Top News from Palestine & Israel: June 1, 2021

What We’re Reading

Gaza Strip

Israeli official rolls back army chief comments on AP Gaza,

“…Asked to respond to Gantz’s comments, the military spokesman’s office also said Kohavi’s statements were meant to be figurative. ‘It was never claimed that AP journalists were knowingly interacting with Hamas personnel. On the contrary, due to the nature of Hamas’ activities, AP journalists had no means of knowing that Hamas personnel were in the building,’ it said.” Also see: Gantz, IDF backpedal from claim that AP journalists ‘drank coffee with Hamas’ (Times of Israel)

Israel’s FM in Cairo discusses Gaza truce, possible prisoner exchange,

“While Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Tel Aviv with Egyptian intelligence service head Abbas Kamel.”


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Palestinians say 19 families massacred by Israel in Gaza,

“Israel has committed massacres against 19 Palestinian families during its 11-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Sunday. A ministry statement said that 91 Palestinians were killed in these massacres, including 41 children and 25 women. According to the ministry, 21 members of the Al-Kawlak family were killed in an Israeli onslaught on Gaza City, including eight children and six women. ‘The Abu Auf family lost nine members, including a child and five women in an Israeli bombardment of their house in Gaza City,’ the ministry said. The ministry added that six members of al-Tanani family, including four children and a woman, were also killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home in the northern Gaza Strip.”


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Israeli police run over child in Jerusalem for flying Palestinian flag,

“A 12-year-old Palestinian child was run over by Israeli police in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood for placing the Palestinian flag on his bicycle while riding to a nearby grocery to buy bread. ‘I was on my bike to buy bread when three Israeli policemen chased me because I put the [Palestinian] flag on the bike,’ Jawad al-Abbasi said in a report he provided to the Hadassah Hospital where he has been receiving treatment.” (Video)

Israel extends detention of 2 Palestinian journalists,

“An Israeli court on Friday extended the detention of two Palestinian journalists detained by police in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Solicitor of Palestinian journalists Jad Qadmani noted the Israeli magistrate court in West Jerusalem extended the detention of Al-Qafiyah television reporter Ziynet al-Halawani and cameraman Wahbi Mekkiye at the request of the prosecutor’s office. He told Anadolu Agency that Israeli police brutally attacked the journalists and footage of the attack was presented to the court. ‘However, the court decided to extend the detention period of the two journalists for a few more days,’ he said. The journalists were detained while on duty late Thursday. Mekkiye was beaten and sustained injuries while police tried to detain him.”


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Occupation forces attack protesters in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,

“Israeli occupation forces on Saturday evening assaulted dozens of Palestinian protesters and solidarity activists as they were demonstrating in the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in support of its citizens who are facing an Israeli threat of eviction from their homes. Witnesses said dozens of Israeli police officers physically assaulted the protesters and attacked them with teargas and pushed them away from the entrance of the neighborhood, which has been sealed by the occupation authorities for more than two weeks. Police officers also assaulted some of the journalists who were covering the Israeli attack and pushed them away. For two weeks now, Israel has erected a permanent checkpoint at the entrance to the neighborhood denying access of the Palestinian citizens to and out of the neighborhood, while allowing unrestricted access to colonial Israeli settlers.”

Four Jews charged with terrorism after allegedly stabbing Arab in Jerusalem,

“Prosecutors filed terrorism charges on Sunday against four Jewish men accused of stabbing an Arab man in a Jerusalem market two weeks ago, seriously wounding him. The victim, 25, was at his place of work — a burger restaurant in the Mahane Yehuda market — when he was stabbed ten times by his assailants. He was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the city, where doctors found that a knife wielded by one of his assailants had torn open his lung and liver.”

2 Palestinians charged with terrorism for rock attack that injured baby,

“Prosecutors on Monday filed terror charges against two Palestinian men for throwing rocks at a car during clashes in Jerusalem earlier this month, lightly injuring a 7-month-old Jewish baby, who was struck in the head. The suspects, residents of East Jerusalem’s A-Tur neighborhood ages 18 and 20, were indicted on suspicion of a terrorist act of aggravated sabotage, a terrorist act of throwing a rock at a vehicle, and intentionally damaging a car for racist motives.”

West Bank

West Bank demolitions and displacement | April 2021,

“In April, the Israeli authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 23 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. This resulted in the displacement of 13 people, including nine children, and otherwise affected the livelihoods, or access to services, of over 100 others. All the structures were in Area C or East Jerusalem and were targeted due to a lack of building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain…While the number of structures targeted in April is the second lowest this year, the cumulative figure in 2021, as of end April, is 90 per cent higher than its equivalent for the same period in 2020 (166 vs. 316) and 129 per cent higher for structures provided as humanitarian aid (48 vs. 110).”

During the Gaza Flare-up, Israel Killed 27 Palestinians in the West Bank. He Was One of Them,

“A resident of the Fawwar camp, Hussein Titi, went up to his roof to watch troops leave after they’d snatched his neighbor. Titi peeked out – and was shot dead.”

Hamas calls for ‘day of rage’ in West Bank over Al-Aqsa incursions,

“Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Tuesday called for rallies in the occupied West Bank on Friday to protest settler incursions into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. ‘We call for making this Friday a ‘day of rage’ in the West Bank and staging mass rallies to protest [attempts] by settlers to impose a fait accompli with the help of the occupation government,’ Hamas said in a statement. The Palestinian group described the settler incursions into Al-Aqsa complex as ‘a desperate attempt to save the face of the occupation government’.”

Palestinians decry new West Bank restrictions on movement in wake of protests,

“Residents of Palestinian villages say Israel’s army is besieging them in order to allow settlement expansion and deter protests.”

Settler crime and violence inside Palestinian communities, 2017-2020,

“Relations between settlers and Palestinians often echo Israel’s system of control over the Palestinians, with its hallmark hostility and sense of superiority. Attacks by Israeli civilians against Palestinians and their property are commonplace throughout the West Bank. These acts of violence and vandalism, also referred to as ‘ideologically motivated crime,’ are strategically motivated. The objective is to instill fear in the heart of Palestinians and create a real threat in order to dispossess Palestinians of their land and confine them to increasingly smaller areas of the West Bank.” Also see: Jewish extremists reportedly attempted major firebomb attack on Palestinians (Times of Israel)


Also see, re: IDF actions:

Also see, re: settlements & demolitions:

Palestinians Inside the Green Line

Don’t mourn a coexistence that never existed,

“After weeks of racist incitement, the Israeli media is suddenly talking about ‘bringing back coexistence’ — a paradise that was never even here.” Also see: Mixed Cities: A history of segregation and inequality (Akevot)

Israel detains more Palestinian citizens as arrest campaign enters second week,

“On Monday, Israeli police arrested more than six Palestinian citizens of Israel, the latest round up in a campaign that has seen 1,700 Palestinians picked up since early May, according to a committee monitoring the situation…The arrests are part of the Israeli police’s mass arrest campaign, called ‘Law and Order’, which began on 24 May after two weeks of protests in mixed cities against Israeli settlement policies in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah and the bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The Arab Emergency Committee, which was formed in the wake of the protests in early May, said it has documented that, in addition to the arrest of 1,700 Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, there have been 300 related cases of assault. Around 100 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been arrested daily since the campaign began, the committee said, and some of them were released later.”


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Domestic Political Scene - Israel & Palestine

Israel’s Netanyahu fights to block opposition parties from taking power,

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies worked furiously Monday to keep opposition parties from forming a government that would displace him from Israel’s top political job for the first time in more than 12 years. Netanyahu backers slammed right-wing parties planning to join the broad-based coalition as ‘traitors,’ picketed their homes and issued threats that led police to provide additional security to at least two of the targeted politicians.”


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Who is Naftali Bennett, Israel’s potential prime minister?,

“Naftali Bennett has moved a step closer to replacing Israel’s veteran prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Bennett is a multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur who made a name in politics with right-wing, religious-nationalist rhetoric. The 49-year-old, who has made pitches to far-right voters throughout his career, leads the Yamina party, which has called for Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.”


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Palestinian activists call for 'illegitimate' Abbas to be removed from office,

“Palestinian academics, activists and political factions have called for the removal from office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, citing his cancelling of the Palestinian elections and a perceived failure to support the people Gaza during the recent Israeli attacks. ‘The recent intifada of Jerusalem has revealed the resounding incompetence of the president, his policies and his authority, and the Palestinian people have had enough,’ a group of academics and activists said in a statement over the weekend.”

International Scene

Israel losing US perception battle as Palestinian sympathy grows,

“Last month, as Israel carried out an 11-day bombing campaign on the besieged Gaza Strip and Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Strip, fired rockets back, something important was shifting halfway around the world. For the first time in a long time, Israel seemed to be losing ground in the battle of perception in the United States as lawmakers questioned their government’s pro-Israel policies.”


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Israel to ask U.S. for $1 billion in emergency military aid,

“Israel will ask the U.S. for $1 billion in additional emergency military aid this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told ‘Fox and Friends’ on Tuesday and Israeli officials confirmed.”

Israel’s Brutal Month With the Democratic Party – and Its Impact on Public Opinion,

“The past several weeks has seen an unprecedented focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the Democratic Party, with rival blocs increasingly unafraid to nail their colors to the mast.”


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Free Speech, Big Tech, Media

Israel-Palestine: The double standard in American newsrooms,

“News coverage in the US of the Palestine-Israel conflict has always favoured Israel but that is beginning to shift. The question is – to what extent and will it last?” (video report)

Netanyahu attempted to block social media, says Israeli press,

“The Israeli prime minister attempted to shut down social media after Israeli-national Palestinians held protests against Israel’s attacks on East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip under blockade, a report said on Sunday, Anadolu reports. According to the Israeli press, Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to block social media during the attacks on Gaza on May 10-21. The officials said Netanyahu recommended blocking social media twice, but his suggestions were refused by Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and security officials, the report added. According to the report, Netanyahu probably made the recommendation to prevent a probable riot, claiming that the Palestinian-born Israelis organized the protests through the social media platform TikTok. Meanwhile, Walla News said it was not Netanyahu who recommended blocking social media, but he rather supported a plan offered by security officials.”

Instagram changes algorithm amid claims of anti-Palestinian bias,

“Facebook-owned Instagram is changing the way its algorithm highlights user content following widespread accusations that the social media giant was purposefully suppressing Palestinian voices…”


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Agence France Presse fires Palestinian journalist in West Bank,

Agence France Presse (AFP) has sacked its Palestinian correspondent in the West Bank, the journalist’s union said yesterday. Nasser Abu Baker lost his job apparently after the agency came under ‘Israeli diktats’, said the Syndicate of Palestinian Journalists. The union condemned the sacking of Abu Baker, calling it an ‘arbitrary’ measure against a journalist with twenty years’ experience. ‘This decision came after repeated incitement campaigns against Abu Baker over his stances and his activities as the head of the syndicate. It is mainly due to his involvement in the issue of seeking to bring occupation leaders before international courts for their crimes against his fellow Palestinian journalists.’”


We Israelis spend our entire lives seeing Palestinians only as threats,

“Even as our army obliterates entire families in Gaza, Israelis continue to sweep Palestinian humanity under a rug of unconvincing security justifications.”

Statement of the Special Rapporteur – OPT – Michael Lynk - UN Human Rights Council Special Session (May 27),

“…What we have witnessed in Gaza these past few weeks haunts the conscience of the world. Approximately 240 Palestinians killed, the majority of whom were civilians and at least 63 who were children. Almost 2,000 were injured. There has been massive property destruction. All of this at the hands of one of the best equipped militaries in the modern world. Rockets from Palestinian armed groups have killed 12 civilians in Israel. Many Israeli civilians have lived through a state of fear and suffered damage to their properties. Along the way, the strict prohibitions of international humanitarian law which bind all of these combatants have almost certainly been breached.”

Israel kills Palestinians with mental illness through impunity. My cousin-in-law was one of them,

“Muhannad Tawfiq Abdelhadi, who lived with schizophrenia and was often found wandering in confusion through his Gaza neighbourhood, was shot dead by Israeli forces near the border fence.”

Killing with impunity: Israel’s undercover units in Palestine,

“…These undercover units have also been involved in the sweeping arrest campaign of Palestinians currently being carried out in northern Israel, following protests there against the deaths in Gaza and the violence in occupied East Jerusalem over Palestinians being expelled from their homes. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) said it received ‘allegations of undercover officers posing as protesters and inciting the situation, attacking civilians very violently and making severe threats, especially against minors’. ‘There have been cases when undercover officers pulled people, including minors, off the street without identifying themselves, which made the arrests look like kidnappings,’ said PCATI. Following the recent establishment of a new undercover unit specifically for operating in Arab areas, Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, sent a letter to senior Israeli police officials and politicians saying no democracy in the world would approve of the establishment of a police unit directed at a specific ethnic group.”

What Stands in the Way of Gaza Rebuild? Qatari Cash, Misguided Policies – and Hamas Itself ,

“How did Hamas rebuild its arsenal and build miles of tunnels? Given the blockade by Israel and Egypt on Gaza, the common assumption is that Hamas has been finding ways to divert humanitarian assistance and Western aid, taking materials and goods and using them for nefarious means. In reality, it has been a failed policy towards Gaza that has led to the buildup of Hamas’ arsenal, where Palestinians suffer from a blockade that prevents adequate relief and recovery from arriving while enabling weapons to pass through a back door.”

Lebanon's Palestinian refugees caught between Gaza solidarity and discrimination,

“Despite rallies and widespread solidarity with Gaza and Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon continue to face endemic discrimination.”

I'm a Palestinian American and my dad is older than the oppressive state of Israel,

“…This situation isn’t complicated. In fact, it’s only 73 years old. My dad is older than the state of Israel. He was in his first year of life during the British Mandate, when the British government supported ‘a national home’ for Jewish people, leading to the creation of Israel. My people call the 1948 war that uprooted Palestinians from their home ‘al Nakba’. The rest of the world doesn’t have a name for it because it’s rarely even acknowledged. With the Israeli government’s feet pressed firmly on our necks, they still find ways to stab us in the heart. Members of the so-called ‘progressive’ left still fail to see their own hypocrisy.”

Operating from the Shadows: Inside NSO Group’s Corporate Structure,

“Targeted surveillance is a serious threat facing human rights defenders globally. Though often carried out by states, this practice is enabled by digital surveillance tools provided by private companies. However, the lack of transparency about the operations of the surveillance industry poses a serious obstacle for victims of unlawful surveillance to seek accountability and the right to remedy. This briefing seeks to shed light on one specific company – NSO Group – and thereby help to overcome this barrier. This briefing is jointly written by Amnesty International, Privacy International and The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO).”


How a Palestinian man with autism was killed by Israeli police,

“Eyad al-Halaq, a 31-year-old man with autism and the mental age of an eight-year-old, was on his way to his special needs school when he was shot and killed by Israeli police one year ago. His mother remembers that day.”

Hundreds mark 11th anniversary of Israel attack on Gaza aid ship,

“Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Turkish capital, Ankara, and the city of Istanbul to mark the 11th anniversary of the Israeli navy’s attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship en route to the besieged Gaza strip, Anadolu news agency reported. Demonstrators gathered in front of the Israeli consulate in Istanbul and embassy in Ankara carrying banners denouncing the attack on the Turkish aid ship and calling to end the ‘Zionist genocide on Palestine’. The event was organised by a number of civil society groups, led by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH). On 31 May 2010, Israeli commandos raided the aid ship in international waters and killed nine activists, including Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin. Some 50 others were wounded. A tenth activist died of his injuries years later. The ship was carrying about 750 human rights and political activists from 37 countries, who sought to break the Israeli land and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip.”