Top News from Israel & Palestine: June 19, 2019

What We’re Reading


Hamas: Israel implementing Gaza ceasefire agreement,

In a statement, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassim said third-party mediators had assured the group that Israel would be implementing a “broader package” of concessions in the coming days, including allowing financial aid into Gaza, addressing the electricity and water crises in the Strip, establishing employment programs and “facilitating the movement of Palestinians through border crossings.”

Israel to process Gaza sewage with new pipeline – report,

Work is expected to start this month on the new pipeline, which will run along the northern border between Gaza and Israel through agricultural fields and be connected to the regional sewage treatment plant on the Israeli side, the report said.

Occupation & Human Rights

Israeli Court Evicts Palestinian Family From East Jerusalem Home, Lets Settlers Take Over,

he Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday ordered the eviction of a Palestinian family from the Silwan neighborhood outside Jerusalem’s Old city, dismissing their appeal and ruling in favor of the right-wing Elad Association, a settler organization that owns the majority of the building.

Does shootout threaten Israeli-Palestinian security ties?,

In the aftermath, Israel called on the PA to open a joint inquiry into the incident, but the Palestinians refused “because the attack is clear and does not need further investigation,” Nablus Gov. Ibrahim Ramadan told Al-Monitor. “The Israeli army opened fire on the PPS headquarters without any consideration for the Palestinian Autority [PA], and we therefore cannot accept a joint inquiry,” he said.

Jerusalem Municipality Approves Naming Streets in East Jerusalem After Rabbis,

The Jerusalem Municipality approved Sunday the naming of streets in the Palestinian Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem after Jewish Rabbis, going against the recommendation of a professional panel who said “It is inappropriate to give Jewish street names in neighborhoods overwhelmingly populated by Arabs.”

Israeli Politics & Annexation

Annexing East Jerusalem, first step before annexing the West Bank,

Disengagement from the Palestinian neighborhoods on the other side of the separation wall would be carried out by redesigning the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem…Still, the Israeli political echelons believe that other than a weak protest by the European Union (EU) and its member states, the plan would not hit any snags and could thus serve as a trial balloon for a similar arrangement covering Area C of the West Bank.

First They’ll Take Area C, Then They’ll Take the West Bank,

This is all just the beginning of the redemption that seeks to legitimize the annexation of Area C, and the aspirations of the new transportation minister, Bezalel Smotrich, to annex all of Judea and Samaria, the West Bank.

Will Israel’s Meretz officially become a Jewish-Arab party?,

The two are quite dissimilar, with the most tangible difference being Zandberg’s support for turning Meretz into a joint Jewish-Arab party, a move that would substantially change the party’s nature and the direction of the political left in general. Horowitz, on the other hand, is enthusiastically championing a joint run with the center-left Labor party, a move that could clash with party efforts to appeal to Arab voters.

Meretz Lawmaker Attacks Party Leader Over Fears for Future of Israeli Left Wing,

Lawmaker Michal Rozin of Meretz sharply criticized the party’s chairwoman, Tamar Zandberg, accusing her of bringing the party to “the brink of extinction” and saying she was “fearful” for what the future held for the party and the entire Israeli left wing.

Palestinian Politics

Iran determined to arm West Bank Palestinian factions,

Hussein Sheikh al-Islam, an adviser to Iran’s foreign minister, told Al-Monitor Iran believes that to eliminate Israel all the fronts surrounding it must be armed to be effective, like the fronts of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Islam said Iran is up to the challenge of getting weapons through to the factions. “This is a military and intelligence issue, and we know how to deliver weapons to the West Bank. We have already delivered weapons to other fronts,” Islam added.

The Deal of the Century

Why Jared Kushner’s Bahrain Conference Won’t Do Much for the Palestinian Economy,

Bernard Avishai writes, “Erekat does not want Palestinian political claims eclipsed, but he is making an economic point. He raises the Israeli occupation not simply because it preëmpts Palestinian national sovereignty—recognized borders, and so forth—but because it preëmpts the economic institutions that would grow within those borders—commercial courts, tax-collection agencies, immigration agencies, startup incubators—that would make Palestinian entrepreneurship more feasible, especially in an age of technological advances, as Israeli entrepreneurs well know. The Palestinians’ economic problem isn’t a lack of money; it’s a lack of liberty. Liberty requires a sovereign government.”

U.S. Mideast Envoy Greenblatt Says He 'Will Understand' if Trump's Peace Plan Fails,

U.S. envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt told Israel’s Channel 12 News on Tuesday that if President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan fails, he will “understand why.” This rare statement comes amid heightened tensions surrounding the blueprint, which Greenblatt said Monday may only be published in November.

No Palestinians, No Israelis, Maybe Even No Journalists: What’s Left of Kushner’s Bahrain Summit,

One question concerns whether the administration will release a written economic plan before the conference takes place, as it had originally promised to do. Another is whether any Arab countries — especially the rich Gulf states — will actually sign checks for economic projects during the conference, despite the lack of any Palestinian presence or momentum behind the plan.

EU ‘ready to work’ with US on peace plan, as long as it aims at two states,

Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy czar, during a meeting in Washington Tuesday with Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, “underlined the fundamental interest of the European Union for lasting and sustainable peace and stability in the region,” according to a readout of the meeting provided by Brussels.

U.S. Politics

Do you think Israel meets international standards of human rights?,

Democratic views of Israel are in flux. President Trump has redefined the American role in the region and a younger generation of liberals are questioning Democrats’ longstanding support of Israel’s security policies. We thought this question would gauge Democrats’ willingness to criticize Israel, and found few candidates who would do so.