, Scientists Warn ICC: Don't Rely on Israel to Probe War Crimes,

More than 180 Israeli scientists and intellectuals have called on chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague not to accept Israel’s conclusions arising from its investigation into alleged war crimes. Instead, the group of Israelis suggested in a letter addressed to Chief ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that the court obtain the assistance of Israeli human rights organizations to gather evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israelis….The letter was signed by 185 Israelis, including 10 Israel Prize recipients and 35 professors, in addition to senior reserve army officers, authors, intellectuals, left-wing activists and researchers.”

Also see: Full text of the letter (Twitter // Dror Etkes)

Canadian court overturns barring ‘product of Israel’ labels on Judea, Samaria wine,

“A Canadian federal appeals court reversed a lower court’s decision that barred “Product of Israel” labels for wines produced in Judea and Samaria. In July of 2020, the Federal Court of Canada had ruled that it was “false, misleading or deceptive” for wines produced by Israeli vintners east of the Green Line to be labeled “Product of Israel.” Parts of the decision had also lent support to boycotts of Jewish communities, suggesting that the “Product of Israel” obstructed consumers’ right to boycott these communities. However, the Federal Court of Appeal reversed this decision, ruling that the lower court judge had gone too far in its decision and that the federal agency, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), that initially reviewed the labels should be allowed to try again, with all options remaining open.”

American Scene

PM said to repeatedly dismiss US objections to building beyond Green Line,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly dismissed objections made by the Biden administration in the past month over Israeli expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to a Thursday report. Three times since the beginning of April, US officials reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office to express their opposition to Israeli steps beyond the Green Line, Channel 12 reported.”

‘Equality’ is finally breaching Washington’s debate on Israel-Palestine,

“But now, a new policy paper issued jointly by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the U.S./Middle East Project has broken out of the confines of the traditional debate in the world of Washington think tanks. Co-authored by analysts Zaha Hassan, Marwan Muasher, Daniel Levy, and Hallaamal Keir, the landmark paper calls on the Biden administration to make a drastic overhaul in U.S. policy by placing “a rights-based approach at the center of its strategy.” This approach, as defined by the authors, “prioritize[s] protecting the rights and human security of Palestinians and Israelis over maintaining a peace process and attempting short-term fixes,” and with it, “necessitates accountability for violations of people’s rights and of international law,” as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights treaties.

It is shocking to think that, after more than a century of conflict in Palestine and Israel, a policy paper basing its recommendations on people and human rights is considered revolutionary. Indeed, the concept is hardly a new one; Palestinian rights advocates have been making it for years. Yet this framework does represent a radical break from international peacemaking and longtime U.S. policy.”

See also:

Shelley Berkley sounds the alarm on antisemitism across the political spectrum,

In her new role as the co-chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s security and antisemitism committee, she wants to address the issue head-on….“It upsets and angers me that there is a segment of the Democratic Party that is not only anti-Israel, but from their rhetoric there is no other conclusion than they are antisemitic,” she said. “It worries me on the left that mainstream Democrats are not taking a stand against the antisemitic, pro-BDS rhetoric coming out of the left,” she said, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that targets Israel…Berkley said she plans to actively oppose legislation like a recent bill from Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) that would place restrictions on U.S. aid and any BDS initiatives, as well as to support the National Security Grant Program and bills promoting Holocaust education.”

Washington Has Enabled Israeli Extremism,

“Congress has also played a role in legitimizing extremist Israeli voices, both by failing to condemn or hold them to account—as they routinely do for Palestinians, for example—and by actively welcoming settler leaders to Capitol Hill. The fact that Kach-linked extremists take part in Israeli elections—and get elected to the Knesset—without eliciting a response from anyone on Capitol Hill directly legitimizes Israeli extremists and their views.”

Palestinian Scene

Palestinian factions mull next steps after Abbas calls off elections,

The Palestinian factions have begun talking about new consultations to get out of the legal and political crisis, without any clear vision of what the next phase will be, amid fears that mutual accusations between Fatah and Hamas will resume and that reconciliation hopes will dissipate.”

Israeli Scene

Negotiations between parties hoping to form coalition government begin,

“Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett, Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid met on Friday afternoon as part of the efforts to form a new government. The afternoon meeting comes following talks held between Bennett, Lapid, and Labour Party leader Merav Michaeli, as-well as with New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar earlier on Friday morning. Discussions also took place with Defense Minister Benny Gantz.”

See also: Lapid meets with Bennett and Sa’ar, says coalition talks ‘advanced positively’” (ToI), Israel is hurting’: Lapid says coalition he’ll form will heal internal strife” (ToI)

Naftali Bennett could be Israel’s next prime minister,

“Bennett, meanwhile, is closing ranks, determined to become prime minister. This coming week will be one of the most crucial in contemporary Israeli politics. If Lapid and Bennett can form a government quickly, foiling sabotage attempts from the right, Bennett will become Israel’s first religious prime minister.”

Seven fires break out in southern Israel as incendiary balloons return,

At least seven fires broke out Thursday afternoon in forests located near the Gaza Strip border due to incendiary balloons being launched into Israeli communities.”