Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 9, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation & Annexation

At scene of terror attack, Netanyahu vows Israel will ‘settle the score’,

“’Our answer to the murderers is twofold: They come to destroy and we are building. Our hand will reach them and we will settle our score with them. The investigation is going forward and is as its height,’ he added, echoing comments he had made earlier in the day at the Beit El settlement.”

Palestinian Authority Urges Israel to Avoid Collective Punishment for Soldier's Murder,

“How Israel responds to the attack could have a significant impact on the situation in the West Bank, he said, especially given the timing. The Eid al-Adha holiday is this weekend, and preparations are in full swing. The West Bank’s economy is already in poor shape, he noted, and Israeli military operations would merely increase the pressure.”

Blue and White champions Israeli sovereignty over Jordan Valley,

“With these comments, Gantz is trampling the principles that his party presented to the Israeli public, eroding his support for the two-state solution and undermining what little hope the Palestinians have of ending the Israeli occupation.”

From heat waves to 'eco-apartheid': Climate change in Israel-Palestine,

“While Israel’s nascent climate justice movement tries to get the public’s attention, Palestinians under occupation remain the most vulnerable to the dangerous effects of climate change. Due to the existing power imbalance, however, working together to combat it seems next to impossible.”

How a Top Palestinian Lawyer Devoted to Nonviolent Resistance Became a Terrorist,

“He was one of the best known of the lawyers who represent Palestinians on trial in Israel. He was completely at home in both civil and military courts. Judges knew him, military prosecutors joked with him, left-wing activists even slightly admired him. He handled dozens of cases, sometimes pro bono; in some instances, according to his friends, he paid for his client’s bail out of his own pocket. He did not let his imperfect Hebrew stop him from defending his clients dramatically in court. Recently he had a leading role in the high-profile documentary film about attorney Lea Tsemel, in which he is seen handling two cases with her. Tarek Barghout was a leading figure in the nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation. But what his colleagues and acquaintances didn’t know is that for the past couple of years Barghout was leading a double life. In the daytime he defended Palestinians in Israeli courts, but at night he perpetrated terrorist acts in the West Bank. At first he operated alone, afterward he joined forces with an individual whose name is more familiar to Israelis: Zakaria Zubeidi, former head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Jenin.”

For These Palestinian Kids, a First-ever Day at the Beach Means the Whole World,

“‘It’s an experience that they’ll always remember: the smell, the taste, the water, the feel of the sand,’ says Rockman. ‘And if the first time can be something positive with Israelis, I think it’s even more special.'”

Palestinian Politics

What Israel-Hamas deal looks like,

“Two incidents on the Israel-Gaza border in recent weeks drew attention to a little-known Hamas unit dubbed the Restraining Force, established prior to the 2014 Gaza war with Israel. According to Israeli assessments, the unit numbers several hundred armed personnel who serve as a type of border patrol. The policing unit, as its name implies, is tasked with thwarting rocket attacks or terror attacks against Israeli targets by rogue organizations that could embroil Hamas in a war with Israel it does not want. Hamas regards the force as a guarantee of its own interests in controlling the conflict with Israel, allowing it to fan the flames some of the time and impose restraint at others.”

Gazans Struggle to Protect Antiquities Under Hamas Rule, Israeli Blockade,

“Ayman Hassouna, professor of history and archaeology at Gaza’s Islamic University, blames Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas equally for not protecting the territory’s cultural heritage. He says Israel confiscated artifacts from archaeological digs in the decades it occupied Gaza and did little to prevent antiquities trafficking. Palestinian authorities governing Gaza since 1995 have ‘attacked many archaeological sites — either intentionally or not,’ he said.”

Hamas Seeks to Orchestrate West Bank Terror Attacks, but Is Missing Key Ingredient,

“However, the bottleneck in which Hamas is stuck is located on the ground in the West Bank. ‘The activists in the Gaza Strip have difficulty recruiting many people in the West Bank who are willing to endanger themselves by planning major terror attacks or committing suicide attacks themselves. A change has taken place on the ground since the end of the intifada. People are no longer standing in line to volunteer.’”