Top News from Palestine & Israel: November 11, 2020

What We’re Reading


Government plans to authorize 1,700 housing units already built in Judea & Samaria,

“Minister Michael Biton of the Defense Ministry is heading a project to authorize 1,700 housing units situated in Judea and Samaria. The units were built on State-owned lands, and yet they are still considered ‘illegal,’ Yediot Aharonot reports. The process is expected to be relatively simple, as there are currently no known Palestinian claims to the land under question. The legal basis for changing the status of the housing units has already been established and therefore there is no need to pass any additional legislation…The current project enjoys the support of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, and the Attorney-General, Avichai Mandelblit. The housing units under question are located in Beitar Illit, Modi’in Illit, Maale Adumim, Ariel, Yitzhar, Ateret, Halamish, Adora, and Otniel.”

Worrying Signs in the Field Point Towards Israeli Intention to Advance Building in Givat Hamatos in the Near Future,

“Subsequent to Peace Now’s announcement about Israel Land Authority’s preparations to open bidding for 1,077 housing units in Givat Hamatos, Ir Amim researcher Aviv Tatarsky visited Givat Hamatos this morning [Nov 11] and reported seeing heavy machinery working in the field. It is clear that the work has been ongoing for several days and has exposed much of the field without digging deep. Seeing as there is no building permit for this area and that the announcement about the tenders has yet to be published, this is not work being done for building of the settlement. One of the people in the area introduced himself as a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority and explained that they were checking the field for the presence of antiquities – a necessary operation before land development occurs. When asked by researcher Aviv Tatarsky when the fieldwork is expected to begin, the official replied that he did not know.”


Peace Now: Netanyahu used Trump's time in office to advance settlements,

“Peace Now has criticised US President Donald Trump’s administration regarding Israel’s expansion of its illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories adding that this has shattering the two-state solution, the organisation said in a report issued on Monday. ‘Unlike previous American administrations, the Trump Administration has almost completely refrained from criticizing Israel’s settlement policies and has even supported statements and actions that further develop the settlements,’ the report said. It added: ‘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.’ Peace Now explained: ‘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.’ Criticising this policy, Peace Now said: ‘The Trump administration lent the power of the United States to the benefit of the narrow interests of a small, radical group of settlers, and has done enormous damage to Israel.’”

Property Vandalized and Stolen, Racist Graffiti [in Hebrew] Sprayed Near West Bank Village,

“Residents of a West Bank village reported an attack on Monday, during which some farming equipment was stolen and racist graffiti in Hebrew was sprayed. Israeli police are looking into the incident near the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya, northeast of Ramallah, but have yet to identify any suspects. The perpetrators scrawled on a building a Star of David and the Hebrew slogan Am Yisrael Chai, or ‘The people of Israel lives.’ According to a report filed with the police, the intruders cut irrigation hoses and stole work tools and water containers and punctured the tires of a tractor at the site.”

Israel Demolishes A Palestinian Residential Building In Jerusalem,

“Israeli soldiers demolished, Wednesday, an under-construction Palestinian residential building, owned by a former political prisoner in the at-Tour town, in occupied Jerusalem, before abducting the owner and his son. The soldiers, accompanied by bulldozers, invaded the town, before surrounding the entire area and completely isolating it. Local sources said the soldiers then demolished the under-construction building, before abducting the owner, a former political prisoner identified as Ahmad Abu al-Hawa, along with his son, and moved them to an interrogation facility. The army claims the 350 square/meter building was being constructed without a permit from the City Council, in occupied Jerusalem.”

Also see:

Israel Gave Them 10 Minutes to Pack Up Their Whole Lives: 74 Palestinians, Including 41 Children, Left Homeless,

“The Civil Administration gave the families living in the Palestinian hamlet of Khirbet Humsa in the northern Jordan Valley just 10 minutes to remove their possessions from the tents last Tuesday. Fatma Awawda, 23, held her 1-year-old daughter Larin. She was paralyzed by the sight of the military jeeps and administration workers in fluorescent vests who got out of them, by the bulldozers, by the soldiers, by all the shouting.”

Road to Nowhere,

Tweet from FMEP’s Lara Friedman: “If you read one thing this week re: Israel, make it this long read by @ShevGoldberg looking at how 1948-present Israel has used rule-by-law to systematically displace its Palestinian citizens & residents & dispossess them of their lands.”


Settlers in Dubai,

“Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan landed a few days ago in Dubai at the head of a delegation of factory managers, companies, and businessmen from Samaria…Emirati businessman Yusuf Beidon: ‘On behalf of myself and my colleagues, I would like to welcome the head of the Samaria Regional Council, and the delegation that met us today; it is an honor, especially after the peace agreement with Israel was signed. This is an exciting moment for all of us. Thank G-d for our leaders who brought us to this place. We thank them for making this meeting possible. I could not believe that I would get to see this thing in my life. For us, brothers and sisters from both sides, from Israel and Dubai, to sit around the same table. it is a great honor. This has both economic and medical implications. To learn from each other and earn from each other. Understanding what is happening in Samaria and the variety of people who live there, the coexistence that exists there between Arabs and Israelis who work side by side, in the same factories, earn the same salaries, celebrate holidays and work side by side, it is a great honor to be here with the head of Samaria Regional Council who advances all of this.’”

Also see:

Lebanon, Israel in third round of sea border talks,

“Lebanon and Israel, still technically at war, kicked off a third round of maritime border talks Wednesday under US and UN auspices to allow for offshore hydrocarbon exploration. The delegations met under tight security at a base of the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL in the Lebanese border town of Naqura, the National News Agency said.” Also see: Report: Israel seeks to stop flights to Beirut airport (Middle East Monitor)

US plans sale of F-35 fighter jets to UAE in $23B arms deal,

“The Trump administration formally notified Congress on Tuesday that it plans to sell 50 stealth F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates as part of a broader arms deal worth $23 billion aimed at deterring potential threats from Iran despite concern in Israel. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had authorized the sale in keeping with the administration’s Middle East peace efforts. The notification to lawmakers follows the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE, under which the Arab states have agreed to normalize relations with Israel.” Also see: Senate wants security guarantees for Israel before US sale of F-35s to UAE (The Hill)

US Elex

The cynical use of Israel creeps into the Georgia Senate race,

“With the 2020 election going into overtime, it was inevitable that the issue of Israel-Palestine would not stay out of the spotlight. In the state of Georgia, a runoff election for its Senate seats is the site of renewed controversy.”

Progressives will keep up the fight for Palestine — with or without Biden,

“The pressure is now on American progressives and Palestinian rights activists to use the Biden era to change the terms of the conversation on Israel-Palestine. Taking the lessons of the Obama years, the progressive movement should not waste the next four years pegging hopes on a White House moored to the politics of yesteryear; rather, it should spend its energies on continuing to bolster the Palestinian rights movement from the ground up.”

Will Trump drag Netanyahu down with him?,

“Opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are claiming the downfall of US President Donald Trump heralds the end of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well.”

Biden can do well in the Mideast, if only because so little is expected of him,

“The best thing going for the new president-elect, then, is the fact that no one will depend on him. The assumption of American unreliability is now baked into regional calculations. And that limits the amount of damage he — or any US president in the coming years — can do.”

US elections 2020: Why Palestinians are not joining the party,

“While four more years of Trump would have been a disaster for Palestine, the return of a liberal to the Oval Office will do the job for Israel just as well.”

PLO/Palestinian Authority

Palestinians ask: Who will fill Saeb’s shoes?,

“The question of who will take the helm of negotiations with Israel is particularly important with the election of Joe Biden and renewed prospects for talks.”

Hundreds attend Erekat’s West Bank funeral as Palestinians mourn loss of ‘icon’,

“Hundreds of mourners gathered on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Jericho for the funeral of Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat, who died a day earlier at the age of 65 due to complications from the coronavirus. Earlier in the day, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hosted the official memorial ceremony for Erekat at his Ramallah compound, where he eulogized the envoy and negotiator as a ‘great fighter.’”

Israeli Govt

Benny Gantz warns election to be initiated soon,

“The next time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz meet, Gantz will inform Netanyahu that their political partnership is over, a source close to Gantz told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday night.”

Lawfare/Weaponization of False Accusations of Antisemitism

Report: The New Philosemitism: Exploring a Changing Relationship Between Jews and the Far-Right,

“This report views emerging cooperation and changing attitudes of the populist radical right towards Jews as a new wave of Philosemitism. This new wave of Philosemitism is not a genuine and sincere positioning, but a strategic tool used by the far‑right in order to present itself as liberal and mainstream, gain support and engage in a ‘divide and conquer’ tactic among minority communities…Populist radical right parties, individuals and ideologies have achieved mainstreaming by using Jewish people as a shield against accusations of racism. This buffer has permitted the election of many such parties to legislative bodies and the implementation of far‑right policies under the guise of liberalism.”

World Jewish Congress honors UN boss for efforts to end anti-Israel bias,

“At a virtual gala, WJC President Ronald Lauder said Guterres will receive the Theodor Herzl Award this year for his work to change the ‘bizarre fixation on the Jewish state’ at the UN.”