Top News Stories from Israel & Palestine: June 3, 2019

What We’re Reading


Israeli forces and settlers enter Al-Aqsa Mosque compound,

Protests erupted on Sunday after Israeli forces entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound along with hundreds of ultra-nationalist Jews whom they allowed to access the compound on Jerusalem Day – when Israelis celebrate the anniversary of their occupation of East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war…It was the first time in about 30 years that Jews were allowed into the site during the final days of the fasting month of Ramadan, which coincided this year with the Israeli national holiday commemorating control over the city.

Police allows Jews to enter Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day, sparking riots,

Clashes broke out at the Temple Mount on Sunday between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli security forces after some 120 Jews had been allowed to enter the compound as part of Jerusalem Day celebrations.

Tens of thousands join Flag March to mark unification of Jerusalem,

Tens of thousands of flag-waving Israelis marched through Jerusalem on Sunday to mark the unification of the city’s eastern and western sectors in the 1967 Six Day War, with tensions heightened due to the holiday coinciding with the final days of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The so-called Flag March, with a large contingent of Jewish religious nationalists, included passing under heavy security through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City in what Palestinian see as a provocation.

Israel Is Using Archeology To Erase Non-Jewish History,

Talya Ezrahi and Yonathan Mizrachi write, “Every Jerusalem Day, thousands of people descend on Jerusalem, waving flags as they march through the Old City in what is known as the ‘flag parade’ to celebrate the Six-Day war victory in Jerusalem. Dancing through the streets of the Muslim Quarter, the crowd, a large proportion of whom are Yeshiva students, are often heard chanting racist slogans as they make their way to the Western Wall. This display of raw nationalist muscle is an annual reminder to the Muslim and Christian residents of the Old City of who is boss.”

Occupation/Human Rights

Palestinian Prove Fraud, Regain Land After Decades,

The town of Biddya in the West Bank’s Salfit governorate is building agricultural roads in mountainous areas to allow citizens to reach their newly reclaimed lands. Construction began a few days after the landowners recovered over 190 dunams (over 47 acres) of land from Israeli company Yakir Investments, after lawyers from the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission proved in mid-May the company forged the title deeds.

Policeman indicted for beating, breaking knee of Arab protester in Haifa,

A policeman was indicted Sunday by the Police Internal Investigations Department for beating and breaking the knee of Arab Israeli rights campaigner Jafar Farah after his arrest at a Haifa protest last year. Farah was arrested with 20 other people during a Gaza Strip solidarity rally in Haifa in May 2018, in the wake of which several accusations of brutality were leveled against police. Farah claimed the police officer kicked his leg, shattering his knee, while he was held in a detention facility.

Al-Walajah Village: Under Settlement and Isolation,

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights issued a special report about the violations against al-Walajah village, located in the southwestern Jerusalem and northern Bethlehem, suffers. The report reviews the procedures (measures) that the Israeli forces started to implement since the occupation of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem in terms of issuing legislations aiming at imposing the Israeli law, confiscating lands, and establishing colonization projects in order to annex it to Israel.

Supreme Court freezes expulsion of HRW director as it considers his appeal,

The Supreme Court has issued a ruling allowing the local director of Human Rights Watch to remain in Israel while he fights a deportation order…In Sunday’s ruling, the Supreme Court did not set a date, but said the appeal should be heard in the current court year ending July 21.

Israel to auction prefab classrooms donated by EU to Palestinians,

Israel’s defence ministry plans to hold an auction next week to sell two prefabricated classrooms that were donated to Palestinian schoolchildren by the EU. The Civil Administration, the body tasked with running the occupation, tore down and confiscated the classrooms last October. They had been intended for 49 students, in grades one to six, in Ibziq, in the northern occupied West Bank.

The Deal of the Century

U.S. Slashed Palestinian Aid as a Result of Decisions by Their Leadership, Kushner Says,

Kushner’s statement marks the first time that a senior U.S. official has publicly acknowledged that the aid cuts were meant to serve as a diplomatic punishment for political decisions made by the PA leadership.

Iranians, Iraqis march to back Palestinians, reject Trump Mideast plan,

Tens of thousands of Iranians marking the annual ‘Quds (Jerusalem) Day’ in the Islamic Republic on Friday condemned a planned Middle East peace plan that U.S. President Donald Trump has touted as the ‘deal of the century’. State television said state-sponsored marches were being held in 950 communities across Iran and showed demonstrators carrying banners with slogans such as ‘Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine’ and “Death to America” and ‘Death to Israel’.

Why The U.S. “Workshop” For Palestinians Will Fail,

Dr. James Zogby writes, “This said, the attempt to convene an ‘economic workshop’ without first guaranteeing that Palestinians will have freedom and independence – is destined for failure. We’ve been down the road paved with false promises before and have found it to be a dead end. Because freedom isn’t being discussed and Palestinians see no commitment to independence on the horizon – the US summit in Bahrain will be a nice show but it won’t make a difference. As the old adage goes ‘you can’t put the cart before the horse’ – it just won’t go.”

Israeli Politics

Israel's Knesset in Limbo,

The Knesset decided on May 29 to disband and to hold new elections in September. The impact of that night’s decision, in contradiction of all logic, just one month after the Israeli parliament was sworn in, is now becoming clearer. Beyond the economic damage of two election cycles in one year, the governing system has entered a period of instability…When asked whether he understands why Palestinians do not trust him as a fair mediator in this conflict, Kusher said, “I’m not here to be trusted.” He explained that “there’s a difference between the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people,” claiming that the Palestinian people “want to have a better life” and that facts, rather than trust, will be the determining factor.

Backtracking, Netanyahu to keep justice, education portfolios until next week,

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not appoint new justice and education ministers until next week, a spokesperson said Monday, a day after the premier fired Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett from their posts and said he would select their successors this week.

Smotrich says he wants to be justice minister so Israel can follow Torah law,

The Israeli justice system should adhere to religious Jewish law, MK Bezalel Smotrich of the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URWP) has insisted, doubling down on his position despite drawing rebuke, and asserting that the country should aspire to run itself as “in the days of King David.”