[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
IOF Demolish Facility For COVID Testing in Hebron On Tuesday, July 21, Israeli Occupation Forces demolished a COVID-19 testing facility at the northern entrance to the city of Hebron. It is reported that the occupation also seized special equipment for the center a few days ago.
Israel Steals Historical Baptismal Font The Israeli Occupation Forces stole an ancient Christian artifact from Tuqu town near Bethlehem. Tuqu mayor Tayseer Abu Mufreh said that the stolen object is a big baptismal font dating back to the 6th century AD. From her part Dr. Hanan Ashrawi head of Palestine Liberation Organization department of public diplomacy & policy said that the Israeli theft of historical baptismal font is an act of colonial plunder.
‘Israel Insists On Security Cooperation in Return For Tax Revenue’ The head of the Palestinian Authority Prisoners’ and Freed Prisoners’ Commission, Qadri Abu Baker, has said that Israel is insisting on the Palestinian Authority resuming security cooperation in return for the release of tax revenue collected on its behalf by the occupation authorities, Al-Watan Voice reported on Monday.
NGO: 237 Violations Against Palestinian Media Freedoms in First Half of 2020 In a report issued yesterday, the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms, found that the first half of 2020 witnessed a decline of violations against media freedoms compared to the same period last year when three hundred thirty violations were recorded. According to the report, the decline in the number of violations is a result of the lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus and the halt of the weekly ‘Great March of Return’ protests in Gaza.
Israeli Navy Attack Gaza Fishermen Israeli navy Wednesday morning opened fire towards Palestinian fishermen sailing offshore As-Sudaniya, northwest of Gaza city, a WAFA correspondent reported. He confirmed that the fishermen were sailing only three nautical miles offshore the area when Israeli naval boats opened gunfire and water hoses towards them.
Jewish National Fund Works Hand in Glove With Israeli Military By highlighting its environmental projects, the JNF has diverted attention away from its central role in the Zionist colonization of Palestine. The organization is now hoping to implement a plan known as “Israel 2040” through collaboration with the Israeli military’s Unit 8200 – which has also seen its members join the highly controversial NSO Group. It aims to settle 1.5 million Israelis in the Negev and Galilee regions over the coming two decades, furthering the displacement of Palestinians, who have seen their homes repeatedly destroyed in these regions on the pretext of developing a JNF forest.
Israel Coalition Party Wants Military to Front Anti-COVID Campaign The military should take over responsibility for keeping Israel’s spreading coronavirus epidemic in check, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main coalition partner said on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, of the centrist Blue and White party, said he expected a decision “this week” to hand the running of anti-coronavirus containment measures from the health ministry to the armed forces’ Homefront Command.
Israel Approves Mobile Phone Tracking of COVID-19 Carriers For Rest of Year Israel’s parliament voted on Monday to allow the country’s domestic intelligence agency to track the cellphones of coronavirus carriers for the rest of the year amid a resurgence in new cases, reported Reuters. The surveillance has drawn challenges from privacy watchdog groups, and the Supreme Court cited worries over dangers to individual liberty in demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regulate the surveillance through legislation.
Israel: Chief of University Heads Body Resigns The chairman of the Association of University Heads in Israel, Ron Robin, stepped down on Tuesday due to recent alleged attempts by the government to politically control universities, Anadolu Agency reports.
Hamas Chief Reveals Direct Talks With Fatah The head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, revealed on Sunday that the movement is involved in direct talks with Fatah. The former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister noted that there are plans to organize a conference to provide a platform for him and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to address the people of Palestine.
Israel in Talks with AstraZeneca For Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Israel is in advanced negotiations with AstraZeneca for the future purchase of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, Israel’s Ynet news website reported on Monday. The experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford university was safe and produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials, data showed on Monday, keeping alive the hope it could be in use by the end of the year.
Journalists Acknowledge Involvement in anti-Hamas Campaign Palestinian journalists close to former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan have acknowledged that they were involved in a campaign to discredit Hamas. Hassan Asfour, a journalist from Gaza who runs a news website from the UAE, confirmed reports that there was a misinformation campaign targeting Hamas.
Coronavirus: Israel Nurses’ Union Threatens Strike Amid Staff Shortages As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens in Israel, nurses are preparing to go on strike, demanding the government funds an extra 1,500 nursing staff and reinforcement of staff on the coronavirus ward. National Association of Nurses, which is Israel’s nursing union, called for the action over the shortages, citing one thousand medical staff in quarantine with COVID-19, and the anxiety levels of nurses.
Israeli Intelligence Unit Struggles to Fight Brain Drain Israel’s army intelligence unit 8200 is struggling to fight a brain drain of its personnel into the private sector, Safa news agency reported on Tuesday. Due to private companies hiring of officers and key soldiers, the departure of highly qualified personnel to civilian technology companies has the potential to leak sensitive technology and information.
China’s President Xi Stresses Palestinian Right to Statehood Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed Palestinians’ right to statehood, saying the so-called two-state solution is the right way out of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, Xi expressed Beijing’s support for the Palestinian people, describing Palestine as the core issue in the Middle East region.
Biden Stays Right on Israel, Scrubbing ‘occupation’ From Platform The US Democratic Party’s platform committee has come up with draft language on Israel/Palestine that refuses to use the word “occupation.” Progressives reportedly will try to reinsert this factual term in the next ten days. Biden is worried that Trump will attempt to win Florida by painting Democrats as anti-Israel, as Biden’s Jewish outreach aide, Aaron Keyak, has warned.
Lebanon Politician Calls For Expelling Palestine Refugees Leader of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement and former Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on Sunday called for expelling Palestinian refugees from the country, Arab48 reported. The alliance of the Palestinian factions, which include most of the Palestinian factions in Lebanon, condemned the remarks and called for confronting all the “racist” propaganda campaigns, which incite “hatred and racism”.
Jordan Could Look ‘very favorably’ on ‘one-state democratic solution,’ Says PM “You close the door to the two-state solution, I could very well look at this positively, if we’re clearly opening the door to a one-state democratic solution,” Razzaz told the Guardian during an interview in Amman. The Jordanian official’s remarks signal a surprising softening of attitude towards a one-state solution, but he was quick to point out that the view is not shared across the border.
PA: 23 EU Countries Stand with Palestine Against Annexation Nabil Shaath, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ close aide, announced on Wednesday that twenty-three European Union countries stand with Palestine against the Israeli plan to annex large swathes of occupied West Bank, Al Watan Voice reported. The only two European states which have not yet announced their stance are Austria and Czech Republic.
Hamas Delegation Meets Cuba Ambassador to Lebanon A senior Hamas delegation headed by its chief in Lebanon, Ahmed Abdul-Hadi, met on Wednesday with Cuba’s Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Moraga, a statement disclosed. Moraga reiterated his country’s steadfast stance towards the Palestinian cause, highlighting that a large majority of Cubans support the Palestinians.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Israeli Settlers Torch Olive Trees Near Nablus Hours after a group of hardcore Israeli settlers torched fields planted with crops near the village of Beita in the north of the occupied West Bank, another group of fanatic settlers torched hundreds of olive trees in the nearby villages of Burin and Madama, according to a local source.
Israeli Settlers Block West Bank Road, Attack Palestinian Vehicles Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said settlers used the blocked road to attack cars stuck on it with stones, causing damage to some and threatening the life of their occupants. The road in question was a main thoroughfare in the northern West Bank.
Annexation Was Always on Israel’s Agenda Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to “annex” parts of the West Bank have been widely denounced on the international stage as a violation of international law, but these condemnations have failed to take into account historical context. Indeed, the US has accepted if not openly supported what Noam Chomsky calls the Greater Israel project, a process that has been ongoing for fifty years. Even since the 1967 War, Israeli officials have been quite clear that their position is that “Any division of the area is unacceptable…a West Bank-Gaza state is not a solution.”
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
Calls For UN to Blacklist German Company 'with ties to illegal Israel settlements' Two civil society organizations have urged the human rights office of the United Nations to include Heidelberg Cement as a firm in its list of international companies operating in the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israel Refuses to Hand Over Body of Palestinian Inmate On July 6, Palestinian prisoner Sa’adi al-Gharably died at the hospital of the infamous Israeli prison of Ramla. Israeli authorities refuse to hand over the body to his family. “It was not enough for them to imprison my father for twenty-six years, put him in solitary confinement, and subject him to medical neglect. They want to punish him after his death too,” his son, Suhail, said.
Israel: Netanyahu Corruption Trial to Intensify in January Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial will resume in January with witnesses and evidence given three times a week, a Jerusalem court ruled on Sunday. The grueling judicial schedule will keep Netanyahu's legal woes firmly in the national consciousness and conversation and continue to raise questions over whether he can keep serving while simultaneously standing trial.
Revenge Against Palestinians is Understandable, Israeli Judge Says in Acquitting Two Security Officers Who Attacked Innocent Man 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”. Zarhum was a passerby during a mass shooting, who was mistaken for the shooter by a security guard because he was dark skinned. The judge stated that after having seen the evidence, he was “certain that the defendants were convinced that the deceased was one of several terrorists.”
Israel ‘relieved’ as ICC Adjourns War Crimes Probe The Israeli government breathed a sigh of relief after a decision by the International Criminal Court to adjourn without opening an investigation against Tel Aviv over possible war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to Israeli media, reports Anadolu Agency.
Israel Creates List of Officials to Prevent Arrests For War Crimes Israel is preparing a secret list of hundreds of its officials who are liable to be tried in The Hague on war crimes charges, it has been revealed. The government is warning them not to travel in case they are arrested. According to Haaretz, the list has the names of between two hundred and three hundred military and intelligence officials who could be arrested and put on trial for war crimes committed against civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Environment, Economy, and Other
Netanyahu Faces Pushback on Money-for-all Coronavirus Plan Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gotten a lukewarm reception to a plan to grant money to all Israelis to revive the economy during the coronavirus crisis. Under the plan, which requires cabinet approval, individuals and households without children will receive one-time payments of just 750 shekels while families will receive roughly 600 to 900 dollars based on the number of children.
4,000 Lost Their Jobs in Gaza During COVID-19 Approximately four thousand workers in Gaza lost their jobs since the outbreak of the coronavirus and at least fifty factories closed their doors, head of the General Federation of Trade Unions, Sami Al-Amassi, revealed yesterday.
Palestinian Civil Society Coalitions Call on Google to Put Palestine on its Maps Despite Google’s expressed commitment to human rights standards and racial equity and the United Nations General Assembly recognition of Palestine as a de-facto sovereign state since November 29th, 2012, which included the recognition of Palestine by more than 130 countries, Google Maps continues to omit Palestine from its map. Palestinian civil society denounces Google Maps’ digital discrimination against Palestinians and urges Google to abide by international law and human rights standards including in the case of Palestine.
Pro-Israel News Outlets Ran ‘deepfake’ Op-eds in ‘new disinformation frontier’ Pro-Israel news agencies have run “deepfake” op-eds, in what is said to be “a new disinformation frontier”. Details of the “hyper-realistic forgery” was uncovered by a Reuters report this week, which uncovered the mystery around the identity of “Oliver Taylor.” Taylor is just one of several deepfakes. Earlier this month, the Daily Beast, reported that forty-six conservative news outlets, including some reporting on the Jewish community, were duped into publishing Middle East “hot takes” by nineteen non-existent authors as part of a massive propaganda campaign that appears to have started in July 2019.