Top News from Israel & Palestine: October 8, 2019

What We’re Reading

Israeli Politics & Elections

Israel’s Gideon Saar challenges lengthy Netanyahu Likud rule,

“With a simple tweet, Gideon Saar did what no Israeli politician from the ruling conservative party has done in more than a decade — openly challenge its chief, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Half of Israelis Oppose Unity Government Headed by Netanyahu, Poll Finds,

“Half the Israeli public does not support forming a unity government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a Walla news website poll released Sunday shows. Of the remaining respondents, 42 percent of Israelis support a unity government of Kahol Lavan and Likud headed by Netanyahu, and eight percent were undecided.”

Lieberman Implies Netanyahu Sent Investigators to Spy on Him, Calls Israel's Culture Minister 'Beast',

In an interview with the Israeli Maariv daily, Lieberman said that he wouldn’t be surprised if Netanyahu and his associates had hired private investigators to stalk him and his family. ‘The problem with Bibi is once you have a different approach or perception than his, and it goes against his interests, you immediately become a personal enemy. You are immediately accused of hating the prime minister, that you’re a leftist and that you’re trying to overthrow him, while ignoring the facts,’ Lieberman said.”

How Israeli doctors enable the Shin Bet's torture industry,

“But it is not only doctors in the Shin Bet and the Israel Prison Service that collaborate with torture. Doctors in emergency rooms across Israel write false medical opinions in accordance with the demands of the Shin Bet. Take, for example, the case of Nader Qumsieh from the West Bank city of Beit Sahour. He was arrested in his home on May 4, 1993 and was brought to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva five days later. There a urologist diagnosed him a hemorrhage and a torn scrotum. Qumsieh testified that he was beaten during his interrogation and kicked in his testicles. Ten days later, Qumsieh was brought before the same urologist for a medical examination, after the latter had received a phone call from the Israeli military. The urologist wrote a retroactive letter (as if it had been written two days earlier), without actually conducting an additional examination of the patient, in which he said that ‘according to the patient, he fell down the stairs two days before he arrived in the emergency room’.”

Occupation, Annexation, & Human Rights

Hundreds of Israeli settlers break into Al-Aqsa mosque compound to mark Yom Kippur,

“Hundred of Israeli settlers broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in annexed East Jerusalem on Tuesday – guarded by Israeli military police and escorted by an Israeli MP and a minister – to mark the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, local media reported. Around 300 settlers entered the compound – a week after around 400 settlers entered the site to mark the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and Yehuda Glick, an MP from the right-wing Likud party, were among those who entered the compound on Tuesday as well as last week.”

Sleep Deprivation and a Freezing Cell: A Palestinian Woman Is Interrogated by Israel,

“Khater was arrested on July 24, 2018, and was immediately transferred for Shin Bet interrogation that lasted 35 days. The arrest didn’t come as a surprise. Her husband, Hazem al-Fakhouri, had been summoned by the Shin Bet – not for the first time – and asked about his wife, who writes articles highly critical of the Palestinian Authority and its security coordination with Israel, and in support of the right of resistance to the Israeli occupation. But she didn’t expect such a long interrogation period in an attempt to extract information from her and an admission of civil (not military) activity in Hamas. She didn’t expect an interrogation that included sleep deprivation, being painfully cuffed for many hours each day, being put in a foul-smelling cell with a freezing air-conditioner, and then in an even more foul-smelling cell (No. 8) where the faucet provided only rusty brown water.”

UNRWA in a Time of Crisis: Separating the Red Herrings from Legitimate Shortcomings,

“The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has faced much turmoil in the past few years. In August 2018, the US announced that it would no longer fund UNRWA, withdrawing the more than $300 million it had formerly supplied annually. Though others, such as the EU, Qatar, and Japan, provided new or more funding to fill the gap, the Agency is still experiencing a shortfall. Vital services for Palestine refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, such as primary education and health care, have experienced devastating cuts as a result.”

Palestinian Politics

Hamas said waging ‘secret war’ to purge jihadist groups from Gaza,

“The paper said the cells were looking for opportunities to carry out suicide attacks against the terror group that rules Gaza while simultaneously seeking to ramp up tensions with Israel. The Salafist cells were allegedly responsible for launching long-range rockets at Tel Aviv during fragile ceasefires between Hamas and Israel, and were receiving funding for their activities from unknown foreign sources.”

Monitoring group: Palestinian Authority removes pacts with Israel from textbooks,

“The only signed agreement still mentioned in books studied by students in the West Bank and Gaza from first grade through high school is the 1993 Oslo Accords, which now is mentioned less favorably and with less detail than in earlier versions of the textbooks, the Ynet website reported, citing research by the Israeli NGO IMPACT-se, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.”

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

Anti-BDS group backed by Adelson heads to 6 countries outside US,

“Established in 2015, the task force works with pro-Israel students on programs countering efforts to boycott or divest from Israel, sending representatives to campuses to solicit ideas from students and groups on campus, and then fund those it deems viable. The idea, Brog said in an interview, was to be ‘a clearinghouse for good strategies that we could fund and then offer to our other campuses, and then we could enable the strategies by bringing the funding and the ideas.’ He explained the model of MTF as providing the financial resources to allow campus pro-Israel groups to counter BDS in whatever ways they deem most effective for their particular campus.”