Top News & Analysis on Israel/Palestine: June 21-28, 2024


  1. New from FMEP

  2. Gaza

  3. Region//Global

  4. River to the Sea

  5. U.S. Scene

  6. Activism//Lawfare//Redefining Antisemitism to Stifle Criticism of Israel

  7. Perspectives//Long Reads


Israel is Annexing the West Bank (New podcast episode)

FMEP Fellow Peter Beinart speaks with Professor Yael Berda about Israel’s de facto annexation of the West Bank. A few days ago, the Guardian reported that “[t]he Israeli military has quietly handed over significant legal powers in the occupied West Bank to pro-settler civil servants working for the far-right minister Bezalel Smotrich” (“IDF transfers powers in occupied West Bank to pro-settler civil servants,” 6/20/24) and the New York Times reported Smotrich’s declaration that he succeeded in changing the “DNA” of the occupation (“Israeli Official Describes Secret Government Bid to Cement Control of West Bank, 6/21/22). Looking at the ongoing annexation efforts, Beinart and Berda discuss the ways in which – and the reasons why – Israeli settlers want to control the Israeli military; how Smotrich’s “decisive plan” is well underway; and the potential that international opposition may stop Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.

FMEP Legislative Round-Up June 28, 2024 (FMEP)

  1. Bills & Resolutions 2. Letters 3. Hearings & Markups 4. Israel/Palestine in 2024 Elex/Politics 5. Selected Media & Press releases/statements. This week’s round-up was guest-written by Haydn Welch and Sheridan Cole, advocacy officers at the Middle East Democracy Center, with contributions by Lara Friedman.

Settlement & Annexation Report: June 28, 2024 (Kristin McCarthy)

  1. West Bank Annexation: Israeli Military Cedes Control of West Bank Civilian Affairs to Settlers; 2. In Secretly Recorded Tapes, Smotrich Confirms Israel is Annexing the West Bank via Bureaucracy; 3. Israel Authorizes Five Outposts, Hints at Thousands of Units & More Annexation to Come; 4. Knesset Forms Caucus to Push for Resettlement of Gaza; 5. Canada Sanctions Prominent Settler Groups & Leaders; 6. Israeli High Court Hears Petition Challenging De Facto Annexation in the Jordan Valley; 7. Bonus Reads



Battles rage in north Gaza as Palestinian fighters ambush Israeli troops (Al Jazeera 6/28/24)

“Palestinian fighters engaged Israeli forces in fierce battles in northern Gaza City’s Shujayea neighbourhood a day after tanks and troops rolled in and sent tens of thousands of terrified civilians fleeing. In a statement on Friday, al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said it blew up a booby-trapped residential building in Shujayea, killing four Israeli soldiers and wounding five others…A day earlier, Israeli forces carried out heavy air and artillery attacks and sent armoured vehicles into war-ravaged northern Gaza in a renewed assault after pulling out in January saying Hamas had been “dismantled” in the area. Palestinian civilians are leaving on foot carrying their meagre belongings through rubble-strewn streets in the intense summer heat. Israel displaced at least 60,000 people from Gaza City since Thursday, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.” See also from Al Jazeera: Palestinians flee as Israeli forces renew Gaza City assault (Al Jazeera 6/27/24); Israel war on Gaza updates: Israeli attacks across enclave kill 60 people (Al Jazeera 6/26/24); Israeli air strikes kill dozens of Palestinian civilians across Gaza (Al Jazeera 6/25/24); Israeli air strike kills 10 family members of Hamas chief Haniyeh in Gaza (Al Jazeera 6/25/24); Israel war on Gaza updates: Deadly attack on Palestinians awaiting aid (6/24/24); Israel kills more than 100 Palestinians in 24 hours (6/23/24); Israel air raid on Gaza clinic kills senior Palestinian health official (6/24/24); See also Israeli forces pound north and south Gaza, battle Hamas in Rafah (Reuters 6/26/24); Israeli airstrikes kill dozens in Gaza City, authorities say (WaPo 6/22/24); More than 50 people killed or missing in Israeli strikes on central Gaza, local officials say (CNN 6/22/24)

Half a million people in Gaza face starvation risk: report (Axios)

“Nearly half a million people in the Gaza Strip are at risk of starvation and the entire population faces acute food insecurity, a UN-backed body said in a report on Tuesday…Nearly the entire population of the Gaza Strip, 2.15 million people, faces “high levels of acute food insecurity” through September 2024, per the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), a group of governments, UN agencies, and aid groups that monitor global hunger. 22% of the population, more than 495,000 people, face “catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity.” State of play: Nutrition status slightly improved in April and May, which “should not allow for complacency about reduced risk of famine in the coming weeks and months,” the IPC report said. “If anything, the prolonged nature of the crisis means the risk of famine remains at least as high as at any time during the last nine months.”’ See also High risk of famine amid Israel’s war on Gaza and aid restrictions (Al Jazeera); New famine alert for Gaza where families go days without food (UN News); Gaza Is World’s Deadliest Place for Aid Workers, U.N. Says (NYT); UN to Israel: Aid operations across Gaza will be suspended without improved safety (PBS); Israeli drone strike kills sixth MSF member in Gaza (Middle East Eye); UN tells Israel it will suspend aid operations across Gaza without improved safety (AP); ‘Now There’s Barely Anything’: Gazans Describe Life on the Verge of Famine (NYT); What Is a Famine and Who Determines That One Exists? (NYT); Israel blames U.N. for Gaza aid crisis amid fresh reports of starvation (WaPo); Half-million Gazans face ‘catastrophic’ hunger levels, U.N.-backed report says (WaPo)

Over 20,000 children buried, trapped, detained, lost amid Gaza war: Report (Al Jazeera)

“Nearly 21,000 children are missing in Gaza, British aid group Save the Children has claimed. In a report published on Monday, the group said the thousands of missing Palestinian children are believed to be trapped beneath rubble, buried in unmarked graves, harmed beyond recognition by explosives, detained by Israeli forces, or lost in the chaos of conflict. “It is nearly impossible to collect and verify information under the current conditions in Gaza,” the group said, “but at least 17,000 children are believed to be unaccompanied and separated and approximately 4,000 children are likely missing under the rubble, with an unknown number also in mass graves”.” See also The Missing Children of Gaza (Save the Children); Critically ill children leave Gaza in first evacuation in weeks (WaPo)

Gazans living in ‘unbearable’ conditions: UNRWA (Al Monitor)

“Gazans are forced to live in bombed-out buildings or camp next to giant piles of trash, a United Nations spokeswoman said Friday, denouncing the “unbearable” conditions in the besieged territory. Louise Wateridge from UNRWA, the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees, described the “extremely dire” living conditions in the Gaza Strip…Nearly nine months into the war between Israel and Hamas, Wateridge said the Gaza Strip had been “destroyed”. She said she had been “shocked” on returning to Khan Yunis in central Gaza. “The buildings are skeletons, if at all. Everything is rubble,” she said. “And yet people are living there again. “There’s no water there, there’s no sanitation, there’s no food. And now, people are living back in these buildings that are empty shells,” with sheets covering the gaps left by blown-out walls. With no bathrooms, “people are relieving themselves anywhere they can”.

How Israeli drone strikes are killing journalists in Gaza (+972 Magazine)

“According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, 103 journalists and media workers are among the more than 37,000 Palestinian casualties of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip since October 7. Faced with the deadliest war for journalists in modern history, Forbidden Stories — whose mission is to continue the work of journalists who are killed on the job — set out to investigate the targeting of the press in Gaza and the West Bank. In a unique collaboration, Forbidden Stories brought together 50 journalists from 13 media organizations around the world. The consortium analyzed nearly 100 cases of journalists and media workers killed in Gaza, as well as other cases in which Israel has allegedly targeted, threatened, or wounded members of the press over the past eight months. Unable to report freely from inside the Strip, consortium members remotely contacted over 120 journalists and witnesses to military activities in Gaza and the West Bank; consulted around 25 ballistics, weapons, and audio experts, including Earshot; and used satellite images from Planet Labs and Maxar Technologies. Today, after four months of collaborative work, we are together publishing “The Gaza Project.” Below is one of two articles from the project that +972 is co-publishing with Forbidden Stories. For the full list of articles comprising “The Gaza Project” and more information about the collaboration, click here.” See also The grey zone’: how IDF views some journalists in Gaza as legitimate targets (Guardian); ‘An incredible loss for Palestine’: Israeli offensive takes deadly toll on journalists (Guardian); ‘The livestream was critical evidence’: Tracing attacks on Gaza’s press buildings (+972); Israel’s War on Gaza is the Deadliest Conflict on Record for Journalists (Intercept)

Why Ceasefire Talks Are Stuck (Alex Kane//Jewish Currents)

“With no ceasefire deal in sight, Israel and the US have pinned the blame on Hamas, with Biden saying it was Hamas that has to “move” on the new proposal and an Israeli official claiming the militant group had “rejected the proposal.” A Hamas official, however, said in an interview with Reuters that he saw no major gap between Biden’s plan and the group’s response, and that it was Israel that was blocking a truce. In this explainer, Jewish Currents interviewed regional experts to cut through the claims and counterclaims and examine why a ceasefire hasn’t been reached…[Daniel] Levy said that Biden’s decision to publicly lay out a ceasefire deal for the first time may have been a gambit to change Netanyahu’s calculations, encouraging him to break with his far-right coalition partners and join his political opponents Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid in a governing coalition…But, Levy said, the Biden administration has weakened its cause by advancing the ceasefire proposal without threatening consequences if Netanyahu refuses. “Shifting Netanyahu’s calculation would require the administration to sustain a stand-off with Israel’s leadership, something they have shown no sign of doing,” he said…The prospects of such a US policy change, however, appear to be low. “The US, as usual, is exerting all the pressure on Hamas,” said [Tariq] Kenney-Shawa. Biden administration officials have repeatedly blamed the Palestinian group for the stalling of talks…Kenney-Shawa said that this approach is a reflection of the Biden administration’s priorities, which include allowing Israel to “achieve its [stated] objectives” with further massacres of Palestinians, while “managing the war in the eyes of the international community and the domestic public.” “If this means forcing Hamas into a ‘ceasefire’ agreement that doesn’t actually ensure the war will end,” he said, “the US seems to be saying, so be it.” See also Netanyahu dismisses cease-fire proposal, angering hostage families (WaPo); Netanyahu says war will continue even if ceasefire deal agreed with Hamas (Al Jazeera 6/23/24); Netanyahu walks back proposal for Gaza hostage-ceasefire deal endorsed by Biden (Axios 6/23/24)

‘More horrific than Abu Ghraib’: Lawyer recounts visit to Israeli detention center (Baker Zoubi//+972)

““The situation there is more horrific than anything we’ve heard about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.” This is how Khaled Mahajneh describes the Sde Teiman detention center as the first lawyer to visit the facility. More than 4,000 Palestinians whom Israel arrested in Gaza have been held at the military base in the Naqab/Negev since October 7; some of them have subsequently been released, but most remain in Israeli detention…Most Palestinians at Sde Teiman do not even know where they are being held; with at least 35 detainees having died in unknown circumstances since the war began, many simply call it “the death camp.”…Mahajneh told +972 that [journalist & Sde Teiman inmate Muhammad] Arab was nearly unrecognizable after 100 days in the detention facility; his face, hair, and skin color had changed, and he was covered with dirt and pigeon droppings. The journalist had not been given new clothes for nearly two months, and was only allowed to change his pants for the first time that day because of the lawyer’s visit. According to Arab, detainees are continually blindfolded and tied up with their hands behind their backs, forced to sleep hunched over on the floor without any bedding. Their iron handcuffs are removed only during a weekly, minute-long shower…Arab also testified to his lawyer that Israeli guards sexually assaulted six prisoners with a stick in front of the other detainees after they had violated prison orders. “When he talked about rapes, I asked him, ‘Muhammad, you’re a journalist, are you sure about this?’” Mahajneh recounted. “But he said he saw it with his own eyes, and that what he was telling me was only a small part of what was happening there.” Multiple media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, have reported on instances of rape and sexual assault at Sde Teiman. In a video circulating on social media earlier this week, a Palestinian prisoner recently released from the detention camp said that he had personally witnessed multiple rapes, and cases in which Israeli soldiers made dogs sexually assault prisoners.” See also Gaza: Israeli army systematically uses police dogs to brutally attack Palestinian civilians, with at least one reported rape (Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor); Traumatised Palestinian detainee describes torture in Israeli custody (Al Jazeera 6/23/24)

Forensic Architecture probe concludes Israeli tank likely killed Palestinian child Hind Rajab (Middle East Eye)

“A UK-based research group published the findings of a forensic investigation on Friday, revealing that Hind Rajab, the six-year-old Palestinian girl found dead along with members of her family in northern Gaza earlier this year, was most likely killed by Israeli tank fire. The investigation found that the car in which Rajab was killed had been hit with 335 bullets, with most of the entries coming from the right side of the vehicle. The investigation was conducted by Forensic Architecture, Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines and the NGO Earshot…The probe – using a mix of kinetic analysis, satellite imagery and footage sourced from the site of the incident – also found that the Israeli tank that fired upon the vehicle Rajab was sitting inside must have been positioned within 13 to 23 metres when it killed Layan, Rajab’s 15-year-old cousin. The close proximity means that the tank must have been able to see into the vehicle, with the investigators concluding: “It’s not plausible that the shooter could not have seen that the car was occupied by civilians, including children…The investigation refutes the claim by Israel denying responsibility for the killing and said that Israeli forces were not present in the area at the time of Rajab’s death.” See also Red Crescent Says Israel Never Reached Out About Hind Rajab’s Death, Despite State Department Claim that Israel Said Otherwise (Intercept); The Killing of Hind Rajab (Forensic Architecture)


With Israel ‘Emboldened,’ Washington Braces For Fresh Middle East Bloodshed In Lebanon (HuffPost)

“Last Tuesday, Israel’s military approved a plan to invade Lebanon to fight its dominant militia, Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s leader issued his strongest threats against Israel in years the following day. And the U.S., Israel’s most powerful ally, has indicated that it will not block an Israeli offensive… for now, the danger of an Israel-Hezbollah war is higher than it has ever been, Biden administration officials and national security experts say — and many insiders are skeptical that President Joe Biden can ultimately avert it. The core of the concern is the defining theme of Biden’s Middle East policy since Oct. 7: the U.S.’s overwhelming support for Israel.” See also U.S. warned Hezbollah it can’t hold Israel back if escalation continues (Axios); The U.S. readies to evacuate Americans from Lebanon if fighting between Israel and Hezbollah intensifies (NBC);  US rejects limited Israeli war in Lebanon, continues 2000-lb bomb freeze (Al Monitor); Pentagon hosts Gallant as US seeks to avert Israel-Hezbollah war; Israel’s Gallant in US as Netanyahu hints at moving Gaza troops to Lebanon border

Satellite Images Show Devastation in the Villages of Southern Lebanon (Haaretz)

“Israel’s response to Hezbollah fire has resulted in the evacuation of 100,000 Lebanese. Thousands of houses have been totally destroyed in the south with billions in damage” See also Lebanon bombed over 6,000 times by Israel since October (The Cradle); Israel warns can send Lebanon ‘back to Stone Age’ as UN seeks  de-escalation (Al Jazeera); Mapping 7,400 cross-border attacks between Israel and Lebanon (Al Jazeera); Hezbollah’s ‘axis of resistance’ allies waiting in reserve to fight Israel (Al Jazeera)

Lebanon holds airport tours to dispel weapons report amid Israel-Hezbollah tension (Al Monitor)

“Lebanon’s government organized a tour for foreign diplomats and journalists at the Beirut airport Monday following reports that the paramilitary Hezbollah group was stocking weapons at the facility as the group and Israel edge closer to full-blown war…The tour came in response to a report published Sunday by British daily The Telegraph, citing anonymous whistleblowers at the airport who claimed weapons supplies have been increasingly entering the facility on direct flights from Iran since the cross-border hostilities began last October…Lebanon’s caretaker Minister of Information Ziad Makary denounced the report as part of a “psychological war” aimed at undermining the country’s “promising” summer tourism season. “The airport is a public utility that concerns all the Lebanese,” he told the local MTV station from the airport on Monday, adding that it was impossible for Hezbollah to store missiles at the airport.” See also from Al Monitor: India, Jordan join chorus of countries warning against travel to Lebanon; As Lebanon braces, four scenarios for Hezbollah’s confrontation with Israel

Dutch foreign ministry calls in Israeli ambassador over ICC spying claims (Guardian)

“Dutch officials asked to meet the ambassador, Modi Ephraim, to discuss concerns raised by a Guardian investigation that revealed Israeli intelligence agencies attempted over a nine-year period to undermine, influence and allegedly intimidate the ICC chief prosecutor’s office. The meeting was disclosed by officials in response to questions raised in parliament by several Dutch MPs about the revelations, part of a joint investigation with the Israeli-Palestinian publication +972 Magazine and the Hebrew-language outlet Local Call.” See also ICC allows UK to submit arguments on jurisdiction over Israelis in Gaza case (Reuters); ICC decision on Netanyahu arrest warrant may be delayed by UK (Guardian)

As Norway’s largest private pension fund, we are divesting from Caterpillar (Al Jazeera)

“At Norway’s largest private pension fund, KLP, we have decided to divest from United States industrial group Caterpillar over concerns about its role in human rights abuses in occupied Palestine. KLP has previously divested from companies linked to the illegal Israeli settlements and the separation wall in the West Bank following the important United Nations report on businesses linked to settlements.” See also Norwegian pension fund dumps Caterpillar over Gaza war risks (Al Jazeera); ‘Against violence towards civilians’: Armenia recognises Palestinian state (Al Jazeera); More countries recognize Palestinian state as Israel-Hamas war rages on (Axios)

Jordan’s U.S. ambassador: ‘Israel is losing all of the Arab countries’ (Jewish Insider)

“Jordanian Ambassador to the U.S. Dina Kawar warned on Wednesday that Israel is at risk of losing its relationships with Arab nations, including Jordan, with which Israel has had a peace deal for three decades…Kawar spoke alongside Tom Nides, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel until July 2023. Nides, who was a champion of the Abraham Accords during his time in Jerusalem, said that Israel and Saudi Arabia are close to a normalization deal — but only after the war ends.” See also Canada places sanctions on extremists, settler groups over violence against West Bank Palestinians (Times of Israel)

Yemen’s Houthis undeterred by U.S. campaign to halt Red Sea attacks (WaPo)

“Despite months of U.S.-led airstrikes against Yemen’s Houthi fighters, the once ragtag rebels have continued to threaten some of the world’s most vital shipping routes, drawing from an arsenal of increasingly advanced weapons to attack vessels in and around the Red Sea. Just this month, Houthi militants sank one ship and set another ablaze. The fighters, operating on land and in the water, have launched swarms of drones at U.S. warships and deployed a remote-controlled boat packed with explosives, tactics and weapons that experts say are associated with the group’s patron, Iran. The recent uptick in Houthi activity has underscored the group’s ability to pose a sustained threat, relying in part on a steady flow of Iranian arms and expertise both to withstand U.S. strikes and remain on the attack. The faltering U.S. efforts to halt Houthi operations and protect global shipping have also drawn scrutiny from Congress, where lawmakers say not enough is being done to establish deterrence.”


A Palestinian was shot, beaten and tied to an Israeli army jeep. The army says he posed no threat (AP)

“When Mujahid Abadi stepped outside to see if Israeli forces had entered his uncle’s neighborhood, he was shot in the arm and the foot. That was only the start of his ordeal. Hours later, beaten and bloodied, he found himself strapped to the searing hood of an Israeli military jeep driving down a road. The army initially said Abadi was a suspected militant, but later acknowledged he had not posed a threat to Israeli forces and was caught in crossfire with militants. Video showing the 24-year-old strapped to the jeep circulated on social media, sparking widespread condemnation, including from the United States. Many said it showed that Israeli soldiers were using him as a human shield — a charge Israel has frequently leveled at Hamas as it battles the group in Gaza.” See also Israeli forces targeted by explosions during occupied West Bank raid (Al Jazeera 6/27/24); Israeli forces arrest 28 Palestinians in raids in occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera 6/27/24)

Meltdown Looms for the West Bank’s Financial Lifelines (International Crisis Group)

“Palestinian banks may collapse after 1 July, unless Israel renews a waiver that allows Israeli banks to transact with them by that date. The waiver is critical for imports of essential goods into the Palestinian territories, payments of essential services and salaries, and all banking activity. Without it, the Palestinian economy could face a liquidity crisis and a meltdown with dire consequences for West Bank Palestinians – and maybe for Israel as well. Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s far-right finance minister, issued a three-month waiver for transactions in March, but indicated that he did not plan to extend it further. In addition, he has refused to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), pursuant to deals the two sides struck in the 1990s. The U.S. and other major powers have urged Israel to renew the waiver, fearing calamity in the West Bank, where economic and security conditions have already deteriorated markedly during the Gaza war. But the Israeli government has yet to yield, and many U.S. officials believe that Smotrich in fact intends to bring about the PA’s collapse. With the deadline fast approaching, the U.S. and its partners must intensify their pressure on the Israeli government while preparing for the worst.”

Israel destroys 11 homes in West Bank village amid spiralling violence (Guardian)

“Israeli soldiers have destroyed 11 homes and other structures in an isolated community in the occupied West Bank, leaving 50 people homeless, amid a reported uptick in house demolitions and spiralling violence in the Palestinian territory. Contractors with bulldozers accompanied by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops arrived in Umm al-Kheir, a village mostly home to shepherds, on Wednesday morning and demolished six houses, tent residences, an electricity generator, solar cells and water tanks, according to residents and Israeli activists who documented the proceedings. Agricultural land and fences were also damaged and trees uprooted. The demolition has destroyed about a third of the village’s infrastructure.” See also FMEP’s Spotlight on Masafer Yatta. See also Israel’s Smotrich promises ‘a million’ new settlers under expansion plan (Al Jazeera); Security cabinet okays legalizing 5 outposts, sanctioning PA officials (Times of Israel)

Israel Reduces Food for Palestinian Security Prisoners, Conceals Data, Sources Say (Haaretz)

“Israeli security sources say that the Israel Prison Service has been concealing information about the amount of food given to security prisoners since the start of the war, Haaretz has learned. The sources say that the Prison Service has been harshly criticized in several recent closed discussions, in the wake of a petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and being heard on Wednesday by the High Court of Justice…The sources say that the Prison Service has been harshly criticized in several recent closed discussions, in the wake of a petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and being heard on Wednesday by the High Court of Justice.”

‘Protest Until Netanyahu’s Gone’ | Israelis Conclude Day of Countrywide Rallies Demanding Hostage Deal, Immediate Election (Haaretz)

“Anti-government protest organizations launched a day of demonstrations on Thursday by blocking a major highway in central Israel. Across the country, protests demanding a hostage deal and immediate elections took place throughout the day. Activities included blockades and demonstrations outside the homes of Likud lawmakers, including the prime minister’s residences in Jerusalem and Caesarea. In Tel Aviv, dozens of activists and relatives of hostages blocked the main highway, igniting a cage on the road with the plea “Help.” Earlier, hundreds of protesters against the government blocked intersections in central Tel Aviv and various points along Israel’s coastal road.” See also Protesters in Jerusalem, Caesarea urge Netanyahu ouster, demand hostage deal (Times of Israel)

Three Israeli Army Reservists Explain Why They Refuse to Continue Serving in Gaza (Haaretz)

“Yuval was required to torch two residential buildings; Michael realized how many civilians were likely to be killed during every bombing he observed; and Tal broke down when Israel entered Rafah. They are willing to suffer the price for their refusal to serve in Gaza…At the end of last month, Vardi, along with 41 other reservists who have served in the military since October 7, signed the first letter of refusal published by reservists since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip.See also Israel’s Supreme Court orders conscription for ultra-Orthodox men (Al Jazeera); Ultra-Orthodox Jews block highway to protest Israel’s new mandatory military service ruling (AP)


Trump Turned “Palestinian” Into a Slur (Mother Jones)

“Donald Trump criticized Joe Biden’s efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, insisting that Biden should let Israel “finish the job.” Then the former president reduced an entire people into a political insult. Biden has “become like a Palestinian,” Trump said. “But they don’t like him because he’s a very bad Palestinian. He’s a weak one.”’ See also Biden: ‘We Saved Israel’; Trump: ‘He’s Become Like a Palestinian’: Disastrous Performance vs. Constant Lies at First Presidential Debate (Haaretz); Joe Biden Is a Good Man and a Good President. He Must Bow Out of the Race. (Tom Friedman//NYT); Trump again uses ‘Palestinian’ as slur, this time employing it against Schumer (Times of Israel); The Pro-Israel Donor With a $100 Million Plan to Elect Trump (NYT)

Prosecutors treating attempted drowning of Palestinian-American child as hate crime (Middle East Eye)

“On 19 May, a PalestinianAmerican mother living in an apartment complex in Euless, Texas took her children for a swim in the building’s pool. What followed was a violent altercation where a drunk woman allegedly made racist remarks and then proceeded to try and drown her three-year-old daughter. Prosecutors are now seeking to treat the case as a hate crime, and rights groups say the incident is a symptom of the larger spike in anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia that has taken place in the United States since the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza in October.” See also Woman Tried to Drown 3-Year-Old Girl After Making Racist Comments, Police Say (NYT)

Exclusive: Israeli documents show expansive government effort to shape US discourse around Gaza war (Guardian)

“The Guardian has uncovered evidence showing how Israel has relaunched a controversial entity as part of a broader public relations campaign to target US college campuses and redefine antisemitism in US law…Its latest incarnation is part of a hardline and sometimes covert operation by the Israeli government to strike back at student protests, human rights organizations and other voices of dissent. Voices’ latest activities were conducted through non-profits and other entities that often do not disclose donor information…None of the groups identified in this story’s reporting have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara). This law requires groups receiving funds or direction from foreign countries to provide public disclosures to the US Department of Justice. “There’s a built-in assumption that there’s nothing at all weird about viewing the US as sort of an open field for Israel to operate in, that there are no limitations,” said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.”

Bowman crushed by GOP-fueled AIPAC cash (Eli Clifton//Responsible Statecraft)

“Executive George Latimer in the Democratic primary was an undeniable victory by moderate Democrats who sought to retake Bowman’s seat — particularly in light of his alignment with the progressive wing of the party, and his sharp criticism of Biden’s material support for Israel’s war in Gaza. But Latimer’s win also provided the most dramatic proof of concept for a controversial new strategy by AIPAC, the country’s biggest pro-Israel lobby: using its super-PAC, United Democracy Project, to funnel millions of dollars in Republican donor funds into a Democratic primary. Put another way, AIPAC effectively acted to launder campaign funds for Republican megadonors into the Democratic primary, where the spending was generally identified in media as “pro-Israel,” not “Republican.” By election day, Latimer-aligned groups had outspent Bowman’s backers by a margin of over seven-to-one, with UDP leading the spending, injecting approximately $15 million to support Latimer. Most of UDP’s money didn’t come from Bowman’s district and much of it didn’t even come from within the Democratic Party.” See also Progressives on AIPAC’s Defeat of Bowman: “Now We Know How Much it Costs to Buy an Election” (Intercept); Is Jamaal Bowman pro-Palestinian enough for pro-Palestinians? (Rafael Shimunov//The Forward); Why Jamaal Bowman’s New York primary is huge for pro-Israel groups (WaPo)

How Israel Bonds Put the Cost of the War in Gaza on US States and Municipalities (The Nation)

“The Israeli Finance Ministry has estimated the per diem cost of its government’s unremitting attacks on Gaza as $270 million. By midsummer, Israel is projected to have spent $50 billion, more than 10 percent of the nation’s total GDP. The Israeli government has taken on these costs by relying heavily on debt financing…In the six months following the Hamas attack, at least 14 states and four municipalities invested in Israel bonds. Their total holdings, as of February 2024, amounted to $1.6 billion. This swell of support, despite a shrinking Israeli economy, illustrates how Israel bonds have more in common with war bonds than with standard Treasury bills…Without the ability to trade, the buyer is tied to the bond regardless of market or political conditions. This intentional feature of the bond signals the commitment of the investor to the project of Israel, not necessarily to their own profit maximization…Last Wednesday, May 22, residents of Palm Beach County filed a groundbreaking lawsuit alleging that the county comptroller and clerk of the Circuit Court, Joseph Abruzzo, violated his fiduciary duty by investing $660 million of local tax revenues in Israel bonds in the months following the October 7 attack.”

We Are Israelis Calling on Congress to Disinvite Netanyahu (David Harel, Tamir Pardo, Talia Sasson, Ehud Barak, Aaron Ciechanover and David Grossman//NYT)

“To date, Mr. Netanyahu has failed to come up with a plan to end the war in Gaza and has been unable to gain the freedom of scores of hostages. At the very least, an invitation to address Congress should have been contingent upon resolving these two issues and, in addition, calling for new elections in Israel.” See also Our relatives are held hostage in Gaza. We are begging American Jews to pressure Netanyahu to make a deal now (The Forward)

62 Democrats Join 207 Republicans in Vote to Conceal Gaza Death Toll (Intercept)

“On Thursday, lawmakers voted 269-144 on an amendment to prohibit the State Department from citing statistics from the Gaza Health Ministry. The measure is part of the annual State Department appropriations bill…In total, 62 Democrats joined 207 Republicans in supporting the amendment…Mohammed Khader, policy manager at the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights Action, told The Intercept that the amendment is part of a trend of anti-Palestinian sentiment in Congress since the start of Israel’s atrocities in Gaza. “By preventing any recognition of the number of Palestinians killed since October, this amendment is a clear example of genocide denial and is no different from what was done towards victims of genocides in Rwanda and Armenia.” On Wednesday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., the only Palestinian member of Congress, took to the floor to make a similar argument. “This is genocide denial,” she said.” See also House spending bill erases UNRWA, Gaza pier funding, blocks refugee resettlement (Al Monitor); For this U.S. airman, the Gaza war hit too close to home (WaPo); Two US military airmen seek to become conscientious objectors over Gaza war (Al Jazeera)


States Are Restricting Protests and Criminalizing Dissent (Teen Vogue)

“Since 2017, 21 states across the country have passed new laws that restrict protests — nearly 50 in total — with dozens more being introduced annually. Most of these new laws increase criminal penalties for conduct, like interfering with traffic, involved in some kinds of protests…In many cases, these laws go further than punishing individual protesters to include the people and organizations that support them, putting organizers and community groups at risk…Codifying additional crimes related to protest activity also expands law enforcement’s authority to arrest protesters, creating more situations where protesters may face police violence…In addition to new laws, authorities are demonstrating a new willingness to deploy existing draconian restrictions against protesters.”

SXSW ends US Army partnership after backlash from artists over Palestine (Guardian)

South by Southwest has discontinued its partnership with the US Army and the defense contractor RTX Corporation for its 2025 festival in response to concerns from numerous artists who withdrew from the 2024 event, the festival announced on Wednesday…The film, culture and tech festival, held each March in Austin, Texas, will also discontinue its partnership with Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of weapons manufacturer RTX Corporation, formerly known as Raytheon. Over 80 artists withdrew from the 2024 festival in support of Palestine after Israel’s invasion of Gaza, citing SXSW’s ties to the weapons manufacturer and its sponsorship by the US army.”

What the LA synagogue pro-Palestinian protest was really about (The Forward)

“A pro-Palestinian protest outside an Orthodox synagogue here in Los Angeles drew President Biden’s condemnation Monday after videos of fighting with counterprotesters spread on social media. The protest was organized by Palestinian Youth Movement, a national activist group, in response to an Israeli real estate seminar held Sunday at the Adas Torah synagogue. Scores of protesters, clad in face masks or keffiyehs and chanting slogans like “Zionism’s got to go,” assembled near the synagogue’s front door with signs and Palestinian flags. Because the synagogue is located at the heart of Pico-Robertson, an Orthodox enclave on the city’s Westside, Jewish community notices were shared widely in advance of the protest. Hundreds of counter-protesters — toting their own flags and megaphones — were present when it began at 12 p.m…The event at Adas Torah was organized by My Home In Israel, a real estate company that specializes in helping American Jews buy property in Israel…The scene recalled a fracas at a pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA the night of April 30 which began when a pro-Israel mob arriving after the conclusion of Passover lobbed fireworks, poles and other items at the encampment and tried to tear down its makeshift walls…Some of the pro-Israel protesters present at the UCLA encampment riot were also at the Adas Torah protest, based on my observations at the scene of  both protests and texts I received from participants.” See also Biden and Democratic Leaders Condemn Protest Outside L.A. Synagogue as Antisemitic (NYT)


Displacement Is the Point: Contextualizing Israel’s Decades of Violence and Destruction in Gaza and the West Bank (Yara Asi//TIMEP)

“Every Palestinian lives in the shadow of the Nakba, the forcible displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians in 1948, when the state of Israel was created. The recent events in the Gaza Strip have not just demonstrated that the Nakba has never ended but serve as a reminder that leaders of the state of Israel have made their intentions clear since its inception.” See also from Yara Asi and co-authors: Racism as a Threat to Palestinian Health Equity (Health Equity June 2024)

Seven displacements in eight months (Sahar Al-ijla//We Are Not Numbers)

“As if war is not enough! Our dreams are being stolen away by forced moves, near-deaths, and the Rafah border closing.”

I Accuse Netanyahu of Betrayal (Ehud Olmert//Haaretz)

“I accuse the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, of taking deliberate action to prolong the war between Israel and the Palestinian murder organizations. The desire to drag out the fighting without specifying an end date is the reason precise objectives have not been set for the combat forces. I accuse the prime minister of Israel of intent to expand the war and initiate a direct, all-out military confrontation with Hezbollah in the north, instead of reaching, with French and U.S. mediation, an agreement with the Lebanese government that will bring an end to the current violent conflict…I accuse the prime minister of Israel of taking deliberate actions meant to cause a widespread flare-up of violence in the West Bank, in the knowledge that this would trigger the expansion of war crimes against Palestinians who are not involved in terrorism in any way…I accuse the prime minister of Israel of deliberately abandoning the Israeli hostages who are still being held by Hamas murderers.” See also Inquiry warns Netanyahu risked Israel’s national security in submarine deal (Axios)

The Floating Gaza Pier: A Symbol of Future Colonial Plans (Salma Al Zurai’i, Mohammed Al-Hafi//Al Shabaka)

“This commentary examines available data related to the pier’s operations, and unpacks the many incentives for its development by key geopolitical players. It positions the pier within Israel’s longer-term strategy for both Gaza and Palestine as whole, using the structure as a window into understanding the regime’s broader regional aims. Temporary or not, this commentary contends that the pier must not be viewed as merely a short-term humanitarian effort, but also as a symbol of the US and Israel’s continued imperial and colonial endeavors.”

Fact or Fiction: Is Israel Unfairly Singled Out for Global Condemnation? (Dahlia Scheindlin//Haaretz)

“The decades-old image that Israel alone gets named, blamed and punished for the kinds of things all others do for free is one of the greatest historical fictions in Israel’s history. It would be more accurate to say that for most of its life, Israel has gotten an incredibly free ride in its foreign relations…The current war is the first time Israel has confronted more significant international consequences for its actions. Let’s tell the truth: beyond rhetorical wrist slaps, Israel has been a triumph of global integration. Sorry to shock people who make a living peddling the myth, but Israelis need to realize how good they’ve had it – and how much they have to lose.”

As Netanyahu abandons the hostages, Hamas may seek to extend the war (Meron Rapoport//+972)

“Since the end of November, when fighting resumed in Gaza following a week-long ceasefire, Hamas has demanded the total cessation of the war and the complete Israeli withdrawal from the Strip as unequivocal conditions for the release of any more Israeli hostages. Nearly seven months later, Hamas still publicly insists on these conditions — but it is highly doubtful whether the group genuinely believes that the hostages provide the leverage required to pressure Israel to end its onslaught…Just last week, the prime minister made it clear that he was not prepared “to commit to ending the war without achieving our goals — the elimination of Hamas.” Since Netanyahu knows that Hamas will not agree to eliminate itself, this means that he refuses any ceasefire deal…There is no doubt that Hamas wants a permanent ceasefire, a full Israeli withdrawal, the return of the displaced residents to what remains of their homes, and the beginning of Gaza’s reconstruction. The unbearable suffering of the population demands it, and the group has sustained significant military setbacks. The growing voices of opposition to Hamas from inside and outside Gaza are likely adding to this. But it is possible that Hamas today believes that its best leverage for achieving this goal is not the hostages, but rather the continuation of the fighting in Gaza — which may ultimately threaten Israel more than it threatens Hamas.”