Top News from Israel & Palestine: October 30, 2020

What We’re Reading

Trump Admin Delivers on Annexation Promise

US hands out first Jerusalem, Israel passport to Menachem Zivotofsky,

“After their son Menachem’s birth in 2002, Ari and Naomi Zivotofksy asked for a passport that recorded his birthplace as Jerusalem, Israel but they received the document only this Friday – some 18 years later. “I am honored to receive this passport as a representative of the many American citizens who were born in Israel, who can now have their official government documents reflect the fact that they were born in Israel. I want to thank my parents who started this process, long before I understood anything,” Menachem said. He spoke at a brief ceremony at the US embassy in Jerusalem, in which US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman officially handed him his passport, the first one ever to link Jerusalem with the State of Israel.”

Also See – “Ambassador Friedman gives first ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ passport” (Arutz Sheva)

Jerusalem-born Americans can now list 'Israel' on passports,

“In a break with decades of US policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday that American citizens born in Jerusalem may now list “Israel” as their place of birth on their passports. “Effective immediately, the State Department will allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to elect to list their place of birth as ‘Israel,’” Pompeo said in a statement Thursday.”

[Analysis] The Middle East is leaving Palestinians behind. Will it be different with Biden?,

“If Biden wins, as most polling data currently suggests, then Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s disengagement from the United States may prove to have been well-calculated. Yet holding out for a Biden victory may also be disappointing: not only has he been a longtime ally of Israel in Washington, but his presidency may do little to alter the geopolitical quandary the Palestinians find themselves in.”

[Analysis] Israel-Arab accords an earthquake for Palestinians, who pin their hopes on Biden,

“The Israeli and American sides might not want to hear this, but the Palestinian issue is not going anywhere, and it certainly isn’t going to disappear. In fact, we may face it further down the line in a more dangerous and complex form — Barghouti-style. The day after Abbas will not be anything like today, as Fares intimated during our interview:”

Regional Normalization: Peace Deals or Arms Deals?

U.S. moves forward with sale of 50 F-35 jets to UAE - sources,

“The U.S. State Department notified Congress it approved the sale of 50 Lockheed Martin Co LMT.N F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates in a deal that could be worth $10 billion, sources said on Thursday, potentially setting up a showdown with lawmakers over the deal…Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, confirmed that an informal notification was sent to Congress on Thursday. “As Congress reviews this sale, it must be clear that changes to the status quo will not put Israel’s military advantage at risk,” he said.”

Israel normalisation with Sudan ‘deals blow’ to Hamas in Gaza,

“Israeli mainstream media have devoted the bulk of their foreign affairs coverage this week to discussing the benefits that Israel will reap from the agreement, including the cutting off of the supply of arms, via Sudan, to Hamas and other Palestinian groups in the besieged Gaza Strip…Leading sources in Hamas confirmed to MEE that relations with Sudan during the Bashir era went beyond the political dimension, involving both military and security support. The head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, revealed in an interview with the Qatari Al Jazeera channel last month that “Sudan was a main supply line for the resistance”. Likewise, Israeli media reported in recent days that security and intelligence services said the agreement with Sudan dealt a severe blow to Hamas, which was dealing with Sudan as an important conduit for the transfer of weapons to Gaza. Israeli security services said that Sudan worked alongside Iran and served as a channel for transferring weapons to Hamas, adding that this explained why Israel carried out covert and overt operations inside Sudan and on its borders, and bombed targets there.”

Israeli Golan Heights Wine to Hit Dubai Shelves,

“The UAE foreign and economy ministries did not respond to requests for comment on the wine deal. The Gulf state has described the Golan as Syrian territory, and along with the international community did not recognize Israel’s annexation of the area in 1981.”

[Analysis] How Arab-Israeli normalization could spark a region-wide democracy movement,

“The agreements themselves reflect the absence of democracy in the region, but could they be used to recast the struggle against oppression in Israel and Palestine as part of a broader struggle for democracy in the Arab world? What would it take for this so-called betrayal of the Palestinian cause by Arab governments to pave the way for a new approach to human rights based on universal democracy and human rights, including the right to vote, for Palestinians, Israelis, Emiratis, and Bahrainis alike?”

[Analysis] If you’re pro-peace, reject this peace,

“Put more bluntly, the key goal of these new alliances is to pressure Palestinians into caving on their central political demands — demands that are rooted in international law and UN resolutions. As far as the Israeli government is concerned, Palestinians, like the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, should settle for “peace for peace” — with no territories handed over, nor a share of Jerusalem, nor an end to military rule, nor repatriation for refugees.”

Occupation/Annexation/Apartheid/Human Rights

West Bank Palestinians' olive trees burn as U.N. urges protection for harvest,

“More than 1,000 trees owned by Palestinian farmers have been burned or damaged in the West Bank since the harvest began three weeks ago, according to a United Nations report.”

Israel to sanction Palestinian banks serving prisoners’ families,

“Israel will impose sanctions and penalties on Palestinian banks which process payments from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the families of Palestinians who have spent time in Israeli jails, lsraeli media reported. Last February, Israeli Defence Minister at the time, Naftali Bennett, signed a military decree which states that any person or body handing financial aid with the purpose of facilitating, advancing, funding or rewarding “terror-related offenses”, is committing a crime that carries a punishment of up to ten years in prison and a fine. Israeli public broadcaster Kan said the military law has been frozen several times by the current Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, for fear of provoking protests in the occupied West Bank.”

Occupation forces attack weekly Kafr Qaddum protest,

“At least one Palestinian was injured by Israeli occupation forces today during the weekly protest against Israeli settlement construction, which takes place every Friday in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank, local sources said. Morad Shtewi, coordinator of the popular resistance in the village, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters by rubber-coated rounds and teargas, injuring  one of them in the hand and causing many cases of suffocation from gas inhalation.”

Settlers vandalize water, electricity networks south of Nablus,

“Israeli settlers dawn Friday vandalized water and electricity networks in As-Sawiya village, south of Nablus city, according to a local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors colonial settlement activities in the northern West Bank, confirmed that a group of settlers sneaked their way into the village, and chopped down a number of wooden electric poles using chainsaws. The settlers, who came from the nearby colonial settlement of Rechalim, notorious for its religious fanatic community, also destroyed part of the water network in the western part of the village.”

Israeli forces crackdown on anti-land-grab rally east of Nablus,

“Israeli forces today cracked down on an anti-land-grab rally in Beit Dajan village, east of Nablus city, injuring dozens of participants, according to WAFA correspondent. She said that Israeli troops, who raided the village, opened fire on Palestinians participating in the anti-land-confiscation rally to disperse them, injuring three participants with rubber-coated steel bullets and causing dozens others to suffocate. The rally was called for to defend Palestinian-owned land threatened with confiscation, east of the village, to make room for Israeli colonial settlement construction.”

Ashrawi: US decision to label Jerusalem as Israel is attempt to erase Palestinians,

“”The US State Department’s new decision to allow the labeling of Jerusalem as part of Israel in official US documents is a falsification of the City´s history and identity, in line with Israeli criminality and lawlessness. It is also a continuation of this administration’s sinister scramble to compound injustice and create new oppressive facts in Palestine ahead of upcoming elections. This decision comes while Israel is taking unprecedented illegal measures to displace and replace Palestinians in Jerusalem, including home demolitions, exile orders, and revoking the ID’s of Palestinians. By adopting this measure, the US administration is also retroactively recognizing other illegal Israeli actions, including the ethnic cleansing of West Jerusalem and the grand theft of Palestinian property.”

[Thread] "On this day in 1956, an Israeli paramilitary unit shot dead 49 Palestinian civilians from Kufr Qasem...",

“On this day in 1956, an Israeli paramilitary unit shot dead 49 Palestinian civilians from Kufr Qasem who were returning from their farms, unaware of the new military curfew that had been imposed on their village. Here are some articles on the massacre from our archive”

The Israeli Domestic Scene

25,000 Candles Lit at Tel Aviv Ceremony for 25th Anniversary of Rabin Assassination,

“The day’s events were brought to a close in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square – the site of his murder, subsequently renamed for him – at which President Reuven Rivlin and Rabin’s daughter Dalia both spoke. The event was closed to the public, but was broadcast live on YouTube. “