Top News from Israel & Palestine: November 25, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation, Annexation, & Human Rights

First International Human Rights Observer Expelled Under BDS Law Leaves Israel,

“Nevertheless, HRW has decided to keep Shakir in his job, which involves monitoring human rights violations in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Thus the procedure won’t prevent him from continuing to file reports on behalf of one of the world’s largest and most influential human rights organizations. He will be based in another HRW office in the region, most likely in Jordan. ‘There’s no point in replacing Omar because our next researcher would have the same problem,’ HRW’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth said at a press conferenc in Jerusalem before Shakir headed to the airport. ‘If Israel can pick our researcher, Israel can preclude certain topics,’ Roth added. ‘Imagine what other governments will do. China will say we cannot monitor Xinjiang (detention camps). Saudi Arabia will say that we leave Yemen alone,’ he said.”

Israel Limits West Bank Farmers' Access to Lands Near Green Line,

“Israel has tightened its restrictions on Palestinian farmers entering the area between the separation fence and Israeli territory. Until now, Palestinians who own land in this area have been able to acquire agricultural entry permits for the broad purpose of ‘maintaining their connection to the land.’ But under new regulations issued by Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank, the purpose of these permits has been narrowed, and they will also only be good for a certain number of entries. The new purpose is defined as ‘enabling agricultural land to be worked based on agricultural needs derived from the size of the plot and the type of produce, while maintaining the connection to these lands’.”

Forced Separation: How Israel's Permit Regime Separates Children Undergoing Medical Treatment from their Parents,

“The figures PHRI has collected show that more than half the applications filed in 2018 by parents to accompany their minor children for medical treatment were rejected. Although there has been a significant increase in the number of approved applications in 2019, over the past year too, about a fifth of the children who left Gaza for medical treatment, went without their parents. While there is recognition in Israel that parental presence during a child’s medical treatment is important for the child’s recovery, when it comes to Palestinian children, things are not so. This policy hurts the children’s recovery prospects and forces them to live through the most difficult and painful moments without a parent to reassure them and give them hope, emotional support and attention. The children often do not speak the language and have difficulties communicating with the medical staff, which increases the uncertainty, anxiety and fear that are already part of this situation.”

The occupation is tearing Israel apart. We need the United States’ help to end it.,

Ami Ayalon writes, “It is a war in order to expand our border to the east, to build more settlements and to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state next door. This is an unjust war, predicated on denying the Palestinians their legitimate right to self-determination in a state of their own.”

Ten Palestinians Wounded as Tens of Thousands of Jews Descend on Hebron,

“Over the weekend, Israeli Jews traveled to Hebron to mark ‘Chayei Sarah,’ the fifth weekly Torah portion of the annual cycle of Torah reading, which discusses the life of the patriarch Abraham’s wife, Sarah, who is buried in Hebron, according to Jewish tradition. Israeli sources said the last weekend was marked by an unusually high level of violence. Hebron resident Eid al-Jabari, 19, told Haaretz that on Friday afternoon he heard shouts from outside the barbershop he owns and came out to see what was going on. He says he saw a group of more than ten Jews pushing his father – who owns the shop next door – and another man. Jabari said that he and other friends took blows while trying to aid the two Palestinian men. Jabari’s uncle Nasser said that his face was injured and he was sprayed with tear gas. Palestinian sources said that four Palestinians suffered minor injuries in that incident, some from tear gas inhalation and others from blows. They were taken to Ahli hospital in Hebron.”

U.S. Policy

WeWork Founder Adam Neumann 'Helped Kushner Craft Mideast Peace Plan',

“Neumann, according to the Vanity Fair article, believed that WeWork ‘was even capable of solving the world’s thorniest problems’. Last summer, some WeWork executives were shocked to discover Neumann was working on Jared Kushner’s Mideast peace effort. According to two sources, Neumann assigned WeWork’s director of development, Roni Bahar, to hire an advertising firm to produce a slick video for Kushner that would showcase what an economically transformed West Bank and Gaza would look like.””

106 Democratic congressmen sign letter condemning State Department reversal on settlements,

“More than 100 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling on him to “immediately” reverse the decision to declare that West Bank settlements are not illegal. The letter, led by Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan, was signed by 106 congressmen, including 12 committee chairs. “This announcement, following the administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem outside of a negotiated agreement; its closure of the Palestinian mission in Washington, D.C. and U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem; and its halting of aid Congress appropriated to the West Bank and Gaza, has discredited the United States as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, severely damaged prospects for peace, and endangered the security of America, Israel, and the Palestinian people,” the letter said.”

Israeli Politics

Netanyahu agrees to hold Likud leadership primary in next six weeks,

“Netanyahu on Sunday night acquiesced to the demand from party activists, led by challenger Gideon Sa’ar, for new leadership primaries. In talks Sunday with MK Haim Katz, who chairs the party’s central committee, Netanyahu agreed to hold the contest within the next six weeks.”

Palestinian Politics

Palestinians gear up for ‘day of rage’ Tuesday against US settlements policy,

“Palestinians are planning to hold demonstrations across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to protest US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration that the Trump administration does not view settlements as illegal, a Palestine Liberation Organization official said on Monday.”

Palestinian factions agree to Abbas election request,

“Fourteen Palestinian factions have agreed with President Mahmoud Abbas’s request to hold parliamentary and presidential elections. But the Fatah leader is yet to hear from his main rival, Hamas.”

Abbas set to meet Qatari emir in Doha to discuss election efforts,

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Qatar this week to meet Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and discuss efforts to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official said on Sunday. Qatar, a wealthy gulf emirate, maintains contacts with the PA, the Hamas terror group and Israel.”

Some Hamas members in West Bank fret over elections,

“Hossam Badran, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and the group’s National Relations Office, told Felesteen newspaper Nov. 7 that freedom in the West Bank must be guaranteed if the elections are to be meaningful. Hamas members there are subjected to systematic daily pursuits coordinated between the Israeli and PA security agencies. Badran noted Israel could affect the elections’ outcome via arrests or not recognizing Hamas’ authority.”

FMEP Resource

Settlement Report: November 19, 2019,

“Pompeo also stated that the U.S. will defer to Israeli courts concerning the legality of specific settlements – in effect suggesting that the U.S. is treating Israel as the sovereign power in the West Bank with sole authority to determine the legality/illegality of construction in it (a position which is arguably indistinguishable from recognition of Israeli annexation).”