Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel (of the religious HaBayit HaYehudi or Jewish Home party) alarmingly said Nov. 4 that Israel will eventually replace al-Aqsa Mosque with a Jewish temple. According to the Middle East Monitor, Ariel told radio station Kol Berama, voice the ultra-orthodox Shas movement, the status quo cannot continue at al-Aqsa as it "was built in the place of the holiest place for Israel." Ariel said that construction of a third Jewish temple at the site is the primary demand of the Torah, "as it is at the forefront of Jewish salvation." This was apparently Ariel's response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call for "all Knesset members to calm tensions regarding the Temple Mount and show responsibility and restraint." We have not heard that Netanyahu has scolded Ariel or disavowed his comment.
At Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, local Bedouin families are emptying their homes, loading belongings into vans as soldiers look on from armored cars. At eight border villages, 680 houses—homes to 1,165 families—are being demolished to create a "security zone." Residents were ordered to evacuate on 48 hours notice. Some monetary compensation is being offered, but no provisions for new housing have been made, and landlords are jacking up rents in the Sinai in response to the sudden demand. Dynamite as well as bulldozers is being used to demolish the villages. The operation will result in a buffer 13.5 kilometers long and 500 meters wide. But some Bedouin pledge to resist relocation. A woman at Ibshar village said: "I'm not leaving my house even if they kill me. I was born and raised in this house. If they want the terrorists, they know where they are. There’s no need to force us from our homes." (Middle East Eye, Nov. 6; Reuters, Nov. 5)
A group of Israeli settlers set fire to some 100 olive trees owned by Palestinian farmers near Nablus as the 2014 olive harvest began last week. "A group of settlers from the Yitzhar settlement located near Huwara town in Nablus set fire to the town's olive fields, causing the destruction of 100 trees," said Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority official in monitoring settlements file in the northern West Bank. The attack sparked clashes between the settlers and local residents, which ended upon the arrival of Israeli forces. Around 20,000 Jewish settlers live near Nablus in 39 Zionist-only settlements. Palestinian residents complain of repeated attacks by settlers, who usually enjoy the protection of the Israeli forces (Al-Akhbar, Oct. 22) At Deir al-Hatab, near Nablus, the olive harvest has been spoiled by constant incrusions from settlers at Elon Moreh. The Palestinian farmers are allowed access to their lands only in coordinaiton with military expoort—just a few days per year. They were barred from their lands entirely between 2002 and 2007. (Haaretz, Oct. 26)
Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli police at East Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound Oct. 9, leaving three officers lightly injured, according to police. Israeli authorities said the clashes erupted after several dozen masked Palestinians began throwing stones, fire crackers and other pyrotechnical devices at police when al-Aqsa mosque opened for prayers. Police chased the demonstrators towards the mosque, where they barricaded themselves inside and continued hurling objects toward the police, authorities said. Palestinian sources said the clash erupted after dozens of Israelis tried to invade the mosque while marking the Sukkot feast. They said soldiers threw tear-gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated bullets at the Palestinians in the complex and even into the interior of the mosque. (IMEMC, Al Jazeera, Oct. 8)
The Israeli military's Civil Administration on the West Bank has filed plans for establishing a new settlement in the Jordan Valley, where thousands of Bedouins will be forced to relocate. The Civil Administration is advancing several such plans. The current plan was drawn up without consulting the residents themselves, and is part of the Civil Administration's attempt to concentrate the Bedouins living in the West Bank's Area C in "permanent sites," with a view to annexing most of this area to Israel and leaving it free for settlement expansion. The new settlement for the relocated Bedouin, to be named Ramat Nu'eimeh, will be built in Area C near Jericho, in the Jordan Valley, and is slated to house about 12,500 people from Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley and the Ma'ale Adumim area.
Thousands of mourners attended the funeral for two Palestinian men killed by Israeli forces overnight during an "ambush" in the Hebron area. The funeral for Amer Abu Aisha and Marwan al-Qawasmeh, suspects in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June, set off from the al-Hussein Bin Ali mosque in central Hebron. Abu Aisha's mother took part in carrying her son's coffin, as her husband and other sons are currently being held in Israeli detention centers. The governor of Hebron said Israel "executed" the men and at no point attempted to detain them. The two were killed following a gunfight after Israeli forces surrounded a property they were hiding in. The bodies were given to the Palestinian Red Crescent and the Palestinian Military Liaison. Clashes broke out before the funeral, with 20 Palestinians injured by live fire and rubber-coated bullets. One man was shot in the head and medics say he is in a critical condition.
The director of the Euro-Mid Observer For Human Rights said Sept. 16 that eight Palestinian migrants from Gaza survived a devastating shipwreck near Malta, with dozens feared dead. "We have search teams in Malta, Italy, and Greece trying to get information on those Palestinians," Rami Abdo told Ma'an News Agency. According to survivors of the Sept. 14 shipwreck, the Syrian, Palestinian, Egyptian, and Sudanese migrants set out from Damietta in Egypt on Sept. 6, and were forced to change boats several times during the crossing towards Europe. The traffickers, who were on a separate boat, then ordered them onto a smaller vessel, which many of the migrants feared was too small to hold them. When they refused to cross over to the new boat, the furious traffickers rammed their boat until it capsized, the survivors told the maritime organization.
We've stated repeatedly: Ritual squawking that "anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism" is just that—an empty ritual bereft of meaning—if we don't call out real anti-Semitism. Beyond that, the failure to call out real anti-Semitism only plays into the Israeli propaganda ploy that seeks to tar all anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism. A frustrating case in point is provided by Ben-Dror Yemini, who writes an opinion piece today on the Israeli news site YNet entitled flatly "Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism." Certainly providing examples of anti-Zionists who are anti-Semitic does not in itself prove the thesis. But one of the examples he provides really is pretty damn disturbing. Yemini writes: