Top News from Israel & Palestine: September 24, 2020

What We’re Reading

Settlements/Occupation/De Facto Annexation

IDF targets illegal Palestinian building, UN warns of spike in such razing,

“The IDF targeted illegal Palestinian building in a special West Bank operation on Wednesday, as the United Nations warned against a four-fold spike in such demolitions despite the COVID-19 pandemic.The IDF’s Civil Administration said that six illegal uninhabited structures were removed in Samaria and in the South Hebron Hills, including an events hall, as well as illegal electrical power lines. The Civil Administration is under pressure from the right-wing NGO Regavim and politicians including in the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee to take action against illegal Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank.”


Also see:

Middle East Monitor: Israel demolishes Palestinian wedding hall and home
IMEMC: Soldiers Demolish Under-Construction Home And Two Wells, Removed 15 Electricity Poles, Near Hebron
IMEMC: Army Demolishes An Agricultural Wall Near Ramallah, Settlers Uproot Trees Near Salfit

New illegal PA school springs up overnight in Jordan Valley,

“Last week, the Palestinian Authority put up a new school building in the Jordan Valley, in the heart of the sprawling Bedouin hinterland near Al Auja. Even a cursory look at aerial photos of the area make it clear: The school’s location was carefully chosen as the connecting link between the Bedouin outposts scattered throughout the area, which now form an all new illegal settlement bloc – in Area C (the portion of Judea and Samaria under full Israeli jurisdiction)… ‘The newest illegal school in the Jordan Valley was built at lightning speed, and it was already up and running by the time we spotted it,’ says Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim. ‘It joins a network of similar structures, among them the new schools in Kisan and Kochav HaShachar that were built in the past month, and more than 50 other illegal schools that have been built this way over the past decade.’…”

Human Rights/Violence

Israeli prison ban on phone calls risks ‘breaking spirits’ of Palestinian minors,

“Israel claims incarcerated Palestinian children pose a threat to national security just like adults — and therefore can’t contact their families.”

Army shoots at Palestinians throwing Molotov cocktails; two said injured,

“Israeli soldiers fired at a group of Palestinians in the West Bank preparing to hurl Molotov cocktails close to the village of Kafr Malik, the army said after midnight Wednesday. Palestinian reports said two men were wounded. Israeli soldiers were conducting ‘operational activities”’ in the area when they spotted the would-be the assailants, the IDF said. ‘The soldiers identified a number of terrorists who tried to throw Molotov cocktails and fired at them. A hit was identified,’ the IDF said in a statement.” Also see: IMEMC – Israeli Soldiers Shoot Two Palestinians Near Ramallah

26 terror suspects arrested in Judea and Samaria,

“In recent nights, IDF fighters have arrested 26 Arabs suspected of involvement in terrorism and possession of illegal weapons. During an arrest operation by IDF fighters in cooperation with the Shin Bet and the Border Police in the city of Ramallah and other villages in the area of ​​the Binyamin Regional Brigade, the soldiers arrested a number of terrorist operatives, including a senior member of the Palestinian Arab Islamic Jihad terror group.” Also see: IMEMC – Israeli Soldiers Detain Many Palestinians from the West Bank


Global Response to Israeli apartheid: A call to the UNGA from Palestinian and international Civil Society Organizations,

“…In light of the mounting recognition of Israel’s maintenance of an apartheid regime over the Palestinian people, which will only continue to be entrenched through annexation, we, the undersigned Palestinian, regional, and international civil society organisations, urge the UN General Assembly to take urgent and effective actions to address the root causes of Palestinian oppression and to end Israel’s occupation, illegal blockade of Gaza, unlawful acquisition of Palestinian territory by force, its regime of apartheid over the Palestinian people as a whole, and the prolonged denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and the right of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes, lands, and property.”

Middle East Peace -- What About the Palestinians?

Blair: Israel-Palestinian peace will come through ties with Arab states,

“Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will come through Israel establishing relations with Arab states, former British prime minister Tony Blair said Thursday at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. ‘The foundation of the approach in the region, that Israelis and Palestinians negotiate peace and then the rest of the region joins, is the diametric opposite of what should happen,’ the longtime Quartet envoy to the Middle East said via videoconference. ‘Actually, what you need to do is create peace between Israel and the Arab nations and include the Palestinian issue in that peace.’” Also see: Washington Post (Aaron Miller) – Arab-Israeli progress seemed impossible. That’s because of old assumptions.

Also see:

Al Araby: King Salman reiterates Saudi support for Palestinian two-state solution
Al Araby: Ex-Saudi intelligence chief says Trump ‘not an honest peace broker to Palestinians’
Middle East Monitor: Qatar: Emir calls for UN action to end Israeli occupation
Middle East Monitor: Algeria president: Palestinian cause remains sacred

Israelis want two-state negotiations, prefer next deal with Arab state,

“Israelis want negotiations with the Palestinians based on two-states, but prefer that the next agreement reached should be with a Gulf state, preferably Qatar, according to a poll commissioned by the left-wing Geneva Initiative in conjunction with the Adva Center.Of the 503 Israelis surveyed on September 14 and 15, 49% said they supported ‘the renewal of negotiations with Palestinians on the basis of the two-state solution,’ and 35% said they opposed such a move.”

“Peace”/Normalization - What’s Next & Dividends

Air force chief: UAE F-35 sale could be ‘less optimal’ for Israel in long term,

“The proposed United States sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates could have a long-term negative strategic impact for Israel, Air Force Chief Amikam Norkin said in an interview aired Wednesday…‘These things are not reflected in the strategic analysis as endangering Israel next week. These are things that could produce processes that may, in the long-term strategic balance, be less optimal for the State of Israel,’ he said.” Also see: YNet – Israel fears U.S. will sell advanced weapons to other Arab countries

UAE signs contracts with Israel firms on UN blacklist,

“Emirati companies have signed contracts with Israeli firms and banks blacklisted by the United Nations (UN) for supporting illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, an investigation by Anadolu Agency revealed on Wednesday. In February, the UN released a database of 112 companies on its blacklist for doing business inside Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”


Trump thanks lawmaker for Nobel nomination,

“A Swedish lawmaker who nominated US President Donald Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Middle East says he got a phone call of thanks from the American leader. Magnus Jacobsson, a member of Sweden’s Parliament for the Christian Democrats, wrote Tuesday on Twitter that he was ‘on my way to the stable with my daughter’ when he got the call. ‘We had a good conversation about peace in the Middle East and the Balkans. I wish the President good luck with the peace processes,’ Jacobsson wrote.”


Americans are ambivalent towards Israel-Gulf normalisation,

“Only half of Americans think Israel is an ally of the United States, and that number drops to 28 percent for the United Arab Emirates, 24 percent for Saudi Arabia, 18 percent for Qatar, and 14 percent for Palestine, according to a new survey of 2,059 adults in the US conducted on September 9-10. While majorities or pluralities of Americans say these Middle Eastern countries are neutral towards the US, smaller percentages say they are enemies: 32 percent for Palestine, 31 percent for Saudi Arabia, 22 percent for Qatar, 20 percent for the UAE, and 16 percent for Israel – The word ‘country’ is used flexibly, as Palestine is currently neither sovereign nor free…As our survey demonstrated, however, Americans are still largely ambivalent about these countries. The American public’s tendency to focus on domestic rather than international affairs, coupled with the unprecedented public health crisis the country is currently going through, can explain this trend to a certain extent.”

US Ambassador to UN: Another normalization accord will come in next days,

“United States Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said in an interview with Al-Arabiya Wednesday that another normalization agreement between Israel and an unnamed Arab country will happen in the next day or two.” Also see: Breitbart – Trump at UN: More ‘Great’ Peace Deals With Israel ‘Shortly’

Israel's Deals With Gulf States Normalize Immorality. An Ethical Left Shouldn’t Accept Them,

“The normalization accords were designed to create a crack in Arab opposition to the continuation of the occupation, and to sell the Israel public not just the fairy tale of a conflict without a cost, but also a much more escapist fantasy – that such a peace is possible with the Palestinians too, that one day they will agree to give up their aspirations and their rights. We just need to wait. The left must also keep its eyes on the ball at all times and remember the goal: to be a free people in our land – free of oppression and bloodshed. That, and not the business opportunities in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, was and remains the fundamental national interest.”


Erdan walks out on ‘antisemitic’ Erdogan UN speech,

“Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan walked out of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, accusing him of antisemitism. ‘Erdogan continues his lies and antisemitic statements against Israel, and it is important that the world know the double standards by which he has been living for many years,’ Erdan stated. Erdogan slammed Israel’s policies in Jerusalem and towards the Palestinians. ‘The occupation and oppression of Palestine is a bleeding wound of humanity,’ Erdogan said. The Turkish President said ‘the filthy hand’ – presumably of Israelis – is ‘constantly increasing its audacity’ in Jerusalem’s holy sites.Erdogan commended the Palestinians, who he said ‘stood up to Israeli policies of violence and intimidation for more than half a century.’ The Turkish president accused Trump of being a ‘collaborator’ with Israel and called his peace plan ‘a document of surrender.’”

Saudis reject deal with Israel, but push outreach to Jews,

“From scrubbing hate-filled school textbooks to a taboo-defying religious sermon, Saudi Arabia is pushing for another kind of normalization after declining to establish formal relations with Israel — co-existence with Jews.” Also see: Rational Security – Saudi Arabia prefers implicit normalization with Israel

Sudan discusses Arab-Israeli peace with US officials,

“Sudan and the United States have discussed how Khartoum could advance Arab-Israeli peace, authorities said on Wednesday. Meeting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Sudanese delegation and American officials held talks on how peace could stabilise the region and secure a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question, the ruling sovereign council said.” Also see: Times of Israel – US-Sudan normalization talks reportedly ‘constructive,’ but no breakthrough; Al-Monitor – Intel: US push to get Sudan to recognize Israel faces setback; New Arab – Israel’s Netanyahu to meet Sudan general in Uganda amid normalisation speculation: report

Palestinian Politics

Palestinian Authority Inches Toward Boiling Point Amid Economic Crisis, Israeli Security Officials Warn,

“Senior Israeli security officials have recently warned politicians that the economic crisis in the Palestinian Authority is worsening, and that it could lead to an outbreak of violence. The officials believe that Israel and the PA must find a solution to renew the security cooperation between them, which will make it easier for the Palestinians to deal with the consequences of the coronavirus in the West Bank – difficulties that the officials called the ‘worst there in the last decade.’”

Palestinian funding from Arab countries dropped by 85% in 2020,

“Palestinian officials have a feeling that the recent normalization agreements between Gulf states and Israel have led to a sudden decrease in funding from Arab states to the Palestinian Authority. According to The New Arab’s Arabic-language and data from the Palestinian finance ministry service, Ramallah has received no aid from Arab countries since March, in addition to a 50% decrease in foreign aid. The total of the Ramallah’s revenues dropped by about 70%  this year.”

Fatah and Hamas agree to first Palestinian elections in nearly 15 years,

“The Palestinian movement Hamas and their rivals in the occupied West Bank, Fatah, have agreed to hold Palestinian elections for the first time in nearly 15 years, officials from both sides told AFP on Thursday. Parliamentary and presidential polls will be scheduled within six months under a deal reached between Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah’s leader and Palestinian president, and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh.” Also see: Arutz Sheva – Senior PA official: ‘National elections’ may be close at hand; Middle East Eye – Hamas, Fatah agree on practical measures for national dialogue

Egyptian media campaign targets Hamas,

“Egyptian media has renewed its attacks against Hamas following an investigative report by Al Jazeera accusing Egypt of tightening the siege on Gaza.”


PMW warns Mastercard and Visa to cut ties with PA banks or face civil and criminal liability,

“Mastercard and Visa provide credit card services to the banks operating in the Palestinian Authority, which facilitate both terror funding and the payment of terror rewards. Terror financing is illegal and exposes the credit card companies to both criminal and civil liability. Whereas, when they agreed to supply services to PA banks, Mastercard and Visa were probably unaware that the banks would facilitate both terror funding and the payment of terror rewards, PMW has now notified and warned both companies of the terror supporting operations of these banks. PMW also explained the necessity for them to cut all financial ties.”

Former IDF soldier sues BDS activist who [allegedly] slandered her online for $6m.,

“Former IDF lone soldier Rebecca Ram filed on Tuesday a $6 million lawsuit against Suhair Nafal, a senior member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, for slandering her online.”

After Zoom and Facebook Refuse to Host Event, SFSU Seminar Featuring Notorious Palestinian Terrorist Briefly Airs on YouTube Before Being Taken Down Midstream,

“An online San Francisco State University seminar featuring an infamous Palestinian terrorist was briefly broadcast live on YouTube on Wednesday afternoon, after both Zoom and Facebook refused to host it. However, about 20 minutes into the event, YouTube cut the feed and removed the video for violating its Terms of Service.” Also see: Haaretz – Zoom Will Not Host San Francisco State U Event Featuring Palestinian Hijacker; Jerusalem Post – Zoom cancels Leila Khaled webinar at San Francisco State University; JNS – After Zoom deplatforms Leila Khaled event, Facebook and YouTube follow suit

Report: EU governments funding Palestinian legal actions against Israel,

“European countries, including Denmark, Ireland and Sweden, are knowingly funding ICC petitions, especially those submitted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, says watchdog group.”

‘The wrong sort of Jew’: How Labour pursued complaints against elderly Jewish opponents of Israel,

“Labour’s investigations into antisemitism raise questions about the nature and definition of what the party is attempting to root out.”