Top News from Palestine/Israel: August 10, 2020

What We’re Reading

West Bank - Occupation/De Facto Annexation

Palestinian family in cave home faces Israeli eviction,

“Ahmed Amarneh’s home, with a wooden door opening onto cushion-lined rooms, is not the first Palestinian residence in the occupied West Bank to receive a demolition notice from Israel. But it may be the first built inside a cave which the Jewish state has threatened to destroy. Amarneh, a 30-year-old civil engineer, lives with his family in the northern West Bank village of Farasin, where Israel insists it must approve any new residential construction and can tear down homes built without permits.” Also see: Middle East Eye – Palestinian village Farasin defiant despite threats of being wiped off the map

Palestinians as ghosts: How Israel’s education system normalizes occupation,

“A study finds that while some high school textbooks touch on Israel’s control of the West Bank, students are taught little to nothing about its true nature.”

40-year-old Document Reveals Ariel Sharon's Plan to Evict 1,000 Palestinians From Their Homes,

“A 40-year-old document found in the Israel State Archives recently offers a rare look into the state’s actions to force Palestinians from their homes. It shows that in the 1980s, the state declared an area as a military shooting zone for the sole purpose of removing its residents.”

Via Facebook, Israel Is Trying to Change Palestinian Perception of the Occupation,

“Shin Bet officers, who control the fate of the Palestinians in the territories, are waging psychological warfare on social media.”

The Israelis 'Fighting Till the Last Drop of Blood' Against Palestinian Documentary,

“A court will soon decide on the conflict between artistic freedom and soldiers’ libel suit in the case of ‘Jenin, Jenin’, the controversial documentary on the Israeli army during Operation Defensive Shield.”

Security chaos claims lives of 4 Palestine citizens since March in West Bank,

“Since March 2020, four Palestinians have been killed due to security chaos in the occupied West Bank, including a senior security officer. Three of them were killed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces while they were imposing lockdown measures related to the coronavirus. The security officer was killed in clashes between two families.”

The Gaza Strip

Israeli military strikes Hamas target in northern Gaza Strip,

“The Israeli military said late Sunday that it struck a Hamas target in the northern Gaza Strip in response to the continued launches of explosives-laden balloons from the Palestinian territory into Israel. On Sunday two fires broke out believed caused by incendiary devices attached to balloons that were dispatched from Gaza towards border area communities.”

Report: Hamas, other terrorist factions in Gaza seek escalation with Israel,

“Hamas and other terrorist factions say Israel is shirking its obligations to ease economic restrictions imposed on Gaza and have told an Egyptian mediator that they will soon end their ceasefire with the Jewish state as a consequence, Lebanese daily Al Akhbar reported Saturday. The rise in tensions coincides with the next month’s expiration of monthly cash payments provided to Hamas by Qatar. In an effort to ramp up pressure on Israel, Gaza-based terrorist groups on Saturday morning continued their recently renewed campaign of cross border arson by launching incendiary balloons across the Israel-Gaza border.” Also see: Jerusalem Post – ‘Gaza tensions won’t lead to Hamas-Israel war’ – sources & Times of Israel – Hamas fires rockets into sea in ‘message’ to Israel

With PA coordination halted, sick Gazans still have no mechanism to enter Israel,

“After 2.5 months, UN hasn’t set up alternate method for facilitating patients’ transfer for urgent treatment, report says; Jerusalem said to only approve half of emergency requests.” Also see: Haaretz – By the Time Israel Finally Allowed Him in for Urgent Care, This Young Gazan Was Already Dead

10 years on, Israel arrests suspect in Gaza attack that killed 2 soldiers,

“Israeli security forces arrested a suspect in a 2010 attack along the Gaza Strip border that killed two soldiers as he entered Israel to donate bone marrow to his brother last month, the Shin Bet security service said Sunday. Abdallah Daghmeh, 38, was indicted in a Beersheba District Court on Sunday and charged with murdering the two soldiers — Maj. Eliraz Peretz and Staff Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky — as well as operating a terrorist organization and belonging to a terrorist organization. Daghmeh was detained on July 6, as he entered Israel through Gaza’s Erez Crossing, in order to donate bone marrow to his brother, who is undergoing medical treatment in an Israeli hospital. He was permitted to undergo the medical procedure and donate the marrow while under arrest.” Also see: Israel Hayom – IDF settles score with terrorist behind deadly 2010 attack

Coronavirus Spares Gaza, but Travel Restrictions Do Not,

“…’Israel is effectively tightening its closure on Gaza under the guise of the pandemic,’ the group [Gisha] said.”

Fifteen Years After Gaza Pullout, Israeli Minister Vows: ‘We Will Take over Gaza Again’,

“Fifteen years after Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip, an Israeli minister said the Jewish state would eventually re-invade the Hamas-run coastal enclave if rocket fire into Israel continued. ‘We will eventually have to go all the way into Gaza and take over, because one day it will be impossible to do so,’ Israel’s Community Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told i24 News.”

Israeli Elections in the Air (yet again)

Netanyahu: 'We need to make every effort to avoid elections',

“Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed Monday his willingness to avoid heading into fourth elections in less than two years, in light of the coalition crisis that erupted over the state budget plan. ‘We need to make every effort to avoid elections, stabilize the government and fight the coronavirus from a health standpoint, and fight to open up the economy,’ the Israeli premier said at a ‘Corona Crisis Local Leadership Conference.’”

'Elections Would Mean Civil War': Netanyahu, Gantz Clash Over Budget as Deadline Nears,

“Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday to approve a bill delaying the deadline of the state budget, saying that ‘whoever loves Israel doesn’t lead it to elections at this time.’ Speaking at Kahol Lavan faction meeting, Gantz said another election would lead to civil war, and called on Netanyahu ‘to remove the threat of elections from the public agenda, and instead of panic – provide the public with certainty, security and trust.’” Also see: Haaretz – Netanyahu Seems to Be Set on Election, Senior Minister Says; Times of Israel – Budget delay seen as ploy by Netanyahu to thwart bill disqualifying him as PM; & Times of Israel – Netanyahu’s election threat is an elaborate, calculated game of ‘chicken’

Minister Elkin: If there are elections, Blue and White will be erased,

“In a Reshet Bet interview, Minister Elkin said that in the next election, the Blue and White Party will be erased and will not pass the electoral threshold.”

Lieberman, Bennett snub Netanyahu's 'feelers' for a narrow right-wing gov't‎,

“Netanyahu has reportedly been floating the idea of establishing a narrow government ‎without blue and White. Netanyahu has reportedly allowed some of his associates to start ‘sending ‎out feelers’ to potential coalition partners. Likud officials have already spoken to members of Yamina ‎and approached Yisrael Beytenu, but thus far been turned down. ‎Sources in Yisrael Beytenu said that there was ‘no chance’ they would join the coalition, a position ‎echoed by Yamina.”

Likud, Blue and White brawl publicly as coalition teeters on the brink,

“Unity government ‘was a mistake,’ official in Gantz’s party said to say as weekly cabinet meeting canceled over budget crisis; Likud asserts Gantz is holding up aid to public.”

Bennett: Yamina will run together of there are new elections,

“Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett said that his faction would run together again if the current coalition crisis leads to new elections. ‘We will run together if there is an election, we great together,’ Bennett said at the weekly Yamina faction meeting Monday, Channel 12 News commentator Amit Segal reported.”

Israeli Scene

Peace activist’s killer calls anti-Netanyahu protesters ‘germs’ to be dealt with,

“The killer of a left-wing peace activist said the protesters holding demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem against Benjamin Netanyahu are ‘germs’ and suggested that they be dealt with by supporters. Yona Avrushmi, who in 1983 lobbed a hand grenade into a left-wing rally, killing Peace Now activist Emil Grunzweig and wounding nine others — among them former Labor Party minister Avraham Burg and Likud minister Yuval Steinitz — told a Channel 12 interviewer in a clip aired on Friday that the protesters are ‘germs, there’s no argument there… they spread diseases and must be kept away from society.’ Handed a life sentence in 1985, Avrushmi was released from prison in 2011 after serving 27 years. During a police interrogation after the killing, Avrushmi was quoted as telling officers that the peace activists protesting at the time were ‘germs that must be eliminated.’” Also see: Times of Israel – Police to probe peace activist’s killer for inciting against anti-PM protesters; Jerusalem Post – Who is convicted murderer Yona Avrushmi?; Times of Israel – Likud minister: Arrest peace activist’s killer for his latest incitement

Senior TV host Avri Gilad defines Arab MKs as 'enemies',

“‘I am careful with people’s honor,’ said senior TV host Avri Gilad in an interview with News 13, stressing that his statement includes ‘every single Arab, including Nadar, who photographs us. I have a lot to say about the collective Arab behavior – as voters in the elections, as countries, as a culture. I criticize it, and I don’t think that’s racist. I want Arabs on the screen – just not the members of the Joint Arab List, if possible,’ he added. ‘They are my enemies – all of them – since they are all supporters of terrorism.’”

Supreme Court blocks demolition of home of terrorist who murdered IDF soldier,

“Israeli Supreme Court cancels demolition order for home of Palestinian Arab terrorist who murdered IDF soldier Amit Ben Yigal.” Also see: Arutz Sheva – Netanyahu calls Supreme Court decision ‘Unfortunate’ & Times of Israel – High Court forbids razing home of Palestinian charged with killing IDF soldier

US Scene

US Ambassador David Friedman heads to Washington for marathon talks on sovereignty,

“US Ambassador reportedly heads to Washington in bid to reach agreement for Israel’s application of sovereignty over parts of Judea, Samaria.”

Trump antagonizes GOP megadonor Adelson in heated phone call,

“When President Donald Trump connected by phone last week with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson — perhaps the only person in the party who can cut a nine-figure check to aid his reelection — the phone call unexpectedly turned contentious. The 87-year-old casino mogul had reached out to Trump to talk about the coronavirus relief bill and the economy. But then Trump brought the conversation around to the campaign and confronted Adelson about why he wasn’t doing more to bolster his reelection, according to three people with direct knowledge of the call. One of the people said it was apparent the president had no idea how much Adelson, who’s donated tens of millions of dollars to pro-Trump efforts over the years, had helped him.”

Lawfare/Delegitimization/Weaponization of false claims of antisemitism

PA's Prisoners Affairs Administration must be designated as terrorist organization, MKs demand,

“Several lawmakers have recently approached Defense Minister Benny Gantz demanding that he designates the Prisoners Affairs Administration at the Palestinian Authority as a terrorist organization. The Prisoners Affairs Administration is the Palestinian entity that pays the salaries to terrorists jailed in Israel as well as stipends to the families of terrorists killed while carrying attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers.”

"The Real Problem on College Campuses Is Zionophobia",

“USC can take the lead in seriously taking on anti-Zionist harassment. For starters, the new initiative they are getting behind, a university-wide initiative launched by the USC Shoah Foundation, ‘Stronger than Hate,’ must include fighting anti-Zionism on its agenda.”

The UN “Blacklist” of Israeli Commercial Enterprises: Should It Be Taken Seriously?,

“…Since, in many instances, acts of commercial boycott are prohibited by national law in the respective countries, those companies listed should check local legislation to see if the blacklist violates local anti-boycott legislation. (In the United States, there exists such legislation.) [NOTE from FMEP’s Lara Friedman: This is false. States’ anti-boycott legislation, where it exists does not (and cannot) prohibit boycotts of Israel or settlements; it does seek to punish those who boycott by denying them the ability to be awarded state contracts]. The companies might wish to seek appropriate local legal advice as to possible legal remedies and actions that may be taken against any state or company that implements the blacklist and cancels transactions or other financial relationships.”

Calls for Facebook to adopt IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,

“‘Facebook’s Director of Content Policy Stakeholder Engagement, Peter Stern, recently attested to the usefulness of the IHRA working definition when Facebook first developed its hate speech policy. However, Mr. Stern admitted that Facebook does not have a policy aimed at combatting online anti-Semitism. He further admitted that Facebook does not embrace the full adoption of the IHRA working definition because the definition recognizes that modern manifestations of antisemitism relate to Israel,’ continued the letter… ‘…Today’s anti-Semitism undoubtedly includes the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist. This bigotry is expressed in various ways, such as the rejection of Jewish self-determination, Holocaust revisionism and denial, and the application of double standards toward the Jewish state and people,” continued the appeal to social media’s biggest network.”