Top News from Israel & Palestine: July 3, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation & Human Rights

Let the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah be,

“The Isawiyah operation started three weeks ago, and includes daily raids on the village and harassment of the residents. Most business owners in the village have closed their shops for now, and residents are shutting themselves in their homes for fear of encountering policemen. Events in the village had escalated before Abid’s death. His death, as well as the fact that police refused to release the body to his family for four days, assured the continued violence. Dozens of residents have been injured in the confrontations.”

Palestinian soccer association postpones cup final after Israel blocks travel,

“Gaza-based team Khadamat Rafah requested travel permits to the West Bank for 35 people, but Israel granted just four, three of them to club officials, Shalabi said.”

Annual Report on the Treatment of Children Held in Israel Military Detention,

“While noting a number of positive developments in recent years, the evidence suggests that these have not translated into a significant improvement in the treatment of children who come in contact with the system. The evidence also suggests that UNICEF’s 2013 conclusion that ‘the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized’ is still valid in June 2019. The evidence discloses that during the reporting period the majority of children continued to be arrested in night-time military raids on their homes; tied and blindfolded; transferred to an interrogation centre on the floor of military vehicles; experience some physical and verbal abuse as well as threats; and continue to be questioned without prior access to a lawyer or being informed of their right to silence – as required under Israeli military law.”

State of Exception,

“Why did the PLO, the Palestinian Authority, and other representatives repeatedly fail to use the law to the Palestinian people’s advantage? How did their view of the law differ so significantly from the Israeli government’s? And how did Israel succeed in creating alternative legal regimes for regulating Palestinian lives that fell outside the purview of international laws relating to war and occupation? All of these questions have haunted the history of the region for the past half century, and they now find some compelling answers in Noura Erakat’s Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine.”

U.S. Politics

In First, U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Hosts 4th of July Celebration,

“Netanyahu spoke at the event, praising the Trump administration for its support of Israel. He noted that he, his wife Sara, U.S. peace negotiator Jason Greenblatt, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his wife, Tammy, on Sunday visited the tunnel entrance to the Pilgrimage Road, and oversaw the opening of the ancient historical site which brought Jewish pilgrims from the Shiloach pool to the Western Wall. ‘Well we’re back, and we’re back standing for the truth, for our history, for our rights and it’s wonderful to have the greatest power on earth not opposing the Jewish state but supporting the Jewish state. What a twist,’ Netanyahu said.”

Lindsey Graham to urge Trump to base peace plan on two-state solution,

“I want everybody to understand there is no one-state solution. I will not invest a dime in a situation that results in one state. It is a bad deal for America. If you believe in a democratic Jewish state, it is lost over time from the demographics of merging the two peoples. … If you absorb all the Palestinians and they can vote, the Jewish states gets eroded and if you absorb all the Palestinians and they can’t vote, that’s South Africa and it’s not going to happen.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham

The Welcome Humiliation of John Bolton,

“Bolton’s comeuppance is of a different kind. By taking to Fox News to kiss up to Trump, he became national security adviser, a job that no other president would have ever given to a discredited warmonger. His reward is that, after devoting his life to the expansion of American power globally, he’s a hapless party to its contraction. For a person to sell out his putative ideals for such a hollow victory would be like a Greek drama, if the Greeks had written dramas about such small men.”

The Deal of the Century

Israel still pitching economics, not politics, to Palestinians,

“Barkat’s plan comes in response to calls by the Israeli right to achieve economic peace with Palestinians at the expense of political peace. Perhaps, despite some political and security difficulties, this plan could align with the inclinations of the US administration and some Arab countries to skip political issues and restrict the solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the economic dimension.”

Broken Wall Under East Jerusalem Village Should Give Us All Pause,

“That photo op with the sledgehammers confirms all the Palestinians’ concerns over Trump not only not being an impartial mediator, but having the same positions as those of the Israeli extreme right. Even worse, the wall-breaking demonstrates a total disconnect from reality. Despite the high emotions of the participants and the large banner behind them, in which the houses of Silwan have been effaced, they were after all in a large Palestinian village of 20,000 – and no more than 500 Jewish residents. The ‘Pilgrimage Road’ they celebrated ultimately leads to the Temple Mount, and there, despite the moving videos shown during the evening, stand the mosques – and not a temple.”

Israeli Politics

Some IDF Cadets Listen To Rabbis Over Commanders, Former Defense Minister Says,

“Religious pre-military academies are creating ‘private militias’ that listen to their rabbis over their military commanders, Avigdor Liberman charged. Liberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party and formerly defense minister, made the statement during an address at the annual Herzliya policy conference.”

Why Israel’s Generals Are Taking on Netanyahu,

Neri Zilber writes, “Netanyahu is now facing off against an iron wall of generals, compounding rumored inauspicious poll numbers, looming corruption indictments, and his recent failure to form a government. Yet he has bested them before, albeit not so many at one time. For Gantz, Barak, and the others, the true test is whether they can unite in their common mission—and persuade the Israeli public that in this campaign defeat isn’t an option.”

Netanyahu's fanciful end run around the Palestinians,

“This is not the first time Netanyahu has misled the public with a distorted representation of the mutual security interests Israel shares with the Gulf states, chief among them the conflict with Iran. He turns every public gesture — such as his 2018 visit to Oman, Israeli participation in a sports tournament in Doha and the invitation extended to Israeli journalists to attend the recent US-led economic workshop in Manama — into additional proof that he can supposedly advance ties with the Arab world, develop the settlement enterprise and neutralize the Palestinians, all at the same time. The political center and left-wing opposition applaud Netanyahu as though he were the one who achieved the breakthrough with the Arab world and did so without paying a price in the Palestinian arena.”

Cries of ‘Black Lives Matter’ in Israel after officer fatally shoots unarmed young man of Ethiopian origin,

Noga Tarnopolsky writes, “The shooting death of Solomon Teka, a young Israeli man of Ethiopian descent, by an off-duty police officer has sparked protests across the country, modeled in part on the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. Teka, who was unarmed and who recently turned 18, was shot and killed Sunday night in Haifa’s Kiryat Haim suburb, in northern Israel, while hanging out with friends in a playground.”

Israel’s Labor Party elects Amir Peretz as new leader,

“Israel’s Labor Party says its former leader Amir Peretz has won the party primaries, fending off two young rivals seeking to lead the one-time ruling party into upcoming parliamentary elections. Peretz, a former defense minister, took just shy of half the votes in Tuesday’s Labor Party primaries, beating Itzik Shmuli and Stav Shaffir, who evenly split the remainder.”

Anti-BDS/Anti-Free Speech/Pro-Settlement Lawfare

Israeli government minister takes credit for 27 U.S. states passing anti-BDS laws,

“Gilad Erdan, minister for strategic affairs and information under Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed the Jerusalem Post conference in New York two weeks ago, and bragged that the Israeli government had taken its fights ‘to the enemy,’ and that includes BDS. ‘When I was charged with leading this fight, BDS leaders operated freely and were largely successful in disguising themselves as human rights organizations… We tore off their masks. We exposed their ties to terror, we exposed their deeprooted antisemitism, we exposed their opposition to peace, and we exposed of course their hypocrisy. They couldn’t care less about the real human rights violations, for example in Syria and Iran. All they care about is demonizing and delegitimizing the world’s only Jewish and democratic state.'”