[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.]
The Occupation Forces
Investigation Finds Israel Soldiers Shot at Palestinians Simply Making a U-turn An investigation by Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed that Israeli soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian vehicle whose driver was simply making a U-turn, in what military officials described at the time as an attempted ‘car-ramming’ attack.
VIDEO: Gaza Prepares For Potential Coronavirus Outbreak The Palestinian territory of Gaza is yet to report any coronavirus infections - unlike the occupied West Bank, where the number of cases now stands at thirty-nine. As Al Jazeera's Sara Khairat reports, they are preparing for the worst. Because of Israeli military assaults and high population density in the besieged strip, Gaza’s capacity to defend against a pandemic is particularly low.
Israel's Ex-army Chief Gantz Gets Shot at Forming New government Israel's ex-military chief Benny Gantz was nominated Monday to try to form a government, but further talks were expected with his rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on an emergency alliance to fight coronavirus. "We must not have a fourth election," Gantz said, after he won recommendations on Sunday from sixty-one legislators, a razor-thin majority in the one hundred twenty Knesset’s’ members.
Government Says Patients of Coronavirus in Palestine Are in Good Health Spokesman for the Palestinian government, Ibrahim Milhem, said that the health of the thirty-five patients of novel COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Palestine remain in good health so far – as of March 13. Milhem called upon the media to deal with the current crisis with utmost professionalism and transparency to avoid the propagation of rumors, which are often misleading.
Two New Coronavirus Cases Raise Number to 41 Government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem announced Tuesday that two new cases of the COVID-19 virus were recorded. One is a citizen coming from Germany, subjected to quarantine in Jericho, and one is a student coming from abroad and currently subject to quarantine in Ramallah. This raises the total number of cases in Palestine to forty-one, with most concentrated in Bethlehem.
'Slippery slope': Israel Draws Flak Over Coronavirus Surveillance Israel's government has begun deploying “anti-terrorism” cellphone-monitoring technology against the coronavirus pandemic, drawing criticism from the opposition and a rights group who called it a "dangerous precedent".
Palestinians Suspend Prayers at Mosques, Churches to Fight Coronavirus The Palestinian Authority suspended prayers in mosques and churches in the occupied West Bank on Saturday to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, and Gaza’s Hamas rulers said all the enclave’s border crossings would be shut for travel, Reuters reports.
Israel: Arab MKs Endorse Gantz As Prime Minister The Joint List alliance of Arab-majority parties in Israel yesterday decided to endorse Chairman of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz to become prime minister, local media reported. The move allows Gantz to hold a majority in the Knesset and form the country’s next government.
Gantz and Peretz Reaffirm Joint Efforts to Form New Government in Israel The leader of Israel’s Blue and White bloc, Benny Gantz, and the head of the Labor Party in the Zionist state, Amir Peretz, reaffirmed in a meeting yesterday that they will continue their joint efforts to mobilize support for a left of center coalition government, Israeli media reported.
Likud Presents Death Penalty For Palestinians And Annexation Bills in Knesset Head of the Likud party in the Knesset, Miki Zohar, submitted two draft bills, to annex the Jordan Valley and the Hebron desert in the West Bank to Israel, and to impose the death penalty on Palestinians accused of killing Israelis.
Hamas Builds Coronavirus Isolation Facilities in Gaza Facilities for medical examinations and the possible isolation of those entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Erez Crossings are being constructed by the de facto government run by Hamas, the Times of Israel has reported.
64 Congressmen Call on US Administration to Oppose Israeli Demolition of Palestinian Homes A letter signed by sixty-four members of the US Congress addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called on the US administration to oppose Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and a specificity in East Jerusalem, and to reject US funding for the demolitions.
Hamas, Tunisia Discuss Cooperation to Tackle Israel Aggression Head of Change and Reform Bloc in the Palestinian Parliament, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, yesterday discussed mutual cooperation with Speaker of Tunisian Parliament Rachid Ghannouchi, a statement said. During the phone call, Al-Zahar reiterated the “strength” of the historic Palestinian-Tunisian relations and hailed the stances of the Tunisian people, parliament and president related to the Palestinian cause.
‘A big loss and embarrassment’: One of the House’s Most Pro-Israel Democrats Just Lost to a Progressive Challenger Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) lost a tight race to progressive challenger Marie Newman and became the first House incumbent to lose their primary election in 2020. Israel emerged as a hot topic in Illinois’s 3rd congressional district fight, with Newman indicating that she is open to the idea of conditioning aid to Israel.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Settlers Damage Vine Trees Owned By a Palestinian in Heart of Settlement A group of Israeli settlers on Monday cut down dozens of vine trees in Beit Skaria area which is located in the heart of Gush Etzion illegal settlement, south of Bethlehem, southern West Bank. The vineyard, according to the head of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Authority in Bethlehem, Hassan Brejiyah, is property of Mahmoud Ali Saad, and settlers cut down fifty perennial vine trees.
Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Homes in North of West Bank On March 12, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes in the village of Einabus, to the south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to official sources. The settlers broke the windows of several homes and cars, as well as broke into a building under construction in Burin.
Israeli Army Allows Settlers into West Bank Site, Defying Palestinian Corona Closure Decision The Israeli Army today allowed groups of Jewish settlers into Sebastia archeological site in the north of the occupied West Bank despite a Palestinian Authority decision closing tourist sites and banning gathering in an effort to fight coronavirus outbreak.
Jewish Settlers Raid Al-Aqsa Mosque Despite Coronavirus Restrictions Scores of Israeli Jewish settlers violated measures taken to fight the coronavirus and raided Al-Aqsa Mosque yesterday, provoking Muslim worshippers, Arab48 reported.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
Israeli Apartheid Week 2020 Begins, Uniting Groups Fighting Against Global Racism The 16th annual Israeli Apartheid Week begins today under
the theme “United against Racism.” IAW 2020 is occurring against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to severe restrictions on freedom of movement and association worldwide, making it difficult for groups in many countries to hold public events.
US University Committee Recommends Divestment From Israel Occupation A Brown University committee has issued a formal recommendation that the Ivy League university divest from “any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land”. The committee met this week to discuss the criteria, which will reportedly be guided by the United Nations Human Rights report containing a list of 112 companies found to be involved in “activities that raised particular human rights concerns” in illegal Israeli settlements.
New Campaign Highlights Right of Return By Collecting Palestinians’ Signatures A campaign aiming to collect the signatures of as many Palestinian refugees as possible from all over the world has been launched by the London-based Palestinian Return Centre in cooperation with national and international Palestinian partners.
Palestine Advocate Barred From Germany Over anti-Semitism Claims Palestinian-Canadian journalist Khaled Barakat has been barred from entering Germany for four years over concerns his Palestinian advocacy is anti-Semitic. In a twenty-four-page statement, German police said Barakat “constitutes a security risk” because “his beliefs and continuous talking about liberating Palestine from the river to the sea… working on a strategy to liberate Palestine” and “insisting that ‘Israel’ has no right to exist” is anti-Semitic.
Pandemic Spread Threatening Prisoners Amid Israeli Medical Negligence Last month, the Israeli Minister of Internal Security took numerous repressive measures that undermine the rights of prisoners, including decreasing access to cleaning materials, reducing the length of family visits, increasing solitary confinement, and exorbitant financial fines.
Netanyahu’s Trial Postponed Till May 24 Over Corona Outbreak Israeli Judicial Minister Amir Ohana announced on March 15 the suspension of work in the courts as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Netanyahu is accused of three cases related to bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
B’Tselem Rejects Israel Attorney General’s Objection to ICC Jurisdiction Leading Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has described the country’s Attorney General’s objection to International Criminal Court jurisdiction in Palestine as “divorced from reality”. According to B’Tselem, in making his argument, Attorney General Dr. Avichai Mandelblit “relied on partial quotes taken out of context, flouted the provisions of international law regarding occupation, overlooked the international community’s positions on Israel’s policy in the Occupied Territories for more than fifty years, and absurdly misrepresented reality.”
Palestinian Prisoners to Protest As Israel Not Preventing Coronavirus Spread Fears of a coronavirus outbreak in prisons holding Palestinian detainees were compounded by reports that an inmate at the Ashkelon prison was removed as a precaution after being examined by an Israeli doctor who suspected him of being infected with COVID-19. As an act of protest against the negligence of the Israeli prison administration, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails rejected their meals on March 18 and announced a lock-down on Saturday and Sunday.
Environment, Economy, and Other
Israel Allows Cement Into Gaza Israeli Occupation authorities decided yesterday to re-allow the entry of cement into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom (Karm Abu Salem) commercial crossing, the Palestinian Authority said. A couple of weeks ago, Israel prevented the entry of cement along with different commodities and prevented exports from Gaza.
Israel Further Tightens Restrictions on Palestinians, Targeting Day Laborers Israeli Authorities have further tightened restrictions on Palestinians, with the latest measures targeting day laborers coming from the occupied West Bank, reported the Times of Israel. In addition, the report added, “Palestinians would no longer be allowed to travel back and forth from the West Bank to work sites, but would need to sleep in Israel, with the employer providing lodging.”
Israel’s Arms Exports Over Past Four Years at Highest Ever Israel’s arms exports from 2015-2019 were the highest ever, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, reported the Jerusalem Post. Israeli arms exports constituted three per cent of the global total, said the report, with Israel the world’s eighth-largest arms supplier.
Israel Didn’t Publish Coronavirus Guidance in Arabic — So Palestinians Stepped In Up until a week ago, the official website, Facebook page, and messenger group of Israel’s Health Ministry barely contained a single word in Arabic on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus across the country. Members of the Joint List, mayors, and heads of Arab local councils, and NGOs joined in demanding that all coronavirus-related information published by the Health Ministry be made available in Arabic.