[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’s Army of Archaeological Looters Using archaeology to validate its claim to the land, Israel is displacing artifacts from the occupied West Bank and erasing Palestinian identity. Multiple settler-colonial authorities that have controlled Palestinians over the last century have weaponized archaeology in some form. Today, Israel sponsors and promotes archaeological initiatives in Palestine with the sole purpose of linking only the Jewish narrative to our land, rather than embracing its entangled complexities.
Israeli Warplanes Strike Rafah City On Monday night, Israeli warplanes bombed a site in the Rafah city, south of the Gaza Strip. Local sources reported that the occupation aircraft targeted, with at least one missile, a location east of the governorate. The Israeli Occupation Forces claimed that the shelling came in response to the firing of a home-made rocket launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli settlements.
Israel to Put Temporary Freeze on Demolitions in East Jerusalem Israeli authorities have announced a temporary freeze on home demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem, following legal pressure amidst a rise in the demolition of Palestinian homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the Israeli government will be freezing demolitions “across the country,” a move that the government had reportedly taken at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis back in March.
OPINION: Palestinian Travel Phobia: The Gaza Experience If you are a Palestinian from Gaza, especially if you are young, travelling is a very difficult dream. And if it happens at all it is a source of deep anxiety. A daily aspect of Palestinian life that receives very little international media attention, travel restrictions are among the most incapacitating consequences of Israel’s military occupation. The restrictions are so extreme that the very idea of travelling has become a type of phobia for many.
Palestinian Intifada: How Israel Orchestrated a Bloody Takeover The second intifada–commonly referred to by Palestinians as al-Aqsa Intifada–began after then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon sparked the uprising when he stormed al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem with more than one thousand heavily armed police and soldiers on 28 September 2000. The first days of the uprising were characterized by large non-violent demonstrations that included civil disobedience and some stone-throwing. It started in Jerusalem and quickly spread to the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Coronavirus: Gaza Testing Capacity Halved Due to Chronic Shortages The Gaza-based Ministry of Health announced on 24 September that one of the two devices used for analyzing coronavirus tests in the besieged Palestinian territory has stopped operating due to shortages of laboratory materials. “We suffer a shortage of fifty percent of laboratory supplies, which will affect other tests needed by COVID-19 patients,” the ministry said in a statement. The Gaza Strip has long dealt with a precarious medical situation.
Hamas, Fatah Agree to Hold Elections in the Coming Months After more than a decade of political strife, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have agreed to hold elections for the first time in Palestine in nearly fifteen years. According to the officials from both sides, polls will be scheduled within six months and priority will be given to holding legislative elections, followed then by presidential elections of the Palestinian Authority, and the central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
‘Cautiously Optimistic’: Palestinian Factions Unite on Elections Fatah and Hamas reached a deal on Palestinian elections at the Palestinian Consulate in Istanbul last week, raising hopes the factions can unite after years of animosity as Israel continues to threaten annexation while it normalizes relations with Arab nations. The proposal for parliamentary, presidential, and national council elections is set to be discussed among all Palestinian factions in a leadership meeting this week, after which a presidential decree to officially announce election dates is expected.
Anti-Netanyahu Protest Coverage Reveal Racist Media Double-Standards Thousands of Israelis broke lockdown rules this Saturday to protest their elected prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, resulting in the eruption of clashes, in multiple areas, between police and protesters. However, no deaths or serious injuries were reported, which is unusually strange for Israeli forces when engaging in clashes with demonstrators. So, what is the difference?
‘Because We’re Not a Democracy We’re in Tune With Our People’ – UAE Ambassador Rationalizes Tyranny to Pro-Israel Group The normalization deals that Israel has cut with Gulf monarchies actually clarify the political work for Western progressives: they need to build a coalition with Palestinians based on democracy and equality, authors Rashid Khalidi and Peter Beinart agreed today. “The most absolute monarchies on earth are the ones that just made an agreement with Israel,” Khalidi said during an Arab Center conference.
Al-Haq Calls on EU to Uphold a Consistent Policy And Impose an Arms Embargo on Israel In light of Israel’s “long-standing systemic impunity for international law violations” which “has allowed for the recurrence of grave violations without consequence,” Al-Haq calls on the European Union to adopt a consistent policy on the recommendation of arms embargoes and application of countermeasures, against third States responsible for the commission of internationally wrongful acts, including the unlawful acquisition of territory through use of force and denial of the right to self-determination.
Dutch Court Grants Immunity for Israeli War Crimes A court in the Netherlands has denied Ismail Ziada the chance to pursue justice for Israel’s killing of his mother and other members of his family. The Palestinian-Dutch citizen has been suing Benny Gantz, Israeli army chief at the time, and Amir Eshel, then air force chief, for the decision to bomb his family’s home during Israel’s assault on Gaza nearly six years ago. The Dutch judges ruled that the two commanders enjoy immunity for their alleged crimes because they committed them while acting in an official capacity
OPINION: ‘Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark’: an Open Letter to Justin Trudeau Regarding Palestine Zionism in Canada is a cult: a religious one, for those who conflate Judaism and nationalism; a political one, for those who are illiberal, who well know that violent and eradicative ideologies need an array of anti-democratic laws to shield them. Consider the historical Zionism of the pioneers–Herzl’s foundational Zionism; “transfer-Zionism,” that imagined by the Zangwill, Syrkin, Motzkin and Aaronsohn; or Jabotinsky’s revisionist Zionism. Consider, too, Netanyahu’s Zionism today and some of its laws–to mention but the most recent one, the “Israel Nation-State of the Jewish People” Law.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Settlers Continue to Fence Off Palestinian Lands in the Jordan Valley On Monday, Israeli settlers continued to fence off lands in al-Farisiyah in the northern Jordan Valley. Human rights activist in the Jordan Valley, Aref Daraghmeh stated that settlers are continuing to fence off more lands that they have seized in al-Farisiyah, and they have extended water hoses to irrigate the olives grown in the area.
Palestinian Farmers Face Uncertain Olive Harvest Season Amid Settler Attacks And Pandemic Farmers in Area C have long struggled to access their lands amid restrictions and say Israeli settlers are taking advantage of the situation to pillage their crops. Palestinians living in the West Bank have long complained of frequent attacks by settlers, including assault, vandalism, and the destruction of Palestinian farmlands. While settler anti-Palestinian violence, including so-called “price tag” attacks, is commonplace year-round, it often sees an increase during the olive harvest season
Settlers Attack Olive Harvesters South of Nablus, Injure Three Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told WAFA that a number of settlers attacked Palestinian farmers as they were picking their olive trees, inflicting injuries and bruises on three of them. He added that this was the third settler attack against Palestinian olive harvesters in the last twenty-four hours in Nablus. The settlers came from Yitzhar, a colonial settlement notorious for its hardcore religious community.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
Columbia Students Voted Overwhelmingly to Divest from Israel, and President Responds Dismissively – Rashid Khalidi Two days ago, Columbia College undergraduates voted overwhelmingly to divest from companies that profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s acts towards Palestinians under “apartheid” law. The university’s president Lee Bollinger promptly repudiated the vote saying it was a “complex” issue on which no campus consensus exists.
AOC’s Withdrawal From Rabin Memorial is Shocking Blow to Liberal Zionism Congressional star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York withdrew from participation in an October memorial to Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister who was slain in 1995 by a right-wing extremist, after critics pointed out Rabin’s human rights record.
Human Rights Defenders Sue German Parliament Over Anti-BDS Resolution Three human rights defenders are mounting a court challenge to the German parliament’s resolution condemning BDS–the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights. The BDS supporters are suing the German parliament for violation of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Based on the widely criticized IHRA definition that is promoted by Israel and its lobby, the resolution passed by the Bundestag in May 2019 smears BDS activism as anti-Semitic.
Jerusalem Post Took Government Money to Publish anti-BDS Special In exchange for government money, the Jerusalem Post published a special supplement in June 2019 titled “Unmasking BDS,” as part of the ministry’s attempts to delegitimize the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Within the supplement’s pages, top journalists at the paper interviewed officials from the ministry as well as members of organizations abroad that work in concert with it. Other interviewees included Republican Senator and former US presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who was described as a “brave warrior” for Israel.
Law and Prisons
JVP’s Human Rights And Media Watch: Palestinian Dies at 45 in Israeli Prison Months Before End of Long Sentence A Palestinian prisoner died of a heart attack in Israeli custody in early September, only a few months before the end of his eighteen-year sentence. Daoud Talaat al-Khatib, forty-five, died in Ofer prison. He had undergone open-heart surgery in 2017 following a heart attack, but the difficult living conditions in prison, combined with the grief of losing both his parents while behind bars, had an adverse effect on his health.
Rights Center: Israel Detained 42 Residents of Issawiya Neighborhood of Occupied East Jerusalem in Six Days The Israeli Occupation Forces detained forty-two Palestinian residents of Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem since the start of this month, the latest were five young men detained at dawn yesterday after storming their homes, according to the Palestinian rights group Wadi Hilweh Information Center. It said among the forty-two detained were nine minors and that most of them were released after hours or two days after posting a cash bail and kept under house arrest for several days.
Environment, Economy, and Other
Israel Lobby Pressures Univ of Toronto to Rescind Scholar Hire The University of Toronto has allegedly rescinded a job offer to a prominent human rights scholar after a sitting Canadian tax court judge complained about her research on Palestinian rights. Justice David Spiro is a former board member of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the premier Zionist organization in Canada.
Zoom Stop Shrinking the Space for Freedom of Expression Activists and civil society and digital rights organizations warn against the growing dangers for freedom of expression and political association online. On 23 September 2020, Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube censored an event organized by San Francisco State University’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicity and Diasporas Studies program, who had invited Leila Khaled to speak at their online event, a well-known Palestinian political figure.
COVID-19 In Palestine: Economy Under Pressure If you were to walk right now into the Church of Nativity in the city of Bethlehem, you would find it completely empty: a rare sight for one of the most religiously significant and historical places in the world. So why is the birthplace of Jesus completely empty? In short, the answer is COVID-19.
Accepting Israeli Prize in 2018, RBG Never Mentioned Palestinians The recent death of US Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg (known popularly as ‘RBG’) has brought accolades from all over the world, especially from progressives who hailed her positions. Even Black Lives Matter issued praise, not mentioning the justice’s crass statement on Colin Kaepernick’s taking the knee, saying the gesture was “dumb and disrespectful” (she later walked it back saying that her comments “were inappropriately dismissive and harsh” and that she “should have declined to respond”). Black Lives Matter sidestepped the incident by stating that “as a nation, we cannot politicize this moment”. But the interest in Ginsburg’s legacy is a political matter. When it came to Israel at least, Ginsburg was just unexceptional. A real “cautious centrist”. One could even say a “progressive except on Palestine” (PEP).
Repression of Speech and Scholarship on Palestine Needs to End As lawyers and academics, we are deeply troubled and exasperated by the pervasive repression of speech and scholarship on Palestine. This includes recent reports that the University of Toronto’s Faculty of law rescinded an employment offer to noted international human rights scholar Valentina Azarova, following a complaint by a sitting judge regarding her research on Israel’s occupation policies*. The reported treatment of Azarova is consistent with a broader and intensifying climate of suppression.
Culture and Art
Palestine Writes Literature Festival is Back! Palestine Writes Literature Festival, a celebration of Palestinian writing past and present, will take place on 2-6 December 2020. The Festival will be hosted on a cutting-edge virtual platform with 3D virtual spaces, live chats, networking rooms, and more. The virtual festival will feature more than seventy leading Palestinian writers and artists, including Ibrahim Nasrallah and Hala Alyan; as well as leading African American and Indigenous writers and activists, including Angela Davis and Nick Estes.
A leader By Example: Tawfiq Zayyad And The Palestinian Struggle In his latest book, The Optimist: A Social Biography of Tawfiq Zayyad, Tamir Sorek, a professor of sociology at the University of Florida, presents an unprecedented, in-depth exploration of the life and work of Tawfiq Zayyad, one of the most prominent Palestinian poets and leaders. Zayyad, born in 1929, was a committed communist leader and dominant political figure within Israel who embodied the struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel while remaining committed to the larger Palestinian struggle and unity at hand.
The Palestinians Need an Alternative Vision Opposition to the deals in the Arab world, in general, and the Gulf states, in particular, will grow exactly the same way the Egyptian and Jordanian peoples opposed and fought against the Camp David and Araba after they were signed. The alternative vision Palestinians have to embrace is a geopolitical production that challenges the space newly drawn by the United States, Israel and their Arab allies–the so-called new Middle East–and puts forward a new map of secular-democratic Palestine, in the heart of a democratic Arab world. We need an alternative representation of the whole sociopolitical “reality” currently rising in the area which moves away from the much-repeated mantra of the racist two-state solution.