Top News from Israel & Palestine: September 8, 2020

What We’re Reading

Settlements/De Facto Annexation

Even Gantz batters Netanyahu on settler flip-flop, as PM slides in polls,

“It has to give one pause that even Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz appeared to do a better job this week at championing the settlements than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi might speak of how annexation has replaced normalization. But when it comes to the litmus test of whether West Bank sovereignty was suspended or eliminated, Gantz has come down in support of suspension, not through his words, but with his actions.”

Gantz said planning to okay almost 5,000 new settler homes after 6-month freeze,

“Defense Minister Benny Gantz is promoting the construction of almost 5,000 new homes in West Bank settlements, a report said Sunday evening, after more than six months in which such construction has been frozen. The move is seen as a potential maneuver by Gantz to cement ties with settler leaders who are currently fuming at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who reneged last month on a longtime promise to annex the settlements and decided instead to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates. Gantz plans to convene the Civil Administration Planning Committee next week to approve the construction, which will not be limited to the large settlement blocs, Channel 12 reported.” Also see: Middle East Monitor – Israel seeks 5,000 new settlement units in West Bank

Israeli Top Court Slams State's 'Embarrassing' Request to Delay Khan al-Ahmar Eviction Hearing,

“Israel’s High Court of Justice on Monday called a state request to postpone a hearing on the petition to evacuate the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar ‘embarrassing,’ heaping unusual criticism on the state in its ruling. Israel asked the High Court to postpone the hearing by six months, based on the ongoing coronavirus crisis and ‘in consideration of the current diplomatic-security situation.’ The court ruled that they would delay the hearing by only two months. The petition was filed by the right-wing NGO Regavim, requesting that the government set a date for the village’s evacuation, and was approved by the court two years ago. The hearing was set for September 30 and the state was required to respond to the court 30 days prior. On Monday, the state asked to postpone the hearing to the end of the first quarter of 2021. Justice Sohlberg noted in his ruling that it was the state that decided in 2009 to issue demolition orders for the houses in the village. In response to petitions against the evacuation, Sohlberg added, the state had repeatedly stressed the urgency and strategic importance of the evacuation.” Also see: Regavim press release

Sharp decrease in number of building permits granted to Palestinians by Israel,

“The number of building permits Israel has granted Palestinians in the occupied territories has decreased by 45 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, reported the Wafa news agency. A total of 1,217 building licenses were issued in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) in the second quarter of 2019, which included 813 for new buildings, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said today. The new statistics show a 45 per cent decrease in the number of permits granted to Palestinians, compared to the first quarter of the year. Palestinians are rarely granted building permits by the Israeli occupation authorities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem.”

Palestinian holy sites are crumbling under Israeli rule,

“Israeli land grabs are preventing Palestinians from accessing Muslim shrines in the West Bank, with some falling into ruin or being deliberately destroyed.”

Occupation - Jerusalem

Jordan Denounces Israel's Continued Violations of al-Aqsa Mosque,

“Jordan has strongly condemned the ongoing Israeli violations against the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds, the latest of which are the installation of loudspeakers by Israeli police on the walls of the sacred site and the arrest of employees of the Religious Endowments Authority. Dhaifullah al-Fayez, a spokesman for Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, said in a statement on Monday that Israeli police actions are a violation of the legal and historical status quo of the religious site. ‘The police actions are irresponsible tampering, unacceptable and constitute a provocation to the feelings of Muslims around the world and a flagrant violation of Israel’s obligations as the occupying power under the international law,’ the statement noted.”

Palestinian governor of Jerusalem boxed in by Israeli authorities,

“Following a four-hour investigation, the Israeli intelligence in Jerusalem handed Aug. 25 a notice to Adnan Ghaith, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) appointed governor for Jerusalem, restricting his movement within Jerusalem. The notice sets a precedent, as this is the first time that Israel takes such a measure against someone holding the position of governor of Jerusalem, the highest position of the PA in East Jerusalem. However, such a move does not come as a surprise as Ghaith has been repeatedly targeted and persecuted since he was sworn in as governor of Jerusalem on Aug. 31, 2018. In July and August, Ghaith was repeatedly targeted and arrested. On July 19, the Israeli police arrested Ghaith after storming and searching his home in Silwan, south of Jerusalem. His detention was repeatedly extended for interrogation, a move condemned by the PA presidency July 23. On Aug. 24, the Israeli Magistrate Court in Jerusalem decided to release him after 17 days in detention.”

Jerusalem cable car backers miss court deadline to prove plan will boost tourism,

“The government and various other bodies have failed to submit by a High Court deadline of September 6 documents detailing the ‘factual basis’ on which they claim that a planned cable car to Jerusalem’s Old City will boost tourism. The court has given them an extension until October 1, which is being opposed by several organizations opposed to the project. In the meantime, and despite the ongoing court case, the Jerusalem Development Authority, which is planning the cable car, has been issuing public notices in newspapers over the past ten days, inviting bidders to take part in the pre-qualification stage of a tender for the ‘design, construction, operation, maintenance and delivery of a cable car to the Old City in Jerusalem.’”

Erekat: Trump forcing countries to move embassies to Jerusalem,

“Secretary-General of the PLO’s Executive Committee Saeb Erekat said yesterday that US President Donald Trump is forcing countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem, Anadolu reported. Taking to Twitter, Erekat wrote: ‘President Trump is not only steadfast on violating international law but insists on embarrassing his guests.’ He attached a video of Trump thanking Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for agreeing to move his country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. However, the video shows Vucic looking puzzled at the announcement and scanning the documents in his hands to see where such an agreement was made. Erekat added, adding Vucic: ‘No need to be embarrassed , stay the course with int. law , do-not move the embassy to Jerusalem. It is obvious that a mistake was made.’”

EU warns Serbia, Kosovo Jerusalem embassy move could endanger membership bid,

“The European Union warned Serbia and Kosovo on Monday that they could be hurting their chances for E.U. membership by moving their embassies to Jerusalem. ‘There is no E.U. member state with an embassy in Jerusalem. Any diplomatic steps that could call into question the E.U.’s common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret,’ said European Commission spokesman Peter Stano, according to AP.” Also see: Middle East Monitor – Serbia and Kosovo embassy move to occupied Jerusalem could backfire say ex-Israel envoys

Malawi’s new president vows to open diplomatic office in Jerusalem,

“The new president of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, on Saturday announced plans to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem. His promise follows declarations made by the respective leaders of Serbia and Kosovo on Friday. Chakwera, an Evangelical who was inaugurated as the Southern African nation’s president on July 6, announced a series of reforms that would include upgrading the country’s Foreign Ministry and its network of embassies worldwide.

Human Rights/Violence

'I Waited for the Bullet That Would End This Nightmare': Palestinians Brutalized by Israeli Cop Gang Speak Out,

“…Five Border Police officers, members of the occupation policing corps, the most brutal of units, who in the Israeli media are usually referred to as ‘fighters,’ for some reason. The first four, the principal suspects, remain in custody. Edri was their commander. The grim indictment against these men was filed in Be’er Sheva District Court on August 13: They are charged in connection with 14 incidents, on counts that include armed robbery, assault causing bodily harm, conspiring to commit a crime, aggravated assault, abusing a helpless person, theft, breach of trust and destruction of evidence. The charges should be read by everyone. They make for a very tough read, detailing a shocking series of instances in which the accused are alleged to have humiliated, kicked, beat bloody and robbed Palestinian laborers who were trying to get to their jobs in Israel. Some of the Palestinians had proper work permits, but that was of no interest to the Border Police sadists, who are big heroes when confronting the very weakest members of society.”

Video shows Israeli soldier kneeling on protester's neck,

Video showing an Israeli soldier kneeling on the neck of an elderly Palestinian protester at a rally against an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is drawing comparisons to the death of George Floyd. Sixty-five-year-old Khairi Hannoun was protesting against Israeli plans to confiscate land for a settlement in the occupied West Bank when he was thrown to the ground and an Israeli soldier appeared to kneel on his neck. ‘One soldier threw me to the ground and handcuffed me,’ Hannoun explains. ‘He started putting his knee on my neck. When I felt this, I remembered the US officer kneeling on the head of the Black American man. I couldn’t resist any more, because the more I resisted, the harder he pressed.’ The Israeli military says its soldiers acted ‘with restraint’ after Hannoun resisted arrest and its troops had faced ‘rioting and violence’.” Also see: Arab News – Image of Palestinian under Israeli soldier’s knee sparks outrage

Israeli man indicted for shooting, injuring 2 Palestinians in West Bank brawl,

“A Israeli man was indicted Sunday on charges of aggravated assault after he allegedly shot two Palestinians during a mass brawl between Israelis and Palestinians in the northern West Bank on July 5. The two Palestinians were moderately wounded and four Israelis were lightly hurt in the brawl at the Dorot Illit Farm near the Palestinian town of Biddya. The suspect, Eitan Ze’ev, is a farmer from the nearby settlement of Dolev.”

Several Israelis injured in violent clashes with Palestinians in West Bank,

“Several Israelis were injured Monday evening near the Jewish settlement of Kohav HaShahar, north of Jerusalem in the West Bank, following clashes with a dozen Palestinians, Israeli media reported. According to initial reports, the attackers, armed with iron bars and knives, also threw stones at the Israeli settlers, slightly injuring a number of them. Emergency medical teams, IDF units, and Israel police were dispatched to the scene, accompanied by representatives of the Defense Ministry. On Sunday, Israeli border police arrested a 16-year-old Palestinian teenager with a knife on his way to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron.”

Hamada Was Dragged From One Israeli Prison to Another and Freed Four Days Later Without Questioning,

“Israeli soldiers raided the home of Hamada Tamimi, confiscated phones and a camera, beat up his family and took him away. The army said his arrest was due to operational considerations.”

IDF: Palestinian attempts to stab soldiers near Ariel,

“A Palestinian man attempted to stab a group of Israel Defense Forces soldiers near the town [West Bank settlement] of Ariel in Judea and Samaria on Sunday, according to the Israeli military. The Israeli forces pursued and arrested the assailant, said the IDF. No Israeli casualties were reported.”

Palestinian indicted for murder, terror in stabbing of rabbi in Petah Tikvah,

“A murder indictment was filed against a West Bank Palestinian man on Monday for stabbing to death Rabbi Shai Ohayon in the central city of Petah Tikva late last month. Prosecutors filed the indictment at the Lod District Court against Khalil Abd al-Khaliq Dweikat, 46, from the village of Rujeeb in the northern West Bank. Dweikat was accused of murder under aggravated circumstances  and of ‘unlawful possession of a knife in the circumstances of an act of terrorism.’”

Shin Bet says it foiled bomb plot planned by Israeli citizen on behalf of Hamas,

“Resident of Bedouin town of Segev Shalom suspected of choosing Bilu Junction bus stop as target; Mahmoud Makdad said to have spied on Iron Dome batteries, received training in Gaza.”

PA prevents judges from protesting in West Bank,

“Palestinian Authority (PA) security services yesterday prevented judges and lawyers from holding a protest calling for the independence of the Palestinian judiciary, Anadolu reported. The protest was due to take place in front of the High Judicial Council headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. Judge Ahmed Al-Ashqar said: ‘The Palestinian security place military barricaded and prevented the judges from reaching the High Judicial Council headquarters.’…He said that the judges call for Abbas to dissolve the transitional High Judicial Council and forming a new ‘permanent’ council. They are also calling for cancelling the decision of the High Judicial Council to designate judges to work in the PA institutions and for cancelling the decisions that arbitrarily prevent the promotion of judges. The judges, according to Al-Ashqar, reject enacting laws for compulsory retirement for judges.”

The Gaza Strip & Hamas

UN Launches Service to Facilitate Medical Transfers From Gaza to Israel, West Bank,

“World Health Organization will act as temporary liaison to circumvent coordination freeze between Israel and PA which, along with tightened Israeli restrictions, has prevented Gazans’ access to medical treatment.” Also see: Middle East Monitor – UN announces ‘temporary’ measures for Gaza patients to travel for treatment

'Hamas has missiles that can hit Tel Aviv,' terrorist group's leader warns,

“Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and several smaller battles over the last 13 years. Hamas rockets have reached the greater Tel Aviv area in previous rounds of fighting, but such launches are rare and considered a serious escalation by Israel.”


Permission to Narrate a Pandemic in Palestine,

“The extension of academic censorship on Palestine to the medical world is, despite its pervasiveness, relatively unknown. In the latest iteration, a letter highlighting the Gaza Strip’s vulnerability to the Covid‐19 pandemic was removed from The Lancet’s website after a swift pressure campaign. While the immediate effects were minimal — despite its short shelf‐life, the piece is among the top 5% most discussed research publications — the chilling effect of such campaigns on writers and editors is profound and enduring. This commentary outlines the struggle to make space for discussion and academic inquiry into the health impacts of the ongoing suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people.”

Palestinian school year opens amid worsening pandemic in West Bank,

“Palestinian children made their way back to school in the West Bank on Sunday, even as their teachers’ salaries went unpaid and coronavirus infections reached a new high. The Palestinian Authority Education Ministry has promised ‘a gradual return’ to school to ensure that students are safe. So far, only students from kindergarten through fourth grade are being allowed back, as well as 12th graders. If all goes well, the remaining students will return on September 20, PA Deputy Education Minister Basri Salih said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. According to the government’s plan, students will be spaced out in class and compelled to come with masks, while a system of rotating groups of students in and out will prevent crowding.”

Municipalities cry foul over curfews, settlement vows to ignore rules,

“Several local leaders expressed anger at the government for placing their cities under curfew to fight the spread of the coronavirus, with at least one vowing that his municipality would not comply with the new rules…The mayor in Beitar Illit, a large West Bank settlement, said it would not comply with the rules, accusing the government of discriminating against ultra-Orthodox cities like his own by applying sweeping curfews rather than singling out specific neighborhoods.”

Gaza reports 162 new coronavirus cases (Sept 6),

“Palestinian health authorities confirmed 162 new infections from the coronavirus pandemic in the blockaded Gaza Strip on Sunday. In a statement, the Gaza’s Health Ministry said the enclave’s tally rose to 969 confirmed cases, including seven deaths and 89 recoveries. ‘The number of active cases in Gaza rose to 873,’ the ministry said, calling on residents to abide by health protocols to help stem the virus’ spread in the strip.” Also see: AP – Virus puts new strain on Gaza’s overwhelmed health system

Qatar to give 170,000 Gaza families $100 each,

“Qatar’s Committee for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip on Sunday reported that it will start distributing financial aid packages to about 170,000 Palestinian families who are in need. In a statement, committee chairman Mohammed Al-Emadi said: ‘We will start, Tuesday, handing financial aid to 100,000 needy families in Gaza, then to another 70,000 families harmed by the spread of the coronavirus.’ The financial aid will be distributed to ‘families affected by the coronavirus pandemic that are enlisted in the Social Development Ministry database,’ Al-Emadi explained.”

Officials mull Temple Mount closure as Old City declared a COVID-19 ‘red zone’,

“The National Security Council is convening Sunday to consider closing the Temple Mount holy site to worshipers as the country mulls new measures to reduce the infection rate of the coronavirus, Channel 12 reported. The decision is sensitive. Israeli security control over the site, which is administered by the Muslim Waqf and overseen by the Jordanian monarchy, is frequently cited by Palestinians as a rallying cry for protests.”

Despite COVID-19 Travel Ban, Israel Lets in 70 Evangelicals to Volunteer in Settlements,

“Although Israel’s borders have been largely closed to non-citizens since the coronavirus outbreak, volunteers from a Christian evangelical organization have obtained special government permission to enter the country in order to help with the grape harvest on West Bank settlements. Roughly 70 volunteers from Hayovel, an organization headquartered in Missouri, have been awarded visas so that they can travel to Israel and pick grapes for settler-owned wineries. The grape harvest season typically runs from August through October.”

Israel-UAE Deal & Broader Normalization

Israel demands compensation from US for sale of F-35s to UAE,

“Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth revealed yesterday that Tel Aviv demanded compensation in return for the US-UAE arms deal which would see the Emirates provided with F-35 fighter jets. The newspaper said that the Israeli security establishment is now discussing the compensation package that Israel will demand, adding that among the options being examined is advancing the date for the supply of advanced American weapons systems to Israel by one year. According to the newspaper, the compensation request indicates that the Israeli defense establishment has realised the fact that the arms deal between the US and the UAE will certainly be concluded in spite of their objections.”

Israel: intelligence minister insists no F-35s for UAE,

“Israel’s Minister of Intelligence insisted on Sunday that it is impossible for the UAE to be allowed to buy advanced US-made F-35 jet fighters, Kan TV has reported. ‘We will act against the sale of F-35s to the UAE,’ said Eli Cohen. ‘We oppose [it].’ Cohen stressed that Israel would not allow the UAE or, indeed, any other countries in the Middle East to purchase the jets. This is, he explained, because the sale of such military hardware would affect Israel’s military hegemony in the region.”

Israeli minister predicts trade with Emiratis to reach $4bn a year,

“Annual trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expected to reach $4bn, an Israeli minister said on Monday. The announcement came as a source told Reuters that the UAE is planning to make its first official visit to Israel on 22 September to build up the countries’ agreement to normalise relations.”

Secretive 1960s Israel-Iran built pipeline could open new oil route, says report,

“The new recognition agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel could benefit a secretive oil pipeline built by Israel and Iran in the 1960s, according to a report by Foreign Policy magazine. The Europe Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC) – owners of the 158-mile conduit from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea – could be used to bypass the Suez Canal and provide a cheaper alternative for oil shipments. ‘It opens a lot of doors and opportunities,’ the pipeline company’s CEO, Izik Levi, told Foreign Policy.”

'Saudi Arabia Next in Line for Normalization With Israel': Mecca Sermon Hints,

“Friday sermon, delivered by the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca two days ago, has sparked a lot of controversies online; as it was perceived as a hint paving the way to full Saudi normalization with Israel only weeks after the UAE has announced similar ties.” Also see: Middle East Eye – Mecca sermon raises questions on possible Saudi normalisation with Israel

Report: Saudi king links normalization with Israel with Palestinian statehood,

“King Salman of Saudi Arabia informs US President Donald Trump that he will not pursue a peace deal with Israel until a ‘fair and permanent solution’ is reached on the Palestinian issue, based on the Arab peace initiative proposed by the kingdom in 2002.” Also see: Israel Hayom – Crafting Israel-Saudi peace deal will take time, official says

Sudan: US conditioning removal from terror list on normalisation with Israel,

“The United States (US) has conditioned Sudan’s removal from a list of states sponsors of terrorism on its normalisation of diplomatic ties with Israel, Sudanese Foreign Minister, Omer Ismail, announced yesterday. ‘US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo combined, during his visit to Khartoum in late August, the two files of the normalisation and the removal of Sudan from the terror list,’ Ismail told local Al-Tayyar newspaper, adding that it was ‘important to fulfil defined conditions for normalisation, even if it is the will of Sudan.’ He stressed that his country’s transitional government did not have the ‘authority to make such a decision [to normalise ties with Israel],’ referring to remarks made by the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok during Pompeo’s recent visit to Khartoum.”

Palestinians Politics & International Relations

PA ready to talk with Israel based on international resolutions,

“Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Sunday that the leadership is ready to return to a political track with Israel based on international resolutions and agreements already signed by the two sides, Wafa news agency has reported. Shtayyeh made his comments during a meeting with the German Minister of State Niels Annen in Ramallah. The PA official praised Germany’s rejection of Israel’s annexation plans and support for the two-state solution. He stressed that the solid international and Arab position and the will of the Palestinian leadership and people combined to thwart the plans. He also reiterated the PA’s readiness to return to the political track based on clear terms of reference, including signed agreements with Israel and international law as well as resolutions recognised by the global community.”

'Hamas, Fatah have agreed to joint resistance against Israel',

“‘The next conflict will be unprecedented. If there is an open confrontation – the entire Israeli home front will be involved,’ Hamas deputy political leader Saleh Arouri told Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen TV in an interview Monday evening…Arouri began the interview by saying the Palestinian people do not have the option of accepting the split between Fatah and Hamas. He claimed that the Palestinians have been stabbed in the back three times recently: The Trump administration’s deal of the century, the Israeli sovereignty initiative, and the normalization treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. According to Arouri, this provided Hamas the impetus to initiate contact with members of Fatah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, to contend together with the ‘dangers strangling the Palestinian cause.’ He went on to say that the differences between the sides were strictly political rather than personal. Arouri also told Al Mayadeen that Hamas and Fatah had agreed on three initiatives to be implemented by joint committees. These committees, he said, will lead the ‘popular resistance’ in Judea and Samaria, reforms in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and mend the internal rift between Fatah and Hamas, sparked by Hamas’ hostile takeover of Gaza in 2007.” Also see: Middle East Monitor – Hamas calls for unity government in West Bank, Gaza Strip

Hezbollah, Hamas leaders meet in Lebanon to discuss growing Israeli-Arab ties,

“Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah met on Sunday with a Hamas delegation to Lebanon led by the terror group’s politburo head Ismail Haniyeh to discuss Arab countries’ normalization of relations with Israel, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar website reported. The two discussed recent developments in the region, as well as ‘the dangers to the Palestinian cause, especially the so-called deal of the century and normalization attempts by Arab regimes with the Zionist entity and the nation’s responsibility in this regard,’ the statement said.” Also see: Israel Hayom – Hamas, Hezbollah leaders agree to join forces against Israel; Al Jazeera – Hezbollah, Hamas chiefs meet to discuss Israel-Arab ties

Gulf Cooperation Council demands apology from Palestinian factions,

“GCC Director-General Nayef Al-Hajraf condemns Palestinian factions for their ‘irresponsible language that included incitement and threats,’ demands formal apology on Palestinian television stations.”

Israeli Domestic Scene

Arson suspected as 2nd fire in a week damages Arab-Jewish school near Jerusalem,

“A fire broke out overnight Sunday at a school in the Arab-Jewish community of Neve Shalom near Jerusalem, the second such blaze at the institution in a week. Residents of Neve Shalom said in a statement they now believed both incidents were arson and hate crimes against the community, Channel 12 news reported. Police opened an investigation into the incident.”

Prosecutors appeal acquittal of men who lynched migrant mistaken for terrorist,

“State prosecutors on Sunday appealed a July court decision that acquitted two men, Israel Defense Forces soldier Yaakov Shimba and Israel Prisons Service officer Ronen Cohen, over their roles in the 2015 lynching of an Eritrean migrant who was mistaken for a Palestinian terrorist.”

Israeli Minister Calls to Reopen Investigation Into 2017 Police Killing of Bedouin Man,

“The case of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, a Bedouin man who was fatally shot by police in 2017, should be reexamined, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana told Haaretz on Monday. The comments followed a report on Israel’s Channel 12 News about an email sent by former state prosecutor Shai Nitzan, in which he acted to prevent an inquiry into the conduct of then-police commissioner Roni Alsheich in the case, despite a senior law enforcement official’s claim that Alsheich leaked investigative materials to the press. On January 18, 2017, police officers shot at the car of Abu al-Kiyan, an assistant school principal, during the demolition of Umm al-Hiran, an unauthorized Bedouin village in the Negev. The vehicle then picked up speed, veered off course and struck policeman Erez Levy, who died at the scene. Police portrayed the incident as a car-ramming attack, and never retracted their position that Abu al-Kiyan deliberately ran Levy over. But this runs counter to a number of other analyses, including by a security coordinator from Israel’s internal security service, known as Shin Bet, who was at the scene and blamed the event on a police operational failure. The Justice Ministry’s police misconduct unit also informally decided that the case was not a terrorist attack, but did not say so officially.” Also see: Times of Israel – Police minister calls for fresh probe into 2017 killing of Bedouin teacher

Poll: Bennett surges as right bloc gains 66 Knesset seats,

“If elections were held in Israel today, the right bloc consisting of Likud, Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism parties would gain 66 seats in the Knesset (Israel Parliament), a new poll conducted by broadcaster Channel 13 showed Monday. The Likud party, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would come out with most mandates at 31. The second largest party in parliament would be former defense minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party with 21 seats — the biggest polled figure to date for the right-wing faction. Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would follow with 18 mandates. The Joint List polled 13 seats and Blue and White slumped to 11.”


Exposed: another fake anti-Semitic plot to defame prominent pro-Palestinian group,

“Another member of the pro-Israel lobby in Britain has been reported to have faked an anti-Semitic attack in order to discredit a prominent pro-Palestinian group. According to Scotland’s Daily Record, this has prompted condemnation from legal watchdogs and a demand for compensation from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC). Described as a ‘top lawyer’, the man identified by the Daily Record as Matthew Berlow is said to have played a key part in faking an anti-Semitic graffiti attack at his home then used the bogus incident to smear the SPSC. For his part in the conspiracy, Berlow is apparently facing a reprimand from the Law Society of Scotland (LSS) as well as a £500 fine. The SPSC, however, is urging the LSS to insist that the pro-Israel lawyer pays compensation to everyone he has smeared. Berlow is an associate of Ed Sutherland, the head of religious and moral education at the Belmont Academy in Ayr, Scotland, who in August admitted to making anti-Semitic posts to discredit pro-Palestinian groups. Both men are said to belong to the Confederation of Friends of Israel, which aims to promote the interests of the Zionist state in Britain.” Also see: Jerusalem Post – UK pro-Israel lawyer faked graffiti attack to frame pro-Palestinian group

Palestine rights activists arrested protesting against Israel arms trade,

“Four members of Palestine Action activists were arrested on Saturday at the mass protest to shut down Israel’s largest arms manufacturer, Elbit Systems, at their London office. During the protest, the direct action group campaigning against Israel’s brutal occupation, splashed paint along the entrance of the Elbit office. Groups of protesters held banners with statements such as ‘Stop Arming Israel’, ‘Elbit Arms: Tested on Children’.”

And in other news....

US Ambassador to rent Herzliya residence from Adelson,

“The US Embassy may have moved to Jerusalem and Sheldon Adelson is buying the Herzliya home for NIS 300 million but David Friedman will continue living there. Last week ‘Globes’ exclusively revealed that US billionaire Sheldon Adelson is buying the US Ambassador’s residence in Herzliya for NIS 300 million, making it the highest price ever paid for a house in Israel. But ‘Globes’ can now reveal that although the US Embassy and US Ambassador David Friedman’s office moved to Jerusalem in May 2018, Friedman and his family continue to live in Herzliya.”