[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
Israel Reducing Water Supply to Four West Bank Districts The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) said today that the Israeli occupation authorities significantly reduced the amount of water allotted to the West Bank districts of Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, and Hebron, during the past few days. Head of the PWA, Mazen Ghneim, said that the Israeli occupation is missing no opportunity to exacerbate the daily suffering of the people in the West Bank and by all means.
Israeli Police Assault Worshipers Near Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque Dozens of police attacked Palestinians performing the prayer of Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the fasting Ramadan month, at Bab al-Asbat, also known as the Lions’ Gate, which leads to the mosque compound, inflicting bruises across their bodies. The Jerusalem Islamic Endowment has announced that it would reopen the site to Muslim worshipers after the Eid holiday.
Netanyahu Will Do ‘crawling annexation’ of Colonies Near Green Line In Israel, Netanyahu’s political opposition says that annexation will move forward though it is likely to be piecemeal. Yair Golan of the Meretz Party, a Labor Zionist and social democratic party, says that Netanyahu is trying to play his right wing with the annexation talk, but in the end, he will go through with “crawling” annexation. Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint List argues that Netanyahu is serious about annexation and that it will go forward because no one outside of the Palestinian Joint List has put forward a political alternative to the maximalist Greater Israel plan.
Jordan Man Shot by Israel Police Near Border The Jordanian government announced on 20 May that it was following up on the shooting of a Jordanian citizen by the Israeli army through official and diplomatic channels, Petra news agency reported. Petra quoted an unnamed government source as saying that the forty-nine-year-old was wounded at dawn by the Israeli army after he crossed the international border separating the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Israel in the northern region of Baqoura.
Israel Wages Scorched Earth Warfare in Gaza Israel’s herbicide offensive damaged 145 acres of farmland in the east and north of Gaza last month, with over ninety farmers experiencing losses as a result, while Gaza was under lockdown because of COVID-19.
Church of Nativity in Bethlehem Reopens After Coronavirus Closure The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which houses the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, has reopened after nearly three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The reopening of one of Christianity's most sacred shrines on Tuesday was part of an easing of restrictions across the occupied West Bank announced by the Palestinian Authority.
PA Easing Coronavirus Restrictions in Occupied West Bank The Palestinian Authority has announced an easing of coronavirus restrictions in the occupied West Bank following a steady drop in the number of new infections. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday shops and businesses will operate as normal from Tuesday, while government employees will return to work after the Eid al-Fitr holiday on Wednesday. Public transport will also resume, and mosques, churches and public parks will reopen, though people will have to obey physical distancing measures.
Gaza Reports First COVID-19 Death Amid Outbreak Fears Authorities in Gaza have reported the first novel coronavirus fatality in the besieged territory, after a sharp rise in confirmed infections in recent days. "Fadila Muhammad Abu Raida, seventy-seven, from the Khan Younes governorate, died in isolation in hospital at the Rafah Crossing due to her infection with coronavirus," the health ministry said on Saturday.
PM Shtayyeh Orders Cabinet to Start Work on Ending Ties With Israel Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh gave orders to his cabinet members to immediately start work on implementing the decision of the Palestinian leadership regarding ending all agreements and understandings with Israel. Shtayyeh called on the countries that have not yet recognized Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital to do so as soon as possible to salvage peace and the two-state solution.
PA Addresses Decision to End Security Coordination With Israel Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has said that the Palestinian Authority is committed to maintaining order and applying its sovereignty in the occupied West Bank while defending the civil rights of Palestinians. Following this, Shtayyeh met with the heads of the Palestinian Authority security services and asked them to stop all forms of security coordination.
Italian Lawmakers Call For Urgent Action to Stop Israeli Annexation Plans in West Bank A group of Italian lawmakers has called on Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to join a widening international chorus of opposition to Israel’s controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. They also urged the legislature to take appropriate measures, both at national and European Union levels, to prevent the annexation move.
'I feel lost': Palestinians Stranded Abroad Urge for Repatriation Since early March, when the new coronavirus escalated its rapid spread around the world and countries began repatriating their citizens, Diya Hasheem, a twenty-three-year-old Palestinian student in Cyprus, and others have been seeking government help to return home in occupied East Jerusalem—to no avail. Thousands of Palestinians are stranded abroad as the Palestinian Authority is not in control of its own borders and the Jordanian government is prioritizing others.
Palestinian Authority Rejects UAE Aid Sent Via Israeli Airport In a news conference on Thursday, Mai Kaila said her country refused to receive the medical aid as the Emirati side failed to coordinate with them. "The UAE has not coordinated with us regarding the medical aid, and we reject to receive it without coordination," said the minister.
US Senators Urge Netanyahu And Gantz Not to Go Ahead with Annexation Plan In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “Defense” Minister Benny Gantz, eighteen US Senators warned that such a move would mark a dramatic reversal of decades of shared understandings between the United States, Israel, the Palestinians and the international community, and would impact Israel’s future, placing its security and democracy at risk.
Russia Offers to Help Restart Talks Between Israel, PA Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reiterated its country’s offer to play a mediating role along with other Quartet members between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 13 reported that Russia has been mediating to arrange a bilateral meeting between the Palestinian Authority and the Trump administration within the next two weeks in Geneva, Switzerland.
Congress is Poised to Pass Far-reaching Israeli Wish List With the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020 last week, the current Congress is now poised to enact with little transparency its most far-reaching bill related to Israel at the height of a national public health emergency. S.3176 would authorize 3.3 billion dollars annually in FMF not as a ceiling, as negotiated by the Obama administration, but as a floor, as well as authorize the Pentagon to stockpile US weapons in Israel and allow Israeli access to those weapons without congressional oversight, allow Israel to access precision guided missiles from US reserves, extend Israeli guarantees on US loans, and authorizes 2 million dollars annually for USAID and Israel to “advance common development goals in third countries.”
Israel Daily: Saudi Among Arab States Who Back Israel Annexation Plans According to Israel Hayom, at least three Arab states, including Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have privately given the green light for Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank while continuing to publicly oppose the plan. A Saudi official was reported by the Israeli newspaper saying that the kingdom would not undermine its relationship with the United States for the sake of “hundreds” of Palestinians.
US Angers Israel by Suggesting an Eastern Border For the Zionist State The White House has outraged Israeli officials by pushing for a joint US-Israeli mapping team to delineate the boundaries of the areas to be placed under Israeli sovereignty and designated as the final borders of the State of Israel.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Two Injuries in Settlers’ Assault in North of West Bank Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told WAFA that settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Rahalim threw rocks at the family home of Mohammad Snobar, which resulted in injuring two members of the family, one received a fractured leg and the other cuts in the head.
Israeli Settler Runs Over Sheep, Others Set Fire to Crops in South of West Bank Rateb Jabour, from the anti-wall, anti-settlements popular committees in the south of the West Bank, told WAFA that a settler driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle, sped when he saw sheep in the fields in the al-Dirat village and ran them over killing three and injuring twelve others before running away. In another incident, settlers from the illegal Havat Maon outpost in Masafer Yatta, set fire to more than thirty dunums of land planted with wheat and barley, totally destroying them, according to Fouad al-Imour, from the land defense committee in Masafer Yatta.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
Palestinians Demand Sanctions on Israel to Stop Illegal Annexation In a statement launched today, tens of Palestinian civil society organizations, professional associations, unions, human rights and advocacy groups, and networks, representing an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society, called on governments to take the following actions to stop Israel’s illegal annexation: 1) Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel; 2) Suspend free-trade agreements with Israel; 3) Prohibit all trade with the illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from/terminate business with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise; and 4) Ensure that individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid are brought to justice.
Anglican Church of Canada Urges Government to Take Action Against Israeli Annexation Plan The Anglican Church of Canada sent yesterday a letter to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, expressing with great concern Canada’s silence regarding the plans of the current coalition government of Israel to annex a significant part of the occupied Palestinian territories.
Meet the South Bronx Congressional Candidate Speaking Out on Palestinian Rights As one of twelve Democratic candidates running to represent New York’s fifteenth congressional district in the US House of Representatives this June, Samelys Lopez has to distinguish herself. One way the community organizer from the South Bronx is doing so is by speaking out on Palestine. Lopez’s outspokenness on Palestinian rights, her endorsement of conditioning US military aid to Israel, and opposition to the crackdowns on BDS have earned her the endorsement of Jewish Voice for Peace Action, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the Working Families Party.
Netanyahu: Corruption Trial an Attempt to 'depose a strong PM' Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted Israel's justice system for bringing "fabricated and ludicrous" charges against him as he became the first serving Israeli prime minister to face criminal prosecution. "The objective is to topple a strong prime minister from the rightist camp and thus to remove the right-wing from leadership for many years," he said in a televised statement to reporters at Jerusalem District Court.
Prisoner in Israeli Solitary Confinement Continues Open Hunger Strike Sami Janazreh, currently held in solitary confinement at the Israeli Ayla Prison, Sunday entered his fourteenth day of hunger strike against being placed under administrative detention without charge and abusive treatment. Janazreh, forty-seven, is the secretary-general of Fatah in al-Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron, and a father of three children, aged eight, eleven and seventeen.
Hamas leadership Prioritizes Release of Palestinian Detainees in Saudi Arabia The issue of Palestinian detainees held by Saudi Arabia and their release is a priority for the Hamas leadership, a senior official has confirmed. Maher Salah of Hamas’ Diaspora Office stated, “Be confident that the Hamas leadership is working tirelessly to secure your release so that you can enjoy your freedom again and reunite with your families.” Saudi Arabia arrested dozens of Palestinian students, academics, and residents arbitrarily a year ago, including Muhammad al-Khodari, the official representative of Hamas in the Kingdom. No formal charges have been made against them.
Israel Limits Coronavirus Phone Surveillance to 'special cases' Circumventing parliament in March, as the coronavirus spread, the cabinet approved emergency regulations that enabled the use of the technology, usually deployed for anti-terrorism. Privacy watchdog groups have challenged the practice in court. The Israeli cabinet limited on Sunday the involvement of the Shin Bet security service in the mobile phone-tracking of people infected by the coronavirus, saying the measure would be a last resort where epidemiological investigation proves insufficient, reported Reuters.
Saudi Arabia Allows Palestinian Prisoner to Call Their Relatives Saudi Arabia allowed Palestinian prisoners to call their relatives during the Eid holiday, senior Hamas official Mohammed Nazzal revealed today. Nazzal said in a press release that authorities prevented family visits for Palestinian prisoners in its jails but allowed them to make phone calls.
Environment, Economy, and Other
Schools in Lockdown: 13-year-old Takes On Role of Teacher in Gaza Going to school for many in Gaza is more than just schooling; it is respite from Israeli oppression. Thirteen-year-old Fajr Hmaid started a school in order to help other children develop their skills and knowledge. Beginning with four students, she now has fifteen whom she teaches Arabic, English, and math.