Top News from Israel & Palestine: September 2, 2021

What We’re Reading


PA-Egypt-Jordan summit to discuss peace talks with Israel,

“The Abbas-Sisi-Abdullah summit, which is expected to take place on Thursday, will discuss common issues and ways of unifying the Palestinian-Egyptian-Jordanian position in order to follow up on the political activities at the international level and seek to revive the peace process with Israel, senior Palestinian official Azzam al-Ahmed said. The renewed push to review the peace process comes as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has clarified that he has no intention of meeting with Abbas or engaging in peace talks.” Also See – “Tripartite summit opens in Egypt on Palestinian developments” (Anadolu Agency)

Palestinian president says he's ready for confidence-building with Israel,

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he was ready to take confidence-building measures and restore calm in the Palestinian territories, though Israel’s actions had made a two-state solution impossible. Abbas spoke as he met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah in Cairo, days after he held talks with Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz in a rare high-level meeting…In an address at the Cairo talks, Abbas said that although an escalation of Israeli “violations” had made a two-state solution in line with international law unattainable, the PA was committed to peaceful methods. “We renew our readiness to work in this stage to prepare the atmosphere by the application of confidence-building steps that include achieving comprehensive calm in Palestinian lands,” he said, according to a text published by the state-run Palestinian news agency Wafa. After Abbas met with Gantz, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett quickly played down the idea of any move towards peace negotiations, though Israel also agreed to lend the Palestinian Authority $150 million.” Also See – “President Abbas affirms commitment to just peace under international resolutions” (WAFA)

Bennett Rejects Peace Process With Abbas, Focuses on Palestinians' Practical Needs,

“On three separate occasions this week, Israeli government representatives said that the diplomatic process with the Palestinian Authority will not be pursued, and that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett does not plan to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”

Bennett and Egypt’s Sissi to meet publicly in Sinai soon — report,

“Bennett’s upcoming visit will be the first public visit by an Israeli premier since 2011, when former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with president Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh. Netanyahu also reportedly paid a secret, unofficial visit in 2018. Egypt in recent months has tried to more publicly present its role as the responsible, effective broker between Israel and Hamas. Cairo played a central role in negotiating the ceasefire that ended the May Gaza war between the two sides after 11 days and has worked since to advance a long-term ceasefire as well as a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas.”

Rare meeting with Palestinian leader sparks rift in Israeli government,

“Bennett, who had expected a lower-profile meeting, tried to downplay the “loan,” asking the Ministry of Defense to issue a clarification that it will not come from Israeli funds but as an advance payment of Palestinian tax revenues. He also issued a statement saying the meeting only covered day-to-day security issues. Bennett went one step further, saying, “There are no political talks with the Palestinians and there will be no political talks with the Palestinians.” Briefing the Security Cabinet on Tuesday after his meeting with Biden, Bennett said, “I am the only prime minister in three decades who told the president of the United States I am not going to hold peace talks with the Palestinians. But I told Biden I am serious in my intentions to improve the Palestinian economy and Palestinian lives,” according to an Israeli Cabinet minister. Between the lines: Bennett’s reaction has shown his need to reassure the right-wing members of his coalition that he is not giving any political concessions to the Palestinians.” Related – “Gantz: Bennett approved my meeting with Abbas” (Arutz Sheva)

Israeli officials cautioned Biden against heavy criticism of Egypt, Saudi Arabia,

“Biden entered office vowing to place a premium on human rights in the crafting of his foreign policy, warning that countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt would need to reform if they wanted to maintain their longstanding relationships with the US. But that approach has worried Jerusalem, which believes it could alienate Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, leading them to look elsewhere for support and alliances — namely from Iran, but also from US adversaries China and Russia. Those concerns have been passed along to administration officials on multiple occasions, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”

Biden reportedly reaffirms pact not to push Israel on its alleged nukes,

“US President Joe Biden signed a letter reaffirming the US commitment to decades-old strategic understandings with Israel over its alleged nuclear arsenal, according to a Wednesday report. The move came during a visit by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Washington last week, during which he discussed several bilateral issues with Biden, an unnamed Israeli official told Walla news. The White House and Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the report.”

Israeli leader surprised Biden hardly raised China during visit,

“Chinese involvement in Israel became a rare point of contention between the Trump and Netanyahu governments, with the Trump administration warning of damage to the U.S.-Israel security relationship, but former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dragging his feet on the issue….“We were very surprised how little this issue came up in the meetings. In any case, we are very sensitive and aware of U.S. concerns and are going to balance between the need to strengthen trade with China and maintaining our national security,” the senior Israeli official briefed on the meeting said.” Related – “Israel inaugurates Chinese-run Haifa port terminal, in likely boost for economy” (The Times of Israel)

Occupation, Siege, Erasure

No plans to limit settlement construction for now, Israeli official says,

“Despite the change of administration in Washington, Israel’s settlement building policies will remain largely unchanged, an Israeli government official told The Times of Israel on Wednesday. The official said that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s new government will operate based on the understandings his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu reached with former president Donald Trump, whose administration allowed for Israel to continue building in settlements across the West Bank, so long as the construction did not expand beyond communities’ “existing footprints.”…“The (Trump-era) understanding may well be adapted, but as of now, it is still the only game in town,” the official said. “President Biden only spoke generally about his opposition to settlement building, and his team has not gotten into specifics with us.””

Israel to release pregnant prisoner Anhar Al-Deek on $12,500 bail,

“The Israeli military court of Ofer, near Ramallah, ordered today the release of pregnant Palestinian prisoner Anhar Al-Deek on a bail of $12,500 and on condition of house arrest. Al-Deek is on her month of pregnancy, and is due to give birth in the coming few days. The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission said the court held yesterday a session to look into a release request submitted by the Commission’s lawyer, who was able to win a court ruling ordering her immediate release today. Al-Deek, mother of two and a resident of the town of Kafr Ni’ma in the occupied West Bank, was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces in March when she was on her third month of pregnancy, and has been held in inhumane imprisonment conditions in disregard of her health condition.”

Palestinians mourn man found shot in West Bank, blame Israel,

“Hundreds of people on Wednesday mourned the death of a man Palestinian health officials said was killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. Raed Jadallah, 39, a resident of Beit Ur al-Tahta near Ramallah, was buried on Wednesday. According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Jadallah was a gardener and was shot at the western entrance of his village while returning from work in Israel. The circumstances of the death were unclear, as there were no conflicts in the area when the shooting happened Tuesday night. The Palestinian foreign ministry described the killing as a “heinous crime” and blamed the Israeli army for Jadallah’s death. The Israeli military has not commented on the circumstances of the incident.”



Israel demolishes Bedouin village for '192nd time',

“”The Israeli authorities demolished the al-Araqib village for the 192nd time,” Aziz al-Touri, a member of the Committee for the Defense of al-Araqib, told Anadolu Agency. He stated that Israeli police forces prevented Palestinians from entering the village to document the demolition. Homes in Al-Araqib, which are inhabited by 22 Palestinian families, are built of wood, plastic, and corrugated iron. Al-Touri confirmed that villagers intended to rebuild their destroyed dwellings and other structures. The village was first destroyed in 2010. Israeli authorities claim that the site where it is located falls under “state land.””

2 Gazans injured by Israeli fire,

“Two Palestinians, including one fisherman, were wounded by Israeli army fire in two separate incidents in the Gaza Strip, according to a local official. Nizar Ayyash, the head of the Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate in Gaza, said the Israeli navy opened fire on a fishing boat, injuring a fisherman in the foot.” Also See – “Israeli navy shoots Palestinian fisherman a day after loosening Gaza water restrictions



Gaza: Disabled or dead, many young victims of Israeli strikes won't return to school,

“According to the United Nations human rights agency, OHCHR, 66 children and 40 women were among the 256 Palestinians killed during Israel’s 11-day attack on the blockaded land. Of the children killed, 51 were school-age students. Around 470 other children were injured in the attacks. More than 50 educational facilities were damaged in the bombardment, including schools, kindergartens, and the Islamic University in central Gaza.”

West Bank demolitions and displacement | July 2021,

“In July, the Israeli authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 126 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. This resulted in the displacement of 181 people, including 105 children, and otherwise affected the livelihoods, or access to services, of nearly 2,000 others. All but one structure were located in Area C or East Jerusalem and were targeted due to the lack of building permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain. The remaining structure was punitively demolished in Area A, as it belonged to the family of a Palestinian who killed an Israeli settler on 2 May. The number of structures demolished or seized in July is the second highest this year, surpassed only by February (153).”

Israeli Minister Orders Police to Stop Confiscating Palestinian Flags at Protests,

“Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev recently told the police commissioner and other high-ranking officers in the force that the Palestinian flag, which is also the flag of the PLO, may only be confiscated during demonstrations under certain, exceptional circumstances. Jerusalem police officers regularly confiscate Palestinian flags from protesters on the grounds that they could lead to “a serious disturbance of the peace.” On several occasions, the police have also arrested protesters who waved a Palestinian flag during protests in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, even though they posed no threat.”

New Israeli President, darling of liberal Zionists, says violent religious settlement is in ‘my DNA’,

“The new Israeli President Isaac Herzog, a former Labor leader, toured settlements in the northern West Bank on Tuesday and said: “The Har Bracha settlement is in my DNA as an Israeli and as a Jew.” Herzog was hosted by settler leader Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, and visited schools ahead of the opening of the school year.”

The Palestinian Scene

The Palestinian Authority’s crackdown on protest shows it will never serve its own people,

“This situation with the Palestinian Authority is often framed as an internal Palestinian issue, but this elides the way the PA depends on international support, and how it often coordinates its most oppressive moves in lockstep with the Israeli regime. This means its abuses are not just an internal issue but rather part of the overarching system of oppression. The Palestinian Authority is hardly a fully independent government. It is highly reliant on foreign donors in order to function…These close ties and collaboration between the PA and the Israeli regime is a story often left untold in the international media. Some Palestinians might argue it’s not good to air our dirty laundry, while international solidarity activists and allies want to avoid getting involved in “internal” Palestinian issues. Yet as the authority increasingly resorts to authoritarianism, it is vital that we understand that repression of Palestinian political activity is part and parcel of the Israeli occupation. Furthermore, that this repression is aided and abetted by many actors in the international community. Both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli regime depend on each other, the former to maintain its militarised grip over its own people, and the latter to maintain a subdued and depoliticised Palestinian people. It is clear, more than ever, that Palestinians will never be free of Israeli oppression under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.”

The U.S. Scene

Department Press Briefing – September 1, 2021,

“MR PRICE: Said, when it comes to the Visa Waiver Program in Israel – and this, I believe, was mentioned in the readout of the President’s meeting with the prime minister as well – we support steps in the bilateral relationship that would be beneficial to both of our peoples, and one such step is working together towards Israel fulfilling the requirements of the program, of the Visa Waiver Program. The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is authorized to designate countries to participate in this program, the VWP, provided that the countries meet all the requirements.

MR PRICE: When it comes to our CG in Jerusalem, Secretary Blinken has addressed this on a number of occasions. In May, he said, quote, “The United States will be moving forward with the process to reopen our consulate in Jerusalem.” We don’t have any updates to share at this time.”


Also See – “Biden reopening Palestine mission despite Israeli opposition” (Anadolu Agency)

Senate delegation set to meet with Bennett, Lapid and Herzog while in Israel,

“A delegation of four Democratic senators arrived in Israel on Wednesday evening local time, and will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog, Jewish Insider has learned. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) arrived in Lebanon on Tuesday for meetings with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and others. In a joint statement prior to the trip, the senators said they planned to meet with members of the new Israeli government and Palestinian leadership. The senators will meet with Lapid meeting on Thursday and Herzog on Friday.”

Surveillance, Big Tech, Media

Israel to ensure spy tech 'doesn't fall into wrong hands',

“Speaking to foreign journalists, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the government has only limited control over how defense exports are used by customers. Yet he said that Israel is committed to enforcing and strengthening safeguards to prevent abuse of all types of weapons. “We are going to look at this again,” Lapid said. “We’re going to make sure, or try to make sure to the extent of what is doable and what is not, that nobody is misusing anything that we sell.””

Top Analysis & Commentary

Netanyahu Is Gone. Netanyahu-ism Still Reigns.,

“Even though Bennett’s agenda is essentially Netanyahu’s agenda––which runs counter to U.S. policy––President Joe Biden expressed his enthusiastic support for the new Israeli leader and reaffirmed the “unshakeable partnership” between the United States and Israel. Analysts have noted that neither the U.S. president nor the Israeli prime minister wants Netanyahu to return, so they are determined not to give him any opportunity to assail his successor’s handling of Israel’s most important relationship. Yet in a way, Netanyahu has not gone anywhere. This underscores how much tone seems to have superseded substance in the bilateral relationship. Bennett opposes Biden’s signature Middle East policy as much as Netanyahu, but he is determined to be more cordial about it even as he is clear that Israel will continue to prosecute its shadow war with Iran. Bennett’s views on the Palestinians don’t deviate from Netanyahu’s, which conflict with stated U.S. policy. However, the prime minister is willing to make overtures to the Palestinian Authority. In return, Biden affirmed his support for promoting normalization between Israel and countries in the region. The president also expressed his confidence that Israel’s request to be part of the Visa Waiver Program would “get done.” And, if reports are accurate that Bennett requested additional military aid––including replenishment of stocks for Israel’s Iron Dome system as well as warplanes and other hardware––there is little doubt that the White House would support it. The Israeli leader left Washington on Sunday having accomplished what he set out to do. He had a warm meeting with the president of the United States, who spoke of Washington’s “unwavering commitment … to Israel’s security” without giving anything up or altering his policies on Iran, the Palestinians, or the region more broadly. If Netanyahu has any perspective, he will surely grasp the importance of what Bennett did while he was in Washington. The Israeli prime minister advanced Netanyahu’s agenda without all the toxicity and clothing-rending Strurm und Drang that encompassed U.S.-Israel relations over last decade or so. In other words, so far it seems that Netanyahu-ism can thrive without Netanyahu.”

Normalization & News from the Region

Israel Appoints UAE Embassy Chief as First Ambassador to Bahrain,

“Israel has named its first ambassador to Bahrain, after normalizing relations with the Gulf Arab state a year ago, according to an official Israeli government Arabic-language Twitter account. The new ambassador, Eitan Na’eh, had served as temporary head of mission at the Israeli embassy in the United Arab Emirates, the first Gulf state with which Israel established diplomatic relations in August last year.” Also See – “Israel appoints first ambassador to Bahrain” (Ynet)

David Friedman launches ‘Friedman Center’ to advance peace made by Abraham Accords,

“Called “The Friedman Center for Peace through Strength,” the nonprofit institution said that it will work from its offices in Florida and Jerusalem to build on existing accomplishments and advance peace and prosperity throughout the Middle East. The Friedman Center will hold its kickoff event on October 11 at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. The event – a gala dinner – will feature the world premiere of The Abraham Accords, a five-part documentary on the normalization deals, co-produced by Friedman and the TBN Network. The full documentary will air on TBN in the late fall.”