Top News from Israel & Palestine: October 1, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation, Annexation, & Human Rights

Israel quietly lets in Gaza workers in bid to ease tensions,

“Now it appears Israel has expanded a program in which it had long provided hundreds of permits to business owners to travel to Israel and the West Bank for commerce. Palestinian officials say it is now providing some 5,000 so-called merchant permits and awarding them to Palestinians working as laborers in construction, agriculture and manufacturing.”

Hollywood Hills, Corner of West Bank: Meet the Palestinian Villagers Living Out the American Dream,

“The benefits of American citizenship can only go so far in the West Bank. Turmus Ayyans who have an American citizenship and official Palestinian papers are the only Americans in the world who cannot travel through Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport. Instead, like other Palestinians in the West Bank, they must enter through the land crossing in Jordan and apply for permits if they wish to enter Israel. Like other Palestinians in the West Bank, the villagers say they suffer from Israeli policies that limit nearly every aspect of their lives. Restricted freedom of movement, land theft, settler violence and unequal access to water are some of the issues they bring up in conversation with Haaretz. At least four Jewish settlements and outposts currently exist on land privately owned by Turmus Ayya residents: Shiloh, Shvut Rachel, Amichai and Adei Ad.”

Differentiation Tracker,

“ECFR’s Differentiation Tracker provides a detailed snapshot of European relations with Israel – and the extent to which these comply with UNSCR 2334 and the EU’s policy of differentiation. As this project shows, despite noticeable progress in advancing differentiation measures at the level of EU relations, member state practices have often lagged behind. As a result, there is a clear risk that European states are directly supporting the maintenance and growth of Israeli settlements, their residents, and businesses – in contravention of European policy positions and international law. “

Special Issue: Black-Palestinian Transnational Solidarity,

Rashid Khalidi writes, “There are two constants in the era of Trump. One is the overtly racist prejudice of the U.S. president and his circle, and their cynical and shameless appeal to the bigotry and white supremacist proclivities of a key segment of their electoral base. The other is hostility to the Palestinians and sympathy for the most extreme tenets of the expansionist and exclusivist settler- security-industrial complex that currently dominates Israeli politics and society. In keeping with the views of another crucial segment of their electoral base, composed of fervently pro-Israel evangelical Christians, this hostility is also linked to their desire for generous campaign financing from megadonors with similar proclivities. This special issue of the Journal, focused on the renewal of Black-Palestinian transnational solidarity (BPTS), includes reflections on aspects of these two constants, specifically, past and present initiatives to build solidarity between some of the communities targeted by the men and women currently in power in Washington. It also features two commentaries that critique the Trump plan to effectively dismantle the Palestine cause.”

Israeli annexation plans endanger ties with Jordan, Egypt,

Yossi Beilin writes, “Israel pays lip service to the importance of relations with Jordan and is very proud of the agreement signed in 2015 between the two on a water canal initiative that would connect the Red Sea and Dead Sea. But the fact that since the peace accord was signed, we actually have not had any security threats from the east is taken for granted. The government treats Jordan like a weak state whose regime isn’t secure and whose status in the Middle East is insignificant. It does so instead of using the existence of the peace agreement to advance the Arab Initiative of 2002, which Jordanian officials, like then-Foreign Minister Marwan Muashar, formulated negotiations on the basis of which could create real peace and normalization in the region, instead of making do with shaky peace between leaders and intelligence officials.”

Palestinian Politics

Palestinians hope to import Iraqi oil, become more energy independent,

“When Iraqi officials offered to sell Palestinians oil at reduced prices, few believed that this offer would actually become reality. While many obstacles continue to exist, the possibility of making this goal a reality is inching closer. The new Iraqi government, whose Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi spent time in south Lebanon in the 1980s and was very close to the PLO leadership, had invited earlier this year senior Palestinian officials to Iraq. Nabil Shaath, a senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, delivered June 23 a letter from Abbas to his Iraqi counterpart. This was followed by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s visit to Baghdad July 15. Shtayyeh was accompanied by a large delegation for serious discussions with their Iraqi counterparts.”