Top News from Palestine & Israel: June 2, 2021

What We’re Reading

Gaza Strip

Despite ceasefire, most Gazans seeking medical care still can’t enter Israel,

“The Israeli military closed the crossings during the 11-day war last month between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists. After the ceasefire, the Defense Ministry announced that Gazans seeking medical treatment in Israel would once again be allowed to enter. But Israeli officials later clarified that only Gazans in need of ‘life-saving’ treatment will be allowed to cross at the present time. ‘In light of current situation assessments, the only patients who can enter Israel from Gaza are those who need life-saving medical care and those whose lives are in immediate danger,’ said the military’s liaison to the Palestinians, known widely by its acronym COGAT…On Monday, 62-year-old Gaza resident Ahmad Abd al-Harati died after his referral for urgent care at the al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem was denied. Abd al-Harati suffered from a tumor in his tongue and throat, according to PHR-I.”

One Water Source, Two Million People: Open Up the Cramped Cage Called Gaza,

“In 1947, about 80,000 Palestinians were living in the towns and villages that became the Gaza Strip. They had at their disposal one aquifer, which produced 60 million cubic meters of water a year. This sufficed also for the additional 200,000 Palestinians who were expelled to Gaza in 1948 and became refugees. Nowadays, this single aquifer, with the same capacity, is supposed to supply water for two million people. Over-pumping began 35 years ago, when there was no other choice. Why? Because Israel refuses to include the Gaza Strip in the country’s water economy and requires it to make do with what the segment of the coastal aquifer that falls within its territory produces, regardless of the size of the population. The result: More than 95 percent of the water in Gaza is not potable and has to be purified of the wastewater and seawater that seeps into it.”

You Can See Hi-res Images of the Pentagon on Google Earth, but Not Tel Aviv or Gaza. Here’s Why,

“A U.S. law preventing high-resolution satellite images of Israel and the Palestinian territories being published online was relaxed last year. But while private firms have started selling quality images of Israel and Gaza, on Google they still appear only in low-res.”

Hamas claims Iran already resupplying it with thousands of rockets,

“The Iranian regime has reportedly begun to restock its Islamist proxy in the Gaza Strip – Hamas, which entirely controls the enclave – with the resources to produce thousands of new rockets, according to a report on Tehran state TV.”

EU representative: Reconstruction of Gaza requires an end to Israel’s Occupations,

“Representative of the European Union in Palestine, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, said today that the reconstruction of Gaza requires ending the Israeli occupation and lifting the 15-year-old Israeli siege, and the free access of people and goods in and out of Gaza. This came during a press conference held in front of the ruins of al-Jala tower – housing the AP and al-Jazeera offices – destroyed during the 11-day of the Israeli onslaught on the Strip, during which he affirmed that the Israeli siege on the Strip must be lifted and the people and goods must be allowed to move freely in and out of the Strip.”


Project to Open Yemenite Jewish Heritage Center in East Jerusalem Halted,

“A plan to build a heritage center for Yemenite Jewry in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan has been frozen by the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry, three years after it was announced, the state told the city’s district court on Tuesday. The Ateret Cohanim organization had pushed the plan as part of its effort to Judaize the now Palestinian neighborhood…For the past 20 years, Ateret Cohanim, a nonprofit group that encourages Jews to move to predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, has tried to get the Palestinian families evicted from the part of Silwan that used to be a Jewish neighborhood. To this end, after receiving approval from the custodian general and the Jerusalem District Court in 2001, it became the trustee of the Benvenisti Trust, which bought the land in question 130 years ago. The decision to freeze the project came after the Interior Ministry’s registry of religious trusts launched an investigation into Ateret Cohanim’s management of the trust.”

UNRWA chief urges Israel to cancel Jerusalem evictions,

“UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini on Wednesday called on Israel to halt evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. ‘UNRWA keeps calling on the Israeli authorities to cancel the evictions,’ Lazzarini told a press conference after a visit to Palestinian families threatened with eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Lazzarini said those families are ‘protected under international law,’ adding that his visit aimed to show support to Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.”

West Bank

Israel begins to build new illegal settlement units near Ramallah,

“Israeli ministers laid the foundation stone on Tuesday for 350 new housing units in the Beit El settlement near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law. The ceremony was attended by Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, Education Minister Yoav Gallant and Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis. According to Israel’s Channel 20, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin and other members of parliament were also present. ‘Settlements and the land of Israel are more important than any person or any political situation,’ said Edelstein, of the ruling Likud party.”

Israeli settlers set fire to crops in south of West Bank and prevent farmers from putting it off,

“Israeli settlers last night set fire to crops in the south of the West Bank and prevented the farmers from putting off the fire, according to Fouad al-Emour, a local activist. He told WAFA that settlers from the illegal Havat Maon settlement set fire to crops in an area south of Hebron located near the settlement. When residents and landowners attempted to put off the fire, the settlers opened fire in their direction and kept them away leading to the burning of more than 100 piles of hay.”


More from WAFA:

IDF arrests senior Hamas operative in Ramallah,

“Israeli security forces arrested a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, according to the IDF Spokesperson.The operative, Sheikh Jamal Twil, has been involved in organizing riots, incitement and re-establishment of Hamas’ headquarters in Ramallah. He was arrested in Ramallah during a joint operation conducted by the IDF’s Duvdevan Unit and the Shin Bet.”

Palestinian prisoner launches fifth hunger strike in Israel detention,

“Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan has launched a hunger strike to protest his arbitrary detention in Israeli prisons after the occupation’s court in Salem extended his detention until 7 June, the Al-Aseel Club said. Adnan was arrested on 30 May without charge. This is the twelfth time he has been detained, having spent a total of eight years in Israeli prisons, the majority under administrative detention, without charge or trial.”

Israeli Domestic Politics

Israel’s likely new government, explained,

“Netanyahu may be heading out, but his former allies and right-wing policies are still very much in.”

As Israelis Await Netanyahu’s Fate, Palestinians Seize a Moment of Unity,

“Seeing little hope for major change from a new Israeli government, Palestinians are focused on an internal generational shift toward a campaign for rights and justice.”

Snubbed, fired and vilified, opposition lawmakers unite in disdain for Netanyahu,

“The governing coalition now poised to take power in Israel is an ideological mix — many would say mess — of factions that range from religiously oriented advocates of Jewish settlements in the West Bank to secular supporters of an independent Palestinian state. But there is one thing they all agree on: It is time for Benjamin Netanyahu to go. This new government, if it is voted into power by the parliament in coming days, will be the anti-Netanyahu government. The organizing principle of the ‘change coalition’ is the assertion that the prime minister’s dogged push to keep his office after four inconclusive elections is harming the country.”

New government still not ready as Lapid's deadline looms,

“A new governing coalition has still not been formed to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and opposition leader Yair Lapid had yet to update President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin by the time Wednesday’s Knesset session began.Lapid must tell Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin by Wednesday night at 11:59 that he can form a government; otherwise, the mandate goes to the Knesset, where any MK has the option to build a coalition with the support of 61 MKs…The final remaining sticking point has been Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked’s request to join the judicial selection committee. ‘It’s all on Ayelet Shaked now,’ a source at coalition talks told The Jerusalem Post. ‘She’s the only real issue left.’ Shaked is demanding to replace Labor leader Merav Michaeli on the committee that is due to select six new Supreme Court judges over the next four years.”


Also see:


In first for Israel, Arab party speaks with official voice in coalition talks,

“Whatever the outcome of tonight’s talks on the composition of a new government, Raam head Mansour Abbas had already made history by openly participating in the negotiations for the change coalition.  Also see: Most Joint List MKs to vote against unity government that would oust Netanyahu (Times of Israel)

Yisrael Beytenu's Lieberman, Meretz's Zandberg receive death threats,

“One caller to Yisrael Beytenu’s offices vows “to put a bullet” in Avigdor Lieberman. False social media posts on old Meretz legislation see users threaten to physically harm faction chief Tamar Zandberg, her partner and children.” Meretz MK: They call it pressure, I call it incitement (Arutz Sheva)

The U.S. 

Gantz expected to seek $1 billion Iron Dome restock during snap US visit,

“Defense minister, who will meet with Lloyd Austin and Jake Sullivan, touts Biden administration as true friend of Israel after Netanyahu warns he’s prepared for clash over Iran.” Also see: Bipartisan House group to express support for supplemental aid to Israel (Jewish Insider)

What the new government in Jerusalem means for US-Israel relations,

“With a potential new prime minister more right wing than Netanyahu, Biden may have an even harder time pressing Tel Aviv for change.”

Free Speech, Big Tech, Media

TikTok becomes vital weapon in Palestinians' digital war,

“As Twitter and Facebook suspended accounts supporting the Palestinian cause in the recent escalation, Palestinians turned to TikTok to mobilize international sympathy and fight the Israeli narrative.”

200 Facebook employees slam social media giant's suppression of pro-Palestine content,

“Close to 200 Facebook employees have signed an open letter calling for the company’s leadership to address concerns that pro-Palestine voices are being supressed by the social media giant. The letter follows Israel’s latest aggression on Gaza which led to the death of over 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, 39 women and 17 elderly people. During the 11 day onslaught, which saw Israel demolish a building housing media agencies from around the world, Facebook came under sharp criticism for supressing pro-Palestine content.”

BBC sparks outrage after removing content following pressure from pro-Israel lobby,

“The BBC has removed a series of educational videos about Palestine and the origins of the ongoing Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing, following pressure from a pro-Israel lobbyist organisation, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI). The videos formed part of a 7-part GCSE Bitesize series, and were intended to teach school children the facts about the decades-long Israeli colonisation of Palestine, which has culminated in what leading human rights group have denounced as a system of apartheid imposed by the occupation state on non-Jews. In March, UKLFI sent a letter of complaint to the BBC arguing that the videos were ‘unbalanced and partisan’, and accused the broadcaster of ‘encouraging illegal conduct in schools’.