Israel, Palestine/Gaza May 2022 –

Written by  //  December 1, 2022  //  Israel  //  No comments

Israel strips Palestinian-French rights lawyer of Jerusalem residency
Salah Hamouri expected to be deported after decision on grounds of ‘breach of allegiance’ to state
Israel has stripped a prominent Palestinian-French human rights lawyer of his Jerusalem residency and is expected to deport him to France, a legal first that sets a dangerous precedent for other Palestinians with dual nationality in the contested city.

25 November
Far-right extremist gets Israeli security job as coalition deals struck
Appointment of Itamar Ben-Gvir raises fears of further escalation in Israeli-Palestinian tensions
“We took a big step [last night] towards a full coalition agreement, towards forming a fully, fully rightwing government,” Ben-Gvir said in a statement.
(The Guardian) The leader of the Jewish Power party, who was convicted in 2007 of racist incitement against Arabs and backing a group considered by Israel and the US to be a terrorist organisation, will have an expanded security portfolio that will include responsibility for border police in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry said the appointment would have a “potentially catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and hinder the revival of negotiations between the two sides.

23 November
Biden upgrades US-Palestinian relations by naming special representative
Hady Amr, held in high regard by Israeli and Palestinian diplomats, appointed to Washington-based role
Amr will work closely with the assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs and with diplomats at the Jerusalem-based office of Palestinian affairs, the reports said.
The move comes amid deteriorating conditions in the occupied West Bank: 2022 is already the deadliest year for Palestinians living in the territory and in annexed East Jerusalem since 2005, with more than 130 Palestinians killed in fighting.

2-4 November
The new Jewish state in the Levant: A fanatics-led nuclear power
Israel is about to get the most extreme government in the country’s history. But there are limits to what it can do.
Marwan Bishara, Senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.
… A majority of religious nationalists and ultraorthodox parties in government, the first in Israel’s history, would want to transform the Jewish state towards a theocracy that lives by the Halacha (Jewish law) and finish colonising the entirety of Palestine, come what may. …
Benjamin Netanyahu, who will likely form and lead the new coalition government, knows from his experience as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister that there is a limit on how far Israel can go before it starts to meet fierce Palestinian and Arab resistance. Any further, and Israel could also lose support in Europe and the United States; support that is indispensable to its security and regional standing.
But then again, it is doubtful whether he will be able to tame these religious fanatics, knowing all too well they have a hold over the survival of his premiership; his only guarantee to stay out of prison, after having been indicted for serious corruption charges.
I think the genie is finally out of the bottle.
The elections have opened a Pandora’s box that may well take Israelis to the dark side. They have exposed the fragility of Israel’s peculiar liberality as a colonial state, and unmasked the pervasive fanaticism among the majority of the electorate after decades of unfettered military occupation.
What Netanyahu’s comeback means for Israel
Yossi Klein Halevi, senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. His most recent book is Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.
Special to The Globe and Mail
After four rounds of elections in less than four years that were essentially one long referendum on the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu, election No. 5 exposed the real issue motivating the Israeli electorate: fear of our fellow Israelis. Are you with us or with them? Are you with the camp that seeks to empty Israel of its Jewish identity, or with the camp that seeks to empty Israel of its democratic identity?
… a desperate Mr. Netanyahu – seeking to end his trial for corruption and form a parliamentary majority to pass what is known as the “French law,” which forbids prosecution of a sitting prime minister – has incited his supporters against the judicial system, police, media and, most of all, Israel’s democratic ethos. He did so in the name of defending the state’s Jewish identity, supposedly under threat by his opponents – most of whom are no less committed than he claims to be to protecting Israel’s Jewishness.
… Mr. Netanyahu’s greatest offence was breaking the long-standing taboo in Israeli politics against legitimizing the racist far-right. That taboo held for the mainstream right as well as the left. In the 1980s, when the far-right racist Rabbi Meir Kahane, who won a single seat in parliament, would approach the podium, Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir demonstratively led his faction out of the plenum.
(The World newsletter) With most of the votes counted in Israel’s fifth parliamentary elections in four years, Benjamin Netanyahu — who still faces multiple counts of corruption in an ongoing investigation — is set to return once again as prime minister. The coalition he’s expected to bring together would be the most right-wing government yet for the country. His far-right allies want to overhaul the justice system to give politicians more control of judicial appointments, while weakening the Supreme Court’s oversight of the parliamentary process. They’re also calling for an end [to] Palestinian autonomy in parts of the West Bank.
Israel’s Netanyahu nears victory, but trouble may lie ahead
His new coalition could create headaches for Netanyahu on the global stage.
(Politico/AP) Israel’s longtime former prime minister and current opposition leader appears to have engineered a surprising victory in the country’s fifth national vote since 2019, thanks to help from an extremist far-right party. This alliance could have profound implications, though — potentially ending his legal troubles at home while antagonizing friends abroad.
Netanyahu faces balancing act after Israel election comeback
By James Mackenzie
(Reuters) If preliminary counts hold, the longest-serving Israeli prime minister, who has dominated national politics for more than a decade, is back and set to form what looks like being one of the most right-wing governments in the country’s history.
Lawbreaker to Israeli kingmaker? Far-right Ben-Gvir surges in vote
(Reuters) – Israeli far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who for years was seen as too much of a firebrand for mainstream politics, swept up votes in Tuesday’s election and may now play kingmaker in Benjamin Netanyahu’s stunning political comeback.

27-31 October
Israeli election too close to call as Netanyahu bids for comeback
(The Guardian) Final polls suggest deadlock, but if rightwing alliance keeps slowly gaining, scandal-plagued former PM may scrape in
Netanyahu’s potential coalition partners, the Religious Zionists, led by Bezalel Smotrich and the popular Itamar Ben-Gvir, have called for the dismantling of the independence of the judiciary, which could help the former prime minister beat the charges in his corruption trial.
Israel deserves better than Netanyahu’s bid to retake power and stay out of jail
Lloyd Green
With days to go, the calm belies what is at stake: the hard right empowered so a beleaguered figure can win and possibly evade justice
As Israel heads to the polls on Tuesday for its fifth election since the spring of 2019, its politics are fractious, but stop short of visceral acridity. The country’s rival tribes are content to jostle each other. It’s an eerie quiet before what could be a terrible storm. With just days to go, Benjamin Netanyahu and the right lead in hypothetical match-ups, but may fall short of the 61 seats needed in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to dislodge Yair Lapid, the current prime minister.
…overarching all of that is a greater concern – that Netanyahu is basically using the re-election as a way of short-circuiting the criminal prosecution he faces on charges of corruption – and that the electorate may let him do so.
The epic contests between Netanyahu and the late Shimon Peres, the successor to Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995, or Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak, two decorated generals, remain in the memory but are the stuff of yesteryear. The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is devoid of a pulse, and no one within the Israeli mainstream is clamouring for its resuscitation.

17 October
Palestinian ‘Game of Thrones’? What happens when Mahmoud Abbas leaves office?
Now in the twilight of a controversial reign as president, what comes next is a vexed question
(The Guardian) While nowhere near as charismatic as his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, who had died two months before, Abbas was nonetheless welcomed as a reformer and a man of peace.Abbas, commonly referred to by his kunya, Abu Mazen, won the presidency by a significant majority a few weeks later. A major architect of the Oslo peace process, his win delighted the Israelis and the Americans: unlike Arafat, Abu Mazen had vociferously denounced the violence of what was by then the ebbing second intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
…just a year later, because of Fatah party infighting over candidate lists, the Islamist movement Hamas won the parliamentary elections, leading to a brief civil war in which the Palestinian Authority (PA) lost control of the Gaza Strip. The rest of Abbas’s long tenure has resembled that of a stereotypical regional autocrat, determined to cling on to power.
Nearly two decades later, the Oslo accords no longer address the political reality on the ground; Abu Mazen’s Fatah party and the umbrella Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), riddled with corruption, have little support among younger generations; and the authority he oversees works with Israel to oppress its own people.

21 September
‘It’s going to explode’: young Palestinians look to the gun amid Israeli offensive
Israel’s Operation Breakwater aims to reduce the enemy’s ability to attack, but seems to be galvanising a new generation of fighters.
…the massive 9 August raid, part of Operation Breakwater, a six-month-old campaign of near-nightly IDF sorties, arrests, targeted killings and house demolitions across the occupied West Bank. Designed to flush out militants from al-Aqsa, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the offensive has evolved into one of the biggest Israeli military operations outside wartime for decades.
5-7 August
Israel, Gaza militants agree to cease-fire after deadly weekend kills at least 43
Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip have agreed to a cease-fire after more than two days of airstrikes and rocket attacks that killed 43 people and injured more than 300 in Gaza and forced thousands of Israelis to shelter in bunkers.
Israeli airstrike kills 2nd top Islamic Jihad commander
5 August
Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 8, including senior militant
(NYT) The strikes risk igniting yet another war in the territory, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas and is home to about 2 million Palestinians.
‘No appetite for war’: Palestinians fear new Israeli offensive
(Al Jazeera) After deadly air raids on Gaza, analysts question Israel’s motivation amid political turmoil and with new elections upcoming.
Israel’s attack on Gaza on Friday was weeks in the making, a deliberate act to gain legitimacy with its public, say Palestinian observers, as Israel braces for new elections in November.

16 July
Israel launches air raids on Gaza Strip, no casualties reported
The missile attacks came after US President Joe Biden left Israel to travel to Saudi Arabia.

15 July
United States President Joe Biden has claimed that his government is insisting on accountability for the May killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli army.
“The United States will continue to insist on a full and transparent accounting of her death and will continue to stand up for media freedom everywhere in the world,” Biden said on Friday in a joint press conference with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

14 July
Health rumours leave Palestinians wondering who will follow Abbas
President Abbas has been in ill health over recent years and is unpopular, but many Palestinians are still apathetic

27 June
U.N. rights body says Israeli soldiers killed American journalist in West Bank
(WaPo) A veteran Palestinian American journalist was killed by Israeli forces while covering a military raid in the occupied West Bank, a spokeswoman for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Friday, summarizing the results of its investigation into the fatal May shooting of Shireen Abu Akleh, a correspondent for Al Jazeera.

10-20 June
Israel to dissolve parliament, call 5th election in 3 years
(AP) — Israel’s weakened coalition government announced Monday that it would dissolve parliament and call new elections, setting the stage for the possible return to power of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or another period of prolonged political gridlock.
The election…will put the polarizing Netanyahu, who has been the opposition leader for the past year, back at the center of the political universe.
The previous four elections, focused on Netanyahu’s fitness to rule while facing a corruption investigation, ended in deadlock. While opinion polls project Netanyahu, who is now on trial, as the front-runner, it is far from certain that his Likud party can secure the required parliamentary majority to form a new government.
… The final blow to the government was the looming expiration of a law that grant Israel’s West Bank settlers special legal status. The law underpins separate legal systems for Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank, a situation that three prominent human rights groups say amounts to apartheid.
Parliament had been set to extend the law earlier this month, as it has done for the past 55 years. But the hard-line opposition, comprised heavily of settler supporters, paradoxically voted against the bill in order to embarrass Bennett. Dovish members of the coalition who normally oppose the settlements voted in favor in hopes of keeping the government afloat.

Israel’s ‘salvation government’ hangs by a thread after one year
(Reuters/Globe & Mail) One year after ending the record reign of Benjamin Netanyahu following months of political turmoil, Israel’s fragile coalition government is teetering on the edge of collapse, raising the prospect of a snap election in the coming months.
Pointing to achievements including boosting economic growth and eliminating the budget deficit, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday vowed to fight for the survival of their unlikely coalition of right-wing, liberal and Muslim Arab parties.
Israeli settlers at risk of losing special West Bank status as deadline looms
(AP/Globe & Mail) Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank may soon get a taste of the military rule that Palestinians have been living under for 55 years.
If Israel’s parliament does not act, a special legal status accorded to the settlers will expire at the end of the month, with wide-ranging consequences. Lawyers who live in the settlements, including two members of Israel’s Supreme Court, will no longer be allowed to practice law. Settlers would be subject to military courts usually reserved for Palestinians and would lose access to some public services.
While few expect things to reach that point, the looming deadline has put Israel’s government on the brink of collapse and drawn dire warnings.
Israel wants “complete control” of Palestinian land: UN report
Independent commission set up by UN human rights council says Israel needs to end occupation, cease violating Palestinians’ human rights.
The report cites evidence that Israel has “no intention of ending the occupation”.
Israel is pursuing “complete control” over what the report calls the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which was taken by Israel in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.
The Israeli government, the commission said, has been “acting to alter the demography through the maintenance of a repressive environment for Palestinians and a favourable environment for Israeli settlers”.
Citing an Israeli law denying naturalisation to Palestinians married to Israeli citizens, the report accuses Israel of affording “different civil status, rights and legal protection” for Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Israel’s coalition on brink of collapse after losing settler law vote
Nationalist party New Hope threatens to exit arrangement after vote on West Bank settlers
Israel’s coalition government is teetering on the brink of collapse after a dramatic Knesset showdown over legislation to extend legal protections for settlers in the occupied West Bank.
In what was variously described by Israeli media as “one of the most surreal votes in Israeli history” and “political suicide”, the first reading of a bill renewing civilian legal rights for Jewish settlers in the West Bank failed to pass on Monday night.
Members of the Knesset had to weigh up their positions on both the bill, and whether it was more important to strengthen or weaken the ideologically diverse coalition, which recently lost its razor-thin majority.
Emergency regulations in place since the occupation of the Palestinian territories began in 1967 and renewed by the Knesset every five years have created two parallel legal systems in the West Bank, where about 500,000 Jewish settlers live in breach of international law but have Israeli citizenship. The 3 million Palestinians in the same area have been subject to Israeli military law for decades, a situation that three major human rights groups have said amounts to apartheid.
If the legislation is not renewed, or a modified version passed by the end of June, Israeli settlers will automatically become governed by military rule – a development that could throw into chaos the tax and policing system for Israelis in the West Bank, bring into question the status of Palestinian inmates being held in Israeli prisons and almost certainly lead to the collapse of the government.

US elections: How pro-Israel spending affects Palestine advocacy
Despite massive AIPAC spending in Democratic primaries, advocates say debate over US support for Israel not going away.
(Al Jazeera) … So far, after primaries in a handful of states – including key races in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas – before the November midterms, the results have been a mixed bag for AIPAC and its allies.
While pro-Israel groups celebrated the election of several candidates, progressives have remained competitive and won a few races. Left-wing activists have been especially jubilant about the victory of Summer Lee in a Democratic House primary in the Pittsburgh area last month. Lee, a Pennsylvania state legislator, survived massive late spending by pro-Israel groups that translated into attack ads against her.
But on the same night that Lee declared victory, AIPAC celebrated the win of three candidates it had backed with millions of dollars in North Carolina, including Valerie Foushee, who defeated Nida Allam, a local politician who was looking to become the fifth-ever Muslim member of Congress.

22 May
In the firing zone: evictions begin in West Bank villages after court ruling
(The Guardian) Earlier this month, Israel’s supreme court finally ruled in a two-decade-old legal case over the area’s fate: the land can be repurposed for military use, upholding the Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF) argument that Palestinians living here could not prove they were resident before the firing zone was established in 1981. The decision – one of the most significant on expulsions since the occupation began in 1967 – paved the way for the eviction of everyone living here.
About 18% of Area C, the West Bank under full Israeli control, has been repurposed since the 1970s as “firing zones” for IDF use. According to the minutes of a 1981 ministerial meeting, the then agriculture minister, Ariel Sharon, who later became prime minister, proposed creating Firing Zone 918 with the explicit intention of forcing local Palestinians from their homes.

19 May
Israel will not hold criminal inquiry into killing of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh
Military police say they are satisfied with assurances of Israeli troops over death of US-Palestinian despite international demands
(The Guardian) The Biden administration and the UN security council have called for a transparent investigation.
Abu Aqleh was a household name across the Arab world, known for documenting the hardship of Palestinian life under Israeli rule for Al Jazeera. Her killing received widespread international coverage and prompted criticism from the White House.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, promised her family that Washington would demand that her death be properly investigated.

18 May
UN experts say mass eviction of Palestinians a possible war crime
(Al Jazeera) Israel’s decision to evict approximately 1,200 Palestinians from their homes in Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank may amount to a war crime, UN human rights experts said.
The decision to forcibly transfer the Palestinian residents is a serious breach of international humanitarian and human rights laws, and an independent and impartial investigation into the matter should be established, the experts said.
The court decision to permit the forced eviction was “all the more disconcerting”, the UN expert said, as it is being undertaken to allow Israeli military training in the area.
… Some 500 children are among the estimated 1,200 Palestinian residents who are now at imminent risk of forcible transfer from their land following the judgement of the Israeli High Court of Justice earlier this month.

14 May
Israel’s policy: Kill the messenger, attack the mourners
Unfortunately for Israel, however, Palestinian identity cannot be eradicated at the barrel of a gun.
Belen Fernandez, Contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.
(Al Jazeera opinion) On Friday, May 13, The New York Times website ran the headline “Israeli Police Attack Funeral of Slain Palestinian Journalist”, which was then updated to “Israeli Police Attack Mourners at Palestinian Journalist’s Funeral”. The journalist in question, of course, was 51-year-old Shireen Abu Akleh, the veteran Al Jazeera reporter shot in the head and killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank.
As the Times reported, Israeli police officers had commenced “beating and kicking mourners” at the funeral procession in Jerusalem, thereby “forcing pallbearers to nearly drop the coffin”. This, at least, was mercifully straightforward information coming from the same news outlet that had just days before opted to use the noncommittal phrase “Dies at 51” in its announcement of Abu Akleh’s murder.

12 May
Israel approves more than 4,000 settlement homes: Rights group
Peace Now says Israel advances plans for construction in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Israel advanced plans for the construction of more than 4,000 homes in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, a rights group has said, a day after the Israeli army demolished homes in an area where hundreds of Palestinians face the threat of expulsion.
The plan to construct 4,000 more homes is the biggest advancement of settlement projects since the Biden administration took office. The White House opposes settlement construction because it further erodes the possibility of an eventual two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israeli settlements are fortified, Israeli-only housing complexes built on Palestinian land in violation of international law. Between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers live in at least 250 illegal settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

Shireen Abu Akleh and the journalists killed by Israeli forces
At least 45 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000 according to the Palestinian Ministry of Information.
(Al Jazeera) journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on May 11 by Israeli forces in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank.
The 51-year-old Palestinian-American TV correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic was wearing a protective vest marked with “PRESS” and standing with other journalists when she was shot dead.

2-5 May
Putin apologizes to Israel for Hitler comments as Zelensky slams Nazi rhetoric
(WaPo)The reported apology came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of using Nazi propaganda and antisemitic tropes to justify the invasion as Russian leaders repeatedly compare Zelensky to Hitler.
How Putin’s Apology to Israeli PM Bennett Unfolded
Mired in problems, Bennett efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine stopped. A Ukrainian request, however, prompted the Israeli premier to call Putin
(Haaretz) Israeli efforts to mediate between Ukraine and Russia ceased a few weeks ago. Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy are not currently interested in attempts bridge between the two sides. Putin is trying with all his might to capture Mariupol, while Zelenskyy, with the help of the west, is heavily arming his forces.

Russia’s Antisemitic Attack on Israel Is Shocking and Deliberate
(Haaretz) Strategic antisemitism: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s tirade on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Jews and Hitler was no slip of the tongue. It was part of a calculated, and escalating, campaign targeting Israel
Russia accuses Israel of backing ‘neo-Nazis’ in Kyiv as diplomatic row grows
Moscow hits back at Israeli criticism of Sergei Lavrov’s claim that Adolf Hitler ‘had Jewish blood’
The dispute over remarks by Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, who said in an interview that Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood” and that the “most rabid antisemites tend to be Jews”, has threatened to unsettle Israel’s careful position over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Israel demands apology after Russia says Hitler had Jewish roots
Zelenskiy accuses Russia of forgetting World War Two
Israel summons Russian ambassador for ‘tough talk’
Germany, Italy, Canada denounce Lavrov remarks
Lavrov made the assertion on Italian television on Sunday when he was asked why Russia said it needed to “denazify” Ukraine if the country’s own president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was himself Jewish.

4 May
Israel weighs expanding military aid to Ukraine after U.S. request
Barak Ravid, author of Axios from Tel Aviv
(Axios) Why it matters: Taking a careful approach to the war, Israel has so far refused Ukraine’s requests for advanced weaponry, and only last month agreed to send thousands of helmets and bulletproof vests for medical teams and first responders. But as Israel takes a more critical public line against Russia, it’s signaling it is increasingly open to supplying Ukraine with certain nonlethal military equipment.
State of play: A senior Israeli official said the Israeli government is considering increasing its military aid to Ukraine and is likely to do it as the war continues. But the official stressed Israel will only provide nonlethal military equipment.
A senior Ukrainian official told me Ukraine doesn’t expect Israel to provide it with lethal weapons, but said it wants to use several pre-existing export licenses from the Israeli Ministry of Defense for communications gear and anti-drone systems.

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