Top News from Palestine & Israel: June 21, 2021

What We’re Reading

FMEP Events & Resources

6/21 Webinar: Palestinians, Israelis, 1948, & Now: On Researching, Teaching, and Asserting the Reality of the Nakba,

For decades, stories of the Nakba – both personal experiences and an historical accounting of facts – have been systematically hidden, discredited, or ignored. Scholars, both Palestinian and non-Palestinian, have struggled to document and establish that history and challenge the denialism and mythologies – like the myths that “the Arabs” intended to “push the Jews into the sea,” that Palestinians left their homes at the behest of Arab armies, or that pre-1948, Arab residents of Palestine had no shared Palestinian identity or real links to the land – that have flourished in its place. In this context, we have invited three leading scholars of the Nakba to talk about how they approach researching, writing, and teaching this history — and the importance of amplifying personal, individual stories as a critical point of access to understanding nationalism, colonialism, citizenship, and the construction of racial categories in the Middle East.

FMEP Legislative Round-Up: June 18, 2021,

A comprehensive review and analysis of Middle East-related developments this week on (or related to) Capitol Hill. In this edition:1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters; 2. Targeting Ilhan Omar (still); 3. Hearings & Markups; 4. On the Record


Clash at Al-Aqsa Mosque leaves several wounded,

“A number of Palestinian demonstrators were wounded in clashes with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem following Friday prayers. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, nine Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces fired foam-tipped bullets and stun grenades into the crowd. Three were hospitalized, the emergency service said.”


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Clashes in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah amid continuing tensions,

“Clashes continued in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli security forces on Sunday, amid continued tensions surrounding the planned eviction of dozens of Palestinian families from the neighborhood.Palestinian media reported that Palestinians in the neighborhood fired fireworks at Israeli security forces during the clashes in the neighborhood. Reinforcements for Israeli security forces were reportedly sent to the neighborhood to confront the Palestinian rioters.”


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Jerusalem court: Police pressured woman to say she tried to runover cop,

“A Jerusalem court determined that police pressured a resident of east Jerusalem to admit that she attempted to run-over a police officer and released the woman to house arrest Thursday, Haaretz reported. The woman, Wala Maoud, was stopped at a checkpoint set up for the Jerusalem Flag Parade in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood after driving quickly and almost hitting a police officer, Haaretz reported. After reviewing the evidence, including body cam footage, the judge determined that ‘there was a powerful attempt to put words in the appellants mouth that would indicate that the incident was not a coincidence but an attempt to run over a police officer,’ Haaretz reported.”

Palestinian forced to demolish his enterprise in Jerusalem,

“The Israeli occupation authorities today forced a Palestinian to demolish his enterprise in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Mukabbir, according to local sources. They told WAFA that the Israeli municipality forced Mos‘ab Ja‘abees to tear down his own commercial facility to avoid paying exorbitant costs if the Jerusalem municipality carries out the demolition on its own. Using the pretext of illegal building, Israel demolishes houses on a regular basis to restrict Palestinian expansion in occupied Jerusalem.”

The West Bank

Israeli forces launch violent crackdown on protesters in Beita,

“Israeli forces launched a violent crackdown on Palestinian protesters in the village of Beita in the occupied West Bank on Friday, injuring dozens of people. Large numbers of armed Israeli police descended on the village, which sits south of Nablus, where they used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse the large gatherings of protesters. The demonstrations broke out after calls for the rejection of a settler outpost in Mount Sabih, or Jabal Sabih in Arabic, as well as the construction of settler expansion projects in the outskirts of the town. Further confrontations also broke out at the main entrance of Beita, where locals protested against the Israeli army’s closure of the entrance using large cement blocks to restrict the movement of people. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, emergency services dealt with 47 injuries caused as a result of the violent confrontations, with three people being transferred to hospital.”


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Settlers ramp up battle for Area C, with 14 West Bank marches,

“In a massive push to highlight the dangers of a Palestinian seizure of state lands in Area C of the West Bank, right-wing activists and settler leaders plan to hold 14 simultaneous marches late Monday afternoon. Organizers called on supporters of the settlement movement to ‘stop with their feet illegal Arab control,’ explaining that the ‘war for state lands’ had moved onto a new level. The Joint List wrote a letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to halt the marches. It also asked the international community to intervene, warning that the rallies could reignite the same level of violence that occurred in May, which led to an 11-day IDF-Hamas war…The Joint List statement said the marches were not a freedom-of-protest issue, but a well-planned provocation by extremist, colonial settler occupiers with paramilitary elements.” Also see: Calls to confront upcoming provocative settlers’ marches across West Bank (WAFA)

Israeli violence against Palestinians on the rise: Palestine,

“Israel’s violence against the Palestinians has intensified since the formation of the new Israeli government last week, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. ‘There is greater and more severe violence by the [Israeli] occupation forces against our people since the new Israeli government assumed its duties,’ the ministry said in a statement. The ministry noted that settler attacks against the Palestinians have risen under the new government, citing a series of attacks by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem…The statement also criticized the US administration for failing to pressure Israel to stop its aggression. ‘The US administration and some international parties prefer to refrain from exerting any pressure on the new Israeli government to stop its aggression and settlement building,’ the statement said. The ministry also condemned plans by Israeli settlement councils to organize rallies in the occupied West Bank against what they describe as Palestinian expansion in area C, adding that Israel will take full responsibility for settler and army attacks against Palestinians.”


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Armed settlers open gunfire at Palestinians west of Nablus,

“Armed Israeli settlers last night opened gunfire at Palestinian civilians at a main junction near the village of Deir Sharaf, to the west of Nablus city in the occupied West Bank, according to a local source. No injuries were reported. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, told reporters that armed settlers opened gunfire at Palestinian-owned shops near Deir Sharaf, before they managed to flee the scene.”


Also from WAFA:

Ariel University to award honorary doctorates to President Rivlin, Dr. Miriam Adelson,

“Samaria-based university to honor outgoing president for his ‘leadership in cultivating the affinity between Judaism and Zionism.’ Dr. Adelson will be honored ‘for her courageous partnership with Ariel University and her outstanding Zionist and humanitarian contributions for promoting medicine, education and higher education in Israel and around the world.’”


Israel struggles to restore vaccine swap deal after Palestinians reject doses for being too old,

“Israeli officials are working to revive talks to deliver vaccine doses to the Palestinian Authority after a deal Friday was suddenly called off by authority officials, who said the doses were too close to their expiration date and did not meet their standards. Some 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are still without sufficient vaccine supplies as shipments from other sources continue to lag, while Israel is mostly returning to pre-pandemic life. The announcement and cancellation of the deal has given rise to conspiracy theories and further damaged the low standing of the Palestinian Authority among its people…After the deal was canceled Friday, rumors circulated on social media that Israel, in collusion with the authority, had been trying to ‘poison’ Palestinians with expired doses. Palestinian opposition activists are calling for an independent investigation into the deal and its co-signers.”


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Gaza Strip

Bennett to Hamas: Israel's patience has run out,

“Speaking at memorial for fallen in 2014 Gaza war, prime minister warns terror group ruling coastal enclave that Israel will no longer tolerate any sort of violence or attacks, vows to bring back bodies of fallen soldiers, Israeli nationals held captive inside the Strip for years.”


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Gaza survivors face rebuilding – again – after Israel’s attack,

“…Living near the demarcation line with Israel has terrible consequences. Mithqal al-Sirsawy, 40, built his house on his land, 700 metres (2,300 feet) away from Israel. His house has been destroyed four times over the last 12 years, starting with the 2008 war. ‘My house was targeted either by the Israeli tanks or their jets in all the wars – in 2008, 2012, 2014 and in the recent one, which occurred a few weeks ago,’ he said. ‘How long shall I suffer this situation?’…Al-Sirsawy needs nearly $50,000 to reconstruct his home – an impossible amount for a spice seller who earns about $300 a month. ‘After every war, I got some assistance that was insufficient to be able to rebuild the house. The assistance equated only one-third of the amount I needed,’ he said. ‘My life has become a hell and my family has not felt safe in the house since the 2008 war,’ he said. ‘When will the wars on Gaza stop so I can live in safety with my family in our house? I think there’s no point to rebuild the house because everything we build here is being destroyed as long as the war continues.’”


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After asking Cairo to halt entry of goods to Gaza, Israel, Egypt ministers discuss reviving peace process,

“Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Friday discussed with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israeli and Egyptian media reported. This came as Lapid made a telephone call to Shoukry in an attempt to thaw the years-long political stalemate between Israel and Palestine. Lapid said that Shoukry emphasised the importance of returning to peace negotiations. Shoukri, who congratulated Lapid on the formation of the new government, also affirmed that Egypt would continue to support peace efforts in the Middle East.”


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UN to play role in new method of transferring Qatari money to Gaza — report,

“The United Nations will play a role in a new agreed-upon mechanism to facilitate the transfer of Qatari money to Gaza, a report said Saturday. The unsourced report by Channel 12 news said that the Palestinian Authority would not be involved in the transfer of the cash and that it would instead be done via the UN. Additionally, the report said the money will not be transferred in suitcases of cash, as was done in the past, and instead will reach the enclave using ‘other means,’ without giving further details.” Also see: Israel to allow transfer of Qatari funds to Gaza via UN (Al Anadolu)

Israel blocks passports from entering or exiting Gaza,

“Israel has blocked the movement of passports from Palestine to Gaza, preventing many residents of the besieged enclave from leaving to visit family members, study or work abroad, or even travel for urgent medical reasons. The issuing or renewal of passports must be done in Ramallah, but occupation authorities do not consider passports to be humanitarian items, and have blocked their entry to Gaza. Mail post has been prohibited from entering the Gaza since 8 May.”

Israel to allow Gaza 'limited' export of farm produce,

“Israel said Sunday it will allow the ‘limited export’ of farm produce from Gaza, one month after a ceasefire with the enclave’s Hamas rulers to end an 11-day onslaught. The crowded Mediterranean territory, home to around two million Palestinians, has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007. Extra restrictions since intense violence last month has meant Gaza’s farmers have been unable to export goods as usual, creating a glut of produce such as tomatoes and strawberries, causing prices to tumble. ‘Limited export of agricultural produce from the Gaza Strip’ will begin Monday, said COGAT in a statement, the Israeli military body that administers civilian affairs in Palestinian territories.”

'I'll see you after the war',

“In war zones, journalists often go to the frontlines and then at night return to their hotel or their homes, depending on whether they have been parachuted into the conflict  or live in the area. So there’s a frontline and rear base, and sometimes airstrikes that come from the sky. But in Gaza it was a 360-degree war. In this enclave, there is nowhere to go. No forward line, no rearguard position. Just war all around, from the skies and even in the ground beneath your feet, where Hamas built a labyrinth of tunnels. The families of the Gaza journalists weren’t safely miles from the fighting, protected from the violence. They were also living under the missile fire.”

Palestinians Inside the Green Line

Israeli Police Arrested Thousands Following Gaza War. Four of Them Tell Their Stories,

“With the ratio of Arab-to-Jewish indictees at nine to one, a civil rights group is calling the action ‘a militarized war against Palestinian citizens of Israel.’ The police deny any accusations of discrimination.”

TV: Police chief formally okays use of low-caliber bullets for riots in Israel,

“In the wake of rioting and unrest that swept a number of mixed Jewish-Arab cities last month, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai has approved the use of a controversial form of live ammunition as a crowd-control method within Israel, Kan news reported Sunday. According to the report, Shabtai approved the use of low-caliber Ruger rounds, a type of munition normally used for riot dispersal in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as it is considered less lethal than the larger caliber rounds typically used by the military. However, such rounds can kill, especially if used incorrectly. The use of the controversial rifle has been cited as a cause of death for Palestinians in clashes with Israeli troops.”

Israeli police detain 11 Palestinians in Deir al-Asad,

“As part of an ongoing crackdown targeting the native Palestinian population in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1948, Israeli police last night detained 11 Palestinians during a raid of Deir al-Asad town in the Galilee region. The latest arrests followed a day of clashes with the Israeli police against the backdrop of the latter’s attack of a wedding ceremony held yesterday in the town. The raid yesterday saw police officers physically assaulting participants and firing in the air, and a young man, said to be in the thirties, was seriously injured as a result.”


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Israel arrests Arab suspects in mob killing of Jewish man,

“Israeli police said Sunday they have arrested eight Arab suspects in the killing of an Israeli Jewish man during a wave of ethnic violence last month…The police and Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said six Arab residents of Lod and two Palestinians from the West Bank were arrested on suspicion of hurling stones at Yehoshua’s car. He died from his injuries several days later, on May 17, and his kidney was donated to an Arab woman. Israeli prosecutors plan to charge seven of the suspects with murder. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett congratulated the security forces. ‘Every enemy and terrorist that tries to hurt us must know — the state of Israel will put its hands on every wrongdoer sooner or later and will bring them to justice,’ he said in a statement.” Also see: 41-year-old Arab indicted for attempted murder during Akko riots (Arutz Sheva)

Leading Palestinian Islamic figure is freed from detention for duration of his trial,

“Israel’s Nazareth District Court ruled on Sunday afternoon, 20 June 2021, to immediately release leading Palestinian Islamic figure Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib from detention following an appeal filed 10 days earlier by his legal defense team against a lower court decision to keep him in detention until the end of legal proceedings against him. The Israeli prosecutor had filed an indictment for incitement charges against Sheikh Khatib on 27 May 2021 and the attorney general at that time approved the state’s request to keep him in detention until the end of his trial. Adalah General Director Attorney Dr. Hassan Jabareen, together with Adalah Attorney Rabea Eghbariah, and attorneys Hassan Tabajah and Omar Khamaisi, appealed to the court to schedule an urgent hearing and order the full release of Khatib or, alternatively, release him under proportionate restrictive conditions appropriate to the alleged offenses attributed to him.”

Three Palestinian prisoners remain on hunger strike in Israeli jails,

“Three Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention are currently on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of their administrative detention, without a charge or trial, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, 28 years old, from the town of Dura, south of Hebron, has been on hunger strike for the 47 days in protest of being detained without a charge or trial. He’s currently held captive in Kaplan Medical Center. Khader Adnan, 43, from Jenin, also remains on his hunger strike for the 22nd day in a row in protest of his administrative detention. He’s currently held in difficult conditions in Al-Jalma Detention Center. Jamal Al-Taweel, 59 years old, from Ramallah, continues his hunger strike for the 18th day in a row, against to the Israeli authorities’ continued administrative detention of his daughter, journalist Bushra Al-Taweel. He’s currently held in solitary confinement in Hasharon Prison.”

Israeli Bedouin Community Says Planned Nature Reserve Will End Way of Life,

“A plan to set up a new nature reserve east of Haifa on 10,000 dunams is raising strong objections from the area’s Bedouin residents, who say the plan will prohibit them from shepherding their sheep flocks and cultivating their lands as they have been doing for more than 100 years.” Also see: Israel’s Bedouin doubtful of positive change under new government (Times of Israel)

A prayer for Lydd: Maps and memories that the Nakba could never erase,

“Israel’s assault on our land and people did not erase my family’s identity. Today, our stories keep our history in Lydd alive.

US Scene

Poll: Most US voters support conditioning military support to Israel,

“A majority of US citizens support conditioning defense assistance to Israel, a poll conducted at around the same time as the latest round of fighting between Israel and Gazan armed groups has shown. Respondents were asked if they would back legislation that ‘would stop Israel from spending US taxpayer dollars on the military detention of Palestinian children; the seizure or destruction of Palestinian property and homes; or, support for Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territory.’ The poll by Data for Progress, a progressive polling firm, showed that 55% of US citizens were in favor of such moves, while 29% opposed it. The widening gap between Democratic and Republican voters was shown with 72% of Democrats, 57% of independents, and 36% of Republicans supporting the idea.”


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Politicians, academics and Nobel laureates urge Biden to end Israeli 'oppression',

“More than 680 global leaders, from politicians and Nobel laureates to leading academics and peace advocates, have called on US President Joe Biden to honour his commitments towards protecting the human rights of Palestinians. In an open letter published earlier this week, the group called on Biden to put ‘human rights at the centre of US foreign policy’ and to ‘help bring an end to Israel’s institutionalised domination and oppression of the Palestinian people.’”

With Gaza Simmering and Iran Deal in Works, Israeli Army Chief (Finally) Heads to Washington,

“Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi was scheduled to leave to the United States late Saturday night for a visit that’s been postponed three times already, the last time at the end of April. This time, too, Kochavi leaves behind a tense and unstable situation on the border of the Gaza Strip. Unlike the visits that were canceled, this time Kochavi will enjoy much broader room for maneuvering in talking to his hosts about the ways to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat.” Also see: Israeli army chief heading to Washington to restore mutual trust (Al-Monitor)

PA delegation in Washington for first security consultations of Biden era,

“A high-level Palestinian security delegation arrived in Washington this week for consultations with their American counterparts, two sources familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel Saturday. They were the first such meetings since US President Joe Biden took office five months ago. The delegation from Ramallah was headed by Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Services chief Majed Faraj.”

Why Democrats Shouldn't Rush to Embrace Israel's New Government,

“President Biden and the Democrats cannot cut Israel slack on the occupation just because Netanyahu is out. There should be no ‘bipartisan support’ for the subjugation of Palestinians.”

It Took a Police Crackdown to Get Israeli-Operated Cargo Unloaded in Seattle,

“For weeks, pro-Palestine protesters physically prevented the unloading of Israeli-operated cargo that had entered the Port of Seattle. It finally took a violent crackdown by Seattle police to get the ship unloaded.”

Israeli Scene

When It’s in Israelis' Interest Not to Believe the Palestinians,

“The healthy distrust Israelis display toward official statements by government and private entities that have a say in their own socioeconomic situation, vanishes in the context of the occupation.”

Lacking a Majority, Israel Delays Vote on Palestinian Family Reunification Ban,

“The heads of the parties from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition decided Sunday to postpone the vote on extending a controversial family reunification order until they reach an agreement that ensures a necessary majority, in what has become a major early test for the patchwork government…If the temporary order expires, it will have little practical significance, since Shaked can still reject Palestinian requests to be naturalized following their marriage to Israeli citizens…”


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Coalition MK to co-host ‘occupation-apartheid’ Knesset event,

“Two lawmakers from the coalition and opposition are set to host an event in the Knesset on Tuesday titled ‘After 54 years: From Occupation to Apartheid.’ The event is to be hosted by MK Aida Touma-Sliman of the opposition Joint List and MK Mossi Raz of Meretz, a party that is a member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government. Raz’s involvement is sure to raise hackles within the coalition, which was formed under the understanding that its rightist and leftist parties would avoid contentious issues in order not to rock the boat. Amichai Chikli, a rebel MK from Bennett’s Yamina party, labeled the event ‘a disgrace’ and on Monday sent a letter asking the Knesset’s legal adviser and events department to prevent the participation of organizations he said were working against Israel in the international arena.”


Lapid said planning to make first trip as foreign minister to UAE,

“Lapid will be first minister to visit UAE since signing of Abraham Accords, signaling intent to bolster initiatives that were hallmark of Netanyahu and Trump administration.”

UNSC meeting to discuss implementation of resolution 2334 on settlements,

“Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Representative of Palestine to the United Nations, said today that the UN Security Council will hold a session next Thursday to follow up the implementation of resolution 2334 on Israeli settlements. He told official Voice of Palestine radio that the meeting will follow up on the ongoing Israeli violations on the ground, including the demolition of homes and the displacement of citizens in occupied Jerusalem. Mansour said the meeting comes as part of the diplomatic efforts of the State of Palestine, with a view to achieve permanent ceasefire in Gaza and provide international protection to our people.” Also see: Security Council to Discuss Israeli Violations Next Week (Asharq al-Awsat)

Chilean lawmakers seek to sanction imports from Israeli settlements in Palestine,

“Wearing the traditional Palestinian headscarf, Chilean deputies from 12 parties have recently drafted a bill that seeks to sanction merchandise, goods and services imports from Israeli colonies in occupied Palestinian territories, considered illegal by international law. The action by parliament is in response to the escalation of violence in which more than 250 Palestinians were killed in May by Israel, and after a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report indicated that there are crimes against humanity, apartheid and persecution in occupied territories. ‘This report recommends that the UN member states be able to take action in this regard. It is evident that, like Chile, we can give clear signals that what is happening in Palestinian territory are abhorrent crimes against humanity and we cannot be immune to that,’ Sergio Gahona, deputy of the Independent Democratic Union party and author of the project, told Anadolu Agency.”


Report on Palestinian Textbooks,

“Palestinian textbooks are produced and located within an environment saturated with ongoing occupation, conflict, and violence, which they in turn reflect. The analysis revealed a complex picture: 1) the textbooks adhere to UNESCO standards and adopt criteria that are prominent in international education discourse, including a strong focus on human rights, 2) they express a narrative of resistance within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and 3) they display an antagonism towards Israel.” Also see: EU finally releases report of incitement, antisemitism in PA textbooks (Jerusalem Post) & response from EUMep’s Martin Konecny on Twitter (starting with – “This piece by Jerusalem Post’s @LahavHarkov about the new EU-funded report on Palestinian textbooks is itself a textbook example of disinformation, totally misleading the readers about what the report says. Consider just a few examples…”]

Narratives and Social Media: Palestinians’ Uphill Battle,

“Earlier this year, Facebook launched its human rights policy during a session at the Palestine Digital Activism Forum (PDAF 2021), stressing its goal ‘to be a place for equality, safety, dignity, and free speech.’ Ironically, one of the first instances in which Facebook breached these standards was in its removal of Palestinian content, as Palestinians were among the first to experience content ‘over-moderation’ and digital discrimination on the platform, representing the continuation of a longstanding issue. During May, Palestinians demonstrated in the streets due to an escalation of Israeli violations, which necessitated documentation and dissemination of these attacks in an attempt to draw the attention of the international community and gain greater international solidarity by highlighting the ethnic cleansing attempts and forced displacement against Palestinians. Palestinians faced an escalation in the suppression of their voices and narratives through social media platforms—specifically Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok—whether by taking down content, suspending accounts, or even deleting archival stories, as happened on Instagram specifically related to ethnic cleansing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.”