Top News from Israel & Palestine: November 22, 2019

What We’re Reading

FMEP Resource

Occupied Thoughts: "Seeing Palestine & Listening to Palestinian Youth,

Peter Beinart talks with Salem Barahmeh – one of the creators behind a new virtual reality app taking people inside key places in Palestine – about the power of seeing and hearing stories of the Palestinian experience. The two also investigate the trends in political thought of Palestinian youth.

Israeli Politics

Netanyahu Charged With Bribery, Fraud and Breach of Trust, Capping a Dramatic Political Year,

“For the first time in Israel’s history, a sitting prime minister is accused of bribery: Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced Thursday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be charged with bribery, fraud and breach in three corruption cases, dubbed Cases 4000, 2000 and 1000…Following the announcement, Netanyahu called the indictment ‘an attempted coup’ against him, and that the process was meant to topple him. After Netanyahu had delivered his statement, his political rival and Kahol Lavan Gantz said he has ‘complete confidence in the judicial system led by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit. I’m sure they are doing their job with professionalism, integrity and loyalty’.”

PM ‘cannot serve one more day’: Calls for resignation multiply over indictment,

“Centrist and left-wing political leaders called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign after the bombshell announcement Thursday that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had decided to charge the premier in three criminal corruption cases.”

Rivlin hands mandate to form government to Knesset, slams 'miserable political situation',

“Appearing alongside Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein at the president’s official residence in Jerusalem, Rivlin said that this is the first time Israel’s leaders have been unable to form a government – even after an unprecedented two elections in six months – and called on politicians to set aside their own interests in the interests of the people they serve.”

Occupation, Annexation, & Human Rights

Palestinian cars torched in suspected settler hate crime,

“Cars were found torched Friday morning in a number of Palestinian villages in the West Bank in a suspected hate crime by Jewish settlers….The acts of vandalism occurred in the northern West Bank villages of Qabalan, Beit Dajan, Majdal Bani Fadil and ad-Dik, the anti-racism group Tag Meir said…The vandalism comes amid an increase in violence against Palestinians and Israeli security forces by hardline settler youths. Much of the recent violence has centered around Yitzhar.”

Ninth member of family hit in Gaza strike dies of wounds,

“Mohammed al-Sawarka, 40, succumbed to injuries sustained during the November 14 strike in the central Gaza city of Deir el-Balah, according to the ministry. He was the ninth member of the Sawarka family to be killed in the strike, which came during a two-day flareup in Gaza that followed Israel’s elimination of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror commander Baha Abu al-Ata.”

US position on Israeli settlements backs Jordan into a corner,

“King Abdullah II is expected to discuss Pompeo’s announcement with members of the Trump administration and US Congress on the sidelines of his visit to New York City where he is to receive the 2019 Scholar-Statesman Award. Jordanian sources told MEE that the king will not meet Trump during the visit. King Abdullah II has a strong relationship with members of the US Congress, a marked contrast to his ties to the Trump administration… Writer and political analyst Amer al-Sabaileh believes Jordan has few means to face Trump’s gifts to Israel, as the kingdom’s dependence on the US politically, economically and militarily gives it little room to manouevre. Speaking to MEE, Sabaileh blamed Jordan’s foreign policy for Amman’s inability to pressure its allies. ‘The strength of Jordan was its ability to convince its allies of the extent of the damage that these kind of decisions make,’ he said.”

Is Jordan Valley's annexation already on the way?,

“With this, Netanyahu sent a clear signal to the settlers that annexation of the Jordan Valley would only be the beginning, although he did not say so expressly. It is the hope of the settlers that additional annexations would follow. ‘The historic decision of the American administration yesterday [Nov. 18] gives us a one-time-only chance to determine the eastern border of the state of Israel and annex the Jordan Valley,’ Netanyahu proclaimed in the video. ‘This cannot be done by a minority government dependent on [Arab Joint List leaders] Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh. Therefore, I call upon Benny Gantz to come together with me and with [Yisrael Beitenu leader] Avigdor Liberman to establish a unity government: The first item of this government, on the first day of the new government, is annexation of the Jordan Valley. The nation, and history, will not forgive anyone who squanders such a golden opportunity’.”

Partially blinded by an Israeli bullet, Palestinian journalist turns into icon,

“The incident occurred when police opened fire at a small group of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators who were protesting the confiscation of their land by settlers from Bat Ayin…The police released video footage of the incident that shows, they claim, Amarnih was standing behind a rock. In front of him — although not directly opposite — are a few youths throwing stones in the direction of the Border Police. The clip does not show the shooting; nor does it show Amarnih after he was injured. The police did not provide an explanation as to why officers chose to use live ammunition on such a small group of people who were standing at considerable distance from them. Although .22 bullets are less powerful than “regular” live ammunition, they can still cause grave injuries, and even death.”

Something's Rotten at This Settlement Winery – and We Don't Mean the Grapes,

“It’s hard to think of fouler odor than the one that emanates from Psagot winery. Or of more obnoxious moral and legal rot than that prevailing in the settlement of the same name. No decision of the U.S. administration will eliminate that ugly reality.”