Top News from Palestine & Israel: July 2, 2021

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FMEP Legislative Round-Up,

FMEP Legislative Round-Up

July 2, 2021

Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!

  1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
  2. FY22 House SFOPS
  3. Hearings & Markups
  4. On the Record

Eyes on Silwan, Jerusalem

Palestinians defy ‘precursor to mass displacements’,

“Silwan, Occupied East Jerusalem – Violent confrontations broke out following Friday midday prayers between Israeli police and residents, with a number of Palestinians wounded and arrested. Israeli forces fired stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators angered by ongoing home and business demolitions in the area.” Also see Palestinian activists call for Silwan sit-in for families facing Israeli demolitions, forced displacement” (The New Arab)

A Razed Building and Another Possible Flash Point in East Jerusalem,

“Now, the flash point appears to have moved to Al-Bustan, another neighborhood of East Jerusalem, where the spark isn’t an ownership dispute—as it was in Sheikh Jarrah—but a different long-festering issue: Israel’s policy of denying most building permits to Palestinians. For years, residents there have been fighting demolition orders issued by the Jerusalem municipality on buildings that Palestinians say they had no choice but to put up without proper authorizations….Nidal al-Rajabi, the building’s 46-year-old owner, said on his release that he had received an order to demolish his shop within 21 days on the grounds that he had built the house without the necessary authorizations. Rajabi told Foreign Policy that he owns the land in question but that it was “nearly impossible” for Palestinians to receive building permits from the municipality. His building is one of 20 in Al-Bustan under final demolition orders, meaning that all legal options to suspend the court’s judgment have been exhausted, according to the Israeli rights group Ir Amim. Israel plans to build a touristic park on the site of the houses.”

Israeli settlers takeover Palestinian building in Jerusalem’s Silwan,

Israeli settlers Friday overnight took over a building in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan, according to local information center. Wadi Hilweh Information Center (SILWANIC) said that dozens of settlers, under the protection of special forces, barged their way into and used a lorry to block access to Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, before they seized an empty building.”

Some Democratic lawmakers condemn Silwan demolitions, but most remain silent,

“Israel has begun demolitions in the al-Bustan area of Silwan. Most Democratic congress members have largely ignored the destruction, but a small group of progressive House members have criticized Israel actions on Twitter with many using the #SaveSilwan hashtag….The strongest condemnation came from Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, who referred to Israel as an apartheid state in her tweet. “The Israeli military forces Palestinian families to demolish their own homes,” she wrote. “If they don’t, the military demolishes them, and the families face exorbitant fines. We demand our government stop funding this traumatic, apartheid system.”” Also see Democrat lawmaker urges Biden to end Israel’s expulsions of Palestinian families” (The New Arab)

Human Rights / Occupation / Annexation / Apartheid

'With God's Help, We Will Return Legally': Israeli Settlers Quietly Leave Illegal Outpost,

“Evyatar residents left the outpost without commotion on Friday afternoon, in accordance with a compromise struck with the government earlier this week, but expressed high hopes that they will return to the hilltop settlement following the government’s review of the status of the land. Before departing, the settlers erected a large Star of David on the site, as well as street signs, in anticipation of their return. According to the compromise deal approved on Thursday by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the settlers will leave the outpost, but the houses will remain in place, as the state re-examines the status of the land. If it turns out that the outpost can be legalized, the residents will be able to return “as soon as possible.” The deal also stipulates that an army post will be established at the site.” Also seeSettlers vacate illegal Evyatar outpost under deal that keeps it intact” (Times of Israel) and “Vowing to return, settlers leave Evyatar outpost” (JPost)

Dozens injured as occupation forces attack West Bank protests,

“Dozens of Palestinians sustained light to moderate injuries today when Israeli occupation forces attacked the weekly protests against colonial Israeli settlements, which usually take place every Friday across the occupied West Bank, according to local and medical sources. In Nablus, north of the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated metal rounds and stun grenades at Palestinians who demonstrated at Jabal Sabih mount, near the village of Beita, injuring 135 protesters, of whom seven were hospitalized while the others were treated at the scene. An ambulance was also hit by a teargas canister. Another 79 protesters sustained suffocation from gas inhalation. The protesters were demonstrating against Israel’s construction of an illegal settlement outpost called Evyatar on the mount.”

Palestinian father, son sustain serious injuries in settler attack south of Hebron,

Palestinian father and his son today sustained serious injuries in a settlers attack in Masafer Yatta area, south of Hebron, according to a local source. Coordinator of the Popular Anti-Wall and Settlement Committees in Southern Hebron, Rateb Jbour, said that a group of armed settlers used sticks and stones to attack a number of Palestinians in Maghayer al-Abeed, northeast of Yatta, wounding a 55-year-old father and his 23-year-old son in the head and hand. The casualties were rushed to a hospital in Hebron city for urgent treatment, where medics described their wounds as serious. Also seePalestinians hold prayer near land threatened with expropriation near Jerusalem” (WAFA) 

Opinion | The Stolen Childhood of Palestinian Kids,

A-Tuwani is one of a group of Palestinian villages whose residents have been attacked recently by Jewish settlers, with the active encouragement of the Israel Defense Forces. On Saturday, settlers set fire to an agricultural outbuilding and caused head injuries to one person. The rioters rampaged undisturbed, and were filmed as they prepared to leave the area in a waiting minibus. A video shows them throwing stones at villagers while Israeli soldiers stand idly by. Unlike Sujoud’s assailants, these were not masked. Some wore white dress shirts, as if taking part in some monstrous Oneg Shabbat.”

Israel: Family's agony as Palestinian detainee continues hunger strike,

Ghandanfar, an officer with the Palestinian Authority customs police and Majdoleen’s oldest son, is on an open-ended hunger strike in Israeli prison in protest of his administrative detention – a policy used by Israel to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial.”

‘I thought I was going to die’: Palestinians recount night of torture in Israeli police custody,

“Palestinians detained at the Nazareth police station from May 9 to May 14, reveal graphic reports of extreme psychological and physical abuse at the hands of Israeli special forces. Arrests were mainly carried out indiscriminately by Israeli border police and undercover Mista’arvim (a counter-terrorism unit of the Israeli Border Police and the Israeli Defense forces) officers posing as Palestinians.”

Repression & the Palestinian Authority

Palestinian women journalists speak out against 'deliberate' attacks by PA forces,

On 26 June, the 35-year-old [Palestinian journalist Najlaa Zaitoun] was assaulted by plainclothes security forces while she was covering protests called following the death of popular Palestinian activist Nizar Banat while in Palestinian Security Forces custody two days earlier. The security forces chased Zaitoun, seized her phone, which she was using to film the protest, and violently attacked her with a truncheon. She was also threatened with rape.”A person wearing plain clothes threatened me, to my face, that he would rape me, and then defame my reputation,” she tells Middle East Eye….Meanwhile, the assault on the journalist has moved online, with a smear campaign targeting her on social media accounts affiliated with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and accusing her of being the “one who attacked the security forces.”


The attack on Zaitoun is one of several instances of violence against women journalists in the course of their work covering the protests. The incidents indicate that Palestinian security forces are specifically targeting women journalists, as reflected in the escalating levels of hostility and violence towars them compared to their male counterparts. Attacks on women journalists have included physical violence, as was the case with Zaitoun and four others; confiscation of electronic devices used to cover the events; intimidation and harassment; chasing journalists in the street; arrest attempts and a ban on reporting. The assaults have continued even after the protests were over, with many female journalists receiving veiled threats that they will be discredited and defamed.”

Also see: “Israel-Palestine: How subcontracting the occupation fuels gendered violence” (Middle East Eye)

Nizar Banat: PA fires head of Palestinian library after he condemns assassination,

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly dismissed the head of the Palestinian National Library, Ihab Bseiso, for criticising the killing of political activist Nizar Banat. Al-Araby al-Jadeed quoted anonymous sources who said that Bseiso was fired for publishing a post to Facebook condemning the assassination and commenting on the demonstrations in reaction to the killing.”

Palestinian Authority detains security officers over Nizar Banat death,

More than a dozen Palestinian security troops, including officers, have been detained over their alleged involvement in the death of prominent activist Nizar Banat, according to his cousin. “We have been informed that 14 of those who took part in the assassination of Banat are being detained in Jericho,” Ammar Banat told local media. He added that while the family was given the news early on Thursday, they did not take it seriously. He called on the Palestinian  Authority to release the names of those it had arrested. “We will not allow there to be scapegoats who are made to bear the responsibility of those [actually] involved. All must be held to account for their crimes, actions, and words,” the deceased’s cousin said.” Also see “Security forces spokesman: 14 persons referred to judiciary over death of Banat” (WAFA)

Palestinian activist calls on Biden to challenge Abbas,

“The Biden administration needs to put more pressure on the Palestinian Authority over its human rights abuses and anti-democratic steps, prominent Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro told me in an interview. What [Issa Amro is] saying: “Palestinian Authority officials say internally that they are protected by the U.S. so they can do whatever they want. They feel nobody will try to hold them accountable and nobody will demand them to take steps toward reform and democracy,” Amro told me. Driving the news: The death of well-known activist Nizar Banat last Thursday during his arrest by the Palestinian intelligence services has led to a strong domestic backlash against the PA. Amro, who had been arrested two days earlier for posts on social media criticizing the government, said he fears he could be in danger. “People tell me I could be Nizar Banat No. 2.””

UN human rights chief urges Palestinian Authority to allow protests,

The United Nations human rights chief urged the Palestinian Authority on Thursday to ensure the safety of protesters, after security forces and supporters of PA President Mahmoud Abbas attacked demonstrators over the weekend.”

FMEP Podcast: Why Palestinians are Turning Against the Palestinian Authority,

In this episode of Occupied Thoughts, Peter Beinart interviews political organizer and activist Fadi Quran about why Palestinians are rising up against the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians & the New Israeli Government

The law tearing Palestinian families apart,

“In 2003, at the height of the Second Intifada, the Israeli government passed an emergency order titled “The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Emergency Order).” Since then, the legislation has taken on many names: the family reunification law, the demographic balance law, the “security threat” law. But the goal of this law has remained the same: to prevent Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza from marrying Arab citizens of Israel, and thus obstructing their path to Israeli citizenship.The so-called Citizenship Law harms thousands of Palestinian families in Israel. It has been renewed every year since its passing — until this year. The order is set to expire on July 6, and currently the government does not have the parliamentary majority to re-extend it. While several MKs from the center-left Meretz and Labor parties have made their opposition to the order clear, it is unclear how they will vote next week when the law comes up for a vote in the Knesset.”

Jewish parties ‘compromise’ against Palestinians and call it democracy,

“Only two weeks after its inauguration, the government has already shown how far it is willing to go in order to reach a compromise with the outlaws of the Eviatar outpost in the occupied West Bank, in a shameful surrender that has once again rewarded the criminal behavior of the settler movement. Political compromises are intended to enable the promotion of one’s core ideological demands, while making certain concessions on less critical issues. And to do this, red lines must be drawn. I am not a Meretz voter, but it seems to me that the party’s voters are entitled to a clearer understanding of its leadership’s red lines, particularly given their disgraceful silence in the face of the Eviatar compromise. If deepening the theft of Palestinian land, expanding the occupation, and complete contempt for all legal or moral norms are not beyond their red lines, it is unclear what is….In their moment of truth, the center-left Zionist parties — who during election cycles passionately court the Arab voice (Meretz’s last campaign focused heavily on opposing the occupation and the settlements), while promising to take care of their Arab interests — feel completely comfortable sitting around the table with other Israeli Jews and negotiating the extent to which the most basic rights of Palestinians can be denied.”

Settlement evacuation compromise rocks Israeli coalition,

“The truth of the matter is that the compromise does look like a major victory for the settlers. The state folded and overturned an evacuation order issued by the IDF, which determined that Evyatar is an illegal settlement that must be removed. Sources in the IDF explain that the settlers provoked the local Palestinians, causing tension. While [Meretz’s Mossi] Raz has referred to the people living in the illegal settlement as “terrorists,” Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is Bennett’s number-two in Yamina and negotiated the compromise agreement, refers to them as “the pioneers of Evyatar, who take pains to show us what Zionism is all about.”

Bedouin lawmaker seeks change through new Israeli government,

“In the weeks before his Arab party made history in Israel by joining the ruling coalition, Saeed Alkhrumi says his relatives and neighbors were notified that their homes would be demolished. It was a stark illustration of the challenge ahead for the United Arab List, a small Islamist party that played a key role in forming Israel’s fragile new government and now hopes to secure gains for the Arab minority, including the impoverished Bedouin community in the south. Alkhrumi, 49, hails from the Bedouin heartland in the Negev Desert, where tens of thousands of people live in unrecognized villages that are largely cut off from basic services and where homes and other structures have been built without legal permits, putting them at risk of demolition by Israeli authorities…Alkhrumi says the new government is on track to eventually recognize eight villages, which would remove the threat of demolition and give them access to services.”


Israeli air raids target Gaza for third time since May ceasefire,

“Israel said its fighter jets targeted a weapons manufacturing site in the Gaza Strip overnight on Friday in the latest unrest since a ceasefire ended May’s attacks. Security sources with Hamas said the raids hit training sites and no casualties were reported. The Israeli army spokesperson stated that the air raid came in response to the launching of incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip towards the surrounding Israeli settlements.” Also see “Israeli Army Strikes Hamas Weapons Manufacturing Site Over Incendiary Balloons” (Haaretz)

The US Scene

US Postpones Opening its Consulate in Jerusalem,

The Israeli government asked the US administration to hold off plans to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, claiming that such a measure would create “political difficulties” for the new government, according to officials in Tel Aviv. Walla website quoted the officials as saying that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett recently asked Washington to delay reopening the consulate, saying that opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is using the issue to portray the government as weak and unable to stand up to the Biden administration.”

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

“[Andre Carson] 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….“For too long, America has looked the other way as Israel has engaged in this horrific campaign against Palestinians.” He added that he “rose in solidarity with the Palestinian people as they face grave injustices, violence and abuse.”” See alsoSupport for Palestinians is rooted in black American experience of racism says, US Congressman” (MEMO)

In Biden meeting, Rivlin clears way for Bennett visit to White House,

“Reuven Rivlin and Joe Biden have known each other for 50 years….The friendship came full circle this week with the two presidents meeting at the White House. Biden, who took office this year, seems to offer an antidote to the chaos wrought by former President Donald Trump. Rivlin, who leaves office July 9, came to pave the way for a White House visit by Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who replaced former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeks to establish calmer governance. According to meeting participants, Rivlin achieved his goal.”

US teachers union to vote on support for ‘heroic struggle’ of Palestinians,

“A major teachers union in the United States will soon vote on resolutions in support of the Palestinian cause and against US backing for the Israeli and Saudi governments. The National Education Association (NEA) represents American public school teachers, and is the largest such organization in the country. During its annual meeting, which is taking place virtually until Saturday, union members will vote on a variety of resolutions.  Some of the resolutions pertain to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as US-Saudi relations. New Business Item 29 calls on the association to support the Palestinian cause and demand the US government stop military and other support to Israel and Saudi Arabia.” Also seeAmerica’s largest teachers union to consider resolutions condemning Israel” (Middle East Eye)


Scientific American Retracted Pro-Palestine Article Without Any Factual Errors ,

On June 2, following an extensive editing and fact-checking process with the publication, the article ran in Scientific American under the headline “As Health Care Workers, We Stand in Solidarity with Palestine.” Less than two weeks later, on June 11, the article was removed from Scientific American’s website without warning. A short editor’s note appeared in its place. “This article fell outside the scope of Scientific American and has been removed,” the note said. That same day, an editor from the publication emailed Akhter and the others, informing them of the retraction and apologizing for any “confusion” caused by the initial decision to publish the article.”

Israeli military’s TikTok attempt to make propaganda cool,

“With more than 100,000 followers and almost 100 videos, the Israeli army’s TikTok mirrors typical influencer content. On the official profile, one can find fitness tutorials, food recipes, hide-and-seek games and “soldier-training hacks” such as scuba diving techniques and Krav Maga workouts.”

Israeli troops put AP photographer in danger during clashes,

“Israeli soldiers held an Associated Press photographer against his will during clashes in the occupied West Bank earlier this week, in a spot where Palestinian protesters were hurling stones and the troops were firing tear gas and rubber-coated bullets. The Israeli military said the photographer interfered with an operation and was detained after ignoring soldiers’ requests to move. It said soldiers moved him behind a barrier to protect him from stones being thrown by the demonstrators….Mohammed said the officer told him he was being detained, and that the soldiers were keeping him there so the protesters would not throw rocks at them. Mohammed said he informed the officer that this was unlawful and amounted to using him as a human shield.”


UAE, Israel say to move forward with normalization process,

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid on Thursday expressed their intention to move forward with the normalization process between their countries. In a joint article published by Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the two ministers said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel have a new model to the region by establishing diplomatic relations.” See also “Etihad, El Al to offer joint flight booking” (Al Monitor)

European court rejects attempt to reopen investigation into Yasser Arafat's death,

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has dismissed a case brought by the widow and daughter of Yasser Arafat that sought to reopen an investigation into the iconic Palestinian leader’s death. Suha El Kodwa Arafat and Zahwa El Kodwa Arafat, both French citizens, filed their case with the Strasbourg-based European court after French courts dismissed their claims that Arafat had been the victim of premeditated murder. Arafat’s family had claimed they had been refused their right to a fair hearing, in particular a refusal of their request for an additional expert report on his death. In a ruling issued on Thursday, the ECHR said there had been no infringement on the right to a fair hearing and the complaint filed by the family was “manifestly ill-founded”.”

Commentary//Long Reads

What's Driving Israeli Islamist Leader Mansour Abbas?,

“He quotes the Koran as precisely as he cites Switzerland’s Constitution. His campaign was flagrantly homophobic but he speaks differently in backrooms. He has no compunctions about cruelly turning his back on his associates. Mansour Abbas is now in position of unprecedented influence in Israeli politics. What’s next for him?”

The Christian Zionist Group Shaping Holocaust Education in Florida ,

“Last October, the expert panel appointed to write Florida’s Holocaust education standards—a group composed of scholars and Jewish communal leaders—received feedback on a draft of the standards from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) provided by the right-wing Christian Zionist organization Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN). The group had inserted lessons that defined Jewishness solely in terms of religion, falsely implying that only devout Jews were targeted by the Nazis. The expert panel rejected PJTN’s recommendations, citing both historical inaccuracies and an inappropriately religious tenor, which, they wrote in a letter, “has no place in the public school curriculum.” But in the coming months, FLDOE continued to insert material into the panel’s drafts that appeared to have come from PJTN, though the department stopped specifying the source of the additions. Later revisions falsely framed the Holocaust as an event that specifically sought to root out Zionists, even though the Nazis killed Jews regardless of their political orientation.  

When members of the panel looked into PJTN, they learned that the group’s stated mission was to “educate Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with our Jewish brethren and Israel.” They also learned that the organization had been classified as an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Though PJTN’s executive director, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, declined to speak with Jewish Currents, her communications director, Jackie Monaghan, explained that “Jewish interests are a big part of our game plan.””

How a Deeply Religious Jew Became One of Israel’s Leading Anti-occupation Activists,

“In his new book on religious Zionism, Mikhael Manekin argues that the emergence of a Jewish supremacy movement within his community shows how far it has strayed from the essence of the Torah”