[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
'Temple Mount' groups and Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa are empowered by normalisation
Israel's attempts to change the status quo at al-Aqsa Mosque are continuous. The occupation authorities' are adding to their previous impositions to lay the groundwork for further attacks on the mosque and its compound. They did not need the coronavirus pandemic or Donald Trump's favouritism towards Israel to attack al-Aqsa. However, they have taken advantage of the pandemic, US support and now the Arab normalization deals to carry out more attacks to strengthen the Jewish presence in the mosque and change the status quo in such a way that serves the occupation narrative and goals. Among these attacks is the recent extension of the time slots that the authorities allocate to groups like the "Temple Mount" activists for their incursions. These activists posted on social media on 9 November the news of this approval of extra incursion time. They welcomed this "achievement."
Israel strikes Gaza after rockets target ‘center’ of occupied territories
The Israeli occupation forces military has attacked the Gaza Strip after Palestinian rockets targeted the “central” and “southern” parts of the forty-eight Palestinian occupied territories. The Israeli strikes were carried out against infrastructure and positions belonging to the Gaza-based resistance movement of Hamas, Israeli paper The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday, citing the military. The aggression followed several rocket launches from the enclave that set off incoming fire sirens in the coastal town of Ashdod in the occupied territories, the daily said.
Trump will push Israeli annexation before Jan 20– and Israel might grab ‘once in a lifetime’ chance
In the few weeks he has left, Donald Trump will push Israeli annexation of the West Bank, in part to sow hostility between Israel and the Biden administration, and Israel might grab this once in a lifetime opportunity to seize more land. This is the view of two prominent Israel lobbyists.
Israel wants to deport me from my city of birth
Salah Hammouri is currently at risk of deportation by Israel from his home city, Jerusalem, where he was born to a Palestinian Jerusalemite father and a French mother and has lived all his life. His wife, Elsa Lefort, is a French citizen. She was deported by Israel in 2016 while the couple were expecting their first child. For four years, Hammouri has been separated from his wife and son. The Israeli authorities have recently escalated their assault against Hammouri. On 3 September, he was notified that Israel’s interior minister intends to revoke his permanent Jerusalem residency status, claiming that he allegedly “breached loyalty” to the State of Israel.
Palestinian Authority to resume coordination with Israel
The Palestinian Authority (PA) will resume coordination with Israel that it suspended in May in response to an Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, a senior Palestinian official has said. Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA’s civil affairs minister and close aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, tweeted on Tuesday that “the relationship with Israel will return to how it was” following “official written and oral letters we received” confirming Israel’s commitment to past agreements. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said the decision puts in jeopardy some of the PA’s efforts towards reconciliation with other Palestinian factions. “[Palestinian group] Hamas and others have criticised this move, saying that it is going back to cooperating with [an] occupying power,” Fawcett said. “The talk of possible reconciliation, possible elections on the Palestinian side now appears less likely.”
Shtayyeh: We are ready to take any measures to curb spread of COVID-19
Prime Minister Dr Mohammad Shtayyeh warned of the unprecedented dangerous developments in the Israeli colonial project. With regard to the coronavirus, Shtayyeh stressed that the government is monitoring epidemic developments and is ready for any measures that may be forced to take due to the frequency of infections.
MoH Advisor warms: Gaza infection rate is on the rise
The advisor to the minister of health, Fathi Abu Warda, warned on Monday, of the seriousness of the epidemic situation in the Gaza Strip in light of the high infection curve of coronavirus. In an interview with the official agency, Abu Warda confirmed that the infection rate is on the rise, especially as we are heading towards the winter season, when the proportion of seasonal diseases, “influenza,” increases.
Nablus to observe partial 5-day lockdown over coronavirus
The Emergency Committee of Nablus ordered a partial five-day lockdown of the entire Nablus Governorate in the north of the West Bank, against the backdrop of the swift increase of new coronavirus infections in the governorate. The Committee said that following a meeting with Minister of Health Mai Alkiala, a five-day lockdown from was ordered in Nablus due to the unexpected increase in the number of infections in the governorate, to a level that is beyond the capacity of the medical centers and hospitals to cope with the situation.
Saeb Erekat, a pillar of Palestinian leadership, dies at 65
Saeb Erekat, sixty-five, chief Palestinian negotiator and long-time leader in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), passed away on Tuesday following a month-long battle with COVID-19, which left him hospitalized and in critical condition. An unchanging presence in Palestinian politics for decades, Erekat served under both Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat. He stood at the forefront of Palestinian negotiations, and was a staunch supporter and advocate of the two-state solution, Palestinian sovereignty, and an end to the Israeli occupation. Following Erekat’s hospitalization a month ago, Palestinian political analyst Diana Buttu told Mondoweiss Erekat’s passing “will be the end of anything called the peace process.” “We’ve already seen the informal death, but his passing will signify the formality of it,” she said.
Biden’s victory spells doom for Palestinian unity talks
A presidential decree necessary to call Palestinian elections will not be issued by Mahmoud Abbas any time soon the president has told close associates, with Joe Biden’s victory in the United States changing the political equation for Fatah. Fatah and leftist sources close to the Palestinian presidency told Middle East Eye that Abbas currently prefers to postpone reconciliation steps with Hamas, and to wait for Biden's approach to the Palestinian cause to become clear.
Democrats ask Pompeo if Israel used US equipment to destroy Palestinian village
Dozens of Democratic members of Congress are calling on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to condemn the Israeli government's demolition of a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank and investigate whether American military equipment was used in the operation. "Creeping annexation cannot be a policy that the US government supports if we wish to see peace in the region," said the letter, spearheaded by Congressman Mark Pocan and signed by forty others on Tuesday. "This single act was the largest Israeli displacement of Palestinians in four years, behavior only made possible by continued silence from the American government," it said.
Palestinians are fed up with normalization, and how their leaders have handled it
Palestinians have reacted to the recent spate of normalization agreements with frustration and outrage, with demonstrations against normalization breaking out across the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza. While normalization has been described by Palestinians as a “stab in the back,” and the “ultimate betrayal,” much of the Palestinian public expressed the fact that while upset, they were by no means surprised by the deals. “When they announced the normalization, it was almost a relief, in a way, because we knew they were doing it for a long time under the table, and this was just confirming all of it,” Ayman Gharib, a Palestinian human rights activist in the West Bank told Mondoweiss. “These normalization agreements just show us the true face of the Arab regimes, and put an end to the facade that they have kept up for so long,” he continued.
Trump made Netanyahu look bad, but that’s over now! — Sen. Chris Murphy
Republican and Democratic legislators made a “decision” long ago not to argue about Israel support, then the Trump administration caused the violation of that pact. But Joe Biden will restore it. So says Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who has been motioned as a possible secretary of state in the Biden administration. Murphy said that Donald Trump’s “anti-Muslim” actions had the unfortunate effect of reflecting badly on Israel and Netanyahu, in the eyes of some Democrats. And Republicans seized the opportunity to make Democrats look anti-Israel.
Rep. Betty McCollum’s speech to UN: ‘Palestinian dreams for freedom, justice, equality, and self-determination are legitimate’
On 12 November, US Representative Betty McCollum gave a speech to the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. She stated, "It is my hope that Parliamentarians from across the globe will find common purpose and work together in solidarity with the Palestinian people."
US elections 2020: Why Palestinians are not joining the party
In more than one respect, the emergence in the Oval Office of an unrestrained supporter of Israeli settlements, eradicator of the refugee issue and defunder of UNRWA blew the cobwebs away. Trump’s team did not change the reality on the ground, but it did dispel the myth that endless rounds of negotiations would result in a Palestinian state. With Joe Biden’s return to power as president, this myth will lovingly and carefully be restored, like some biblical archaeological find. Israeli settlers will continue the business of cutting down Palestinian olive trees. Israeli courts will continue to dispossess Palestinians of their legal rights to their land. Heads will shake with disapproval in Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin, but nothing will be done. Many words will be uttered about the justice of the Palestinian cause, safe in the knowledge that it will never see the light of day.
Joe Biden will continue the pro-Israel status quo
Indeed, during the election campaign last year, Biden openly said that if he won the presidency: "No one's standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change." It is no surprise, then, that on the issue of Palestine and the Israelis, Biden offers nothing but the continuation of the destructive, violent, racist status quo. This was the man who once ranted to Congress that Israel was such a reliable ally for US imperialism, that if the country didn't exist: "The United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect our interests in the region."
Foreign Ministry: Three dead among diaspora Palestinians after contracting coronavirus
Three members of the Palestinian communities in the diaspora have died after contracting coronavirus disease, raising the total to 301, today said the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affair and Expatriates. Two in their seventies died in Saudi Arabia for a total of 103 cases in that country, and the third, a forty-five-year-old man, died in the United States raising the total there among the Palestinian communities to 88. The total number of corona cases among diaspora Palestinians was 7036 since the outbreak of the pandemic, said the Foreign Ministry.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Is the UAE about to invest in Israeli settlements?
The United Arab Emirates marketed its “peace” deal with Israel as a way to stop further Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian land. Instead, it has all but explicitly encouraged it. Last week, an Israeli settler delegation visited Dubai and Sharjah and met with Emirati business people. The delegation was led by Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, a settler body in the occupied West Bank. They met around twenty individuals and corporations to explore deals on agriculture, pest control, plastics and water desalination. “The UAE is an advanced country at the forefront of development and investment,” Dagan told the Associated Press. “It is our honor to forge trade and industry ties with them.”
Israeli gov’t moves ahead with settlement plans exploiting US transitional period
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements (NBPRS) stated in its latest weekly report , that the Israeli Government is exploiting the results of the presidential elections in the United States and the expected change in America on next January in an extremely ugly manner to implement steps on the ground that devote the actual annexation of large areas of the occupied West Bank supported by the Trump’s Administration including the expected visit of the US Secretary of State, Pompeo, next week to the occupied Golan Heights and a number of settlements in the West Bank. In this context, it appears that the outgoing Trump pushes Israel towards partial annexation of lands in the West Bank to inflame wedges of dispute between Israel and the newly elected US president, Joe Biden.
Israeli settlers attempt to resettle site of evacuated West Bank settlement
If the settlers were to be successful in their attempts to resettle Sa-Nur, Palestinians say it would spell disaster for their communities, who have lived in what they described as a “more peaceful life” ever since the settlers were evacuated fifteen years ago. “A lot of the people in our village have farmland that’s planted with hundreds of olive trees and other crops on the land around the settlement,” Alawneh said. “If the settlers were to return, we would return back to the days of being banned from accessing our land.” “Everywhere in Palestine, wherever the settlers go, restrictions on Palestinian movement and access to our land follows,” he said, “along with settler attacks on our families, our homes, and our crops.”
Israel advances plans in sensitive East Jerusalem settlement
A settlement watchdog group says Israel is moving ahead with new construction of hundreds of homes in an illegal East Jerusalem settlement that threatens to cut off parts of the city claimed by Palestinians from the West Bank. The group, Peace Now, said the Israel Land Authority announced on its website on Sunday that it had opened up tenders for more than 1,200 new homes in Givat Hamatos in East Jerusalem. Brian Reeves, a spokesman for Peace Now, said the move allows contractors to begin bidding on the tenders, a process that will conclude just days before US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Construction could then begin within months.
Now available in Dubai: Trump’s Golan Heights legacy
The recently updated Golan Heights Winery website is symbolic of the company’s success, and therefore that of the occupation. It is also symptomatic of a wilful forgetting on the part of the left. It was with the acquiescence of the majority in Israel that normalization began, well before the era of Trump and Netanyahu. Trump’s specific legacy is one of perceived legitimacy for the occupation and expanded markets for settlement businesses. The eco-friendly, hipster face of Israeli colonialism in the Golan is a slick, tech-savvy presentation available on a range of social media platforms representing businesses across the area.
Palestinians denounce Pompeo’s planned visit to Israeli settlement
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh has decried a planned visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. The visit is an attempt to “legitimize the settlements” and creates “a dangerous precedent that violates international law,” Shtayyeh said during a meeting with Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday. Pompeo is scheduled to visit the settlement of Psagot next week, becoming the first US secretary of state to visit one of the settlements, which are illegal under international law.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
France defies European court ruling upholding right to boycott Israel
According to two experts on French law, the European court’s ruling should have prompted the French government to rescind its instructions to prosecutors first issued in 2010 that they should aggressively pursue supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. Yet far from respecting the precedent-setting decision–and the political rights of French citizens–the Macron government’s justice ministry issued a memorandum to prosecutors last month telling them to continue investigating activists who call for boycotts of Israel. The memorandum asserts that actions “calling for a boycott of Israeli products” may still constitute a crime under the country’s press law by “provoking public discrimination towards a person or group of persons due to their membership of a nation.”
Filmmakers boycott Israel’s pinkwashing TLVFest
More than a dozen filmmakers have heeded the Palestinian call to boycott TLVFest, the government-backed Tel Aviv International LGBTQ Film Festival. Six of the filmmakers also joined 170 other artists from around the globe who signed a pledge launched earlier this year to boycott the festival. TLVFest, taking place this month, has tightened its embrace of the far-right Israeli government this year, specifically the ministry of strategic affairs. The ministry is the lead agency in Israel’s global effort to smear and sabotage the Palestinian rights movement around the world. TLVFest is a cornerstone of Israel’s propaganda strategy known as pinkwashing.
Law & Prisons
Palestinian prisoner dies of cancer in Israel jail
A Palestinian prisoner died yesterday in Israeli jail after battling cancer, reported Wafa news agency. Kamal Abu Wa'er, from Jenin's town of Qabatiya, suffered from throat cancer. The forty-six-year-old detainee was struggling after a severe deterioration in his health after contracting coronavirus in July. The head of the Palestinian Detainees' and Ex-Detainees Committee, Qadri Abu Bakr, called out Israel on several violations of Palestinian prisoners' rights. He holds the Israeli authorities fully responsible for the death of Abu Wa'er, calling his death a premeditated crime committed by the Israeli prison service, which refused to release him despite many calls for such action due the seriousness of his medical condition.
Environment, Economy, and Other
Zoom censors events about Zoom censorship
Facilitating the agendas of Israel lobby groups, videoconferencing platform Zoom once again censored events in the United States and the United Kingdom featuring the Palestinian resistance icon Leila Khaled. This week, the president of New York University acceded to Zoom’s actions by smearing one of the panels, organized by NYU faculty and students and featuring an address by Khaled, as “terrorist violence” that conflicts with academic freedom. But academics, students and civil rights defenders are fighting back.
Palestinian businesses suffered a great deal as a result of the coronavirus pandemic - survey
Preliminary results of a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on business establishments in Palestine, conducted for the Ministry of National Economy (MONE) by Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) in cooperation with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), showed that businesses have suffered to various degrees by the coronavirus pandemic forcing them to take financial and administrative measures, as well as digital solutions, to face the impacts of the pandemic.
Culture & Art
Leeds Palestinian Film Festival goes international
Leeds Palestinian Film Festival’s sixth edition will launch Saturday 14 November, 7pm and will be available for two weeks providing local, national and international audiences an even more accessible way to support and engage with Palestinian art, culture, history and politics through the medium of film. Announcing fourteen films and three speaker events in their programme, Leeds Palestinian Film Festival will all be available to stream online, and worldwide for select films, between 14 and 28 November 2020. The ambition of the festival is to highlight outstanding films which focus on Palestine, changing one-dimensional views on the region. This includes documentaries, animations, features and short films made by established and emerging filmmakers from Palestine and across the globe.
Palestine in Pictures: October 2020
Photos from occupied Palestine in October.