This week in Israel/Palestine:
- Sunday: Likud MK Akunis [Knesset member from Netanyahu’s party]: “Every word Senator Joseph McCarthy said was right”. “Likud MK Ofir Akunis, who sponsored the bill to limit foreign funding to Israeli human rights organization, stood behind Senator Joseph’s McCarthy’s actions in the 1950s.”
- Monday: Clinton warns of Israel’s eroding democratic values. “The secretary of state explains that she is astonished by the legislative initiatives in favor of restricting left-wing NGOs, as well as by the exclusion of women from public spaces and other phenomena.”
- Monday: Female Jewish settlers arrested for ‘price tag’ attacks in West Bank. “Seven young settlers arrested on suspicion of vandalizing army property, participating in an incident in which Palestinian-owned olive trees were damaged.”
- Tuesday: West Bank mosque set alight in suspected ‘price tag’ attack. “Arsonists attempted to set fire to a Palestinian mosque, Israeli police and residents of a West Bank village near the settlement of Ariel said on Wednesday. Residents of the Palestinian village of Burkina discovered that two vehicles were torched overnight, and that there had been attempt to burn the local mosque as well, succeeding only in burning its entrance.”
- Wednesday: AG to Netanyahu: Bills targeting Israeli rights groups’ funds are unconstitutional. “‘If these bills become law, I won’t be able to defend them against the petitions that will be submitted to the High Court,’ Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein warns government.”
- Wednesday: Fact sheet: Israel’s tightening control over Jerusalem. “The 75 kilometer wall being built in East Jerusalem is an instrument of social engineering designed to achieve the Judaization of Jerusalem by reducing the number of Palestinians in the city.”
- Wednesday: Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver “apologized” to American Jews. “‘We didn’t intend to harm anyone and if anyone was offended, I am sorry,’ Landver said. ‘I don’t have to say I’m sorry, but I’ve been taught that it’s the right thing to do….I’m not really apologizing. If anyone was offended, they should look in the mirror and see their kids when they come back from public schools,” she added, in a reference to assimilation in the Diaspora.” (For background on this, click here).
- Thursday: Israeli official calls negative response of Diaspora Jews to offensive ad campaign as ‘over-sensitivity’. “Absorption Ministry spokesman Elad Sonn characterized the negative response of some Diaspora Jews to the campaign as ‘over-sensitivity’ and said the ministry has no intention of taking down two controversial online videos.”
- Thursday: Bill aims to silence the mosques of Israeli Muslims. “A bill proposing to restrict the noise made by mosques will be up for discussion at the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs on Sunday. The proposal aims to prohibit mosques from sounding the nighttime and early morning calls of the Muezzin – who uses a public address system to beckon worshipers to pray – in order to avoid disrupting nearby [Jewish] residents.”
- Thursday night: IAF strikes Hamas base in Gaza, Palestinians report civilian casualties. “Early on Friday, Palestinian medical officials said an Israeli air strike hit a Hamas training camp in Gaza City, sending shrapnel flying into nearby houses, killing one civilian and wounding 13 others, mostly women and children. The Israeli military confirmed the air strike early Friday had been carried out.”
- Early Friday morning: Barrage of rockets strikes southern Israel. “Nine rockets exploded in southern Israel Friday, including one shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense system near Ashdod. No injuries were reported. The barrage followed IAF strikes in Gaza overnight Thursday.”
- Friday mid-day: Palestinian seriously wounded by Israeli forces at West Bank protest. “A Palestinian demonstrator was seriously wounded on Friday when he was apparently hit by a teargas canister fired by Israeli security forces in the West Bank…. One demonstrator was shot in the head at close range.” (Click here for a picture of the man shot, Mustafa Tamimi, h/t @ibnezra). UPDATE: Tamimi died on Saturday morning.
- Friday afternoon: Gaza boy succumbs to wounds from Friday airstrike. “A 12-year-old boy who was injured in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City earlier Friday has succumbed to his wounds, Palestinian medical officials said…. Zaalan’s death raises the death toll to five in the past 48 hours.”
And people wonder why I feel such despair.
It’s important to note that there are many people on the ground fighting these developments — all of them, from limitations placed on women in public gatherings, to airstrikes on Gaza — and this past week saw two small victories: Netanyahu decided to “shelve” cabinet discussions regarding the bill intended to limit foreign funding to NGOs, and in an unprecedented decision, a magistrate court ordered a stop to the demolition of an “unrecognized” Bedouin village.
But can anyone blame me for feeling that such news falls very firmly under the headline of way-too-little-far-too-late?