[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
British recruit involved in killing of Palestinian teen
One of the soldiers involved in the incident is reportedly a British citizen. “L.” – as she was identified by the Israeli army and media – said she “knocked him back with my weapon,” and that “he went back and forth between me and my commander, trying to stab us.” The Jerusalem Post identified “L.” as a lone soldier from London in the Israeli army. The publication appears to name “L.” as Lian Harush in the caption of the main image in the article – the same picture of “L.” posted by the Israeli army.
Israel issues demolition of Palestinian clinic in midst of pandemic
Local Palestinian media reported this week that on Monday Israeli forces issued a slew of demolition orders to the Palestinian village of Zanouta in the Hebron district of the southern West Bank. Among the buildings ordered to be demolished, according to the Palestinian Authority-affiliated Wafa News agency, were several dwellings in the village, the village council building, and local health clinic run by the MOH.
IOF uproot hundreds of wild trees east of Tubas
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday uprooted hundreds of forest trees in the Aynoun area, east of Tubas. The official in the Jordan Valley file in Tubas Governorate, Motaz Bisharat, stated that the bulldozers belonging to the occupation began, since the morning hours, uprooting hundreds of forest trees with ages ranging between 8-10 years, under the pretext that they are located in military training areas.
The absurdity of demanding Gaza get its own COVID-19 vaccines
The Palestinian Authority is working with the World Health Organization and other international partners to try to secure doses of vaccines, while simultaneously calling on Israel to meet its obligations under international law to ensure the well-being of the 4.5 million Palestinians living under its military control in both Gaza and the West Bank. So far, Israel has agreed to transfer vaccines coming from abroad to the Palestinian territory, but refuses to provide them. Absurdly, teenagers and other young, healthy populations in Israel are receiving the vaccine before frontline medical workers, the elderly, and immunocompromised Palestinians living in close proximity.
IOF prevent HRC from completing restoration of Ibrahimi mosque
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday prevented the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee from completing the restoration and maintenance works at the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque. The director and head of the Ibrahimi Mosque, Sheikh Hefzi Abu Sneina, told the official agency that the occupation forces prevented the staff of the Reconstruction Committee from completing the restoration work at the Haram, which includes “maintenance and restoration work on the surface of the Haram, painting walls, cleaning stone by construction, historical Islamic engravings,” and other works.
Winter weather brings fresh disaster to Gaza
Heavy rains for the past months since November have led to the flooding of houses and roads, especially in Gaza’s many refugee camps. In al-Shati (Beach) refugee camp of Gaza City, Baha Hamad, 40, stood surveying the damage caused by rain leaking through his asbestos roof in December. “I don’t have money to build the kind of walls that will prevent water from leaking inside,” he told The Electronic Intifada.
Palestinians have mixed feelings about their upcoming elections
Many Palestinians, like 47-year-old Ibrahim Msallam, who have become jaded after witnessing years of corruption and failed attempts at democracy in the PA, have serious doubts over whether Abbas and his government will even follow through with the elections come May. “This isn’t the first time they’ve said ‘okay we’re going to have elections’ or ‘we’re going to have national reconciliation’ and then things have fallen apart,” Msallam said. “I don’t know if they are going to follow through with the elections or not, but even if they do, it’s a symbolic gesture rather than a real chance for us to have democracy,” he continued. “Elections should be about freedom and sovereignty, that’s why we need elections. Not to give legitimacy to the same people who have already been in power for decades,” Msallam said.
Icon Marwan Barghouti to run for Palestinian presidency
Member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council Hatem Abdel-Qader said al-Barghouti is "intending to run for the Palestinian Authority presidential elections", he told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday. Abdel-Qader told Anadolu Agency that the nomination of al-Barghouti is normal and a "healthy phenomenon" for the electoral race. "We are with the legitimacy, but when going to the ballots, it is the right of the Palestinian people to give their opinion and elect whom they found suitable." Al-Barghouthi was detained in 2002 by the Israeli forces and is currently serving a life-term sentence over charges of "directing armed groups that killed and injured Israelis during the Second Palestinian Uprising (intifada)".
Palestine's electoral process threatens to legitimise the status quo
The decree has been welcomed by many Palestinians who have been starved of democracy since the last PLC elections in 2006. It has also been welcomed by most Palestinian factions and internationally as an essential means of restoring the legitimacy of the three bodies. But there has been hardly any mention about the PNC elections in the occupied territories and among the PA's funders in the international community.
Will Palestinian elections be held in East Jerusalem?
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced plans to hold legislative elections on 22 May and presidential polls on 31 July, for the first time in 15 years. Concerns, however, have been rising that Israel might hinder the vote in occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state. Around 340,000 Palestinians are estimated to be living in the occupied city, according to unofficial Palestinian estimates. Israel, which occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and rejects any sign of Palestinian sovereignty in the city, has yet to clarify its position regarding the polls.
EU snubs Jews who criticize Israel
To various degrees, the EU has allowed Israel and its lobbyists to set the agenda on anti-Semitism. A new excuse offered by the European Commission for preventing scrutiny of that agenda is deceitful. In 2019, the European Commission formed a working group on anti-Semitism. It brings together pro-Israel lobbyists, police and civil servants from across the European Union’s 27 countries. European Jews for a Just Peace, an organization critical of Israel, asked to participate in the working group but was rejected.
Biden’s secretary of state praises Trump’s achievements on Israel
A new administration has taken over Washington with talk of justice, respect and diversity. However, when it comes to Israel-Palestine the news isn’t so encouraging. Joe Biden’s foreign policy team says it wants to return to the Iran deal, but reassures the Israel lobby that that won’t happen any time soon, and when it comes to actual Palestinian rights or freedom (the “peace process”), it clearly wants as little friction with the Israeli government and Israel’s friends in Washington as possible. I watched all 4-1/2 hours of Tony Blinken’s testimony to Senate Foreign Relations (help!), and he never mentioned occupation, Palestinian human rights, or even settlements.
Biden administration to restore aid to Palestinians, fix 'atrophied' relations
The Biden administration plans to re-open Palestinian diplomatic missions that were shuttered under former President Donald Trump and restore US aid to Palestine, the acting US ambassador to the UN has announced. Speaking to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Ambassador Richard Mills said the US plans to renew relations with Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people, lamenting that those ties had "atrophied" under the Trump administration.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
700,000 Israeli settlers and the two-state illusion
“Liberals” like Blinken can bemoan the “very challenged” 2-state solution, but they will not challenge Israel, at least not in daylight. And we’re supposed to believe this will change things? But it’s an open secret. They are talking the talk of the “2-states” and the settlers are doing the walk! In his outstanding recent essay in the London Review of Books titled “The separate regimes delusion”, Nathan Thrall points out how all the dire warnings about the 2-state possibility fading away haven’t helped Palestinians, just made it worse!
When police kill a settler, settlers rain terror on Palestinians
According to Yesh Din, an Israeli NGO that documents human rights violations in the West Bank, Israeli settlers have committed 52 violent acts against Palestinians since Sandak’s death. In 37 of those cases, the settlers blocked central junctions along Route 60 — one of the West Bank’s central highways — and threw rocks at Palestinian cars. Yesh Din reported that 14 Palestinians, including two children, have been wounded in the rock-throwing attacks. In 11 cases, settlers have invaded Palestinian towns and thrown rocks at civilians and homes. In three incidents, groups of settlers attacked Palestinian farmers who were working their land.
Isreli gov’t to impose settlement agenda on the Biden administration
Hours before the new US President Joe Biden takes office, an attempt to impose settlement agenda on his Administration by, the occupation Government took the opportunity and published tenders through its Ministry of Housing and the Israeli Land Authority for the construction of 2572 new settlement units in the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem. The decision includes 460 settlement units in the Bhasghat Ze’ev and Har Homa settlements in East Jerusalem, 941 in the settlement of Amanuel, 377 in Adam, 359 in Beit Ariyeh and 196 in Ma’ale Ephraim, 150 in Alfih Manche, 95 in Karneh Shomron and 16 in the Beitar Illit.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
UK turns to “counterterror” law to repress Palestine Action
Solidarity campaigners shut down an Israeli drone parts factory in the UK for several hours last week. Three activists from Palestine Action were arrested outside the Elbit Systems factory in Shenstone in the Midlands on 18 January. This is the third time the factory has been hit in five months. Red paint symbolizing the deaths of Palestinians was also sprayed across the factory front yard. Activists say police are cracking down on their campaign. Co-founders Huda Ammori and Richard Barnard told The Electronic Intifada in an interview that they had even been stopped under Schedule 7 of an infamous British “counterterror” law.
Methodist Church to discuss ways to increase divestment of Israel
Methodist Church leaders are today discussing a move intended to increase economic action against Israel, the Jewish Chronicle has reported. The church is said to have growing concerns over Jewish only illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and is seeking new ways to support its longstanding policy to divest from companies that profit from the occupation. A report discussed by the Methodist Council says the humanitarian situation of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank has "worsened considerably" and describes conditions in Gaza as "inhumane", the JC said. A report by the church said that "the expanding settlement population… increases the likelihood that companies operating across Israel will have exposure to activity in Israeli settlements." Members are anxious the church may be holding stakes in companies that benefit from the occupation.
Over 1,000 Irish artists make history in pledge to boycott Israel
The signatories range from some of Ireland’s most internationally known figures to artists starting out on their careers. They include actors, writers, poets, painters, sculptors, film-makers, dancers, architects, composers, designers, musicians and others, including many members of Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of artists Aosdána. Ireland’s was the first nationally organised cultural boycott of Israel, and was followed by similar successful initiatives in Switzerland, South Africa, Britain and elsewhere.
EU anti-Semitism chief stands by blatant lie
This month, a court in Valencia threw out hate crime accusations against the activists. The judges found that they were only contesting Miller’s presence in the festival because of his alleged views on Israeli policy, “not because of his Jewish status, religion or any other circumstance.” The Spanish court also affirmed last June’s landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that calling for boycotts of Israel because of its crimes against Palestinians is not anti-Semitic and is protected political expression. Yet in recent years, the European Union has smeared the activists, falsely claiming that they only protested Miller because he is Jewish.
Liberal Zionists ignore ‘apartheid regime’ B’Tselem report because it points to BDS
These Israel lobby groups are in a bind because in the wake of the report it’s all but impossible to call yourself both progressive and pro-Israel, as J Street and many other groups do. And, if you acknowledge that Israel is practicing apartheid, you are in essence endorsing BDS. Because apartheid is a crime against humanity, and as was the case with apartheid South Africa, one’s duty is to support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. No wonder that Democratic Majority for Israel is now working hard to try to change the discussion from “apartheid” to “antisemitism,” saying that BDS is antisemitic. And even J Street has said that BDS must be seen “in the context of rising antisemitism.”
Law & Prisons
ICC inaction enables Israeli occupation violence
Just over a year ago, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, stated that criteria for war crimes investigations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip had been met. She pointed to Israel’s illegal transfer of its civilian population into West Bank settlements as an example of a potential war crimes case arising from an investigation in Palestine. Despite the illegality of Israel’s settlements being an “open and shut case,” in the words of UN special rapporteur Michael Lynk, Bensouda has not yet opened an investigation, though it is in her power to do so. Instead, she asked for a ruling on court jurisdiction, punting the Palestine situation to a panel of judges, where it is currently in limbo. The interminable pace of court proceedings hardly matches the urgency of the situation on the ground.
Why has Israel banned Jenin, Jenin? It fears the Palestinian narrative
Bakri is a Palestinian born in the village of Bi'ina, near the Palestinian city of Akka, now located in Israel. He has been paraded repeatedly through Israeli courts and censured heavily in the local mainstream media simply because he dared to challenge the official discourse about the violence in the Jenin refugee camp nearly two decades ago. The director's documentary Jenin, Jenin is now officially banned in Israel. The film, which was produced only months after the conclusion of this particular episode of Israeli state violence, did not make many claims of its own. It largely opened up a rare space for Palestinians to convey, in their own words, what had befallen their refugee camp when units of the Israel Defence Forces, with air cover provided by fighter jets and attack helicopters, pulverised much of the camp, killing scores of people and wounding hundreds more.
Environment, Economy, and Other
NPR: No Palestinians Radio
Recently, the broadcaster provided yet another example of how it freezes out Palestinian voices: Daniel Estrin’s 12 January coverage of the decision by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem to call Israel an “apartheid regime” that upholds “Jewish supremacy” between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. No Palestinian viewpoint was included in his report.
Culture & Art
Israel censored this film. Watch it here
An Israeli judge ruled in Magnaji’s favor last week, ordering Mohammed Bakri to pay more than $50,000 to the soldier and another $15,000 in court fees. Israeli government and military officials welcomed the court’s ruling. Bakri is now planning to appeal the ruling in Israel’s highest court. Following the court’s ruling, social media users shared links to the video and Bakri gave a number of interviews. The Palestine Film Institute, a body that preserves and promotes Palestinian cinema, decided to make the film available to everyone.