Top News from Israel & Palestine: September 23, 2021

What We’re Reading

Occupation/Apartheid - West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem

Israel practices apartheid, say US academics,

“Nearly two-thirds of American scholars and academics whose work focuses on the Middle East think that the current reality in Israeli and Palestine is akin to apartheid, a recent survey by the Middle East Scholar Barometer (MESB) has revealed. The project is a joint initiative of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll and the Project on Middle East Political Science at George Washington University. The survey is said to be the only one of its kind. Among the academics polled were members of the American Political Science Association’s Middle East and North Africa Politics Section and the Middle East Studies Association. As many as 1,290 academics were identified to take part. Asked to choose which of the following comes closest to describing the current reality in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, 65 per cent of the scholars elected to describe the situation as a one state reality akin to apartheid. Just one per cent said that it was a temporary occupation.”

Palestinian children traumatised by Israeli home invasions,

“…A report titled A Life Exposed published late last year by three Israeli human rights organisations – Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Yesh Din and Breaking the Silence – documented the grievous mental health repercussions, including on children, of Israeli raids on Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank. The report was based on three years of research involving 158 interviews of Palestinians who experienced home invasions, as well as more than 40 soldiers who carried them out. ‘The ever-present threat of possible invasion makes this policy a violent, oppressive tool that serves as a central element in Israel’s system of control over the Palestinian population,’ the researchers said – adding that ‘home invasions may seriously impede daily functioning and the emotional and mental development of both adults and children’.”

Palestinians aim to prove right of return with ancestral land titles,

“By creating a database of Palestinian land ownership, the Kushan Baladi initiative confronts Israel’s claims over historic Palestine.”

Israel closes Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshippers,

“The Israeli occupation army on Tuesday announced the closure of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron to Muslim worshippers until Friday to allow Jewish settlers to [celebrate] Sukkot…This was the third Israeli closure of the Ibrahimi Mosque this month on allegations of allowing settlers to enter the holy site to mark religious occasions.”

Israel accused of negligence as former Palestinian prisoner dies,

“Former Palestinian prisoner Hussein Masalmah has died, seven months after being released from Israeli custody due to illness related to leukaemia, with Palestinian officials accusing Israeli authorities of ‘medical negligence’ over his case. Masalmah, 39, died on Thursday in a hospital in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.”

Israeli military infiltrates Gaza border, levels agricultural land,

“The Israeli military Thursday morning infiltrated Gaza’s border, north of Beit Lahia town, WAFA correspondent reported. He said that five Israeli military bulldozers and two tanks breached the border fence, north of the town, advanced for several dozens of meters, erected earth mounds and razed a tract of borderline agricultural land.”

Gaza factions increase calls to revoke US-UNRWA agreement,

“Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip organized a series of protests to demand cancellation of the framework agreement signed between UNRWA and the US to resume US funding.”

Israeli force seal off archaeological site north of Nablus,

“Israeli forces Thursday morning sealed off the archeological site of Sebastia, north of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, for the second consecutive day, local sources said. Mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azem, told WAFA that a large unit of Israeli soldiers cordoned off and raided the site, deploying at the town entrances and the road leading to it to make room for the the intrusion of dozens of settlers into the site. The soldiers also prevented Palestinians from opening their commercial stores in the area. He slammed the settler intrusion as part of the attempts to impose a fait accompli and control over the site.”

Activist twins say Time recognition shows 'centrality of Palestinian cause',

“The parents of Muna and Mohammed say the twins represent many other residents of Sheikh Jarrah who are fighting to defend their homes.”

Israel Is Crushing My Right to Protest Its Occupation,

“I can no longer run from settler violence. Nor can I run from tear gas shot by the IDF, or from being shoved to the ground. Now, after decades of activism, I’m too scared to protest.”

Diplomacy, “Peace Process”, & Normalization

Jordan's king reiterates support for 2-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict in UN speech,



“King Abdullah II of Jordan reiterated his support for the two-state solution to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during his address Wednesday to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. ‘It is not possible to achieve actual security for both parties and even for the entire world, except through peace based on the two-state solution, which leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,’ said Abdullah. He reiterated Jordan’s commitment ‘to preserve the historical and legal status quo of the (occupied Palestinian) city of Jerusalem, and its Islamic and Christian sanctities, based on the Hashemite guardianship over them,’ as provided by international law. The Hashemite custodianship refers to the Jordan royal family’s role in guarding Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.”

At UN, Jordan, Saudi kings back Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital,

“Abdullah II says only a two-state solution can provide genuine security for both sides; Saudi monarch Salman also backs preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

Sudan seizes land, businesses that 'support Hamas',

“Sudanese authorities have taken control of lucrative assets that are said to have provided backing for Hamas, Reuters reports. The takeover of at least a dozen companies that officials say were linked to Hamas has helped accelerate Sudan’s realignment with the West since the overthrow of President Omar Al-Bashir in 2019. Over the past year, Khartoum has won removal from the US state sponsors of terrorism (SST) list and is on course for relief of more than $50 billion in debt. Hamas has lost a foreign base where members and supporters could live, raise money, and channel weapons and funds to the Gaza Strip, Sudanese and Palestinian analysts said.”

Hamas: We presented mediators with framework for prisoner swap, received no reply,

“Hamas said yesterday that it had presented mediators a framework for a potential prisoner swap with Israel but it has not received a reply, Anadolu reported. Member of Hamas’ Political Bureau Zaher Jabarin said the movement ‘is ready to carry out a prisoner swap as soon as possible.’ He said that his movement did not receive “a positive reply” for its proposal. He gave no more details. ‘Our hands are extended to reach a deal,’ he added. Jabarin dismissed Israeli reports about an eminent agreement on a prisoner swap, noting that ‘the Israeli occupation practices an operation of misinformation in front of the Israeli audience to show that the soldiers are to be released at a price. This is impossible.’”


Republican senator releases remaining Palestinian aid he held up for months,

“US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch is releasing the remaining $20 million in humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians that he had been holding up since the Biden administration committed $75 million in aid last March, The Times of Israel reports. A spokesperson from Risch’s office said on Wednesday night that the Idaho senator had agreed to approve the remaining funds ‘as long as it is reprogrammed to be used for food aid, and will not be in the hands of terrorists.’”

PA Domestic Scene

Palestine warns of financial crisis unless Israel releases tax revenues,

“The financial which the Palestinian Authority is suffering from is likely to get even more complicated during the coming period unless Israel releases tax revenues it has withheld, the finance minister said. Speaking during a meeting with donors and foreign representatives, Shukri Bishara reviewed the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority and the pressures exerted by the Israeli government, including withholding and illegally deducting Palestinian tax revenues. ‘Mr. Bishara explicitly informed representatives of the international community that the [Palestinian] government had exhausted all available options to secure financing, and will not resort to more borrowing from banks,’ a statement issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Finance said. According to the statement, Bishara stressed on the need to reform the financial relationship with Israel and the tax clearance mechanism, which he said ‘has become a tool to perpetuate the occupation’.”