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Documents & Data

Palestinian leaders grasp for unity in Ramallah-Beirut meeting Daoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - An unprecedented meeting of the Palestinian leadership took place Sept. 3 in a sign of a possible reconciliation and agreement on a national strategy. The local heads of Palestinian factions met in the Ramallah presidential headquarters with leaders residing abroad joining in by video conference from Beirut. President Mahmoud Abbas, who called for the meeting, arrived more powerful than he has been in years due to his steadfast opposition to unilateral Israeli and US plans, as well as the US- brokered normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. (rh) 22/9/2020
Trump wants signing ceremony for UAE deal as close to election as possiblePHILIP WEISS - Mondoweiss - Donald Trump wants a White House signing ceremony for the UAE-Israel deal as close to the election as he can get it. But the UAE wants it sooner, and it cut the deal to help Joe Biden with a political headache– by taking annexation off the table. Meanwhile other Arab countries are trying to figure out what they can get out of the U.S. if they normalize with Israel. And though the deal removes Israeli annexation of the West Bank in the short term, it may make things worse for Palestinians, as Israeli settlers and rightwingers are demanding compensation for the deal from the Israeli government. (rh)22/9/2020
A fever dream of dictators : For the signatories of the Abraham Accords, peace means squashing people`s freedoms in order to unlock unfettered exchanges of technology and weapons.Karim Kattan - +972Mag - On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump, with much fanfare, hosted a ceremony for the signing of the so-called peace agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. With smug smiles plastered on their faces, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Foreign Minister of Bahrain Abdullatif Al Zayani together hailed the dawn of a new period in the region. According to the poetically-titled Abraham Accords, the aforementioned heads of state and their representatives will work together to achieve a “stable, peaceful and prosperous” Middle East. Peace and prosperity, uttered in the same breath as if they were a single term, were indeed the keywords of the ceremony and of the years-long process spearheaded by Trump’s senior advisor and son-in- law, Jared Kushner. Kushner is no neutral broker: he sits on the board of his parents’ foundation, which has funded programs in the Israeli settlement of Beit El. Much has been said about this alleged peace treaty. It is mostly a strategic realignment of these countries against Iran and a blueprint for increasing authoritarianism in the region, which follows decades of clandestine relations and sharing of intelligence between Israel and the UAE.(rh)22/9/2020
A glimpse into the chaos’: How Israel’s COVID-19 policy neglects Palestinian citizensMakbula Nassar - +972Mag - Israel entered a weeks-long lockdown on Friday to stem a second wave of the coronavirus. As is in other parts of the world, statistics are showing that minority communities, in this case Palestinians, are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.It is a cliche, and an inaccurate one, to say that the coronavirus does not distinguish between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Even the struggle shared by Jewish and Palestinian medical workers in hospitals and clinics is not proof that we are all in the same boat. If anything, the Arab community is on a boat that is floating to a particularly dark place. In mere weeks of the second wave gripping the country, Palestinian citizens went from constituting 10 percent of patients who tested positive to the virus, to 30 percent — and the curve is rising sharply. The English Hospital in Nazareth, which has traditionally treated mostly Palestinian citizens, has had to open another coronavirus clinic. (rh) 22/9/2020
Many candidates vie for position of Netanyahu`s chief rival Ben Caspit = Al-Monitor - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ratings have been plunging in recent months, especially over the farcical handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his poor performance in managing the crisis. Within weeks, Netanyahu’s Likud lost the equivalent of 10-13 Knesset seats (out of 120) in the polls, but his alignment of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties still commands at least 60 seats. (rh) 22/9/2020
Intel: Netanyahu knew of US proposal to sell arms to UAE, says NYT Al-Monitor Staff - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of a Donald Trump administration proposal to sell the advanced F-35 fighter jet to the United Arab Emirates amid negotiations with the Gulf country over normalizing ties with Israel, the New York Times reported Thursday. The news follows similar reports in the Israeli media and comes weeks after Israel’s Yedioth Ahronot newspaper reported that a secret clause in the agreement included the possibility of the UAE being allowed to purchase the F-35s. Netanyahu’s office immediately denied the Yedioth Ahronot report, issuing a detailed rebuttal.(rh)22/9/2020
OCHA: West Bank Demolitions and Displacement / August 2020OCHA - IMEMC - “Compared with the monthly averages between January and July 2020, August witnessed a nearly fourfold increase in the number of people displaced (202 vs. 58) and 55 per cent increase in the number of structures targeted (88 vs. 56). The continuous targeting of structures and displacement of Palestinians amid the ongoing pandemic remains of serious concern” [ry] 21/9/2020
Netanyahu used doctored video of Abbas to influence Trump`s policy, Woodward revealsHaaretz - According to excerpts from `Rage` published by U.S. media, at a time when Trump was wondering if Israel was the obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu showed him a fake video to steer him away from pro-Palestinian sentiment Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented U.S. President Donald Trump with a doctored video which showed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calling for the murder of children, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Bob Woodward in his new book "Rage". The incident occurred on May 22, 2017, at a time when Trump was beginning to have doubts about Netanyahu and wondering aloud if the Israeli prime minister might be the real obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, Woodward wrote, according to excerpts from the book published by U.S. media. A day after watching the "spliced-together" video intended to "counter any pro-Palestinian sentiments that were surfacing," Trump confronted Abbas, calling him a "murderer" and "liar," and shortly after ordered the closure of the Palestinian representative office in Washington and cut nearly all U.S. aid to the West Bank, Gaza and Palestinian refugees. (rh)15/9/2020
Israeli handed 3 life sentences for killing Palestinian familyAljazeera - An Israeli court handed a Jewish settler three life sentences on Monday for murdering a Palestinian toddler and his parents in an arson attack on their home in the occupied West Bank. Amiram Ben-Uliel, 25, was sentenced by the Lod court following his conviction in May for the 2015 killings. He was also found guilty of two counts each of attempted murder and arson, along with conspiracy to commit a hate crime. The arson attack killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh. His mother, Riham, and father, Saad, later died of their wounds. Ali`s four-year-old brother Ahmad survived with burns on his body. (rh) 15/9/2020
Is the dream of Arab and Islamic unity on Palestine dead?TALLHA ABDULRAZAQ - TRTWORLD - Palestine has once again displayed the limitations of Arab and Islamic political organisations and their impotence in resolving any problems faced by Muslims around the world. It is not as though the Arab world had ascended to any notable level of might and glory after it was colonised by the British and the French for it to have fallen particularly far from grace. However, events of the past month in Palestine have shown how the political leadership of the Arab world has plumbed even greater depths of disgrace than ever before, while the coveted illusion of international Islamic unity and solidarity continues to evade Muslims who aspire for a better tomorrow away from the diktats of foreign interlopers and domestic dictators. Despite there being numerous eminently worthy causes to attract paIslamic solidarity, none quite have the same effect on the Muslim psyche than the Palestinian cause. It is that cause, once again, that has starkly displayed the limitations of Arab and Islamic political organisations and their impotence in resolving any of the pressing problems faced by Muslims around the world today. (rh) 15/9/2020
When will the world stop ignoring what is happening in Gaza?Majed Abusalama - Aljazeera - For my family, and for the people of Gaza, August has been horrific. Israel bombed the Strip on an almost daily basis, making us feel like we were stuck at the epicentre of a never-ending earthquake. The explosions, at times barely a kilometre from our home, were so loud, my two-year-old niece could not sleep at night. Every time she heard a loud bang she quickly gathered her toys around her, as if to protect them from Israel`s bombs. Last month was indeed horrific, but it was not extraordinary in any way. Israel`s soldiers, warplanes, drones and gunships have been harassing, intimidating, and killing the people of Gaza regularly, and with impunity, for decades. Israel`s attacks are part of the daily routine in Gaza. To be able to survive, and to lead something that resembles a normal life, us Gazans have no choice but to accept as normal the violence being inflicted on us. Growing up in Gaza, I always felt a sense of emergency. My family was always prepared for the worst, because the worst could knock on our door at any time, as it did during the attacks on Gaza in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2014. As a child, I knew that living in fear every single day was not normal. In my heart, I rejected the normalisation of everyday horrors, because I did not want to lose touch with my humanity. Yet I eventually had to come to terms with the situation I was born into and my surroundings. Now, my niece and thousands of other children living under Israeli siege in Gaza, are growing up with the same fears and the same sense of constant emergency. As they try to sleep through the sounds of bombs, and protect their toys from the horrors that are just outside the door, they are being forced to accept as normal a violent reality that no child should ever even witness. In recent years, there has barely been a day in which Israel did not bomb, shoot into, or physically invade what is not only one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, but also a place which has been besieged for more than 13 years, with major shortages of the basics required for normal human life. Israel`s colonial infrastructure controls the sky above us and the land and sea around us, and is even capable of penetrating into our most intimate spaces to show us its power. In Gaza, wherever you look, you see tools of oppression, occupation and urban warfare - border fences, separation walls, armoured trucks, warplanes and checkpoints shape the landscape we live in. Even when you are at home, the whirring sound of military drones remind you that you are imprisoned, and you can be attacked at any moment. I believe Israel makes a conscious effort to constantly remind Gaza Palestinians of its presence. By making its occupation so visible, and the power it has over us so obvious, it is sending us a message: We will never allow you to be normal people, and live normal lives. (rh) 15/9/2020
This summer has revealed a sharp rise in suicides in GazaHAMZA ABU AL-TARABEESH - Mondoweiss - Suleiman al-Ajoury, 23, was a handsome young man and a cherished friend. Over the last three years he found himself unemployed and had no idea how to resume his once modest, yet stable, profession as a carpenter. Like so many young people in Gaza, he was at a standstill personally, out of work with no job on the horizon, all the while our wider environment crumbling around us. Our youth unemployment rate is a staggering 65%. The age bracket that figure encompasses is up to 24. Then, on July 4, 2020 al-Ajoury killed himself at his home, leaving a message on social media that has since been removed by the platform. He described humiliation and a sense of hopelessness. (rh)15/9/2020
Bahrain deal win-win for Trump and Israel in changing regionAFP - Ynetnews - Following an agreement with UAE, a peace deal with another Arab country is a new step in a cherished dream by Israeli and U.S. conservatives to win Arab recognition of the Jewish state without having to fully commit to the two-state solution. Bahrain announced Friday it would become the latest Arab state to recognize Israel, a triumph both for the Jewish state and U.S. President Donald Trump who is looking for pre-election wins. The deal is another step in a cherished dream by Israeli and U.S. conservatives to win Arab recognition of Israel without establishing a state for the Palestinians, who quickly denounced Bahrain.(rh) 15/9/2020
The killing of a Bedouin man is a weapon in Netanyahu’s war for survivalEdo Konrad - +972mag - The last 24 hours have offered a deep insight into the profound cynicism with which Israeli leaders treat the country’s Palestinian citizens. On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally apologized to the family of Yacoub Abu al- Qi’an, a Bedouin man who was gunned down by Israeli police in January 2017 during a raid on the unrecognized village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab/Negev Desert. Netanyahu’s apology comes after more than three years of police attempts to smear Abu al-Qi’an and his family; a purported investigation into the incident; and incontrovertible evidence that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Abu al-Qi’an should still be alive today. For years, the party line, toed by the police and the political echelon, was that the shooting had been justified. Suddenly, as he faces growing outrage over the handling of the COVID-19 crisis and a criminal trial that threatens his political future, Netanyahu has found use for a murdered Bedouin man who was roundly viewed and condemned as a terrorist.(rh) 15/9/2020
Emperor Netanyahu has no clothesSima Kadmon - Ynetnews - `King Bibi` was exposed in his weakness when under pressure from the ultra-Orthodox politicians opposed to lockdown, proving that to him and his ministers, public health is no more than a political inconvenience. The man who said 11 years ago he would banish Hamas from the Gaza Strip but did not, purported to foil Iran`s nuclear ambitions and did not, even failed to deliver on his commitment to stop incendiary and explosive devices from being launched from Gaza towards Israeli fields and communities. This man, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared nightly on television in the early days of the pandemic to boast about his success - and his alone - in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Israel. But now when the virus is spreading out of control, he is looking around for someone to share the blame. (rh) 15/9/2020
Israel`s home demolitions in West Bank spiked during pandemic: UN Al-Monitor Staff - Sep 13, 2020 The number of Palestinian homes demolished by Israel in the West Bank has increased sharply in recent months and further exposed displaced residents to the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations said on Friday. From March to August, 389 Palestinian-owned structures were razed, in what the the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said was the highest average destruction rate in four years. During that period, 442 Palestinians were made homeless, the agency said. In just the month of August, 205 people lost their homes, the highest displacement figure since January 2017. The UN and human rights organizations say the policy amounts to collective punishment. According to OCHA, building permits are nearly impossible for Palestinains to obtain from Israel, describing the processing as “restrictive and discriminatory.” (rh) 15/9/2020
This Israeli Soldier Had No Idea He Put His Knee to the Head of a Palestinian George FloydRogel Alpher - Haaretz - On the day the Israeli delegation flew to Abu Dhabi to make peace without Khairi Hanoun, he protested the confiscation of land near Tul Karm in the West Bank. What happened there was filmed and uploaded to social media. I watched and my stomach turned. Helpless fury overcame me. I apologize, Khairi. Your life is no less important than mine. A young officer in the Israeli army, the age of my daughter, threw 60-year-old Hanoun to the ground. His kaffiyeh fell off from the force of the fall. The officer sat on Hanoun. He held him down on the ground, pushing Hanoun’s face in the sand. And he put his knee on his head. That’s how a soldier doing “meaningful service” in the Israel Defense Forces looks today. And this is exactly how George Floyd was killed by a policeman in Minneapolis, in an incident that led to a worldwide protest against police brutality in the United States against Black people. (rh) 8/9/2020
Soldiers plant explosives on outskirts of Palestinian village day before weekly protestsB`Tselem - On Thursday, 20 August 2020, residents of the village of Kafr Qadum in the West Bank discovered camouflaged improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted in an area where weekly protests take place, on the outskirts of the village. A group of women and children strolling in the area came upon a suspicious object covered in stones and fabric and alerted a relative. In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi, Wasim a-Shteiwi (31) related: I went over to the suspicious-looking object, which was covered with small stones and Israeli military camouflage. I took the stones off and found a closed orange box wrapped with wires and duct tape. I just managed to pick up the box and remove the wires, and then it exploded with a flash and caught fire. Bits of shrapnel hit my right arm and eye.(rh8/9/2020
Palestinian holy sites are crumbling under Israeli rule : Israeli land grabs are preventing Palestinians from accessing Muslim shrines in the West Bank, with some falling into ruin or being deliberately destroyed.Irit Segoli - +972mag - Israel’s takeover of the mountain ranges and hills throughout the occupied West Bank has not spared sacred places of worship for Palestinian Muslims. According to a new report by Israeli anti-occupation group Machsom Watch, maqams — tombs or shrines built on a site associated with a Muslim saint or religious figure — across the West Bank have been informally annexed to Israeli settlements through military orders, the expansion of IDF open-fire zones, and entrapment in nature reserves and antiquity sites. These houses of worship served as religious, cultural, and community centers in the rural areas of Palestine long before villages had their own mosques. Palestinians would make pilgrimages to maqams and the sacred woods that surrounded them on holidays, and during family celebrations and weddings. (rh)8/9/2020
Many candidates vie for position of Netanyahu`s chief rival Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ratings have been plunging in recent months, especially over the farcical handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his poor performance in managing the crisis. Within weeks, Netanyahu’s Likud lost the equivalent of 10-13 Knesset seats (out of 120) in the polls, but his alignment of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties still commands at least 60 seats. The bloc is holding steady because rather than migrating to the political center-left, disenchanted Netanyahu voters are moving to the right, to Naftali Bennett`s Yamina party, which is soaring in the polls. Opposition head Yair Lapid, chair of the centrist Yesh Atid party, who should have been sweeping up Netanyahu and Likud leavers, is hardly benefitting from the shift. His party is stuck in the polls at 19 seats, the record it obtained in the 2013 elections when Lapid first ran, and has been unable to break through this glass ceiling. On Sept. 2, Lapid sustained an additional, surprising and particularly painful blow, when his partner, friend and perennial No. 2, one of the party’s leading lawmakers, Ofer Shelah, demanded that primaries be held for the Yesh Atid leadership and announced his intention to challenge Lapid and beat him. The public and pundits were taken aback by this “September surprise” given the seemingly firm and stable front the party has displayed since its founding eight years ago. (rh) 8/9/2020
Virus puts new strain on Gaza’s overwhelmed health systemFARES AKRAM - AP NEWS - Dr. Ahmed el-Rabii spent years treating Palestinians wounded by Israeli fire during wars and clashes in the Gaza Strip. Now that the coronavirus has reached the blockaded territory, the 37-year-old physician finds himself in the unfamiliar role of patient. El-Rabii is the first Gaza doctor diagnosed with COVID-19 and is among dozens of health-care workers infected during the local outbreak, which was detected late last month. The spread among front-line workers has further strained an already overburdened health-care system. Speaking from one of the two hospitals designated to treat coronavirus cases, el-Rabii said the threat in many ways is more terrifying than war. During fighting, “you only fear being hit by shrapnel by mistake,” he said. “But with the virus, you constantly worry because you do not know how or from where it will hit you: from a patient, from your colleague, or by touching the elevator or any other surface.” (rh)8/9/2020
Why Israelis are not excited about the normalization with the UAE : No quick trip to Abu Dhabi will make up for the irresponsible ways that Netanyahu and Trump have mishandled their health and economic policiesRon Kronish - Times of Israel - I am one of the many Israeli citizens who are not very excited about the normalization of relations that is in the works with the United Arab Emirates. Why? Let me explain. First of all, we in Israel, as in the USA and other countries, are in the midst of the worst health and economic crises in our recent history, due to the continual spread and looming spikes of the COVID- 19 virus. This is what is rightfully on our minds. We are full of anxiety about this, as well as constant dismay and disappointment, with the way that our government “leaders” are disastrously mishandling these crises, at the same time that they are very busy every day attempting to destroy what is left of our democracy. These are the main reasons why thousands of Israeli citizens have been demonstrating in the streets and on the highways of Israel all summer, especially in Jerusalem, opposite the prime minister’s official residence, and in Caesarea, near his private residence. Secondly, we are profoundly aware that this is not a “peace” agreement in the making, but simply one of normalization of relations. One can’t make peace with a country with which we were not at war. This has nothing to do with what used to be known as “the peace process.” Rather, this is what some leaders in Washington DC and in Jerusalem like to call “fake news,” or I would call it “fake peace.” Like the so-called “deal of the century” of #45 (I can’t say his name any more) which has nothing in common with a genuine peace process, since it has totally left out one of the main partners to the process, i.e. the Palestinians. From the beginning of his term of office in 2017, the current American president has consistently and purposefully ignored and insulted the Palestinian leadership by offering them no good reasons to work with him. Of course, he has done so in complete cooperation with the Prime Minister of Israel, who has refused to enter into any meaningful talks with the Palestinians for much longer than that. (rh)8/9/2020
Netanyahu secretly okayed F-35 jet sales to UAE, report claims : New York Times quotes officials saying Netanyahu lied about his opposition to the deal, which also includes ultra-advanced radar-jamming planes that could give the UAE a step upTOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has privately removed any opposition to the sale of American F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, despite repeated assurances that he is against the deal, according to a New York Times report published late Thursday. The report, which cites unnamed sources involved in the talks, claims that along with the ultra-advanced jets and Reaper drones, the deal also includes radar-blocking EA-18G Growler jets, which could erode the effectiveness of Israel’s air defense capabilities and put the UAE at a considerable military advantage. (rh)8/9/2020
When a Palestinian life is worth 3 months menial laborAmir Gilutz - Ynetnews - Opinion: Ahmad Manasrah had stopped to help a woman whose husband had been shot by an IDF soldier when he himself was killed by the same shooter; the soldier copped a plea deal and he is not the only one, for how else can Israel maintain the occupation? (rh)8/9/2020
Netanyahu Sells Out Coronavirus Fight to Keep the ultra-Orthodox HappyRonny Linder - Haaretz - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stinging slap in the face for coronavirus coordinator Ronny Gamzu this week could be heard all the way to Uman. Maybe Gamzu had built up too much strength and independence, or maybe he came off as a threat due to his authoritative conduct and refusal to cut corners. Maybe because he keeps opposing a general lockdown contrary to Netanyahu, or maybe because of the rumors that he has political ambitions, but the decision came to put him in his place and possibly show him the door. And if he can also serve as the lightning rod for ultra-Orthodox anger at the intent to block flights to the annual pilgrimage in Uman, Ukraine, even better.(rh)8/9/2020
Netanyahu is dismantling the Israeli ‘kingdom’ — and that’s a good thing : Netanyahu is tearing down the state`s institutions, and in the process unmasking the sludge of seven decades` worth of racism and supremacism.Meron Rapoport - +972 Mag - Political instability is by no means an Israeli invention, but it seems that Israel is reaching a critical moment, at least when compared to parliamentary democracies across the world. Belgium hasn’t been able to form a government for the past year and a half, yet it continues to be ruled by a minority government. Italy has seen almost 70 governments since World War II, yet the majority of government crises there did not lead to elections. Italians have only gone to the polls 19 times in the past 74 years. The shortest time span between four election cycles in Italy was nine years — more than four times the rate in Israel currently. Compared to Israel, Italy is an island of stability when it comes to elections. The same kind of instability plaguing Israel was a defining characteristic of Germany’s Weimar Republic, but even then, the shortest period between four election cycles was between May 1928 and November 1932 — more than four years. That certainly does not mean that we are on the path to Nazism, but it is difficult to deny the fact that the political system in Israel has lost both its footing and its ability to formulate a basic set of principles that the majority of the political actors — at least if they are Israeli citizens — can agree upon. (rh)8/9/2020
COVID-19 in Palestine: Refugee Camps At RiskMondoweiss - What would you do if you were living in a refugee camp during a global pandemic? The Dheisheh refugee camp is one of nineteen Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, and is the largest of three refugee camps in the city of Bethlehem. It’s home to 13,000 refugees, living in an area of less than half a square kilometer. Since June, Palestinians in the West Bank, including the residents of Dheisheh camp, have been fighting a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that’s spreading like wildfire through the occupied territory. For the first time in months, Palestinian refugee camps are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases raising concerns over the potentially devastating effects the virus can have on disadvantaged communities Dheisheh camp. (rh)1/9/2020
British PM Johnson writes op-ed in opposition to West Bank annexation Al-Monitor Staff - Al-Monitor - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson published an op-ed today calling on Israel to cease its plans to annex the West Bank. Johnson wrote from the perspective of a “friend” to Israel in the Israeli news outlet Ynet. “As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel’s borders and will be contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests,” he wrote.(rh) 1/9/2020
Israel’s Annexation Plan, a New Era in Palestinian ResistanceTareq Baconi - New York Review of Books - From July 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the power to bring to the Knesset a vote on whether to extend his country’s sovereignty over portions of the West Bank, in accordance with the Trump administration’s so- called peace plan, a 181-page document that, in essence, gives a US seal of approval to Israel’s expansionist agenda. Extending sovereignty, otherwise known as annexation, entails the further application of Israeli jurisdiction to territory that Palestinians had envisioned would make up part of their future state. The Trump plan has given a green light to the integration into Israel of up to 30 percent of the West Bank, including more than two hundred Israeli settlements and settler outposts and the larger part of the Jordan Valley, removing the illusion that the occupation is temporary. In the name of a “realistic” two-state solution, the plan calls for the establishment of a Palestinian entity in the areas not annexed by Israel, entirely surrounded by Israeli territory in the West Bank; this putatively independent state would comprise a patchwork of urban enclaves connected by an as-yet-unbuilt complex of bridges, buried highways, and tunnels. (rh) 1/9/2020
Dr. Fauci warns a Trump’s ’emergency’ vaccine push could harm development of real vaccinesHunter / Daily Kos - Alternet - The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is continuing to warn against doing essentially any of the things that Donald Trump’s crew of Kudlows, Navarros, and Unidentified Jared Kushner Acquaintances #12-16 keep gravitating towards as their own inexpert ideas for combatting a nationwide pandemic. Fauci is now highlighting the rather significant dangers of releasing an unproven or experimental vaccine to the public, something Trump has signaled he intends to do if at all possible as yet another of his preelection Hail Mary moves to “solve” the COVID-19 pandemic without having to do any of the work proven to have been effective in other, less ridiculous nations. (rh)1/9/2020
Ode to resistance Haidar Eid - Mondoweiss - As Israel continues its bombing of Gaza for the 15th night in a row, while our sole power plant is forced to shut due to Israel’s decision to ban fuel from entering the Strip, and amid the spread of the coronavirus outside quarantine facilities, artists in Gaza have produced a new video clip. It comes as part of a creative project produced in besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine, where a group of activists and artists came together in order to highlight: 1. The Palestine that every refugee is dreaming to return to; 2. Resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid; and 3. The links with progressive Arab forces and the Arab Spring.(rh) 1/9/2020
Israelis ignore Ukraine health regulations in UmanAttila Somfalvi,Alexandra Lukash,Gilad Cohen - Ynetnews - Despite being denied entrance to Ukraine several hundred had successfully made their way to Uman for their annual pilgrimage; many were observed dining together in violation of local health regulations. (rh)1/9/2020
A Striking Difference Between Palestinian and Israeli ProtestsGideon Levy - Haaretz - People are demonstrating against injustice and for justice both in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum and outside the prime minister’s residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street. In both places, the protesters are imbued with a sense of mission. It’s more pleasant on Balfour, more dangerous in Qaddum. There’s more sacrifice in Qaddum, more art on Balfour. Balfour gets exhaustive media coverage; Qaddum is completely excluded from the Israeli media. (rh)1/9/2020
OCHA Report: West Bank Demolitions and Displacement – July 2020IMEMCnews - "27 inhabited homes demolished since the start of the pandemic, despite announced moratorium. Ten additional structures demolished using expedited procedure (Military Order 1797). Four humanitarian aid structures demolished and another eight placed at risk" [ry] 31/8/2020
Is Abbas Rival Mohammed Dahlan the Secret Broker of the Israel-UAE Deal?Amira Hass - Haaretz - When the Palestinian people are betrayed there has to be a public manifestation of national unity – that was the message of the rally that took place last Wednesday and focused on opposition to “normalization for free,” as the recent agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is being dubbed. Fatah sent its officials to the gathering: Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh spoke, and his colleagues, including Sabri Seidam, Rawhi Fattouh and Jibril Rajoub, sat on plastic chairs around the stage, alongside the perpetual representatives of other Palestinian organizations (some of them minuscule and negligent). They all listened patiently to the speeches. And who was absent from the demonstration of unity? Members of Fatah’s Democratic Reform Bloc, in other words, supporters of Mohammed Dahlan, who together with Fatah’s former security chief were expelled from the movement – but reject Abbas’ right to expel them. Dahlan’s name was not mentioned, but it was hovering in the air. The rumors and assumptions that are rife in Palestinian discourse are that Dahlan, adviser to UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, is the broker of the agreement with Israel and a favorite of the Israelis and the Americans, who are planning to crown him the next Palestinian leader.(rh) 25/8/2020
European Union grants 11.8 million Euros to help protect the Palestinian identity of East JerusalemNGO Monitor - According to the latest European Union Financial Transparency System report, in 2019 the EU authorized seven grants with a total sum of 11.8 million Euros to NGO projects In East Jerusalem. All are part of the EU’s "strategic approach" addressing the “urgent need to preserve the Palestinian identity of East Jerusalem, sustain the presence of the Palestinian population and prioritize the protection of Palestinian heritage, based on the restoration of historical sites in the Old City and the promotion of cultural life and activities in EJ.” One EU-supported NGO project specifically seeks to “protect Islamic and Christian Waqf religious and cultural heritage properties against Israeli violations and threats.” [Note: "NGO Monitor" is a right-wing research organization, strongly opposed to such EU projects and considering them as "increasing tensions" and even "promoting terrorism". Still, these painstakingly compiled data are of interest also to those thinking otherwise. AK]. 25/8/2020
House demolitions in occupied Jerusalem continue at full forceWafa - Tuesday, August 25, 2020 (WAFA) – Two Palestinian-owned houses were demolished this morning and last night in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to various sources.In Silwan neighborhood, south of Jerusalem, staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem demolished a house owned by Khaled al-Khales, said witnesses. Israeli occupation forces cordoned off the area before the staff began to knock down the one-story house using manual tools because of its location inside a narrow closed-in area. In Sur Baher, another East Jerusalem neighborhood, Mohammad Amira was forced last night to knock down his own house to avoid having to pay a heavy fine and costs if the West Jerusalem municipality would tear it down.(rh)25/8/2020
Who are the winners and losers in UAE-Israel agreement?Associated Press - YnetNews - Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday they are establishing full diplomatic relations in a U.S.-brokered deal that required Israel to halt its contentious plan to annex West Bank land sought by the Palestinians. The historic deal delivered a key foreign policy victory to U.S. President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the deal amounts to “treason,” and should be reversed. The agreement makes the UAE the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to have full diplomatic ties with Israel. They announced it in a joint statement, saying deals between Israel and the UAE were expected in the coming weeks in such areas as tourism, direct flights and embassies.(rh)25/8/2020
Biden’s party just crushed Palestinian rights. But it won’t holdPhilip Weiss - Mondoweiss - If you care about Palestinian human rights, the virtual Democratic Convention last week was dispiriting. The issue was never mentioned in any of the primetime speeches; the party leadership crushed the party’s leftwing base on the question. It was all but removed from the platform, per the instructions of Joe Biden himself reportedly… Kamala Harris is an AIPAC-style Israel supporter who famously was dumbfounded when the New York Times asked her about problems with Israel’s human rights record… Joe Biden has been visiting Israel for nearly 50 years and counts every Israeli prime minister including Netanyahu as a dear friend, and he went out of his way to stomp on Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour. The Dems’ message is clear. Joe Biden is the most pro-Israel nominee for president, ever. We will not be out-Israel’d by Donald Trump. Joe Biden is no Barack Obama who is going to be a “troublemaker” on Israel–why he just penned a platform to the right of Likud! Reports that the Democratic Party is fracturing over the issue are the fantasies of a few hotheads on the left, as Ted Deutch and Nancy Pelosi continually assure us. (Or as Pelosi told an Israel lobby group during the last cycle, the Capitol will crumble and fall before the Democrats walk away from Israel.)(rh)25/8/2020
Police launch probe as top cop filmed beating protesterGilad Cohen,Yael Freidson - YnetNews - Daniel Lotem, who was arrested on suspicion of assaulting Guetta, told the court in Jerusalem on Sunday that that the senior officer "really choked me." He added: "They kept me down on the ground, they claimed I choked the officer even though that never happened. I have no cause and no reason to attack a police officer. "After that they shoved me into a police car. They beat me while I was handcuffed. They punched me, stood on my throat and screamed at me to calm down and not resist arrest, even though I did not resist at any stage. According to Channel 12, Guetta was being questioned as a suspect.(rh25/8/2020
Is Trump planning to dispute election results if Biden wins?Rob Reynolds - Aljazeera - For months, US President Donald Trump has sought to create doubts about the legitimacy of November`s election. And, as his Republican convention gets under way, there are questions about what he might do if he is defeated. Al Jazeera`s Rob Reynolds reports from Los Angeles. (rh) 25/8/2020
‘Betrayal,’ with a personal touch: Why the PA is so angry at the Israel-UAE dealAVI ISSACHAROFF - The Times of Israel - The Palestinian Authority is fuming, incensed at the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. It is so angry it reminds one of a three-year-old having a tantrum, throwing himself on the floor and screaming for no real reason. Ostensibly this should have been a wonderful week for the PA. Its number one goal in recent months – thwarting Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank – was achieved, with the help of none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, backed by the Trump administration. Enormous diplomatic effort, demonstrations prepared weeks in advance, trips abroad to persuade the European Union and Arab countries — all seem to have borne fruit. (rh) 25/8/2020
Israel Pushes to Remove ‘Occupation’ from the Discourse, and Biden Duly ObligesRamona Wadi - The Palestine Chronicle - In perfect synchronization with Israeli lobbying at an international level, pro-Israel organizations in the US have influenced Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden to remove references to the “occupation” from the party’s political platform. Biden’s intervention to ensure this change was interpreted as influencing party policy; any reference to the occupation will now be counted as a move against Biden’s position. Prior to this intervention, Democrat progressives had “secured an agreement to include the word for the first time,” the Times of Israel reported. (rh)25/8/2020
The story of Israel’s Ashkenazi supremacy in one riverLihi Yona - +972mag - A river that runs through an Israeli kibbutz has in recent weeks become a seething arena of controversy, violence, and hatred. Interestingly — and unconventionally — the usual suspects in the Israeli political landscape have been turned on their heads in this particular struggle, with prominent Israeli leftists standing in staunch support of gated communities and against equality and distributive justice, all while vocalizing harsh opposition to the enforcement of law. At the risk of recycling a tired cliché: the story of this struggle can teach you everything you need to know about Israeli politics, and the growing irrelevance of the Israeli Zionist left. Nir David is a kibbutz in northern Israel, situated between the working-class, largely Mizrahi cities of Afula and Beit She’an. Like other kibbutzim, it is predominantly made up of Ashkenazim: Jews of European descent who founded the country and dominated its resources — as well as its economic, cultural, and military institutions — primarily through the Labor Zionist Mapai party. The Asi River, a stunning blue waterway with a year-round temperature of 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), passes through the kibbutz. According to Israel’s Water Act, waterways are public property that must remain accessible and open to all. Nevertheless, the residents of Nir David decided that access to the Asi River will not be free, and have erected fences and barriers to prevent public access to the river. In recent years, a group of residents from communities around the kibbutz have been waging a struggle to ensure free, public access to the Asi River. They filed a lawsuit against the kibbutz in 2015 that resulted in the kibbutz vowing to open access to sections of the river — a promise they never kept.(rh)25/8/2020
America’s death march: Even beating Trump won’t stop the empire’s terminal declineChris Hedges - Alter Net - The terminal decline of the United States will not be solved by elections. The political rot and depravity will continue to eat away at the soul of the nation, spawning what anthropologists call crisis cults — movements led by demagogues that prey on an unbearable psychological and financial distress. These crisis cults, already well established among followers of the Christian Right and Donald Trump, peddle magical thinking and an infantilism that promises — in exchange for all autonomy — prosperity, a return to a mythical past, order and security. The dark yearnings among the white working class for vengeance and moral renewal through violence, the unchecked greed and corruption of the corporate oligarchs and billionaires who manage our failed democracy, which has already instituted wholesale government surveillance and revoked most civil liberties, are part of the twisted pathologies that infect all civilizations sputtering towards oblivion. I witnessed the deaths of other nations during the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and later in the former Yugoslavia. I have smelled this stench before.(rh)18/8/2020
Israel will have to reckon with the occupation one way or anotherHenry Siegman - Responsible Statecraft - Far from being an unprecedented breakthrough, the UAE initiative is a pale repeat of an initiative by the Saudis and by the entire Arab League already in 2002. The difference between the two is that the earlier one required Israel to accept UN decisions and international law regarding Palestinian rights, and that negotiations between the parties begin at the pre 1967 armistice internationally recognized borders, while the UAE’s offer was made contemporaneously with Netanyahu’s defiant declaration that Israel intends to annex parts of the West Bank whenever it chooses to do so. Saudi Arabia and the Arab League were in constant consultation with the Palestinians, but the UAE never even bothered to inform the Palestinians of their intentions. Consequently, the self-righteous indignation of Beinart’s critics, most of whom are also outraged by any proposed punishment of Israel for its transgressions, are entirely hypocritical. For his critics know that no future Israeli government is prepared to agree to a Palestinian state that would end Israel’s current de facto apartheid rule in the West Bank. (rh)18/8/2020
Shalom, Abu Dhabi! Why the Israel-UAE agreement changes (almost) everythingDAVID HOROVITZ - The Times of Israel - It was always widely believed in Israel that much of the Arab world, and certainly many in the Gulf, were fairly indifferent to the plight of the Palestinians, and, at worst, not particularly ill-willed toward Israel. My trip in 2016 anecdotally indicated the same, though I stress it was a brief visit, I was speaking with local citizens as opposed to foreign workers, and I know other Israelis have had less pleasant interactions. It was also widely believed in Israel that much of the Arab world, including the Gulf, would nonetheless not overtly partner with Israel, much less fully normalize relations with Israel, so long as the Israel- Palestinian conflict went unresolved. And so it proved. Until Thursday. The UAE-Israel deal has not yet even formally been consummated, but we have already entered the honeymoon period. After endless domestic political deadlock, and months of a pandemic and a collapsing economy, Israeli media is understandably delighted to be reporting some good news, and the coverage is downright giddy — thanks, in great part, to interviewees in the UAE itself mirroring the Israeli delight.///A complex process led to Thursday’s extraordinary diplomatic bombshell. In the mix was the Gulf’s shared concern with Israel at the ongoing strengthening of Iran, and the awareness that Israel simply cannot and will not allow itself to be cowed by an Islamist regime aiming for our demise and bent on achieving nuclear weapon capability. Somewhere in the mix, too, was that indifference to the Palestinians, or at least impatience with them, and ultimately a decision no longer to be constricted by the Palestinian conflict in their dealings with Israel.(rh) 18/8/2020
Revenge against Palestinians is understandable, Israeli judge says in acquitting two security officers who attacked innocent manJonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - Yesterday, an unbelievable verdict came down at the Beersheba District Court in Israel: Two Israeli security officers were acquitted in a case involving the lynching of Haftom Zarhum, an Eritrean refugee, although they were filmed beating him and repeatedly dropping a bench on his head. The judge cited “reasonable doubt”. The bloodthirsty mob lynching in October 2015 was part of a string of “mistaken identity” incidents in Israel. A terror attack had in fact taken place earlier at the Beersheba central bus station; a man from an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev opened fire, killing a soldier and wounding 11 others. Zarhum was a passerby, who was mistaken for the shooter by a security guard because he was dark skinned. A police spokesman in the wake of the incident said that it was “not clear if [Zarhum] is involved with the event or if he was shot due to his exterior appearance.” Zarhum was shot 8 times. Though he had been incapacitated, the mob continued to beat him heavily, shouting “terrorist!”, “Kill him!”, “break his head, son of a bitch!”. The two officers were in that mob. The Times of Israel notes: “The indictment said that in the aftermath of the attack, [combat soldier Yaakov] Shimba kicked Zarhum in the head and upper body with force. It said [Prison Services officer Ronen] Cohen threw a bench onto him, and after another man removed the bench he took it and again dropped it on the prone man.” The indictment states that although Zarhum was one of the most seriously wounded in the fracas, he was evacuated to hospital only after all other wounded were evacuated (per Haaretz). The lynchers celebrated the killing on live TV broadcast, when they still believed that Zarhum was the shooter. (rh)18/8/2020
Erekat: I never expected this poison dagger to come from an Arab countryJOSEF FEDERMAN - The Times of Israel - AP — Israel’s agreement to establish diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates marks a watershed moment in its relations with Arab countries, but the Palestinians say it puts a just resolution of the Middle East conflict even farther out of reach. The UAE presented its decision to upgrade longstanding ties to Israel as a way of encouraging peace efforts by taking Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank off the table, something Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly rebuffed by insisting the pause was “temporary.” From the Palestinian perspective, the UAE not only failed to stop annexation, which would dash any remaining hopes of establishing a viable, independent state (rh)18/8/2020
Beirut`s tragedy may befall Israel as wellLior El-Hai - YnetNews - The horrendous images of the explosion at Beirut`s port, especially the enormous mushroom cloud enveloping Lebanon`s capital all as it slowly rises, should terrify many around the globe. For the residents of the city of Haifa- where Israel`s largest seaport is located - these sights represent a nightmare that one day might actually come to live. There is hardly a single person living in Haifa, whose body did not tremble at the sight of the footage emerging from Lebanon. The word ammonia is the single most terrifying word for the residents of the cities of Haifa, the Krayot, Neshser and the town of Kiryat Tiv`on, which is connected to Haifa`s port. (rh)18/8/2020
Two-state solution: The worst and only way to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflictDAVID HOROVITZ - Al-Monitor - From the left, Israel is increasingly being told by opponents, critics and self-styled supporters at home and abroad that it has wrecked its foundational commitment to maintaining both a Jewish majority and a democracy by expanding the settlement enterprise deep and wide across the West Bank. Since it can no longer disentangle itself from the Palestinians, and has thus destroyed the option of the two-state solution on whose basis Jewish statehood was revived, it has no choice now but to consent to a kind of sovereign suicide — and usher in a single binational state between the river and the sea, in which a higher Arab birthrate means Jews will become an increasingly small minority as the decades pass. From the right, here and overseas, by contrast, Israel is loudly encouraged to expand its presence still farther into the biblical Judea and Samaria, to realize its historical rights and connections, punish the Palestinians for their perennial rejectionism, and put an end to the dangerous delusion that a tiny country in a toxic region can ever safely withdraw from an adjacent territory whose residents dream of its destruction. If expanding sovereignty can somehow be presented as according with democratic principles, so much the better, but if not, so be it.(rh)18/8/2020
Attention UAE Leaders: Israel Is Advancing De Facto AnnexationAmira Hass - HAARETZ - So there’s no official annexation. However, one should bring to the attention of Hend al-Otaiba, spokeswoman of the UAE Foreign Ministry, and Yousef al-Otaiba, the country’s ambassador to the U.S., who are so proud of their diplomatic achievement, that at any given moment Israel is advancing de facto annexation. You didn’t know? When you come visiting, members of the Otaiba family, drive eastward towards the West Bank (including East Jerusalem). You’ll see that it’s hard to tell where sovereign Israel ends and where the West Bank begins. Route 443, the Shiloh valley, the western and eastern Etzion blocs, the “tunnel road,” the Binyamin district, the “sovereignty road,” the Jordan Valley, the Trans- Samaria highway, the Givat Ze’ev bloc, the Adumim bloc, the Talmonim bloc, the Gilo bloc, the Karnei Shomron bloc and its environs, the City of David, the Har Homa neighborhood, the seam line area, etc. etc. All of these are emblematic of the way Israel has encroached on Palestinian space that was intended to be part of their state under a peace agreement. All of these have become ever-expanding Israeli- Jewish areas – arrogant, imperious, enclosing Palestinian enclaves that are becoming less and less visible.(rh)18/8/2020
10,000 maniacs: What the press is talking about on August 2JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH - The Times of Israel - 1. Bibi, I got your numbers: Ten thousand people at a protest is not an especially impressive turnout in normal times. But pack those 10,000 into central Jerusalem — where there are no big squares like in Tel Aviv or any other world capital — amid a raging pandemic that keeps many at home, sprinkle a few thousand more at ancillary rallies around the country and mix in a press many of whose members (let’s face it) share at least some of the protesters’ amorphous goals, and you have a media landscape that regards the 10,000 the same way it might a rally 40 times its size.(rh)4/8/2020
Naftali Bennett wants to be the right’s anti-Netanyahu — and it’s workingHAVIV RETTIG GUR - The Times of Israel - It’s been obvious for months that the right-wing Yamina party would benefit from spending some time in the opposition. But no one imagined just how much. The last four months have been the first time Yamina leader Naftali Bennett — or any Yamina MK, for that matter — has actually sat in the opposition. And support for the party has more than doubled.(rh) 4/8/2020
Israeli artist takes aim at Netanyahu with life-size statueAssociated Press - Ynetnews - Installation, depicting a disheveled premier in a mock re-enactment of the Last Supper and in Tel Aviv Rabin Square, is the latest twist in a summer of protests against the PM and his conduct. The installation, displayed in the city`s central Rabin Square, is the latest twist in a summer of demonstrations against Netanyahu. In recent weeks, thousands of people have taken to the streets, calling on Netanyahu to resign, angry over what they say is his bungled response to an economic crisis caused by the coronavirus and depicting him as a hedonist out of touch with common people. (rh)4/8/2020
Can Israelis broaden their protests beyond Netanyahu?Jonathan Cook - Countercurrents - Demonstrations have yet to draw a connection between Netanyahu’s personal abuses of office and the systemic corruption of Israeli politics, with the occupation its beating heart. The target of the anger and frustration is decidedly personal at this stage – focused on the figure of Netanyahu, who is now Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. Protesters have renamed him Israel’s “crime minister”. But also fuelling the protests is a larger mood of disenchantment as doubts grow about the state’s competence to deal with multiple crises unfolding in Israel. The virus has caused untold social and economic misery for many, with as much as one fifth of the labour force out of work. Netanyahu’s supporters in the lower middle-classes have been hit hardest.(rh) 4/8/2020
Netanyahu’s annexation effort stalls /// Fatah and Hamas jointly oppose annexation /// Israelis, Palestinians and COVID-19 second wave /// New US Democratic Party platform on Israel-Palestine:Two-State Index - Geneva Initiative - Netanyahu’s annexation effort stalls: The resurgence of coronavirus cases and shifting US political dynamics put Israelimoves on hold as international community continues push-back. /// Second wave of COVID-19 met by little Israeli-Palestinian cooperation: The effects of Israel’s push for annexation and the Palestinian response take a toll on efforts to combat the pandemic in the West Bank. /// Fatah and Hamas announce plans to jointly fight annexation: Press conference with leaders from both factions signals possible thawing of relations. /// US Democratic Party adopts new platform language on Israel- Palestine: While not seen as a radical shift, platform now goes further on policies related to advancing and preserving the option of a two-state solution. /// The above developments led to a slight rise in the Geneva Initiative`s painstakingly researched Two-State Index. [ak]4/8/2020
Palestine in Pictures: July 2020EI - "One Palestinian was killed by Israeli occupation forces during the month of July. Ibrahim Abu Yaqoub, 29, was shot in the neck by soldiers, who claimed that the slain man and a companion were throwing Molotov cocktails at an army post" [ry] 3/8/2020
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