Top News from Israel & Palestine: November 3, 2020

What We’re Reading

US Elections: Israelis Love Trump (mostly)

By 70% to 13%, Israeli Jews say Trump is better candidate than Biden for Israel,

“Some 70 percent of Jewish Israelis believe a victory for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in the US presidential election would be preferable for the Jewish state, an opinion poll indicated on Monday. The Israel Democracy Institute survey, released a day before the US election day, asked whether Republican incumbent Trump or his Democratic challenger Biden is the preferred candidate, ‘from the standpoint of Israel’s interests.’ Among Israeli Jews, 70% said Trump is the preferred candidate, 13% said Biden, and 17% don’t know.”

Also see:

Netanyahu: I can only hope current US policy will continue in coming years,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauds the Trump administration for isolating Iran, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and extended scientific cooperation to Judea and Samaria.”

Also see:

Michael Oren: Polls don't account for 'Shy Trump Voter Theory',

“Dr. Michael Oren, a former MK and Israeli ambassador to the United States, said on Tuesday that his gut feeling is that Trump will win the presidential election, despite polling suggesting that Biden has a commanding lead…’You can’t rely on polls. There’s a very interesting – and disturbing – phenomenon, that the Americans call the ‘shy Trump voter theory.’ According to this theory, people who support Trump are afraid that they’ll lose their jobs and even split their families if they make their feelings known, and so they keep their thoughts to themselves and only express their support at the ballot box. Of course, this isn’t something you can really account for in the polls.’”

Also see:

Why Trump’s Jewish supporters say he’s been a ‘dream come true’ on Israel,

“For American Jews who prioritize unbridled support for the Israeli government’s concerns when they fill in their ballot, Trump has built up a near-spotless record.”

Also see:

Opposition leader Lapid accuses Netanyahu of turning back on Democrats.”,

“Opposition Chair Yair Lapid said this morning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acts out of his own personal interests when he sidelines ties with Democrats in favor of Republicans and President Donald Trump.” Also see: response from Yousef Munayyer on Twitter: “Netanyahu was doing this while Lapid was in his government. One of the things that makes the opposition to Netanyahu so weak is that they’ve all been his accomplices.”

Israel’s Self-centered Trump-worship Warrants an Apology to American Jews,

“…Empathy for Trump, however, extends far beyond and much deeper than his unabashedly unbalanced favoritism towards Israel. Jewish public opinion in Israel today, with the exception of a dwindling and secular center-left, is mostly right-wing or conservative or both, with a growing appetite for simplistic populism. On top of his direct benefits for Israel, many of Trump’s traits, including his abrasiveness, anti-elitism, disdain for Europe, hostility towards the media and rants against the liberal left – and, in some quarters, his racism and misogyny as well – render him a more natural fit for Israel than for the United States itself.”

The pro-Trump Jews Who Sold Out the Bible to Buy the President's Cruel Bigotry,

“The arc of ex-Never Trump Jews like Bethany Mandel, who feared Trump for stoking antisemitism but now love him for aiding Israel’s territorial maximalists, is a sad tale of indifference to human suffering.”


US Elections: Palestinians Hope for Change, Bibi Prepares for the Worst

Palestinians, desperate for a Biden victory, hold their breath as America votes,

“As hard as it might be to recall now, it wasn’t that long ago that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was enthusiastic about Donald Trump. ‘With you, we have hope,’ Abbas gushed at a meeting with the US president in May 2017, praising the president’s deal-making skills. Three and a half years later, diplomatically isolated, in a deep fiscal crisis, and with relations with Washington at a nadir, Abbas and his deputies are desperate for an electoral victory by Joe Biden, who they believe will be more attentive to the Palestinian cause.”

Netanyahu Is Prepping a Narrative in Case of a Trump Loss,

“Netanyahu is readying himself for a Biden presidency, with his proxies saying that only he is equipped to handle a Democratic Party ‘controlled’ by the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.” Also see: How would Netanyahu react to a Biden victory? (Arutz Sheva)

What a Biden Win Would Mean for U.S. Ties With Israel,

“The two-state solution and engagement with the Palestinians is back in, support for settlement activity is out. Experts offer a few scenarios for a Biden victory over Trump.”

Also see:

Kamala Harris: We will restore aid to Palestinians, renew ties,

“Democratic Party candidate for vice president Kamala Harris indicated on Saturday in an interview via email with The Arab American News that under a Joe Biden administration, the United States will renew its ties with the Palestinians, and oppose Israeli unilateral actions that undermine a two-state solution. Harris also said that a Biden administration will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians, attempt to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and reopen the US consulate in east Jerusalem, in addition to working to reopen the PLO mission in Washington.”

Senior campaign official says Biden would keep Golan Heights recognition,

“Were former U.S. Vice President and current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to be elected, he would likely not reverse the U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a senior Biden campaign official told JNS. When asked if Biden would maintain the recognition in March 2019 by U.S. President Donald Trump, the senior official said, “I don’t think a Biden administration would reverse that,” adding that ‘it was de facto recognized anyway. It was largely symbolic. It didn’t really change the calculus either by the United States or Israel or any of the neighboring nations.’”

Settlements/Occupation/De Facto Annexation

On US election eve, MKs say Netanyahu must act now to legalize outposts,

“The parliamentarians linked authorization of the outposts with what they have called the battle for Area C between Israel and the Palestinians, for control of 60% of the West Bank, now under IDF military and civilian auspices. Both Palestinians and the Israeli Right want to see the territory of Area C within their permanent borders. ‘We have to make an extreme effort; we do not know how things will end in the US. We have to make an effort by the end of the year to do everything that can be done,’ Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin (Likud) said. He urged parliamentarians to place a particular emphasis on outposts that were located outside the boundaries of Trump’s annexation map.” Also see: Will government implement plan to regulate both Israeli and Palestinian land in Area C? (Israel Hayom)

Israel's Civil Administration Pushing West Bank Land Registry That Would Benefit Settlers,

“Israel’s Civil Administration, which administers the West Bank, is recommending the resumption of a process that would make it more difficult for Palestinians to appeal appropriation of land in the territory for the state. This recommendation is included in a response to a query by lawmaker Uzi Dayan (Likud), addressed to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). The response appeared in the daily Yisrael Hayom. An expert on land laws says that the process will benefit mainly the state and settlers living in the West Bank.”

Government asks High Court for more time to prepare razing of Bedouin village,

“The state told the High Court of Justice on Monday that it will not raze the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the southern West Bank in the next several months and asked to be granted more time to iron out details of how the removal will be implemented. The request in the name of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz was filed — a day after it was due — in response to a petition by the pro-settlement Regavim movement demanding that the government explain why it has not carried out the demolition order, first issued over a decade ago.” Also see Twitter thread from Btselem’s Sarit Michaeli, starting with “According to the Globes story, (Hebrew), MoD Benny Gantz outflanked PM Netanyahu from the right, allowing his Settlement Advisor, settler leader Avi Roeh, to urge the High Court to demolish Khan al-Ahmar. There’s more…”

IDF razes home of terrorist who killed Rabbi Shai Ohayon [accused, not convicted],

“The IDF on Sunday razed the home of the Palestinian terrorist who killed Rabbi Shai Ohayon in a stabbing attack in Petach Tikva in August. Ohayon, a 39-year-old father of four, was found unconscious near the Segula Junction with multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. A manhunt for his killer was launched immediately, resulting in the arrest of 46-year-old Khalil Doikat of Rujeib, a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank.” Also see: Israeli army demolishes home of alleged Palestinian attacker (AP)

Palestinian security prisoner’s hunger strike hits 100 days,

“Palestinian security detainee Maher al-Akhras continued his hunger strike for the 100th consecutive day on Tuesday in protest of his detention without trial by Israeli authorities, who have accused him of involvement in a terror group. For over a month, his attorney and human rights organizations involved in his case have been warning that al-Akhras is in serious medical danger should his hunger strike continue. ‘He is in immediate, fatal danger. People who begin hunger strikes and drink nothing but water for days on end begin to die around the 75th day,’ said Physicians for Human Rights-Israel staffer Anat Litvin, who specializes in prisoners’ rights.”

Hamas & PA News

Hamas Official: Violent Escalation With Israel Inevitable,

“There is growing tension and concern of a new escalation of violence between Hamas in Gaza and Israel after the deadline given by Hamas two months ago requiring Israel to fulfill Palestinian demands as part of a truce passed on Sunday…Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, said in a statement on Wednesday that ‘the occupation insists on maintaining the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, isolating Palestinian people in the West Bank, continuing the Judaization of Jerusalem, and building settlements.’ Al-Hayya confirmed that his movement ‘will no longer endure the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip,’ signaling the possibility of a further escalation in violence.”

EU gives PA $11.6m to pay salaries, pensions of workers in West Bank,

“As part of its global response to the coronavirus outbreak, the European Union (EU) donated €10 million ($11.6 million) to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Office of the EU Representative said yesterday. The support will enable the PA to meet its commitments towards the September payments of Palestinian civil servants’ salaries and pensions in the occupied West Bank. The EU said in a statement that this contribution is a clear message of the EU’s strong commitment to the Palestinian people at this critical time.”

Arab World/Normalization

Netanyahu scolds EU, says bloc doesn’t understand changing nature of Middle East,

“UAE, Bahrain, Sudan made peace with Israel and ‘obviously’ view regional situation differently from ‘traditional bureaucracies’ in Brussels, PM says at meeting with Romanian PM.”

Saudi refuses to link purchase of F-35 fighter jets with Israel peace deal,

“Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has refused to make any political concessions including the signing of a formal normalisation agreement with Israel in return for the kingdom obtaining F-35 fighter jets from the US, informed sources have said. The sources explained that Bin Salman stressed that if Saudi Arabia decided to submit an official request to purchase F-35 fighter jets, it would do so with full transparency and without striking deals behind closed doors.”

Kuwait closes shop selling Israel products,

“The Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce and Industry closed eight stores, one of which was selling Israeli products, and referred the case to the Public Prosecution Office. The ministry said in a statement yesterday that ‘inspection teams have seized products made in Israel banned in the local markets according to the law while being sold by a car parts company in the Shuwaikh area of Kuwait City.’ The statement indicated that the ministry received a complaint from a consumer indicating that a local company is selling goods made in Israel.”

Israel boycott movement furious at UAE over deal to import wine from occupied Golan Heights,

“The United Arab Emirates signed a deal with Israel to buy wine produced in the settlements of the occupied Golan Heights, prompting a wave of anger among Palestinians and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar slated to establish relations with Israel, minister says,

“Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among countries slated to establish relations with Israel under a regional rapprochement launched by U.S. President Donald Trump, a minister said on Monday. Straying from Israel’s reticence about Tuesday’s U.S. election, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said implementing further normalization deals could depend on the next president displaying continued ‘resolve’ against Iran. Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden wants to rejoin the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that the Republican incumbent quit, to the satisfaction of Israel and some Gulf Arabs. Trump, who has played up his Middle East policy while campaigning, was asked last week which countries might follow the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in normalizing ties with Israel. ‘We have five definites,’ he responded. Cohen said Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Morocco and Niger were ‘on the agenda’.”

Lawfare/Weaponization of Accusations of Antisemitism

GoFundMe blocks BDS group from withdrawing funds on its platform,

“GoFundMe has stopped Palestine Action, a pro-BDS group, from withdrawing further funds via its fundraising platform. UK Lawyers for Israel, a legal watchdog group, said it contacted GoFundMe and notified the platform that it could be held liable as accessories to criminal activity if it permits Palestine Action to raise money via its site.”


PA to [must] compensate family of terrorist attack victims,

“16 years after lawsuit filed, court determines senior Palestinian Authority officials complicit in the 2002 attack in Jerusalem that killed Tzipi and Gadi Shemesh sighting office holders assisting suicide bomber, providing explosives and driving him to site of attack.”