Top News from Palestine & Israel: November 10, 2020

What We’re Reading

Remembering Saeb Erekat

Saeb Erekat: A tireless advocate for the Palestinian people,

“The passing of top Palestinian official Saeb Erekat is a sad and consequential moment for all those who worked to advance a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians over the past three decades. It comes at a time when the Palestinians find themselves at a difficult juncture. Today, the goal that Erekat pursued for all of his political career — a sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital, living at peace with Israel — is further away than it has been at any time since the 1993 Oslo Accords. For those who knew him, Erekat was a brilliant and a driven defender of Palestinian rights. And contrary to his public image — partly born of his authoritative manner of speech — he was a humble man, aiming to serve his people as best he could.”

Palestinian media:

Israeli Media:


(Report) Greenlighting De Facto Annexation: A Summary of Trump’s Impact on the Settlements,

“Israel’s policy in the West Bank is determined by the Israeli government, yet the United States’ influence on this policy is paramount. In President Donald J. Trump’s four years in office, there have been far-reaching changes in the American position on Israeli settlements that have shattered the international consensus around a two-state solution, and which have promoted annexation in all but name. The de facto annexation has manifested itself in high levels of settlement unit approvals, transgressions of informal international red lines in highly sensitive areas like the Jerusalem environs and Hebron, and the building of over 30 new outposts. Consequently, de jure annexation became a legitimate topic in the Israeli and American governments, while Israel has created for itself and the Palestinians a near permanent, undemocratic one-state reality.”

Israel to begin excavation for controversial Jerusalem cable car,

“Israeli authorities are set to start excavation works in occupied East Jerusalem to prepare for the construction of a cable car, a controversial project that would dramatically alter the landscape of the historic Old City of Jerusalem and expand the Israeli presence in the Palestinian-majority neighbourhood. Excavation will start by mid-November, project director Shmulik Tzabari was quoted as saying by Israeli media. Israeli authorities have reportedly approved the uprooting of trees on Mount Zion, and for infrastructure including water, sewage and telecommunications to be displaced from the planned path of the cable car. In July, a petition to Israel’s High Court was filed by the World Karaite Movement, which has a cemetery in the area; Palestinian residents of the neighbourhood of Silwan, over which the cable car is planned to pass; and Emek Shaveh, an Israeli NGO opposing the politicisation of archaeology.” Also see: Israel Begins Preparations for Construction of Settler-Backed Cable Car Line in Jerusalem, Despite Ongoing Court Case (FMEP Weekly Settlement Report)

New housing permits in Hebron expected to bolster Jewish presence in city,

 “Hebron’s Jewish residential section may finally witness new construction underway for more housing units. Pending a decision by the Jerusalem District Court, two areas of Hebron—the Hizkiyahu neighborhood on the site of the old central bus station and the site of the marketplace—are slated to undergo a facelift to make room for young couples…Yishai Fleisher, International Spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron, commended the decision by the Civil Administration to issue permits for housing. ‘Finally, the Israeli government has recognized the Jewish rights in the rest of the property, and we thank them,” he told JNS. “Soon, Hebron will have space for 30 new families to live and thrive in the City of Abraham.’”

Court rejects Netanyahu bid to delay Khan al-Ahmar response,

“The High Court of Justice on Tuesday dismissed a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay the proceedings with respect to the potential evacuation of the illegal Khan al-Ahmar herding village by four months.On Tuesday it set a hearing date of November 30, to discuss the petition against the village by the right-wing group Regavim. At issue is a protracted legal battle with regard the fate of some 180 Jahalin Bedouin, who live in a small encampment of huts and tents perched on Route 1 in the West Bank, just below the Kfar Adumim settlement.The High Court has ruled that their presence their illegal and has said that the state could evacuate them. Netanyahu had initially said he would do so in 2018, but then delayed in part due to the protracted election cycle and in part due to warning against the evacuation by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.” Also see: Israel Accelerates De Facto Annexation in Area C, Part 3: Tightening the Noose Around Khan Al-Ahmar (FMEP Weekly Settlement Report)

Data on demolition and displacement in the West Bank,

“The figures below reflect the demolition of Palestinian-owned structures and the resulting displacement of people from their homes across the West Bank since 2009. Together with other policies and practices, the threat of destruction of homes and sources of livelihood contributes to the generation of a coercive environment pressuring people to leave their areas of residence.”

Also see:

Citizen files first-ever lawsuit against Israeli settler in a Palestinian court,

“Minister of Justice Mohammad Shalaldeh said today that a Palestinian citizen from the northern West Bank village of Burin filed a lawsuit, for the first time ever, before a Palestinian court against an Israeli settler who vandalized his under-construction house. In the case he filed before the Nablus Court of First Instance, the Burin resident requested compensation for the material and moral damage caused by the settler. Shalaldeh noted that this lawsuit is the first to be filed against an Israeli settler in national courts, noting that the procedures are based on international norms and laws, especially the Hague Convention.”

Human Rights & Humanitarian Needs

UNRWA Issues Emergency Call for Humanitarian Assistance Amid End-of-Year Shortfall; Salaries of 28,000 Staff at risk, Hopes to Avoid Suspension of Essential Services,

“Today [Nov. 9], Commissioner-General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Philippe Lazzarini announced that the Agency has run out of money as of today to pay the salaries of 28,000 UNRWA staff in November. The Agency needs to raise US$ 70 million by the end of the month if it is to pay full salaries for the months of November and December.”  Also see: Tweet from ALLMEP head John Lydon: “.@UNRWA educates 500k kids & provides healthcare (in pandemic…) to 3m people. Unilaterally cutting 30% of its entire budget- as Trump Admin did- dehumanises those people, reducing the lives & dignity of some of MENA’s most vulnerable human beings to mere political props”

Report: Israel killed 7 Palestinian minors in 2020,

“Israeli occupation forces have killed seven Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip since the start of 2020, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) said in a recent report. According to Arab48, the DCIP’s report stated that Israeli occupation forces continue using ‘illegal torture and extrajudicial killings against Palestinian children.’ The DCIP’s report stressed that Israel is to continue this policy against Palestinians as long as the international community remains silent and Tel Aviv is not held accountable for its crimes.”

Israel won’t blink an eye if a hunger striker dies,

“The end of Maher al-Akhras’ 103-day hunger strike is cause for celebration. But the Shin Bet is still doubling down on, rather than moving away from, administrative detention.”

Statement: 26 Palestinian journalists in Israel jails,

“The Journalist Support Committee (JSC) yesterday warned of the increasing Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists, noting that there are currently 26 Palestinian journalists inside Israeli jails. In a statement posted on Facebook, the JSC condemned the detention of 27-year-old female Palestinian journalist Bushra Al-Taweel at a military checkpoint near Nablus. Al-Taweel, a photojournalist and activist in the field of defending prisoners, was last released from Israeli jails on 28 July after spending eight months under administrative detention. The JSC criticised the continuous Israeli detention and prosecution of Palestinian journalists, pointing to the latest prosecution of journalist Mujahid Mardawi who was sentenced to ten months.” Also see: Israeli Court Sentences Palestinian Journalist to 10 Months in Prison (IMEMC)

Human toll of incendiary weapons documented in new report,

“A new report released Monday documents the use of incendiary weapons and their horrific human cost on civilians over the past decade in conflict zones like Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip and Syria, with Human Rights Watch and Harvard’s human rights clinic calling on nations to close loopholes in international law and stigmatize their use.” Also see: Incendiary Weapons: Human Cost Demands Stronger Law (HRW)

Israel Govt &. Palestinian Authority

Prime Minister Shtayyeh: Israel should choose between two states and becoming a demographic melting pot,

“Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said today [Nov 9] that Israel has to choose between the two-state solution and becoming a demographic melting pot. The Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are the enemy of peace, he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah. ‘The Israeli occupation government must stop its colonial plans and stop seizing our lands and building thousands of settlement units,’ said Shtayyeh.”

Reports: Israel hopes Biden will help restore security coordination with Palestinian Authority,

“The Israeli security apparatus hopes that the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States will help Tel Aviv restore security coordination with the Palestinian Authority, the Maariv newspaper reported yesterday. The paper quoted senior officials in the Israeli security apparatus as saying that ‘to this day there is no security coordination between the Palestinian security services and the Israeli army, the Civil Administration and the Shin Bet,’ adding that Israel does not expect a dramatic change in the PA’s policy on this issue.”

UAE official: Palestinian leaders 'small-time hucksters,' Iran to blame for regional ills,

“A member of the United Arab Emirates’ Federal National Council leveled scathing criticism at the Palestinian Authority in a recent interview, calling its leaders ‘small-time hucksters who meddle in the Palestinian cause’ and who do not care about the Palestinians at all. Speaking with Kuwait’s Diwan Al-Mulla Online TV on Oct. 13, Dirar Belhoul Falasi said the best example of this was the Palestinians’ rejection of coronavirus aid.”

Gaza Strip & Hamas

Hamas Is Mourning Biden’s Victory, Abbas Is Celebrating and the Saudis Are Sulking,

“Palestinian Authority leaders are hopeful, almost excessively, that Biden will reverse Trump’s catastrophic damage. But both Hamas and Saudi Arabia now have a lot to lose.”

Hamas politburo chief calls for money and weapons to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem,

“Hamas Political Bureau head Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday called for supporters’ “full cooperation” to ‘liberate Palestine and Jerusalem,’ in the form of money and weapons. In remarks at the First Electronic Pioneers Conference aired on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV, Haniyeh said support for the terror organization had to be ‘upgraded’ in light American-Israeli ‘plots.’”

Shin Bet thwarts Hamas attempt to recruits West Bank minors for terror attacks in Israel,

“Two Palestinian teens were reportedly ordered to gather intelligence on Israeli settlements, stage shooting attacks and attempt the abduction of Israelis, says Israel’s Shin Bet security agency.”

Israeli Soldiers Invade Palestinian Farmlands In Central Gaza,

“On Tuesday, Several Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded Palestinian farmlands east of Deir al-Balah city, in central Gaza, and bulldozed sections close to the perimeter fence. Media sources said the Israeli tanks, and bulldozers, came from the Kissufim military base, across the fence, southeast of Deir al-Balah, and advanced dozens of meters into the Palestinian lands. They added that the tanks fired many live rounds and smoke bombs during the invasion, and while bulldozing the lands and installing sandhills. Army surveillance drones were also flying over the area. The invasion is one of the constant violations against the besieged Gaza Strip, and include attacks targeting workers, farmers, and fishermen.”

The Arms Deal of the Century?

Trump formally notifies US Congress of F-35 sale to United Arab Emirates,

“The Trump administration has formally informed the United States Congress of its intention to sell dozens of F-35 advanced fighter jets and other military hardware to the United Arab Emirates, the Washington Post reported Monday. The deal for the UAE to acquire the stealth F-35s has raised concerns in Israel that it would erode the country’s regional military edge, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drawing criticism for allegedly authorizing it in the context of Israel’s normalization with Abu Dhabi.” Also see: Can US arms deal for UAE cement Abraham Accords with F-35s? (Jerusalem Post)

Opposition slams Netanyahu for allegedly approving US-Emirates F-35 deal,

“The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee convened today to discuss the expected sale of the F-35 stealth jet by the United States to the United Arab Emirates. Opposition members slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for allegedly approving the deal ahead of signing the normalization agreement with the Emirates on Sept. 15. They believe Abu Dhabi conditioned normalization on Jerusalem approving it. They also believe that Netanyahu deliberately hid this information from Israeli citizens in general and the defense establishment in particular out of fear that public criticism would delay or sabotage the normalization agreement.”

Report: Israel to seek new military aid package from incoming Biden administration,

“Israel is planning to reach out to the incoming Biden administration for a new long-term military aid   in the coming months to combat the ‘changing threats and challenges’ in the Middle East, a top defense official told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.  The IDF is seeking to secure a new multi-billion dollar aid plan as soon as possible, the Post reported, which it hopes to implement before the next administration leaves office and the current aid program expires in 2027.”

Lawfare/Weaponization of Accusations of Antisemitism

“US Exposes Do-Gooder Antisemites”,

“In the final days before the American presidential election, sources inside the Trump government indicated that the administration might declare three major human rights organizations—Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Oxfam—antisemitic. These organizations practice what might be called “do-gooder” antisemitism, a widespread yet rarely mentioned form of this hatred. The prime operator of do-gooder antisemitism is the United Nations.”

“Why is it so hard for European governments to defund NGOs, even over terror ties?”,

“There is something inherently flawed in how European governments engage with civil society. On paper, governments have vetting procedures that should prevent abuse of taxpayers’ funds. Yet time and again, evidence emerges showing that they support and cooperate with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to terror groups. Lately, there’s been a change.”