Top News from Israel & Palestine: July 2, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation & Human Rights

When Trump Lawyers and Casino Moguls Took a Hammer to Coexistence in Jerusalem,

Anshel Pfeffer writes, “The transient power of the flunkies in the Trump and Netanyahu governments and the Adelsons’ billions won’t change the facts of life in Jerusalem. They have nothing to do with our city, and are nothing more than the most minor of so many nonentities who passed through. They won’t even remain as footnotes in its history.”

Settlers plea with Netanyahu to stop Palestinian construction near Area C,

Residents in the Binyamin Regional Council recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other cabinet ministers, pleading with the Israeli government to halt work being done in Area B, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, due to a fear of security concerns. The residents of Binyamin are claiming that the work being carried out by the Palestinian Authority is located too close to two Gush Shilo Israeli settlements (Adi Ad and Amichai) in Area C, an area controlled entirely by the Israeli government.

Visit to Western Wall is first by a senior British minister in 19 years,

Great Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid visited the Western Wall. The visit is the first to the Western Wall by a senior minister of the British Government in 19 years, according to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which handles the visits. Javid, who comes from a Muslim family, said during the visit that his father believed deeply in the connection between Jews and Muslims, and that his brother visited the Western Wall as a child. Javid said that his father and entire family were very excited about the pictures from the visit, according to a statement from the foundation.

Investor Obligations in Occupied Territories,

A new report on investments by Norway’s sovereign wealth fund in the Occupied Palestinian Territory recommends reviewing exclusion criteria to avoid inconsistencies and prevent human rights risks. The report looks at institutional investors’ responsibility to respect human rights; the human rights impact of settlement business activities; and makes recommendations as to how the fund can better meets its responsibility to respect human rights in line with international standards.


Israeli incentives hold promise for Palestinian traders, economy,

“The Israeli authorities deal with Gaza at their whim, and no one can force them to implement any [truce] understandings. We might wake up tomorrow to find that all the incentives have been canceled,” he said. He added, however, “This is a positive step that will enable traders to roam the markets, buy for their own needs and make new business deals.”

How Israel, Hamas reached a truce,

“This time, what has been agreed on between Israel and Hamas — call it understandings or an agreement — is different,” an Israeli security official told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity. Israel, added the source, has maneuvered the campaign away from the border into the center of the enclave, meaning Hamas realized that unless it stops the wave of violence it instigated, such as the violent border clashes and explosive balloons, Israel would shut down the passages into Gaza and the supply of fuel and raw material would dry up. “And then, let’s see them [Hamas] deal with the protests in the Strip,” the official summed up.

The Deal of the Century

It’s Time To Admit That The US Is Signing The Checks For Greater Israel,

Saeb Erekat writes in The Forward, “The support the Trump administration has lent to Israel’s expansionist plans, beginning with its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, extends beyond verbal commitments to accepting further Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian land — a war crime under international law. It has overseen the dramatic increase of Israel’s colonial-settlement activities, including home demolitions and ID revocations, which are designed to make an irreversible change in Palestine’s landscape, specifically in Jerusalem.”

What If Palestinians “Take The Money And Run?”,

Kushner may not realize what the end result of an empowered and prosperous Palestinian community will be. And he may be totally naïve in failing to recognize that the Israelis will kick and scream at the prospect of a prosperous and empowered Palestinian community. But that’s his problem, not the Palestinians. It’s interesting to imagine the future should Palestinians take on this game with a political and strategic vision that sees prosperity not as the end of the road, but as paving the path to Palestinian empowerment and ultimate leadership in the new one state reality. In this regard, we might see Kushner’s plan, not as the “too-clever” path to maintaining Palestinian subordination to the Israeli occupation. Rather it may be the naively designed path with the unintended consequence that will lead, a generation from now, to an entirely new reality.

A week after Bahrain conference, US releases Arabic version of economic plan,

The so-called “Peace to Prosperity” document was published by the White House last month, ahead of a June 25-26 economic workshop on the proposal held in Bahrain last week. But despite the fact that US officials repeatedly asserted the plan would benefit the Palestinian people, it was only released in English.

Oman denies Mossad chief’s claim it’s establishing diplomatic ties with Israel,

“The Sultanate is keen to make efforts to prepare diplomatic conditions favorable to restoring contacts between all international and regional parties in order to work to achieve peace between the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel’s government, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” it said.

Bahrain conference showcases Israeli ties with Gulf states,

A significant cornerstone on the path to overt normalization between Israel and the pragmatic Sunni states has been laid in Manama this week, but the lack of an agreement with the Palestinians delays the further development of these ties. However, it’s not certain that an ongoing delay in the peace process with the Palestinians would stop this normalization. In Bahrain, these nations made clear to the Palestinians that they support a diplomatic solution but that the Palestinians should hurry up, since they have other important interests and they won’t wait for them for long.

Israeli Politics

In Netanyahu's quest for survival, all options on the table,

Ben Caspit writes, “One thing has become abundantly clear: Netanyahu has no red lines, inhibitions or shame when it comes to fighting for his political life. On the other hand, there is also a limit to his legendary prowess. The attempted alliance with the Arabs turned into a grenade that blew up in his face, generating sharp criticism from the right. The Arabs themselves remained silent, which made things worse. Pundits and opinion leaders from the religious right lashed out at the prime minister, which would have been unimaginable a few short weeks ago.”

U.S. Politics

J Street Launches Birthright Alternative, Featuring ‘Occupation 101’,

Forty participants are set to take part in the 10-day inaugural trip, titled “Let Our People Know,” which is sponsored and financed by J Street. The tour includes visits to the West Bank cities of Hebron and Ramallah, as well as meetings with Jewish settlers from the Binyamin Regional Council.

IfNotNow Sends Activists To New Hampshire To Make Israel A Primary Issue,

The left-wing group IfNotNow is trying to make Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians a centerpiece issue of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. IfNotNow, a Jewish group of millennials that protests Israel’s control of the West Bank, on Friday announced that it has launched a 501(c)(4), a non-profit organization concerned with social welfare, “meant to bring the crisis of the Israeli military Occupation over the Palestinian people to the forefront of the 2020 Campaign.”