Top News from Palestine & Israel: July 1, 2021

What We’re Reading

West Bank & East Jerusalem

Israel Approves Illegal West Bank Outpost Evacuation Planned for Friday,

“Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Gantz have officially approved the proposed plan to evacuate the illegal West Bank outpost of Evyatar by Friday at 4:00 P.M. Though the settlement will be evacuated, the buildings will not be razed, according to the official document. Evyatar residents announced Wednesday that they have accepted the final compromise outline offered to them by the Israeli government.”


Further Reading:

As Settlers Prepare for Outpost's Evacuation, Some Continue Building Until Last Moment,

“The atmosphere in Evyatar on Wednesday morning was a mix of acceptance and defiance. While some settlers were packing their bags ahead of the evacuation, others, mostly the younger ones, continued working, including on the construction of houses. They said they would continue working until Friday, when the evacuation is scheduled to take place, according to the agreement that was reached. If they see that it indeed takes place, they’ll leave, they said.”

Firefight breaks out between Palestinians, Border Police in Jenin,

“Palestinians and Israeli Border Police exchanged fire in the West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday, after officers arrested three Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity. The Border Police officers were conducting security operations in Jenin and arrested three suspects, aged, 25, 26 and 60 for terrorist activity. The suspects were transferred for questioning by the Shin Bet. The Border Police statement did not clarify what terrorist activity the three were arrested for.”

In the nightly raid-and-detain campaign, Israeli occupation forces roundup at least 16 Palestinians,

“In their nightly raid-and-detain campaign, the Israeli occupation forces last night and this morning rounded up at least 16 Palestinians from the occupied territories, according to various sources.”


Also See – “Hamas representative in West Bank rearrested by Israel overnight(Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Soldier Stabbed in Jordan Valley, Suspect Captured, Army Says,

“An Israeli soldier was stabbed Thursday in the Jordan Valley and her personal weapon was snatched, the military said in an initial statement.Military forces captured the suspect and retrieved the soldier’s weapon, the statement said. The incident is being investigated, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. The 21-year-old soldier was evacuated to Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem Jerusalem, suffering puncture wounds in her upper body. Her condition is stable…The assailant, who according to Palestinian reports was a 17-year-old from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, was shot dead at the scene by Israeli security forces.”

Israel's 'Non-lethal' Weapon of Choice Killed Four Palestinians in Two Months,

“Since the beginning of May and the Gaza operation, at least four Palestinians have been shot and killed by IDF soldiers using Ruger semi-automatic rifles, which have seen more frequent use in the West Bank in riot control, although it is live fire. In 2015, 14 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank by Ruger fire. A security official told Haaretz that the increased use of the Ruger has to do with the rise in the number of protests in the West Bank and the greater severity and frequency of violence. The IDF says there has been no change in the rules of engagement, although it will not say what those rules are.”

Shin Bet informants 'leading serious violence in Palestinian communities', senior Israeli police officer says,

“A top Israeli police officer has claimed that Shin Bet informants are leading violence within Palestinian communities in Israel, hampering the police’s ability to tackle violent crime, according to an Israeli TV news report on Wednesday. The remark was made during a high-level meeting at the Israeli police national headquarters, according to Israel’s Channel 13. “The criminals who are currently leading the serious crime in Arab society are mostly Shin Bet informants and in this situation, the police are bound because those informants, who enjoy immunity, cannot be touched,” the unnamed officer said according to The Times of Israel.”

Hope under the Rubble: The impact of Israel's home demolition policy on Palestinian children and their families,

“The findings of the research show that beyond the initial trauma of losing their homes, the resulting dispossession and displacement cripple children’s sense of safety, leads to severe emotional distress, and leaves them isolated from their friends and communities. In fact, most children reported feeling socially isolated and a majority of children felt that their education had been jeopardised following the demolition. Most children feel abandoned by the world and have lost faith in the ability of anyone to provide support and protect their rights, many children reported feelings of powerlessness and disempowerment. The demolition of Palestinian homes, the expropriation of Palestinian land, and the resulting displacement and forcible transfer are not only illegal under international law but are an obstacle to the fulfilment of children’s rights. As the Occupying Power, Israel has the duty to protect the rights of the protected persons, with special protection to children. Save the Children is calling on the Government of Israel to cancel all existing demolition orders for homes, schools and vital infrastructure. Failing to do so will leave more children without a home or an education, adding to the impact the pandemic is already having on their day-to-day lives.”


Eyeing Bennett’s DC trip, Egypt upgrades mediator in push for Gaza breakthrough,

“A more senior official has been added to the Egyptian team that has been mediating talks between Israel and Hamas since the end of May’s 11-day conflict between the Jewish state and Gaza terror groups, with Cairo stepping up its diplomatic push in order to curry favor in Washington, The Times of Israel has learned. Veteran mediator Ahmad Abd al-Khalek has been joined by one of his superiors, Amr Nazmi, which indicates a more intensive effort by Cairo for a long-term truce in the volatile enclave…The reason for Nazmi’s inclusion, The Times of Israel has learned, is the desire of the Egyptians to be ready for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s upcoming trip to Washington. The diplomats and the Egyptian Foreign Service were closely watching US President Joe Biden’s meeting with President Reuven Rivlin earlier this week and made note of Biden’s invitation to Bennett to visit DC “as soon as possible.” Ahead of Bennett’s first trip to the United States as Israel’s leader, the Egyptians want to show some gains in the talks in order to win points with the new Biden administration. Such an achievement could be setting a fixed number of Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israel in exchange for the civilians and bodies of IDF soldiers held by Hamas, a figure that would be much lower than what the Gaza rulers demand. They will seek additional breakthroughs, while underlining to the Biden administration that Egypt is highly engaged and committed to reaching a solution.”

Hamas official says 'significant progress' made in ceasefire talks,

“A senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip told Israel Hayom the arrival of high-level delegations from both the coastal enclave and Israel at the same time in Egypt was an indication dramatic progress was being made in efforts to reach a long-term ceasefire. Nevertheless, the official said Hamas would insist on keeping efforts to rehabilitate Gaza and reach a long-term ceasefire separate from any prisoner exchange deal. Alluded to Arab Israeli politicians working to promote understandings toward a deal, the official said: “The political reality created in Israel makes such involvement possible.””

Israel and Hamas Hold Indirect Talks in Cairo on the Return of Captives,

“Sources from Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, confirmed to Haaretz that the Islamist organization sent a delegation to Cairo at the invitation of the Egyptian intelligence services. Among the members of its delegation are Marwan Issa, the deputy head of Hamas’ military wing, and another senior Hamas official, Rouhi Mushtaha. The sources said that no progress or breakthrough have been achieved so far. Hamas, which is holding Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed and the bodies of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, is apparently interested in separating the negotiations for the return of the four from the humanitarian issues involving the reconstruction of Gaza.”

Gazans rebuild with rubble as reconstruction delayed,

“Amid Israel’s partial closing of Gaza’s only commercial crossing since May 11 and the delay in the reconstruction process, Gazans are using war rubble to rebuild the enclave following the most recent conflict between Israel and military factions in Gaza, which ended with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire on May 21. Crushers are being used near the border with Israel to produce construction material from the rubble of houses destroyed during the recent war.”

The Palestinian Scene

Activist Nizar Banat’s death ‘unnatural’: Palestinian Authority,

“The Palestinian Authority justice minister and head of the investigation committee into the death of activist and dissident Nizar Banat says Banat was subjected to physical violence and his death was “unnatural”. In an interview with the official Palestine TV, Mohammed al-Shalaldeh said the initial medical report about the death of 43-year-old Banat on June 24 indicated he was subjected to physical violence…Members of the security force, al-Shalaldeh continued, transferred Banat to Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron in their vehicles, but he was pronounced dead on arrival after testimonies showed he was alive during his arrest from his house. The minister concluded that the cause of death of Banat – who was one of the fiercest critics of the Palestinian Authority – was neurological shock, which resulted in acute heart and pulmonary failure.”

Human rights center demands total removal of settlers and buildings from Jabal Sabih,

“The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) this week submitted two letters to the legal advisor of the Israeli occupation authorities calling on him to make sure that the government immediately implement a court order to evacuate the settlers from the so-called Aviatar settlement outpost illegally built on Jabal Sabih, near Nablus in the north of the occupied West Bank, and remove all the buildings set up there by the settlers.”

Today marks 27 years since the triumphant return of Yasser Arafat to his homeland in Palestine,

“On this day in 1994, Yasser Arafat stepped for the first time since 1967 on the soil of his homeland in Palestine…Arafat, also known as Abu Ammar, and clad by his famous checkered black and while kuffiyeh, first arrived in the Gaza Strip, where he was received by tens of thousands of people. Two days later, he flew on a helicopter from Gaza to Jericho, where he set up a base before moving his headquarters to Ramallah.”


Also See – “Europe court refuses to hear case on Yasser Arafat’s death” (Ynet)

Palestine, Britain launch work of joint committee to develop economic relations,

“Minister of Economy Khaled Ossaili and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss, launched today the work of the Palestinian-British Joint Committee to develop and strengthen economic and trade cooperation relations in various fields. Both sides agreed to hold the first meeting of the joint committee in the upcoming September.”

Palestinian team wins international competition to redesign Beirut port,

“The project was submitted by the Palestinian team named MAD Architects, which included two young women and a young man. Another 13 projects were submitted from entrants in the United States, Russia, Poland, Palestine, Israel, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Bahrain, Portugal, China and Lebanon…Abu Awad said, “There are a number of challenges that the team faced, the most prominent of which was the lack of information about the city of Beirut, the number of demolished buildings or the condition of the remaining buildings.” She explained that the team resorted to social networking websites for information about the damage as well as maps sent by the Haifa Award for Architecture and Design.”

Inside the Green Line

Palestinians rally against extending Israeli family-reunion law,

“Dozens of Palestinian families on Tuesday rallied in front of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) against government plans to vote on extending the family reunification law, Anadolu Agency reported. Protesters held banners calling to save Palestinian families under the controversial law. “Since the legislation of this racist law in 2003, we were backing this just cause for these families,” Arab MK Osama Saadi said. Lawmaker Aida Touma-Suleiman, who joined the rally, also said “the claim that this law was enacted for security reasons is a big lie”. “The reason for this law is only derived from the racist mentality which tries to preserve a Jewish majority,” she added. Enacted in 2003, the Israeli law prevents Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and Arabs in Israel who are married to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank to live with their families in Israel.”

Meretz chief says party won’t back law against Palestinian family reunification,

“Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz told close confidants Thursday that his left-wing Meretz party will not officially back the government in extending the Palestinian family reunification law, legislation that the coalition has struggled to pass even though it is supported in principle by most lawmakers in the Knesset. Meretz is considering a plan in which some of its six lawmakers would support the law’s renewal and others would skip the vote, the Ynet news site reported. The law, which blocks the automatic granting of citizenship to Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens, expires on July 6.”

3 Likud lawmakers said to slam Netanyahu, arguing he’s losing hold over party,

“Three former Likud ministers are reportedly saying party leader and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is distanced from his party lawmakers and untrusted by them, the result of years of alleged neglect in maintaining personal relationships. Now the leader of the opposition, Netanyahu is trying to bolster his position at the head of the party with a charm offensive after years of give-and-take relationships with lawmakers, the three Likud MKs told the Israel Hayom newspaper in a report published Thursday. The report was unusual for Israel Hayom, which has long been extremely supportive of Netanyahu.”

Netanyahu hosts French MP at Balfour residence despite promises to Bennett,

“Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu met a French member of parliament at the official Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday despite having pledged that he would no longer conduct official meetings in the lead-up to his scheduled departure on July 10. Jewish parliamentarian Meyer Habib on Thursday posted a photo taken with Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, at the residence, saying that he was there a day earlier for a “private meeting” that took place amid moving boxes.”

The U.S. Scene

House Appropriations Committee proposes massive Palestinian aid increase,

“The State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs bill, which the full committee will vote on today, appropriates at least $225 million in aid for the West Bank and Gaza — a $150 million increase over 2021 funding and $40 million more than what President Joe Biden had requested in his budget. “[Democratic lawmakers] want to reestablish ties with Palestinians,” explained David Schenker, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the former assistant secretary of state for near Eastern affairs. “I think they obviously didn’t agree with the Trump administration’s approach and had wanted to go back to a more traditional funding model for the U.S. and the Palestinians.” Trump had entirely cut off aid to the Palestinians.”

Department Press Briefing – June 30, 2021,

QUESTION:  Hi, Jalina.  Nice to talk to you.  I wanted to follow up on Said’s line of questioning.  Does the State Department have any response to the decision reached on the West Bank outpost of Evyatar?  And are you concerned (inaudible) the confrontations between the Israeli police and demonstrators there that resulted in the death of four protesters?  And more broadly, can you provide the latest guidance on the State Department’s review of the previous administration’s decision to disavow the 1978 memo that described Israeli settlements as inconsistent with international law?

MS PORTER:  Thanks, Abbie.  For your second question, I’ll have to take that back for you.  But just to answer your first, again, I’ll continue to underscore that we believe it’s critical to refrain from any unilateral steps that would exacerbate tensions or undercut efforts to advance equal freedoms, security, and prosperity, as well as a negotiated two-state solution.  And this would include establishing outposts which are illegal even under Israeli law.

Tax Breaks for Colonization?,

“Todayacross the West Bank, a frontier of the ongoing Nakba, a panoply of U.S. non-profits continue to transfer millions annually to the Israeli settlement project. Every few years, published investigations uncover another effort to fundraise to directly support war crimes and apartheid. These reports fall on ears uninterested in listening. There has been little to no real scrutiny by the federal and state agencies responsible for overseeing charitable entities. Not much investigation would be needed. Many of these organizations are unabashed about their unlawful ends. The Central Fund of Israel is one such example. Founded in 1979 in order to, as they describe it, “redeem” or “reclaim” Jewish land, its founders overtly articulated their project of funding Jewish-Israeli expansion beyond the 1967 Green Line, engaging in a campaign to facilitate such funding. Other prominent U.S. 501(c)(3)s are similarly dedicated to settlement expansion – the Irving Moskowitz Foundation, American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, American Friends of Beit El, to name only a few…As the public and this administration turn their sights on the various failures of the IRS as well as our tax regime, a focus on these settlement funders not only offers progressive lawmakers an opportunity to exercise political coherence. Such a focus may also be among the most impactful avenues to halt Israeli settlement expansion, and give space for Palestinians.”

Jewish Democrats Back Ilhan Omar Following 'Partners in Justice' Controversy,

“Rep. David Cicilline, one of the Jewish House Democrats who did not sign an earlier statement critical of Omar and did not comment when the controversy erupted, strongly rebuked the latest criticism of the  Minnesota legislator. “There they go again … right wingers in Washington are once again claiming [Omar] said something she didn’t say, and trying to create a controversy where there is none. It’s pathetic that they are (once again) demonizing a young woman of color to score political points,” the Rhode Island lawmaker tweeted.”

For This Congressman, Support for the Palestinians Is Rooted in His Blackness,

“He credits his relationship with the Palestinian and Muslim communities with his growing vocal stance on the issue, as well as ongoing developments on the ground and growing space to be critical of Israel, thanks to the increasing number of progressive lawmakers in Congress. “This issue is deeply personal to me, and at some point, as a human being with an ounce of integrity, you have to say enough is enough,” he tells Haaretz. “As someone who is concerned about the oppressed, I have to use my platform to speak truth to power.””

The Christian Zionist Group Shaping Holocaust Education in Florida,

“Over the course of many months, the members of both the expert panel and a state-appointed Holocaust education task force of area experts fought to minimize PJTN’s influence on the standards—but the final draft still bears evidence of the group’s political project, and its efforts to overtly falsify history to build support for Zionism.”


COVID-19 Cases in Israel to Triple in 10 Days, Health Officials Predict,

“Israel’s Health Ministry said on Thursday that the country will face 600 new coronavirus cases a day within a week, and that this figure is expected to rise to 1000 in 10 days as the delta variant continues to spread across the country. According to the Health Ministry, Israel is also expected to carry out 100,000 COVID tests per day by July 11. On Wednesday, Israel witnessed a further increase in daily COVID infections, with 307 people testing positive as the delta variant made further inroads in the country. However, 58 percent of those confirmed cases were unvaccinated.”

Israel scrambles to curb jump in COVID infections,

“Israel, a world leader in coronavirus vaccinations, reported its highest daily infection rate in three months as it scrambles to contain the spread of the new delta variant. Authorities are racing to vaccinate children and are considering tighter travel restrictions at the country’s main airport. The Health Ministry on Thursday reported 307 new cases on Wednesday, the highest in nearly three months and a rise from 293 newly-diagnosed cases a day earlier. The health ministry reportedly expects those numbers to jump in coming days, raising concerns that Israel is plunging back toward a crisis. In recent months, Israel has reopened businesses, schools and event venues, lifting nearly all restrictions after it inoculated some 85% of the adult population. It’s now seen as an early-warning system of sorts for other nations.”

Senior health official says Green Pass might be back if COVID keeps surging,

“”This outbreak shows no sign of slowing down,” Prof. Ran Balicer, who heads a panel of medical professionals advising the Health Ministry, told Ynet. “I want to remind you that from the moment you impose measures to the moment you see results, it takes between seven and ten days at least. We started with moderate steps, like returning the mask mandate, and we’ll see what happens.” The professor added that if the measures that have been brought back so far, as well as the tightening of borders, don’t show results in one week, health experts will recommend imposing further restrictions, including bringing back the Green Pass order.”

‘Flights will stop’: Shaked warns of rise in COVID cases,

“Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said Wednesday that the government will shut down international air travel if the number of positive COVID-19 tests continues to rise, Walla! reported. “If there is a significant outbreak, closing the airport is the solution,” Shaked told reporters after touring Terminal 1 at Ben Gurion Airport.”