Top News from Palestine & Israel: May 20, 2021

What We’re Reading

Gaza // Potential Ceasefire // Updates

Israel agrees to ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza in talks with Egypt - report,

Israel has agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday evening. The news channel said that Israeli officials have updated the Egyptian mediator brokering the negotiations that it agrees to end its military operation.”


See also: 

  • “White House says reports of emerging ceasefire are ‘encouraging'” (ToI)
  • “Heavy Gaza rocket barrages fired at south; reports of possible Friday ceasefire” (ToI)
  • “Israel shot down armed Iranian drone near border with Jordan – Netanyahu” (JPost)
  • Hamas predicts imminent Gaza ceasefire as Israel rejects calls for calm” (Middle East Eye)
  • “Few signs of ‘imminent’ cease-fire as Israeli airstrikes, Hamas rockets continue” (Washington Post)
  • “Renewed violence over Gaza despite ceasefire moves gaining speed” (Reuters)
  • Escalation in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel | Flash Update #9 covering 12:00 18 May – 12:00 19 May” (OCHA
  • 72% of Israelis believe military action against Gaza should continue” (i24
  • Al-Haq Calls for International Investigation into Attacks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including attacks on Journalists, Media Buildings and Civilian Infrastructure” (Al Haq
  • “Humanitarian groups providing aid in Gaza face steep barriers” (Washington Post) 

UN says lives of children in Gaza ‘hell on earth’: Live,

“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the UN General Assembly on Thursday that “if there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza”. Guterres called for an “immediate end” to the fighting and said he was “deeply shocked by the continued air and artillery bombardment” by Israeli forces on Gaza.”


See also: 

  • “These civilians died in Israeli raid on their homes in Gaza City” (Al Monitor)
  • “50 Gaza schools damaged in Israeli strikes, Save The Children says” (Al Monitor)
  • Gaza: Israeli air raid kills disabled man, pregnant wife, child” (Al Jazeera)
  • “Israel’s so-called surgical strikes target surgical wards” (Anadolu)
  • “They aim to kill’: Gaza doctors recount experiences as war rages” (Al Jazeera)
  • ‘I Was Surrounded by Death’: Gaza Father Is Rescued, Emerging to Grief” (NYT)
  • “‘This time is different’: Gaza journalists on Israeli bombardment” (Al Jazeera)

'His death is a catastrophe': Gaza doctors mourn specialist killed in air strike,

“Without warning, an Israeli air strike destroyed the four-storey building in the Gaza Strip where Dr Ayman Abu al-Ouf lived early on Sunday. The doctor, who was head of internal medicine at the Palestinian territory’s main hospital, was killed along with 12 members of his extended family….As well as being in charge of internal medicine at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Dr Abu al-Ouf oversaw its response to the coronavirus pandemic. He supervised the treatment of an entire ward of people with severe Covid-19 in a place where there are few specialists in respiratory illnesses. He also trained students from two local medical schools.”

What is behind Israel’s targeting of prominent buildings in Gaza?,

“According to Gaza’s ministry of government information, six high-rise buildings – all iconic city landmarks – have been flattened by Israeli fighter jets since the bombardment began on May 10. They are part of the more than 184 residential and commercial properties that have been destroyed, including buildings that housed 33 media institutions….“These targets, which have directly affected civilians immeasurably, are aimed to damage the reputation of the armed groups by creating a gap between them in terms of support,” Abu Ramadan said. “Driving Palestinians to demand these groups to stop firing rockets at Israel means a loss of popular support, and that is what Israel is banking on.””

Analysis | Gaza’s Destruction: An Unbearable Humanitarian and Financial Toll,

“The direct material damage to infrastructure and buildings in the Gaza Strip, as of Wednesday, is estimated at about a quarter of a billion dollars. Of this figure, provided by the head of Hamas’ information office, Salameh Maaruf, some $92 million dollars of damage was done to residential housing and the offices of various non-governmental organizations throughout the Strip. With every additional day of fighting, this figure grows. Gaza’s power grid has also been damaged, incurring an estimated $22 million in damage as of Tuesday. The electricity supply has been reduced to three or four hours a day due to the impaired facilities. Gazans who operate neighborhood generators, which provide electricity to residents for a steep fee, announced that their services will be limited due to the shortage of fuel, which so far Israel has not allowed in through the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing. The limited electricity supply has badly impaired Gaza’s water system. More than 95 percent of the water drawn from the Gaza aquifer is unfit for drinking, and must be purified and desalinated. These facilities depend on electricity to operate, as do the sewage treatment plants and pumps. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Palestinian Water Authority announced that because of the shutdown or limited operation of water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, the water supply has plummeted by more than 40 percent.”


See also “Rafah goes into blackout following Israeli artillery strikes” (WAFA)

Report: Cease-fire Talks May Lead to Return of Israeli Captives, Bodies of IDF Soldiers Held by Hamas,

“Hamas may repatriate several longtime Israeli captives in exchange for Jerusalem allowing the passage of goods and funds into Gaza to resume, sources familiar with backchannel negotiations to end the latest round of fighting have told the New York Times. A senior Israeli official said that a truce with Hamas will strive to include the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, as well as two Israeli civillians, Hisham al-Sayed and Avera Mengistu, who are being held captive in the enclave, the Times reported on Thursday.

New episode of "Occupied Thoughts" podcast: Palestinians Strike – w/ Salem Barahmeh & Kristin McCarthy,

In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” FMEP’s Kristin McCarthy is joined by Salem Barahmeh to discuss the general strike Palestinians across Palestine led on Tuesday, May 18th.

Europe sends Israel mixed signals on cease-fire with Hamas,

“Israeli diplomacy is fully mobilized against campaigns across the globe in support of Gaza Palestinians. Yesterday, European High representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell convened a special meeting of European Union foreign ministers. Borrell’s words concluding the meeting surprised no one in Jerusalem, but the dynamics in Brussels left room for interpretation. Speaking to reporters following the videoconference, Borrell admitted that unanimity was not reached with only 26 out of the 27 ministers agreeing after the long debate that filled the afternoon. The outlier was Hungary. Lacking unanimity, no written conclusions were published.”

See also 

  • “U.S. says no to French push for U.N. Mideast action” (Reuters)
  • German, Czech, Slovakian FMs head to Jerusalem to show support” (JPost)

Biden’s warning to Israel shakes up diplomacy — and politics,

“President Biden’s unusually blunt demand Wednesday that Israel de-escalate its military attack on Gaza is creating a rare rift between the two countries and dismaying some of Israel’s supporters in the United States, while heartening Democrats who have increasingly pushed for a tougher U.S. stance toward Israel.” See also: “US held more than 60 high-level diplomatic meetings to end Gaza violence” (ToI)

Jerusalem / West Bank

Insiders’ Jerusalem Special Edition: Large-Scale Displacement from Sheikh Jarrah to Silwan ,

“The pending evictions in Sheikh Jarrah are by no means unique, and there are at least two other East Jerusalem neighborhoods or communities, Batan al Hawa and Al Bustan, both in Silwan, which face similar prospect of large-scale displacement. In each of these cases, the issues of displacement and eviction are being played out in Israeli courts and under Israeli law, while at the same time raising important questions concerning the rights and protections under international law. However, the legalities and statutory intricacies disclose only a part what dramatic developments unfolding in East Jerusalem. Consequently, our discussion will zoom out in order to explain the historical background and context of the current threat of large-scale displacement in the heart of Jerusalem. We will examine the nature of Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, and the manner in which Israeli laws are being used and abused. This is also the stories of the protagonists – the Palestinian families currently at risk, their stories, and the settlers who seek to replace them. At the end of the day, the answers to these questions will lead to one, inescapable and overwhelming meta-question: does Israel have the legal and moral right, and the necessary legitimacy and authority, to displace the residents of entire Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, and replace them with settlers?”

Occupation army detains dozens of Palestinians in West Bank,

“The Israeli occupation army carried out a large-scale detention campaign across the occupied West Bank today and last night, during which dozens of Palestinian civilians were arrested and taken into Israeli custody, according to Palestinian security and local sources.”

Also from WAFA:

Inside the Green Line / '48 Israel

Palestinians mourn teenager shot by Israeli police,

“Palestinian citizens of Israel are mourning the killing of Muhammad Mahmoud Kiwan by Israeli police. The 17-year-old high school student from Umm Al-Fahm in northern Israel was pronounced dead yesterday after being shot last week. Muhammad participated in a peaceful protest with other Palestinian youths on 12 May against the Israeli evictions of families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied Jerusalem. The protesters were confronted by the police, and the Palestinian boy was shot in the head.”

See also: “Arab-Israeli MKs and civic leaders call on international community to act” (Middle East Eye) 


Umm al-Fahm observes general strike in protest of teen killing by Israeli police,

“Palestinians in the city of Umm al-Fahm in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1948 embarked today on a one-day general strike in protest of the death of a 17-year-old teenager at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces earlier this week.”

Palestinian 'in intensive care' after stabbing by Israeli mob in Holon: report,

A Palestinian man was critically injured on Wednesday in an alleged stabbing attack by a right-wing Israeli mob, according to the Arab48 news website.” See also “Palestinian worker stabbed, critically wounded by settler fanatics in Holon” (WAFA)

'We want this to end': No normal life for Israelis in range of Hamas rockets,

“”I know that in Gaza [it] is more difficult. They don’t have the military power that we have and they don’t have anywhere to run. They have no shelters…They usually say about [Sderot] that 90 percent of the time it’s heaven, and 10 percent it’s hell,” Dabush said. “But when there are rockets from Gaza, it’s 100 percent hell.” “The Israeli media likes to highlight voices that are calling to continue the attack on Gaza until Hamas is destroyed,” Dabush said. “This is very frustrating, because in reality people want to go back to a normal life – they want this to finish.”

Philippines temporarily stops ‘sending workers to Israel’,

“Three of 12 people killed in Israel since fighting began were foreign workers. Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III told ABS-CBN on Thursday that workers from his country will no longer be allowed to travel to Israel “until we can ensure their safety.””

In Israel’s Mixed Jewish-Palestinian Towns, Old Frustrations Boil Into Violence,

“We must do everything possible to secure a ceasefire and bring security to our communities. Yet we must not return to the status quo, for a return to so-called normalcy means normalizing occupation, siege, and segregation. It will only serve as a Band-Aid on a deep wound that is bound to, sooner or later, reopen again with yet more bloodshed. For far too long, the world has turned a blind eye to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. To prevent continued bloodshed, the international community must act decisively to end Israeli impunity, ensure Israel meets its obligations under international law, and respects the human rights of all people, irrespective of their nationality or religion. A true democracy will only be achieved when Jewish supremacy is replaced with full equality for all of us.”

Peaceful coexistence in Israel hasn’t been shattered – it’s always been a myth,

“As the Palestinian death toll continues to rise, commentators lament the shattering of coexistence inside Israel between Palestinian and Jewish citizens. Yet in my experience as a Palestinian citizen in Israel, no such coexistence existed in the first place. Coexistence implies a background of equality, freedom and mutual respect. In the context of Israel’s rule over us, however, coexistence is a fiction that conceals a reality of separate and unequal lives….Forced displacement, confiscation of lands, an inferior juridical status and incarceration are realities shared by all Palestinians, whether “inside” Israel or in the occupied territories… Our protest is asserting the unity of an anti-colonial struggle for equality and freedom.”

See also “After Widespread Civil Unrest in Israeli Cities, Over 90 Percent of Those Indicted Are Arabs” (Haaretz)

General Strike Highlights Israel's Dependency on Palestinian Workers,

“The Israel Builders Association said the strike over the situation in Gaza, Jerusalem and in mixed cities across Israel paralyzed building sites, causing estimated losses of nearly $40 million…According to the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, the level of response to the call to strike was “unprecedented.” Mudar Younis, chairman of the Committee of Arab Local Council Heads, said he believes more than half the Arab public participated in the strike. “Everything was closed, people held a quiet protest to remind the Israeli public that we are a substantial part, that you can’t manage without Arab citizens,” he said.”


See also “Rights group: Firing Arab workers over their solidarity with Gaza ‘illegal’” (Middle East Eye)

Editorial | To Protect Its Citizens, Israel Must Say No to Arming Civilians,

“Horrifyingly, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana is the one encouraging the establishment of armed militias. “If the police can’t be everywhere and at every incident, it’s the right of citizens to protect themselves with weapons, certainly now with the riots in the city,” the minister in charge of the police said last week….The newly licensed firearm owners will join the approximately 145,000 civilians already licensed to own weapons. When to this is added the number of illegal firearms in Arab communities, the result is a certain recipe for civil war. This phenomenon is particularly worrisome when viewed through the prism of violence in the family – especially toward women. Instead of allowing this uncontrolled arming of civilians, the country’s leadership has the responsibility to protect people and give them a sense of security.” 

Settlers pull plug on telecom firm over its act for Jewish-Arab coexistence,

“Several Jewish settlement councils and right-wing organizations on Tuesday announced they were cutting ties with major telecommunications company Cellcom, after the company halted work for an hour on Tuesday to protest Jewish-Arab mob violence in Israel in the past week.” See also: “Israeli Telecom Giant Appealed for Jewish-Arab Solidarity. It Didn’t End Well” (Haaretz)

Tel Aviv was long known as ‘the Bubble’ for its distance from war. This time is different.,

“In past conflicts between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, Tel Aviv had mostly remained out of the line of fire. But over the last week, repeated barrages of Hamas rockets have put the residents of this coastal city — long known as “the Bubble” or “the State of Tel Aviv” to denote its distance from Israel’s many wars — on the front line….On Saturday night alone, more rockets were fired at the Tel Aviv area than during all of the 50-day Israel-Gaza war in 2014, according to Maj. Gen. Uri Gordin, who leads Israel’s Home Front Command.”

US Policy & Scene

Ocasio-Cortez leading effort to block arms sale to Israel,

“A group of progressive House Democrats led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) introduced a resolution Wednesday aimed at blocking a $735 million arms sale to Israel. The resolution is largely symbolic as Democratic leaders who support the sale are unlikely to give the legislation a vote and the window for lawmakers to force a vote to block the sale closes in a couple of days. But the effort underscores the growing divide among Democrats on Israel as a bloody crisis in Gaza continues.” See also “Progressive Legislators to Introduce Resolution Blocking Bomb Sale to Israel” (Jewish Currents)

Sen. Bernie Sanders to introduce resolution of disapproval on $735 million U.S. arms sale to Israel,

“Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is preparing to introduce a resolution on Thursday disapproving of the U.S. sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, according to a draft obtained by The Washington Post….“At a moment when U.S.-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a congressional debate,” Sanders said in a statement to The Post.” See also: “Sanders to offer resolution on Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire” (The Hill)

Biden's missing man in Jerusalem,

“An unusual public lobbying campaign over two names in particular is drawing controversy. Following reports that Biden plans to nominate Tom Nides, a banker and former State Department official, some lawmakers and activists are pushing back. They are urging Biden to instead choose Robert Wexler, an ex-lawmaker who’s spent years to trying to end the decades-old conflict….It’s unusual to see an open fight like this over an ambassadorship, and it underscores how much the Israeli-Palestinian issue still resonates in Washington, even as the politics around it are changing.”

GOP Sen. Todd Young backpedals on call for Gaza cease-fire,

“Days after issuing a bipartisan statement calling on Israel and Hamas to reach a cease-fire “quickly,” Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) backed away from his initial position on Wednesday, calling for Israel to take out Hamas’ infrastructure.”

Pinpointing where Democrats are on Israel,

“Pro-Israel Democrats are grappling with how to reconcile widespread support for the Jewish state with vocal and occasionally misleading attacks from an outspoken faction of the party amid escalating violence between Israel and Hamas….Even a pair of well-established Israel supporters in the Senate have veered from their usual pronouncements. On Saturday, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said he was “deeply troubled” by Israel’s recent military actions, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been conspicuously reticent on the issue. Still, longtime pro-Israel advocates in the party argue that support for the Jewish state remains strong even as social media platforms like Twitter appear to have empowered the Democratic Party’s more extreme Israel critics.” 

Rep. Mark Pocan: Iron Dome should avert need for Israeli retaliatory strikes,

“Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), a left-wing Democrat who has frequently been vocally critical of Israel, argued on Wednesday that Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system should remove the need for it to launch its own strikes in response to terrorist rocket attacks, as it largely prevents rockets from striking Israel. “I’ve always supported the Iron Dome. Because the idea is when a missile comes in, if you take it out, no one’s been killed on either side, and there’s de-escalation,” Pocan, who organized an hour of speeches on the House floor criticizing Israel last week, told reporters. “If you use it for that purpose, then you still send 20 times the number of missiles back, that’s not the intention.”…“You can’t justify taking out media buildings, roads to hospitals, scores of children. This is not what this is about,” Pocan claimed.”

Iran 'dangerous' for world peace by targeting Israel, Bush says, warning 2-state solution 'very difficult’,

“When asked about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence, Bush told Fox News that what “you’re seeing playing out is Iranian influence targeted toward Israel.””

The ‘Unshakable’ Bonds of Friendship With Israel Are Shaking,

“If you oppose war crimes only by your enemies, it’s not clear that you actually oppose war crimes…Why should our tax dollars subsidize a rain of destruction that has killed scores of children, damaged 17 hospitals and clinics and forced 72,000 people to flee their homes?”

Support for the Palestinians Is Growing in Washington, and It's Not Just About Gaza,

“While speaking out in support of Palestinians has long been viewed as a taboo with immense political costs, Munayyer argues that elected officials are now perceiving costs for not speaking up about it….One of the most notable elements of the statements in recent weeks is the variety of ways these lawmakers have related to Palestinians. They discussed their own experiences with pol”ice brutality, facing racial and religious discrimination, being child refugees resulting from war, and experiencing how U.S. aid contributes to state violence. For Munayyer, this indicates how natural the groundswell of support is for Palestinians. “People are genuinely wrestling with the very real contradictions between these aspirational values and the real stuff that’s happening on the ground, and they are connecting to it in their own ways,” he says. “It really speaks to how organic this change is and how much it is being driven from the bottom.”” See also “US discourse is shifting on Israel-Palestine but policy yet to change” (Middle East Eye)  

Gaza Conflict Stokes ‘Identity Crisis’ for Young American Jews,

“Many Jews in America remain unreservedly supportive of Israel and its government. Still, the events of recent weeks have left some families struggling to navigate both the crisis abroad and the wide-ranging response from American Jews at home. What is at stake is not just geopolitical, but deeply personal. Fractures are intensifying along lines of age, observance and partisan affiliation.”

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators assault Jews in Los Angeles,

“Groups of pro-Palestinian protesters attacked Jews in two separate incidents in Los Angeles this week. Authorities are investigating one of the incidents as a possible hate crime.”

Europe & UK

UK Palestine activists shut down Israeli drone maker's factory in Leicester,

“Pro-Palestinian activists in the English city of Leicester have shut down a factory operated by UAV Tactical Systems, a subsidiary of the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems….The factory builds unmanned aerial vehicles that the protesters say have been used by Israel to attack the Gaza Strip.” Also see “Pro-Palestinian activists storm UK factory co-owned by Israeli firm Elbit” (JPost)

Europe’s Worrying Surge of Antisemitism,

“Much of it comes from traditional quarters of the far-right, and more recently from those protesting Covid-19 restrictions. Yet last weekend’s incidents – some of which took place during or after pro-Palestinian protests in European capitals – are a reminder that antisemitism is also found among some who claim to support the Palestinian cause. These anti-Semites use human rights abuses by the Israeli state against Palestinians as cover for hatred of Jews everywhere ….Pro-Palestinian activists, the Palestinian Mission to the United Kingdom, and Muslim religious leaders in Europe are among those condemning efforts to instrumentalize the suffering of Palestinians to justify hate against Jews.” Also see “Israeli-Palestinian strife feeds a spate of anti-Semitic acts in Europe” (NYT)

U.K. Jews Warn of ‘Nonstop’ Antisemitic Incidents During Gaza Fighting,

“The verbal, physical and online targeting of Jews has soared as the conflict entered its second week. While there is a long-established pattern of conflict in the Middle East spurring increased attacks on Diaspora Jews, many communal figures in Britain say this round of violence feels more extreme.”

Israeli Politics & Scene

Netanyahu’s prospects bolstered amid Israel-Hamas fighting,

“Now, as Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers wage their fourth war in just over a decade, Netanyahu’s fortunes have changed dramatically. His rivals’ prospects have crumbled, Netanyahu is back in his comfortable role as Mr. Security, and the country could soon be headed for yet another election campaign that would guarantee him at least several more months in office.”

Opinion | Netanyahu Needs a Strong Hamas in Gaza,

“Ever since Netanyahu came to power in 2009, he signed “an unwritten pact with Hamas,” in the words of Haim Ramon, a former deputy prime minister and justice minister. The deal was designed to thwart the Palestinian Authority and its leader, perpetuating the rift between Hamas in Gaza and the PA in the West Bank in order to weaken President Mahmoud Abbas and maintain the diplomatic freeze, based on the claim that the PA doesn’t represent all Palestinians.”

Israel must talk to Hamas to improve the situation in Gaza - opinion,

“This round will end probably like the previous rounds, yet Netanyahu’s achievements are impressive. He thwarted the formation of a government led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. He distanced the threat of Arab participation in the government, which disrupts the Zionist system. He succeeded in canceling the Palestinian elections that threatened to bring about reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. He weakened Hamas. He weakened Abbas to the ground and ignited the revolt among young people in the West Bank enough to preserve the opinion in Israel that there is no Palestinian partner. He gave the most violent settlers a free hand to remind Arab-Israelis who is in charge here. He legitimized Itamar Ben-Gvir to such an extent that he is the most interviewed politician in Israel after Netanyahu….Nothing will change until we have new leaders. We need statesmen and not the small politicians we have been overly blessed with…In the meantime, I suggest to countries that want to help: recognize the state of Palestine and start talking to Hamas. The chances of bringing about moderation to Hamas’s positions are a thousand times better through speaking than as a result of air force shelling by Israel.”

Media / Tech

Social networks accused of censoring Palestinian content,

“In a recent panel discussion on Al Jazeera’s show The Stream, Marwa Fatafta, of the human-rights advocacy group Access Now, said this is not a new problem, and has recently gotten worse.“Activists and journalists and users of social media have been decrying this kind of censorship for years,” she said. “But I’ve been writing about this topic for a long time, and I have not seen anything of this scale. It’s so brazen and so incredible, it’s beyond censorship—it’s digital repression. They are actively suppressing the narrative of Palestinians or those who are documenting these war crimes.”

Google Won't Say If It Will Update Its Blurry Maps of Gaza,

“Google has refused to say whether it plans to update Google Maps with high-resolution imagery of the Israel and Gaza region now that a law banning such imagery has been lifted. For years, public satellite imagery of the region has been blurry because of a U.S. regulation that limited the quality and availability of such images. The law was lifted last year and at least one company Google Maps has used now offers higher resolution images of the area… High-resolution imagery can be of vital importance to open source researchers who use satellite photographs to corroborate what exactly is happening during times of conflict….Images like this would be particularly useful during the current conflict in Gaza…But nearly a year later, Google Maps, and Apple’s and Microsoft’s own map products, are still using low-resolution imagery for the region.”

Facebook deploys special team as Israel-Gaza conflict spreads across social media,

“Facebook Inc set up a 24-7 “special operations center” last week to respond to content posted on its platform about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid violence in the region, the company said on Wednesday.”

Venmo is halting some payments referring to Palestine,

“After a week of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, many people in the U.S. have turned to Venmo to raise money for Palestinian relief efforts. But a number of Venmo users have discovered that the payment app is delaying transactions that include the words “Palestine Relief fund.” Venmo acknowledged the issue to Rest of World, and indicated that it was related to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which keeps track of countries and individuals under U.S. sanctions.”

Analysis // Long Read

Arms trade: Which countries and companies are selling weapons to Israel?,

“Israel’s ongoing bombardment of the besieged enclave, which has now killed at least 213 people, including 61 children, likely constitutes a war crime, according to Amnesty International. Hamas’ thousands of indiscriminate rockets fired north from Gaza, which have killed 12 people, may also be a war crime, according to the rights group. But while Hamas has bombs mostly put together from homemade and smuggled materials, which are dangerous because they are unguided, Israel has state of the art, precision weaponry and its own booming arms industry. It is the eighth biggest arms exporter on the planet. Israel’s military arsenal is also propped up by imports of billions of dollars worth of weapons from abroad. These are the countries and companies supplying Israel with weapons, despite its track record of war crimes accusations.”

In the Middle East, Give War a Chance | Opinion,

“An intractable enemy must be destroyed. The cost of the war must be so great that Hamas will not be able to repeat its periodic foray of violence, its continual mobilization of wars of attrition. If the dog is to survive, then the fleas must be destroyed in their earliest stages. There is no giving peace yet another chance. For Israel, only war will solve its problem with an intractable enemy hell-bent on its destruction. It is time for Israel to ignore the international community that will rebuild Hamas’ military capacity and to give war a chance.”

Sheikh Jarrah: Epicentre of Israel's plan for Jewish supremacy in Jerusalem,

“In addition to Nahalat Shimon’s planned 200-unit residential building in Sheikh Jarrah, another settler group, Ateret Cohanim, reportedly leased a 10-acre olive grove in the neighbourhood from the Israel Land Administration – even though the grove belongs to an Arab company that had previously requested permission to develop it. Nearby, Canadian philanthropists Max and Gianna Glassman are funding the development of a conference centre. Some Israeli officials are candid about the stakes in Sheikh Jarrah and throughout occupied East Jerusalem. Two decades ago, a master plan for Jerusalem set a goal of limiting the city’s Arab population to 30 percent, although that was later adjusted to 40 percent. During a tour of Sheikh Jarrah in 2002, former Knesset member Binyamim Elon explained that the “strategic plan for the city” was to ensure “a belt of Jewish continuity from east to west”.”

People of conscience: Palestinians ask you to boycott Israel,

“BDS has drastically redefined solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality, as an ethical obligation to end complicity, above everything else. In the face of flagrant oppression anywhere, apathy and inaction are immoral, when one has the ability to act without suffering significantly.”

See also: “Companies Boycotting Israel Can’t Do Business With These U.S. States” (Newsweek) 

Want to help Israelis? Become an anti-Zionist,

“Israeli pain has long been exploited by the regime and its supporters to justify violence toward Palestinians. It’s a cynical tactic. It focuses on our wounds not in order to heal them, but in order to perpetuate endless violence that will only lead to more wounds — mostly Palestinian wounds, but very much Israeli wounds too.” 

Fighting in Gaza Marks the Start of a More Violent Era,

“Yet whatever its accidental quality, the latest round of violence will have enduring consequences. Hamas will emerge from the conflict stronger and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president weaker. Violence between Israeli Arabs and Jews will eventually abate, but Arab perceptions of systemic discrimination will grow—as will a belief that a search for equality within Israel is inherently futile. Jerusalem’s symbolic role will also expand, deepening the conflict’s religious dimensions. Among many Israelis and Palestinians, these developments mark the return to an older phase of the conflict. The last two weeks have reinforced a belief that their relationship is again existential and zero-sum, that diplomacy to resolve the conflict is futile and violence inevitable.”