[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Palestine and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Palestine Page co-editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each roundup to Palestine@jadaliyya.com.]
The Occupation Forces
Israel Targets Gaza After Rocket Attack, No Casualties Reported Israeli warplanes attacked an area in the Gaza Strip early on Thursday after Palestinian fighters in the enclave fired a rocket towards southern Israel – an attack for which no organized group has claimed responsibility.
Israel Army Admits 'mistakes' Over Attack That Killed Gaza Family An attack in Gaza that killed nine members of the same family was due to faulty assessment of the risk to civilians, the Israeli army has said as it admitted "mistakes". Despite this, Israel still maintains that the house was designated as “an Islamic Jihad terror organization military compound,” which the family denies and states that the house, owned by Rasmi Abu Malhous, was home only to Palestinian Authority’s employees.
50 Palestinian Protesters Have Been Blinded By Shots to The Eye at Gaza Fence Protests To date, Gaza’s Ministry of Health reports that fifty protesters have been shot in the eye since the demonstrations began March 30, 2018 – leaving them permanently blind. “Some of these protesters and journalists were hit in the eye with teargas canisters, but most were targeted directly with what is commonly called a ‘rubber bullet’,” said Ashraf Alqedra, MD at al-Shifa Hospital.
Shooting Spree of Palestinians Continues at Israeli Army Posts in North of West Bank Israeli army shooting of Palestinians apparently trying to enter Israel for work continues, with the third shooting in one week, resulting in the injury of two men. According to Palestinian medical sources, Ahmad Hussam Kittaneh, twenty-five, and Dirar Rasem Kittaneh, twenty-one, were shot by Israeli forces on December 14 at the apartheid checkpoint north of Tulkarem.
Israeli Army Infiltrates Gaza Borders, Raze Lands Near Beit Hanoun Three Israeli military vehicles accompanied by three bulldozers advanced into the borderline area north of Beit Hanoun while opening indiscriminate gunfire, razed agricultural land, and placed earth mounds in the targeted area.
Palestine Archbishop Atallah Hanna: Israel Attempted to Poison Me The Head of the Sebastia Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem Archbishop Atallah Hanna yesterday accused Israel of attempting to poison him. He was transported to Jordan for treatment.
Israel to Reinstitute ‘assassinations policy’ Yisrael Katz, Israeli Foreign Minister, said on December 26 that Tel Aviv would return to “the policy of assassinations” against Palestinian resistance figures in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reports.
Surging Netanyahu Rival Launches Party Leadership Challenge Veteran Israeli politician Gideon Saar has officially launched his bid to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as head of the Likud party amid rising support. Although Saar is still a decided underdog to the embattled prime minister, he seems to be gaining traction in the run-up to the December 26 vote.
Israeli Minister Smotrich Wants Palestinian Authority Dismantled An Israeli minister has called on his government to dismantle the Palestinian Authority government in a reaction to the International Criminal Court's decision to launch an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes.
Gaza: Palestinians in Limbo for Christmas After permits Reversal Israel on Sunday said it would allow Palestinian Christians in Gaza to visit Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank "in accordance with security assessments and without regard to age", reversing an earlier decision not to issue them permits. Gazans are reportedly wary of this reversal, as Israel often arbitrarily denies travel permits even in optimistic circumstances.
Israel Allows Only 55 Palestinian Christians From Gaza to Enter West Bank for Christmas Israeli authorities have only allowed fifty-five Christians in the Gaza Strip to enter the West Bank and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas, according to local news agency Ma’an. This marks less than ten percent of total applications.
Hamas Calls For Jerusalem Poll Without Israel’s ‘permission’ After the Palestinian Authority submitted a request to Israel in order to hold elections in Jerusalem, Hamas has called on the Palestinian Authority and rival Fatah movement to “impose” election in the occupied city of Jerusalem without Israel’s approval.
Hamas: Great March of Return to Continue in Several Forms The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, announced on Friday that the Great March of Return will continue in several forms, stressing that the Palestinian factions have been working to develop it.
Israel Far-right Politician Urges Unity With Religious-Zionist Parties Itamar Ben-Gvir, a leading figure in far-right Israeli party Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), called on Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and National Union parties to unify for the December election. This marks a shift in Otzma Yehudit’s strategy of courting Naftali Bennett’s HaYamin HeHadash (New Right) party.
Hamas Sets Up Elections Committee in Gaza Hamas leader Osama Al-Muzaini revealed on Saturday afternoon that his movement has finished forming the preparatory committee for the elections.
Likud Expels anti-Netanyahu Members The Likud party in Israel has expelled around one hundred members who are known to be against the policies of its leader Benjamin Netanyahu, the Jerusalem Post reported on December 17. The expulsions come just ten days before the Likud leadership primaries slated for 26 December and after the rise of Gideon Saar as a challenger to Netanyahu.
Congress Rejects $175mn for Trump’s Middle East ‘peace plan’ In a bipartisan decision on December 16, US lawmakers rejected having funds be set aside in the government’s 2020 budget for the so-called Trump “Deal of the Century.” It was reported by Haaretz to be a budgetary decision rather than a political rejection of the plan.
UN Extends Mandate For Agency Supporting Palestinian Refugees The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly renewed the mandate for a UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees for another three years with the only two votes against being Israel and the US.
Latest leak of Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ Annexes Settlements to Israel, Establishes ‘New Palestine’ Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV published details on Monday from a reportedly leaked draft of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan. The draft allegedly contains a series of clauses describing a trilateral agreement between Israel, the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas to create a demilitarized ‘New Palestine’ after the annexation of the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements.
The Fight to Expose Israel’s Arms Sales to the World’s Most Repressive Regimes In the span of less than ten years, activists from across the political spectrum went head to head with the Israeli government, trying to bring an end to its arms exports to tyrannical governments worldwide, including to genocide perpetrators in Rwanda, the Balkan Peninsula, Myanmar, and right-wing governments or militias in Latin America and Ukraine.
Palestine, Germany Sign 76 Million Euro Agreements to Support Vital West Bank, Gaza Projects On December 17, Palestine and Germany signed at the Prime Minister's office in Ramallah agreements worth seventy-six million euro to support the implementation of vital projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The projects include vocational training, sanitation, water line development, and educational programs.
UN Body Criticizes Israel’s Policies of Racial Segregation Against Palestinians The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which reviews states’ compliance with the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination – ratified by Israel in 1979 – called on Israel to “ensure equal treatment for all persons” not only in Israel, but in “the territories under its effective control.”
Quds University, Chinese Partners Inaugurate First Chinese Confucius Institute in Palestine Al-Quds University, east of Jerusalem, celebrated today the official inauguration of Palestine’s Confucius Institute, the first Chinese language institute in the country.
Algeria’s President: Palestine is One of Our Principles, We Will Remain a Support For Its People The newly elected President of Algeria, Abd El Majid Tebboune, has said that the Palestinian issue is a constant of the foreign policy of the Algerian state. Tebboune, seventy-four, is known as a close associate to the resigned president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, causing considerable controversy after the popular protests ousted Bouteflika last year.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
‘Israel Freezes Jordan Valley Annexation Bid After ICC Decision For War Crimes Probe’ Israel has reportedly halted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley in the wake of a decision by the International Criminal Court to launch a probe into the regime’s war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Palestine Urges World to Put Extremist Israeli Settlers on intl. Terror Lists The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has called on the international community to place Israeli settlers involved in attacks and acts of terror against the Palestinian civilian population in the occupied territories on their terror lists, and put travel bans on them.
Israeli Settlers Uproot Olive Trees in South of West Bank Town On December 19, Israeli settlers uprooted hundreds of olive trees in the southern West Bank town of al-Khader, near Bethlehem, according to owner of the trees, Hisham Barmil. He told WAFA that settlers from the illegal Sidi Boaz settlement outpost built on expropriated al-Khader land uprooted three hundred olive trees and stole them.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
New UK Government to Outlaw BDS Eric Pickles, the House of Lords Parliamentary Chairman of the UK Conservative Party’s Friends of Israel, announced that the new UK government led by Boris Johnson would make it illegal for any public body to engage with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
Controversial ‘anti-Semitism code’ Being ‘weaponized’ by Pro-Israel Groups, Warns Drafter The author of a controversial definition of anti-Semitism has spoken out over its misuse to halt free speech. Kenneth Stern, who drafted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “working definition of antisemitism,” warned that “rightwing Jews are weaponizing” it to suppress criticism of Israel.
ICC to Investigate Israel’s War Crimes in Palestinian Territories In a statement on Friday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda expressed her satisfaction with a “reasonable basis” to launch a full investigation into war crimes committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories. She said before opening a full investigation, she would ask the ICC to rule on the territory over which it has jurisdiction because of the “unique and highly contested legal and factual issues attaching to this situation.”
Two Palestinian Women Moved to Israeli Administrative Detention Bushra al-Tawil, twenty-six, was detained in an Israeli raid on her home in the occupied West Bank city of al-Bireh, days after her father was released from an Israeli prison. Shatha Hasan, a twenty-year-old student and coordinator of the student council at Birzeit University, was also arrested last week at her family home in Ramallah.
After 83 Days of Hunger Strike, Palestinian Prisoner Loses 30 Kg of His Weight, Health Deteriorates Ahmad Zahran, who has been on hunger strike for roughly one hundred consecutive days, has lost thirty kilograms of his weight and his health has seriously deteriorated, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Commission. He is reportedly being held at Kaplan hospital.
Lieberman Backs Conditional Pardon of Netanyahu Yisrael Beiteinu chair Avigdor Lieberman expressed his backing Thursday for a pardon of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provided that the Likud leader retires from public life. Benny Gantz reportedly also supports this method of Netanyahu’s escape from prosecution.
Environment, Economy, and Other
World Bank Invests US$9 Million in Palestinian Early Childhood Development The World Bank announced today a new grant of nine million dollars to improve Palestinian early childhood development. The project will expand coverage and quality of services for Palestinian children from gestation until age five.
UNRWA Students Elect the Third Agency-Wide Student Parliament On November 23, the twenty-two newly elected members of the third Agency-wide Student Parliament, representing all of the Agency’s fields of operation – Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem – organized for a meeting in Beirut.
Naila and the Uprising: The Women Who Drove The First Intifada A film about how Palestinian women and their families played central roles in the first Palestinian uprising of the late 1980s is getting increasing attention. The film, directed by Julia Bacha through the organization JustVision, chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh and a fierce community of women at the frontlines of resistance.
Turning Waste to Gold in Gaza Civil engineering graduates Tamer Abo Motlaq, twenty-six, Usama Qudaih, twenty-four, and Khaled Abo Motlaq, twenty-four were determined not to add to the unemployment statistics in Gaza. The trio founded the Olive Jift Project - a startup that turns "jift", byproducts from olive oil pressing, into fuel pellets for home heating and cooking that costs half the price of firewood to produce.
Israel Flag Set On Fire by Greek Basketball Fans Basketball fans in the Greek capital Athens set fire to an Israeli flag on Wednesday. The incident happened during a match between the Athletic Union of Constantinople — a Greek team, despite its name — and Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem team in the European Basketball Champions League.