Top News from Israel & Palestine: September 3, 2021

What We’re Reading

Human Rights/Occupation/Apartheid

UPDATE | Occupation forces injure 70 Palestinians in Beita,

“At least 70 Palestinians were injured today by the Israeli occupation army during clashes at Jabal Sabih mount, near the village of Beita in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC). Israeli soldiers fired live gunfire, rubber-coated rounds and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 70 of them, including 12 with rubber-coated steel rounds. Some of the protesters also sustained injuries after falling on the ground while being chased by soldiers. Meantime, some 51 protesters sustained suffocation from teargas inhalation. An ambulance was also hit with Israeli teargas canisters that smashed the front windshields.” Also seeHow Beita became a model of Palestinian resistance against Israel” (Middle East Eye)

Israel arrests four Palestinian children in first week back at school ,

“The Israeli army arrested four Palestinian children in the early hours of Wednesday from their homes in the occupied city of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank.” See also “Israeli forces detain nine Palestinians from West Bank” (WAFA)

Israel releases nine-month-pregnant Palestinian prisoner after outcry, but she remains under house arrest,

“A pregnant Palestinian woman imprisoned by Israel was released under specific terms on Thursday. Nine-month-pregnant Anhar Al-Deek is to be confined to house arrest and be subject to bail equivalent to $12,500, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.” See alsoDays Before Giving Birth, a Bipolar Palestinian Jailed in Israel Is Given a Reprieve” (Haaretz)

JNF Approves West Bank, Jerusalem Plan That Could Lead to Palestinian Evictions,

“On Thursday, the board of the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) approved the start of a project to register properties in the West Bank and Jerusalem, a process that could lead to Palestinians being evicted from their homes….


In the past, the JNF demanded the expulsion of Palestinians from land belonging to the organization. In 2019, a Palestinian family near Bethlehem was evicted from their home and café, and an outpost was built on the land a short while later. Similarly, in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, a Palestinian family has been waging a legal battle for the past 20 years because their house was transferred to the JNF after it was declared an absentee asset.”

Gaza Strip

Three Palestinians Found Dead in Gaza-Egypt Border Tunnel,

“Several Palestinian groups from the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, called for an investigation on Friday after three Palestinians were found dead in a tunnel near the border area. According to reports in the enclave, there are factions that accuse Egypt’s army of killing the men using toxic gas.” See alsoEgypt pumps toxic gas into Gaza tunnel, three Palestinians dead – report” (JPost)

Israeli troops kill Palestinian during Gaza blockade protest,

“Israeli troops have killed a Palestinian in the besieged Gaza Strip, Gaza’s health ministry has said, as hundreds took part in a protest against Israel’s 14-year blockade of the territory….The Israeli military said that over 1,000 Palestinians had gathered along the Israeli fence in Gaza, setting tyres ablaze and throwing explosive devices. “IDF [Israeli military] troops deployed in the area are using riot dispersal means, including when necessary live fire and .22 Caliber rounds,” the military said in a statement.” See alsoIsrael kills Palestinian, injures 15 others in Gaza” (Middle East Monitor)

Israeli navy shoots Palestinian fisherman a day after loosening Gaza water restrictions,

Israeli forces shot a Palestinian fisherman in Gaza on Thursday, hitting his leg, one day after Israel loosened restrictions on fishing in the besieged enclave’s waters. Israeli naval forces shot at multiple Palestinian fishing vessels, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency said on Thursday, resulting in one fisherman being injured.”

Will popular pressure in Gaza lead to new clashes with Israel?,

“As tires were set on fire and homemade sound bombs were thrown from the Palestinian side toward Israel, the Israelis launched flares into the sky to light the way for the snipers. Identifying targets among protesters, the snipers opened fire with tear gas and live ammunition….“We are here because we ran out of solutions and doors are shut in the face of the [Palestinian] factions. We are here to impose a new situation on the Israeli occupation so that they lift the siege,” Abdel Karim told Al-Monitor….Every night, the protesters carry out their activities simultaneously across the five governorates of the Gaza Strip. According to Abu Omar, “This geographical dispersion of the night confusion marches is heard by and affects” all Israelis living near the Gaza border….Gaza’s resistance factions have given the green light to the protesting groups to carry out the night confusion marches in response to the Israeli economic restriction, which Israel uses as a means of pressure on Hamas to release detained Israeli soldiers and the remains of other soldiers.”


Israeli strikes said to target Syria; fragments from defense fire land in Israel,

“Israeli planes carried out airstrikes near Damascus early Friday, Syrian state media claimed, and sounds of explosions were heard in central Israel shortly after. The noise was caused by a Syrian air defense missile that traversed Israeli skies before exploding over the Mediterranean Sea, the Israel Defense Forces said. Missile fragments were later found in north Tel Aviv.” See alsoIsraeli Raids Strike Iranian Militia Positions in Syria” (Asharq al-Aswat)

Israeli military: Missile fired from Syria toward Israel exploded over sea,

“A missile was shot from Syria toward Israel Thursday night, according to an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman. The anti-aircraft missile exploded over the Mediterranean Sea. On Friday morning, residents of central Israel found fragments of the missile, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee said on Twitter.” See alsoIsrael Reportedly Strikes Near Damascus; Syrian Missile Remnants Found in Tel Aviv” (Haaretz)

Leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian Authority meet in Cairo,

“Egypt’s president has held talks in Cairo with the king of Jordan and the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process and strengthening a ceasefire that halted the latest escalation in violence between Israel and Hamas. Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and the PA’s Mahmoud Abbas discussed the elusive two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Thursday, according to a statement from el-Sisi’s office. The three leaders pledged “to work together to refine a vision to activate efforts aimed at resuming negotiations, and work with brothers and partners to revive the peace process”, the statement read.” Also seeFM: Holding the trilateral summit serves to enhance, support Palestinian position” (WAFA)

Egypt's Sisi to host Israeli PM Bennett at Sharm El-Sheikh meeting: report,

“Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi will host Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet at Sharm El-Sheikh this week, after a meeting with Palestinian and Jordanian leaders concludes, according to reports.”

Israel opens Chinese-run terminal at Haifa port,

“Israel opened a new terminal run by a Chinese firm at the port of Haifa on Thursday, in a move expected to boost Israel’s economy and open new opportunities for trade with Gulf countries. The inauguration comes as Israel seeks to increase the flow of goods into its ports and increase competition by lowering prices. Israel relies on its ports — chief among them Haifa — for some 90% of the country’s goods. The 5.5 billion Israeli shekel ($1.7 billion) terminal is to be managed by China’s state-owned Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG). The 25-year management agreement raised security concerns in Washington. The US Navy frequently makes stops at Haifa, while the Israeli navy also maintains its largest base adjacent to the port.”

UK Labour Party apologises to pro-Palestine group after ban confusion,

The UK Labour Party has apologised to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) after party activists said they had been told that the pro-Palestinian group would not be allowed to attend the party’s annual conference….In a statement on Friday, PSC said it had been in touch with party officials and was informed that the comments made to Barnard about the group being forbidden from speaking were “a mistake”.


“PSC made its own enquiries and was informed by well-placed sources that a high ranking official had stated that PSC’s support for the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) might violate the IHRA definition of antisemitism,” said the statement, referring to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s guidelines on antisemitism, which have been condemned by some for conflating criticism of the state of Israel with antisemitism. “After strong representations from Young Labour and from PSC, Young Labour were informed in a meeting late on Wednesday that this had been a mistake, that PSC could of course be invited and an apology was given.””

U.S. Scene / U.S.-Israeli Relations / U.S.-Palestinian Relations

Positive Palestinian response to US plan of reopening Jerusalem consulate,

“Fearing antagonizing the Joe Biden administration, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid used a light description to reflect Israel’s opposition to the issue of reopening the consulate, simply calling it “a mistake.” “We have an interesting yet delicate structure of our government and we think this might destabilize this government, and I don’t think the American administration wants this to happen,” Lapid said at a press conference Sept. 1. However, the following day, US State Department spokesman Ed Price reaffirmed the intention of Washington to fulfill the pledge made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Palestinians. On Sept. 3, Palestinians read on the front page of Al-Quds daily that the United States “is continuing with its plans to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem,” quoting Price’s answers to the paper’s Washington reporter, Said Erekat. Palestinians are happy with the news of the near reopening of the consulate regardless of the Israeli position. This is very important because “we look at it as the future American embassy to the state of Palestine,” Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh had said Aug. 31.”

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.”

In Rosh Hashanah call with rabbis, Biden calls for ‘swift confirmation’ of Deborah Lipstadt to be antisemitism monitor,

“Describing his meeting last week in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Biden noted their political differences — Bennett is a hawk and opposes some U.S. Middle East policies, particularly the U.S. leader’s efforts to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. But Biden said Bennett was a “gentleman” and pledged “unwavering” support for Israel.”

Israeli Scene

Gestures toward Palestinians leave Bennett in bind,

“Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is caught between a rock and a hard place. He promised US President Joe Biden at their Aug. 27 White House meeting to take steps to improve the lives and economic opportunities of Palestinians. But his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu is constantly breathing down his neck, seeking every opportunity to portray him as a leftist. He is hemmed in by Biden and the left-leaning partners in his governing coalition — the Labor, Meretz and Ra’am parties — and on the other side by Netanyahu, his followers and the pledges he himself made in the past as a far-right politician.”

In the Name of 'Family Values,' an Israeli Coalition Is Trying to Derail Gay Rights and Gender Equality,

“The Democratic Bloc, a civil society platform that is “working to research, expose, and shame extremist organizations,” according to its website (in English), has also been monitoring the Forum’s activity and does not make light of its impact, noting also its affinity with the Kohelet Policy Forum. Kohelet, a powerful conservative think tank, has been consolidating its influence among decision-making centers in Israel for the past decade, and is casting a net of right-wing organizations over civil society, based on the American conservative model.”

Undercover police unit to target crime in Arab-Israeli society,

“For the first time ever, the Israeli Police announced Aug. 31 that it has created an undercover unit to combat the growing wave of crime and violence in the Arab society. The unit, known as “Sinai,” was launched in the presence of the Commissioner of Police Kobi Shabtai. Its 45 members will focus exclusively on those groups and individuals responsible for organized crime in the Arab society. In other words, contrary to anti-terror undercover units usually operating in the West Bank, this undercover unit will operate against Israel’s Arab citizens, who are not involved in terrorism….The creation of this unit comes against the background of a particularly bloody weekend for Israel in general and the Arab sector in particular. This included three murders in a single day, and five murders since Saturday. Illegal weapons and wanton violence have become synonymous with the Arab society over the last few years. The Abraham Initiatives advocacy group reported that since the start of 2021, 78 Arab civilians have been murdered in a growing tide of violence.”

Israel’s military promotes handler of jailed US spy to brigadier general,

“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) promoted Aviem Sella to brigadier general this week. Sella, who served as the handler for notorious US-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, was pardoned last year by former US President Donald Trump on his final day in office…Sella, now a 75-year-old retired colonel of the IAF, was scheduled to receive the rank of brigadier general in 1987. His promotion was interrupted amid his indictment in the United States on espionage for his role in recruiting Pollard. Sella fled the United States for Israel following Pollard’s arrest.”

Weekend Reads

The double injustice of climate change in Occupied Palestine,

“While the future appears bleak for all the region’s populations, it is especially grim for Palestinians. Even though Israel and Palestine technically share the same geographic area and are likely to face the same ecological fate, the two nations drastically differ in their level of readiness to adapt to climate change….To maintain political stability and alleviate the effect of dwindling natural resources, Israel will resort to further deepening its control of Palestinian land and populations, accelerating its theft of their natural resources, especially water and agricultural lands.” 

Israel’s foreign policy has changed in tone but not in substance,

“The new Israeli government, which came to office on June 13th, is too fragile to make any serious moves on this front. Its prime minister, Naftali Bennett, and three of the eight parties in his coalition, are adamantly opposed to territorial concessions to the Palestinians. Mr Bennett is flatly against the creation of a Palestinian state.”

A case of the Palestinian blues,

“Recording under quarantine, a musical trio gives a classic blues song an Arabic twist, exploring new depths for Black-Palestinian solidarity.” 

How Did Religious Jews Become the Most Enthusiastic Supporters of the Occupation?,

“Many religiously observant people are actively involved in promoting and justifying the occupation. Representatives of the religious-Zionist movement, a leading force today in the army, will validate morally and in terms of halakha (traditional religious law) every operation by the Israel Defense Forces and every settlement action. It sometimes seems that the natural religious stance is to support these actions. Today, too, when the religious-Zionist ethos of settlement on rocky hills has turned into a more bourgeois life, and when extended military campaigns have been replaced by day-to-day policing to control a population lacking in rights – it still seems that the kippa wearers are in the forefront of the ideology of ethnic superiority….


However, the attitude of the Jewish tradition to the use of violence is totally at odds with the ethos being manifested by religious Zionism. The halakha permits one to engage in self-defense, in some cases even at the price of transgressing another commandment, but violence is perceived as a negative act and as non-Jewish behavior that is to be shunned. Why has the reluctant approach yielded to an unequivocally militant conception?”