Top News from Israel & Palestine: November 17, 2020

What We’re Reading


Sa-Nur settlement, evacuated in 2005 disengagement, resettled overnight,

“Right-wing activists made their latest attempt to rebuild the former settlement of Sa-Nur, which the Israeli government destroyed during the 2005 Disengagement.Some 20 families – approximately 100 people, including women and children – illegally set up an overnight encampment at Sa-Nur. The group included both evacuees and younger activists. Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who himself is an evacuee of the former settlement, joined the activists at the site in the early afternoon, along with four parliamentarians including Coalition chairman Miki Zohar, who is a strong supporter of the settlements.The other Likud parliamentarians who joined them were; Hava-Etty Atia, Katherin Shitrit and Amit Halevi. MK Bezalel Smotrich issued a supportive statement. MK Ariel Kaliner was the only one of the politicians to join the activists overnight in setting up the encampment. ‘We have to do everything possible to return here,’  Zohar said”

Also see:

As Israel destroys EU projects in Palestine, European foreign policy remains impotent,

“Belgium is furious. On November 6, the Belgian government condemned Israel’s destruction of Belgian-funded homes in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. Understandably, Brussels wants the Israeli government to pay compensation for the unwarranted destruction. The Israeli response was swift: a resounding ‘no’. The diplomatic row is likely to fizzle out soon; neither will Israel cease its illegal demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures in the West Bank nor will Belgium, or any other EU country, receive a dime from Tel Aviv. Welcome to the bizarre world of European foreign policy in Palestine and Israel.”

Hagai El-Ad's address at the European Parliament Committee on Human Rights, 16 Nov. 2020,

“Everyone knows – in European capitals and in this parliament – that more statements will not stop the next demolition. When the lines have nothing in them, Israel doesn’t even have to read between them to recognize a green light to continue oppressing Palestinians. Without real consequences, that green light will continue to shine.”

Right-wing activists chase EU envoy from site of planned East Jerusalem project,

“Right-wing demonstrators chased the European Union’s top representative to the Palestinians away from the East Jerusalem site of a planned new housing project, calling him an anti-Semite and a supporter of terrorism…Von Burgsdorff and the other European diplomats, including representatives from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and other countries, were greeted by about a dozen activists from the right-wing Im Tirzu movement as they arrived in the area. They shouted slogans such as ‘EU, shame on you,’ and ‘Go back to Europe,’ and accused the European officials of supporting terrorism. Several activists repeatedly called the European diplomats ‘anti-Semites.’ The convoy quickly turned around and moved to a different site in the area, where von Burgsdorff planned to make remarks. But by the time the diplomats had exited their vehicles and gathered in one spot, the Israeli activists had reached the point as well, waving flags and shouting slogans, making it impossible for the EU diplomat to deliver his speech.”

Also see:

State to pay NIS 400,000 compensation to yeshiva seized by military in West Bank,

“The state will pay compensation to a far-right yeshiva that had been identified as hotbed of violence against local Palestinians and Israeli security forces, according to Hebrew media reports on Monday. A sum of NIS 400,000 ($118,750) will be paid to the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar to cover the cost of the building’s use by security forces since it was seized in 2014. The amount was reached in an agreement between the state and the yeshiva.”

Palestinian Father, His Son, Forced To Demolished Their Homes In Jerusalem,

“A Palestinian father and his son were forced, Monday, to demolish their owned homes in occupied Jerusalem, after the city council issued a demolition order and threatened excessive fines and fees. Media sources said the Palestinians, Mohammad Qonbar and his son ‘Atiyya, had to demolish their homes in Qonbar neighborhood, in Jabal al-Mokabber town, south of occupied Jerusalem. The family said they had to demolish their own homes, after the police invaded them several times, and threatened to destroy their property in addition to forcing them to pay a  bill which exceeds 100.000 Israeli Shekels.”

Also see:

IDF legal adviser insists outposts must be treated as illegal entities,

“The government has never taken a principled decision to authorize the West Bank outposts, and as such they must be treated as illegal communities, the Defense Ministry’s legal adviser on settlements issue Moshe Frucht told parliamentarians on Monday. At a Constitution, Justice and Law Committee debate, Frucht dismissed attempts by politicians to explain that some 100 unauthorized outposts must have the de facto status of West Bank settlements, due to the 2017 security cabinet creation of a committee to regulate them.”

Smotrich: Will lawyers set policy?,

“National Union leader MK Bezalel Smotrich confronted Defense Minister Adviser for Settlement Affairs Avi Roee Tuesday during a discussion in the Knesset Constitutional Committee on the issue of security components for ‘young’ communities in Judea and Samaria. Smotrich wondered why jurists are the ones setting policy on outposts. ‘The Ministry of Defense has decided that something is right. The army has also decided that it is true. Who are the guys in the Ministry of Justice who need to have it explained to them explained why the security components are necessary? Does every lawyer becomes a security expert and he will decide?’ Roee tried to answer, but Smotrich was furious. ‘Everyone knows which localities have been established and what they need. This situation where a lawyer has to approve a security seizure is an embarassment for you.’”

Finally - East Jerusalem property to be registered in Land Registry,

“Although over 50 years have passed since the 1967 war that led to the reunification of Jerusalem, the registration of land and property in east Jerusalem has yet to be regulated and still does not occur in an orderly manner…The idea is to gradually replace the existing system, which relies on a local “mukhtar” being responsible for keeping the records in his neighborhood that date back many decades. This system is highly susceptible to unscrupulous individuals bribing officials to register plots of land to their liking, leading to violations of housing laws and illegal construction. Minister Peretz noted that his project will bring east Jerusalem into line with the rest of the country, saying…”


Dermer: I hope Biden will expand on the Abraham Accords,

“Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer expressed hope on Monday that President-elect Joe Biden would build upon the recently signed normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and strengthen bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship when he assumes office next year…’At a time when the two parties can’t agree on anything, hopefully they can agree on this, which is peace — and to expand it, to deepen the peace we already have with Egypt and Jordan, and then to have other countries join,’ Dermer added.”

Qatar FM: Normalisation with Israel undermines Palestinian statehood efforts,

“Qatar’s foreign minister said on Monday Arab states that establish ties with Israel undermine efforts for Palestinian statehood, but it was in their own sovereign right to do so…’I think it’s better to have a united (Arab) front to put the interests of the Palestinians (first) to end the (Israeli) occupation,’ Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told the online Global Security Forum. He said division was not in the interest of concerted Arab efforts to get the Israelis to negotiate with the Palestinians and resolve the decades-long conflict between the sides.”

Top Bahraini diplomat to visit Israel in landmark trip,

“Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani will pay his first official visit to Israel since his country established diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv in September. According to the Bahrain News Agency (BNA), a high-level delegation headed by al-Zayani will fly on Wednesday to Tel Aviv. The visit ‘will shed light on economic opportunities, bilateral agreements with Israel and endeavors aimed at achieving common interests,’ according to BNA.”

UAE 'suspicious' role in Jerusalem raises Palestinian fears,

“Attempts by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to increase its role in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have caused outcry among the Palestinian authorities and researchers. ‘We think that the UAE is playing a serious role in Jerusalem and the West Bank,’ Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Anadolu Agency. Earlier reports revealed that the UAE officials were discussing with their Israeli counterparts to launch joint businesses in the illegal settlements located in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which highly angered the Palestinians, mainly those neighboring Al-Aqsa Mosque.  ‘The dangerous UAE role in Jerusalem and its agreements with Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank reflect that the UAE-Israeli relations went beyond a normalization deal,’ Abu Zuhri said. He said Emirati officials ‘are providing support to the Israeli occupation and conspiring against the Palestinian cause’.”


91% of Israelis think Joe Biden will support Israel, new study finds,

“Despite overwhelming support for US President Donald Trump in Israel, a large majority of Israelis believe President-elect Joe Biden will still support the Jewish state, according to a new study commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation.Conducted under the supervision of Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Camille Fuchs and based on responses from 1,000 Israelis, the survey found that 91% of Israelis believed Biden would keep US support for Israel. In addition, 71% expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the US elections, and only 20% said they were completely unsatisfied.”

Where do Joe Biden's potential cabinet members stand on Israel?,

“Last week, President-elect Joe Biden tapped Ron Klain to serve as his chief-of-staff. It was the first official appointment for the future administration.In the next 65 days, Biden is expected to announce his cabinet nominees. Some of the nominees are current US senators, others are longtime aides of the former vice president, and a few nominees played a role in the Obama-Biden administration. So, who are these top candidates and where do they stand on Israel?”

PLO/Palestinian Authority

PM Shtayyeh: Israel is in a race against time to create a fait accompli before Trump leaves office,

“Israel is in a race against time to create a fait accompli in Palestine before US President Donald Trump leaves office, today said Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. ‘There appears to be an escalating and intensive assault plan for the next 10 weeks in a race against time to create a new fait accompli before Donald Trump leaves the White House on January 21,’ said Shtayyeh speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah. The Prime Minister made reference to a number of new Israeli settlement projects in the occupied territories as proof of this race.”

Palestinians resume unity talks ahead of Biden administration,

“Leaders of the Palestinian ruling faction Fatah and Hamas have resumed their efforts to end the dispute between the two sides as the Palestinian leadership prepares to engage with a new US administration under Joe Biden.Fatah and Hamas are hoping to reach agreement on holding long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections and end the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip so that the Palestinians would be able to appear united before a Biden administration, Palestinian sources said on Monday.”

Israeli Government

Gantz warns: Public will blame Netanyahu for elections,

“Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz issued a stern warning to Prime Minister Benny Gantz about the consequences of not reaching a compromise on the state budget in a meeting of Gantz’s Blue and White faction at the Knesset on Monday. ‘If Netanyahu will not get his act together, the Knesset will be dispersed,’ Gantz said.”

Exclusive i24NEWS poll: Yamina surging in tight race versus Likud for premiership,

“If Israeli elections were held today, former acting Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party would surge to 25 parliament seats, just three behind the Likud, a new poll published by i24NEWS on Monday night revealed. The right-wing politician has been breathing down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s neck in recent months, as polls indicate growing dissatisfaction with the ruling party’s conduct during the coronavirus pandemic. Bennett’s colleague and former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stressed this week that her party’s leader ‘should be the next prime minister.’ Answering a direct question who is most fit to serve as the Israeli premier, 29 percent replied that Netanyahu should be the prime minister, with Bennett coming in second with 19 percent.”

Lawfare/Weaponization of False Accusations of Antisemitism

UK's Labour Party suspends critic of Israel,

“A left-wing member of the governing body of Britain’s Labour Party is under investigation for saying that Israel is an apartheid state. Newly-elected National Executive Committee member Gemma Bolton, who was backed by left wing group Momentum, has been placed under investigation by the party for tweeting in 2018: ‘If I run the risk of getting suspended for calling Israel an apartheid state then so be it. Suspend me. Because that comrades, is a hill I am perfectly happy to die on.’” Also see: Twitter thread from UK scholar/journalist Ben White: “Israel’s laws & policies have been described as, & deemed to be, a form of apartheid for decades, by scholars, rights experts, & activists. Here is a selection of sources from just the last few years – beginning with those who experience Israeli apartheid directly: Palestinians.”

EU aid to PA may be used to fund more than teacher salaries - report,

“European Union funding to the Palestinian Authority is indirectly used to help fund terrorist salaries, against the intentions of the EU, according to a Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) press release.The EU has helped with funding worth hundreds of millions of Euros, which according to their statement goes to ‘civil servants, mostly in the health and education sector in the West Bank,’ with further statements from the EU claiming that it knows exactly to which civil servants the funds are going.”

Yair Netanyahu Compares Israeli Kibbutz Movement to Nazi Germany,

“Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, compared Israel’s kibbutz movement to Nazi Germany and other totalitarian regimes. It’s the latest in a string of inflammatory statements made by the younger Netanyahu, who has emerged as a right-wing provocateur on social media and elsewhere. ‘Kibbutzim are something that doesn’t exist outside of North Korea,’ Yair Netanyahu said during a recent radio interview. ‘We always know how ideas for utopian societies end. In the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, there was a desire to create exemplary societies and utopian societies. It never ends well, the desire to engineer human society.’”

Also see:

The global right is threat to US Jews — but a natural home for Israelis,

“As a minority, American Jews understand the dangers of authoritarians and nationalists. As a ruling group, Israeli Jews see them as logical allies.”