Top News from Israel & Palestine: November 5, 2020

What We’re Reading

US Elections

Likud officials worry Biden victory could damage Netanyahu, Israel’s UN standing,

“Likud party officials are fretting over the increasingly likely prospect of a win for Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden, given that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has developed a particularly close relationship with the Republican incumbent…Speaking to Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s sister site in Hebrew, on Thursday, the Likud officials warned that a loss for Trump could impact Netanyahu badly, as well as make Washington more wary of clashing with United Nations institutions on Israel’s behalf.”

Israeli minister warns Biden policy change on Iran could lead to war,

“Hanegbi said he sided with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s view, shared by most Israelis according to the settlement minister, that the Iran deal signed by former US President Barack Obama in 2015 was a mistake. ‘If Biden stays with that policy,” he said, “there will, in the end, be a violent confrontation between Israel and Iran.’”

Jewish Republicans satisfied with Senate ‘firewall’ if Biden takes the White House,

“…Fred Zeidman, a Houston-based GOP donor and [Lindsey] Graham confidante, told JI on Wednesday morning he’s ‘beyond thrilled’ and ‘incredibly secure’ that the 65-year-old Republican, who has represented South Carolina in the Senate since 2003, will continue — ‘along with Ted Cruz — to be the most verbal supporter’ of Israel in the Senate. ‘I’m very comfortable, if we’ve got 51 [GOP senators] because that’s our firewall, and that’s what we have to have to stop any… runaway agenda coming out of the [Biden] administration, if they were to win.’”

Former Israeli minister accuses American Jews of ‘betrayal’ for overwhelmingly voting for Biden,

“A former Israeli Knesset member from the country’s Druze religious minority is accusing American Jews of having no ‘gratitude,’ and of ‘betrayal,’ for voting overwhelmingly for former Vice President Joe Biden. On Twitter, Ayoob Kara, who served as a member of the Likud party until 2019, said that he was surprised American Jews did not support Trump, who he called the ‘best American president for the State of Israel.’”


With the eyes of the world on the US elections, Israel demolished an entire Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley.,

“On 3 Nov. 2020, with the eyes of the world on the US elections, Israel demolished an entire Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley. A convoy of bulldozers drove up to the tiny shepherds’ community of Khirbet Humsah and razed it to the ground. They left 74 people, 41 of them children, without shelter in the wind and rain. The forces demolished 18 residential tents and sheds, 29 tents and sheds used as livestock enclosures, three storage sheds, nine tents used as kitchens, 10 portable toilets, 10 livestock pens, 23 water containers, two solar panels, and feeding and watering troughs for livestock. They also destroyed more than 30 tons of fodder for livestock and confiscated a vehicle and two tractors belonging to three residents. Thousands of people living dozens of communities in the West Bank live in constant fear of demolition, as Israel seeks to reduce Palestinian presence in Area C and take over the coveted land.”

Also see:

Jerusalem cable car excavation work to begin in next few days,

“Excavation works will start within two weeks to prepare for construction of the controversial cable car planned to connect West Jerusalem with the Old City, even though the High Court has not yet ruled on a petition to scrap the project.”

Israel bans Palestinian official from Al-Aqsa Mosque,

“Israel has banned the deputy director of the Jerusalem Waqf Department from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for six months. ‘I have received an Israeli order banning me from Al-Aqsa Mosque for six month,’ Sheikh Najeh Bakirat told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday. He said the Israeli authorities have given no reason for the ban. Bakirat noted that Israeli police and intelligence had raided his office last week, citing a threat to Israel’s security. Israel had banned Bakirat from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque for 23 times since 2001 and detained him 13 times.”

New chairman of WZO Settlement Division prays at Temple Mount,

“Yishai Merling, who was recently elected chairman of the Settlement Division, visited the Temple Mount on Tuesday to express his gratitude for winning the position at the World Zionist Congress and to pray for his success, according to the Joint Headquarters of Temple Mount Organizations.”

Soldiers Invade Sebastia, Close Archeological Site,

“Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday morning, the archaeological area in the Palestinian town of Sebastia, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and closed it to all Palestinians. Mohammad Azem, the Mayor of Sebastia town, said the soldiers, accompanied by members of the Army Corps of Engineers, invaded the town before heading to the archaeological site, and shut it down. Azem added that the soldiers said they intend to remove the 17-meter Palestinian flagpole, in the a-Bayader Square area in the town, because ‘it is bothering the settlers.’”

Also see, from IMEMC & WAFA:

Smotrich: 'If Biden wins we should apply sovereignty before he takes over',

“Speaking on Galei Tzahal this morning, MK Betzalel Smotrich (Yamina) said that if President Trump ultimately loses the election, Israel should lose no time in applying sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley. ‘We’re going to have to pressure [PM] Netanyahu to apply sovereignty and get it done before Biden takes over,’ he said.

Yossi Dagan: Sovereignty isn't up to Washington - it's up to us,

“Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, told Galei Tzahal today that he is still ‘hopeful for a good outcome’ to the American presidential election. With regard to the question of sovereignty in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, he noted however that, ‘The ball is not in Washington’s court – it’s right here, in Jerusalem. At the end of the day, it’s up to us whether or not we build up the Land of Israel. We should apply sovereignty right now,’ he added. ‘With every day that passes, it will get harder and harder to take that step.’”

Other News

Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras passes 100 days on hunger strike,

“Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras is on the ‘verge of death’, after passing 100 days on hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention by Israeli authorities. The European External Action Service, the diplomatic service of the European Union (EU), warned last week that Akhras’s health is deteriorating. ‘Regardless of the allegations against Mr al-Akhras, the European Union reiterates its long-standing concerns about the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charges,’ it said in a statement.” Also see: Interview with Maher al-Akhras: ‘In the Next Few Hours My Life Is in Concrete Danger. I Don’t Want to Die, but I’m Not Giving Up’ (Haaretz)

Austria honours Palestinian hero in Vienna attack,

“A 23-year-old Palestinian was recognised for helping to save the life of a police officer during a deadly gun attack in Vienna. According to Austrian media reports, Osama Joda was working in a nearby fast food chain restaurant until his manager was informed a terrorist was close and shooting at passers-by. The attacker shot a police officer who was coming to help, so Osama rushed to pull the officer behind the concrete seat he was taking cover behind, and helped stop the bleeding from his wound. He later helped move the office to an ambulance in spite of the sound of gunshots in the vicinity. As more police officers arrived, the shooter ran away, and the injured officer was transported to hospital by ambulance. In recognition of his bravery, Osama was awarded the Golden Police Medal.”

Chip Wars: U.S. beginning to question Israel’s loyalties when it comes to trading with China,

“Expert on China relations warns that Israel must do everything it can to avoid being seen as a risk to America’s national security.”

Qatar distributes $100 to 100,000 poor families in Gaza,

“Qatar’s Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza yesterday began distributing $100 each to 100,000 poor Palestinian families in the besieged Gaza Strip, Anadolu reported.”

Lawfare/Weaponization of Accusations of Antisemitism

Cori Bush, Democrat who supports BDS, wins Missouri congressional race,

“Cori Bush, a Democrat who expressed support for the movement to boycott Israel, is set to become the St. Louis area’s next congresswoman. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who also support the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — known as BDS — are also expected to win.”

Eric Fingerhut weighs in on the election and next steps for pandemic relief,

“While Americans anxiously awaited the outcome of the presidential election, Eric Fingerhut, CEO and president of the Jewish Federations of North America and a former U.S. representative, called on the next administration and Congress to provide additional pandemic relief to ‘ailing non-profits’ and increase funding for non-profit organizations’ security needs…Fingerhut was hopeful that the next president will sign into law the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, and ensure that Medicaid and Medicare programs are extended.”