231 Palestinians were killed this year. These are their stories.

2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in decades. We kept a record of all those who were killed by Israeli state and settler violence.


Some of the Palestinian martyrs from 2022. (Illustration: Yumna Patel/Mondoweiss)

2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in decades. In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem specifically, this year marked the highest number of killings of Palestinians in the territories since the UN began recording fatalities in 2005. 

The killings began almost instantaneously, with the first two Palestinians killed within the first week of January — one by an Israeli soldier, and one by an Israeli settler. From then on, the killings did not stop. 

Since the start of the year, Mondoweiss has kept a record of all the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers. As part of our documentation efforts, we have cross referenced the numbers and names of those killed with reports from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, local and international news agencies, and independent journalists.  

At the time of publication, the total number of Palestinians killed in 2022 stood at 231. This number also includes 53 killed in Gaza, 49 of whom were killed during Operation Breaking Dawn in August, and five Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who were killed inside the territory of the Israeli state. 

The vast majority of the deaths this year, however, came from the occupied West Bank, with 173 Palestinians killed. For the purpose of this report, we will focus on those who were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or those who were residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem but were killed in other parts of occupied Palestine. 

This list does not only include Palestinians who were shot dead by Israeli soldiers, or run over by Israeli settlers. It also includes Palestinian political prisoners who died inside Israeli prisons as a result of “direct medical negligence,” or those who died while resisting Israeli apartheid and colonialism, and are thus considered “martyrs” — those who died for the cause — by the Palestinian public.

Among the 173 killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were 39 children aged 17 and under, making them close to 27% of the total deaths in the territory. 

According to our documentation, the least amount of Palestinians killed in a month this year was six, and the highest number was recorded in October, when 30 Palestinians were killed — almost one person every day on average.

Within the West Bank, the highest number of casualties occurred in two specific regions: Nablus and Jenin, representing 19% and 34% of the total casualties, respectively. The particularly high number of deaths in the two regions of the northern West Bank can be attributed to the resurgence of armed resistance witnessed in both areas, which the Israeli military focused its efforts on quashing this year. 

In late 2021, the Israeli army amended its already loose open-fire regulations in the occupied West Bank, officially allowing troops to shoot at Palestinians who had thrown rocks or Molotov cocktails at civilian vehicles, even if the Palestinian no longer presented an immediate threat. 

The military spokesperson has maintained that the amended regulations only apply when rocks or fire bombs are thrown towards civilian vehicles, not when such objects are thrown towards forces during military raids, and that soldiers are to follow a protocol in which the use of deadly force is a last resort. The nature of the killings this year, however, tell a different story. 

According to documentation collected by Mondoweiss, the vast majority of those killed were shot by Israeli police, border police, and the military during confrontations with Israeli forces. While there was a significant rise in armed confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli armed forces this year, many of those killed were shot while unarmed, or while throwing stones or Molotov cocktails towards Israeli army vehicles and armed soldiers. In many cases, rights groups deemed that those killed did not pose an explicit threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers when they were killed.  

These are the names and faces of every Palestinian who, according to our records, was killed or died as a result of Israeli military, settler, and colonial violence in 2022. 

Occupied West Bank & East Jerusalem

Total deaths: 173

1. Bakeer Hashash, 21

Date: January 6
Location: Balata Refugee Camp, Nablus, occupied West Bank
Cause of death: shot with live ammunition

Bakeer Hashash was shot in the head during an Israeli military night raid into Balata Refugee Camp in southern Nablus, where he lived. The military was conducting an arrest raid, and was met with resistance from armed groups in the camp. Hashash was reportedly confronting the soldiers when he was shot; it remained unconfirmed if he was armed. Hashash was the first Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in 2022. 

Editors’ Notes:

In several cases of the Palestinians who were killed, conflicting reports existed on people’s surnames and ages. Unless information was explicitly confirmed to Mondoweiss, we deferred to records provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The photos included in this report were sourced from Mondoweiss reports, local Palestinian media outlets, social media networks, and other resources, including the Israel-Palestine Timeline.
Laila Warah contributed to the research and fact-checking for this report from the occupied West Bank.
Mariam Barghouti, Faris Giacaman, and Tareq Hajjaj also contributed to this report from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Yumna Patel is the Palestine News Director for Mondoweiss.

January 3rd CODEPINK Capitol Calling Party


You are invited to join our Tuesday CODEPINK CONGRESS Calling Party to talk with special guests about what’s happening in Palestine and efforts to end US complicity in Israeli crimes.

Chat with peacemakers and experts Tuesday, January 3rd at 5 pm PT/7 pm CT/8 pm ET:



Israeli settler violence against Palestinians escalated in 2022 with West Bank settlers on the rampage, defiling mosques, vandalizing shops and assaulting Palestinians in Hebron and other Palestinian cities. Instead of stopping the settlers, the Israeli military turned on Palestinians, adding to the year’s death toll: 150 Palestinians killed, 33 of them children. Meanwhile, the most racist Israeli government returns to power with former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu – under criminal indictment – set to serve his sixth term. This new ultra-nationalist government stands in explicit – no longer implicit – opposition to a Palestinian state and threatens to strip the courts of their power.

US Secretary of State Blinken insists the US commitment to apartheid Israel is ironclad, despite whispers last month that the Biden administration might refuse to meet with some of the most reactionary members of the new Israeli government. 

Join us as we detail the situation on the ground in Palestine and examine US congressional and grassroots efforts to end US complicity in Israeli crimes. 


Mazin Qumsiyeh is an activist, environmentalist and author. He is founder and director of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) at Bethlehem University. He served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke University and the Yale University, and now researches and teaches at Bethlehem university. He is the author of hundreds of articles and several books including Sharing the Land of Canaan and Popular Resistance in Palestine.

Anat Biletzki is a professor of philosophy at Quinnipiac and past professor at Tel Aviv University. She is a steering committee member of FISP – The International Federation of Philosophical Societies. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, and is co-founder and co-director of the Program for Human Rights and Technology at MIT. Born in Jerusalem, she was Chair of the Board of B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights NGO, from 2001 to 2006, having served as a B’Tselem Board member for several years before. Her most recent book is Philosophy of Human Rights: A Systematic Introduction (2019).

Take Action!

End-of-Year Appeal: Help with Rafah Family Home

Dear Friends of MRSCP,

We hope you will consider contributing to our year-end fundraising drive to renovate and repair a family home located in the Tal al Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, where we previously installed a playground.  This house is one of 20 that the U.S. organization Rebuilding Alliance has selected for their new Gaza Family Guided Home Construction Project which involves each family as well as local agencies and contractors in design and construction of their particular space.

We are also asking you to support a housing solution here in Madison: Occupy Madison’s Tiny Houses project.

Help Provide Shelter in Gaza

As you are probably aware, the housing crisis is just one of many afflicting the over 2 million men, women and children trapped in Gaza. The fifteen year-long Israeli-US-Egyptian blockade has made it virtually impossible to keep up with the demand for proper shelter created by population growth, or to recover from the devastation of either massive demolitions along the borders or Israel’s periodic devastating military bombardments.

Rebuilding Alliance has launched this pilot program to implement low-cost housing solutions for 20 families which will (1) improve access to water & sanitation facilities; (2) decrease overcrowding and allow more privacy by adding upstairs rooms; and (3) upgrade heating and ventilation.

The home that MRSCP hopes to renovate is occupied by two parents and three children. The father has become disabled and the mother works to try to keep the family afloat.  Their small apartment is desperately in need of roof repairs, interior renovations especially to the main living area and bath, and the addition of another room–especially now that the cold and rains of winter have arrived.

The project will be completed in three stages. As of this writing, we have raised $960 of the $3080 needed for Phase 1. The total cost of all three phases is $10,064.
Contributions to the Rafah home project can be made online via Global Giving.
If you prefer, send a check payable to MRSCP marked “Rafah House” to MRSCP, P.O. Box 5214, Madison, WI 53705.

Help Provide Shelter Here in Madison

Once again, we also ask your support for a local project that is related to our campaign in Rafah. Please consider donating to Occupy Madison’s Tiny Houses, addressing the housing crisis right here at home.

Occupy Madison has built two tiny house villages that house 30 formerly homeless individuals and is in the process of buying a third property. Self-governed by the people who live there, the goal is to become self-sustaining by selling goods made in a wood shop, home-grown flowers and plants, crafts and jewelry and soon, a coffee cart!  There is a very long waiting list for these houses. 

Your donation will help support the current villages and build new houses for another village.

You can donate online to Tiny Houses here. (Please include a note in the comment box that the donation is for the Tiny Houses.) 
You can also send a check made out to Occupy Madison marked “Tiny Houses” to Occupy Madison, 304 N. Third Street, Madison 53704.

We hope you are able to help support these two projects. And as always, we thank you for your support!


Rowan Attala, Tsela Barr, Cassandra Dixon, Samir El-Omari, Ashley Hudson, Barb Olson, Donna Wallbaum and Kathy Walsh for MRSCP 


The Zionist Cossacks Have Been Released on the Palestinians

What are we – anti-colonial Israelis, Jews of conscience and international supporters of Palestinian rights – going to do about it?

Jeff Halper, ICAHD, 16 December 2022

Benjamin Netanyahu, due to return as Israel’s prime minister within the next few days, has one overriding concern: evading conviction and possible imprisonment in the three corruption cases for which he is currently being tried. After last month’s election in which the fascist settler party Religious Zionism won 15 seats – absolutely critical if Netanyahu is to set up a coalition government – he entered into a Devil’s Deal that has shaken even members of his own Likud party. In return for helping to pass legislation to “reform” the judicial system, including legislation that would annul Netanyahu’s trial and invalidate the ability of the Supreme Court to override the overtly illegal reforms Netanyahu needs, he has agreed to give virtually unchecked power to the settlers to complete their eviction of the Palestinians from Area C, the 62% of the West Bank controlled by Israel in which the settlements are located, and to employ the army, police, militias and the prison service to violently repress any Palestinian resistance.

To save his own skin, Netanyahu has done exactly what Russian Czar Alexander III did in the 1880s. Just as the Czar handed over his country’s Jewish population to the murderous and antisemitic Cossacks, which initiated 20 years of pogroms that killed thousands and drove millions of Jews westward, so too has Netanyahu done so by handing over the fate of the Palestinians to murderous settlers dedicated to driving them out of the Land of Israel, taking their lands – and not hesitating for a second to kill as many as necessary in the process.

Not that the settlers have a monopoly over murderous ethnic cleansing. Benny Ganz, the “moderate” outgoing Defense Minister, opened his electoral campaign bragging of many thousands of “terrorists” he killed in Gaza. When he became Ganz’s Chief of Staff, Aviv Kokhavi promised a more “lethal” IDF – and delivered. Besides repeated assaults on Gaza, 2022 saw over 150 Palestinians killed, including 33 innocent children, the highest in many years.

In preparing for his incoming government, Netanyahu has dismantled the Ministry of Defense in order to pass control of the Palestinians to the Religious Zionist Party This party is headed by Bezalel Smotrich, a known racist, who founded Regavim, a pro-settler organization that lobbies the government to demolish Palestinian homes (registered as a charity in New York state). He will now be in charge of the Civil Administration, the actual government of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). It will have several key functions including the demolition of Palestinian homes that have not been granted building permits by the Israeli authorities. So far, some 60,000 homes, schools, mosques, businesses and farm structures have been demolished in the OPT since 1967 and now no obstacles will exist to ethnically clearing Area C, confining three million Palestinians of the West Bank to tiny bantustans, until they are expelled (or “induced” to leave).

Itamar Ben Gvir, leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, has been appointed “Minister of National Security” in Netanyahu’s new government. He is a fascist Kahanist living in Hebron whose hero is Barukh Goldstein, his neighbor who murdered 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. That means Ben Gvir will have augmented authority over the Israeli police – the only force that until now gave (minimal) protection to Palestinians – plus control over the Border Police, a combined army/police militia which will now be his private army in the OPT.

The most immediate response to the pogroms to which the Palestinians are now facing must be a demand for the UN to urgently deploy a Protection Force in the OPT, something that the Palestinian Authority has formally called for. Israel opposes that, of course, wanting a free hand to Judaize the West Bank. And, indeed, every time a resolution to establish such a force has been brought before the Security Council, the US has vetoed it.

This is the time, in my view, that every Palestinian support group in the world should set aside the important campaigns they are pursuing in order to focus on this most urgent need: establishing a UN Protection Force for a Palestinian population whose very existence is in immediate peril.

Longer range, we must get political, focusing our efforts on dismantling Israeli apartheid so that we can move on to a new post-colonial reality.

Whatever, Zionism’s final push to cleanse Palestine of its Arab population and transform it from an Arab to a Jewish country is being launched. What are we – anti-colonial Israelis, Jews of conscience and international supporters of Palestinian rights – going to do about it?


ACT NOW: Prevent water cistern demolition in Sfai, South Hebron Hills


December 24, 2022

In this time of Hanukkah, while Jews celebrate the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days, the Palestinian village of Sfai in the desert of Masafer Yatta is about to have its water cisterns demolished. There could not be a more cruel irony. No water means no life.

We are supporting our friends at Rebuilding Alliance in their campaign to ask Congress to intervene in the demolition. On December 26th (the 8th day of Hanukkah), Israel’s Army is scheduled to respond in court to the appeal filed by the village of Sfai seeking to protect their water storage system. That means the judge can rule as early as the 27th — when Congress is out of session. The attorney believes that political intervention is needed now more than ever.

It’s easy to act. We are asking you to do three things today:

  • Send a form Email to your Representatives and Senators with one easy click HERE.
  • Call your Representative HERE.
  • Call your Senators HERE.

Your phone call to a congressional office is very influential, even if you just leave a voicemail. Here is the script for your call:

My name is ________ and I live at _______. As your constituent, I need your help tostop the demolition of water storage cisterns in the Palestinian village of Sfai and prevent the escalating demolition of humanitarian infrastructure in Masafer Yatta. This is urgent: please call the Israeli Embassy State Department today or tomorrow at the latest.

  • In June of last year 2021, the village of Sfai’s water mains were demolished by the Israeli Army, leaving only the water cisterns to sustain the community.
  • Now, the water cisterns are at risk of being demolished.

Please have your staff call the Israeli Embassy and the U.S. State Department on my behalf as a constituent. Fast track Congressional intervention has prevented the demolition of Palestinian villages and schools.


South Hebron Hills Watch is a group of Israeli American volunteers who forged a strong connection with Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills and Jewish activists who are providing witness and physical support to these communities. We are not affiliated with any political party or organization but partner with like-minded people and organizations that support nonviolent activity on the ground and amplify the plight of these Palestinian families in the face of a broader effort to remove them from their lands. Please follow us on Facebook , Instagram, and Twitter. Subscribe to our mailing list.


“International pressure is crucial to ending Israel’s rule over Palestinians”

A portrait of Benjamin Netanyahu with streaks of blue and white paint in the background.
Credit…Illustration by Rebecca Chew/The New York Times; photograph by Dan Balilty for The New York Times

Re “The Ideal of Democracy in Israel Is in Jeopardy” (editorial, Dec. 18):

As the editor of a progressive Jewish magazine that closely covers Israel and Palestine, I was deeply dismayed by the editorial.

Though the editorial is critical of the Biden administration for failing to push back more strongly against Israeli extremism, it doesn’t urge any specific actions. Mr. Biden has many forms of leverage at his fingertips: He could place human rights conditions on the $3.8 billion in military aid that the U.S. sends Israel annually, or halt the sale of U.S. weapons that are used against Palestinian civilians, or end our country’s decades-old policy of shielding Israel from accountability at the U.N. The editorial presses for none of these.

Instead, it echoes the president in emphasizing the inviolability of the U.S.–Israel alliance — a bromide that assures Israel that its blank check is guaranteed.

Israel is indeed on a dangerous path, but the contention that its “democracy” is “in jeopardy” as a result of this election obscures the state’s undemocratic 55-year military occupation of the Palestinian territories, which denies Palestinians their basic human rights.

This new extremist coalition has substantial domestic support, which means that international pressure, especially by the U.S., is crucial to ending Israel’s rule over Palestinians. The Times has meanwhile offered a master class in how to offer nothing but hand-wringing.

Arielle Angel
The writer is editor in chief of Jewish Currents.

To the Editor:

Perhaps your editorial headline should have read “The Era of Gaslighting in Israel Is Over.” A nation that has deprived an indigenous population of the right to vote for the past half-century is not a democracy.

Department of Education to investigate Berkeley Law School

Complaint from Israeli lawfare group prompts investigation over student group challenging Zionism


Palestine has won the World Cup

Palestine has won people’s hearts and captivated the world’s attention — and its team isn’t even playing.



As the World Cup enters its final 10 days, and the remaining eight teams gear up for the quarter final rounds, many can only guess at who might take home the whole thing. 

What can be said for certain, however, is there’s one nation that has won people’s hearts, and captivated the world’s attention like no other — and their team isn’t even playing.

Since the World Cup began last month Palestine has taken center stage in Qatar, both on and off the field. Symbols emblematic of Palestine, like the flag and Keffiyeh, have been present in the stadiums at nearly every match, in the crowds on the streets, on international TV broadcasts, and in fan parks. 

The national team of Morocco even used their moment of glory following their victory over Spain in the round of 16 to hoist up the Palestinian flag alongside their own. 

For Palestinians, the displays of solidarity have been nothing short of momentous. 

“It’s just been very exciting to experience,” George Zeidan, a Palestinian from the town of Beit Jala who has been in Qatar for the World Cup, told Mondoweiss

“The Palestine solidarity I’ve experienced here in Qatar has been amazing. It’s a great thing, to not just see people showing solidarity when they see a video of horrible crimes by the Israeli army, but to see people raise the Palestinian flags in their happy moments as well,” Zeidan said.

Moroccan fans sing a song popular at football matches, expressing solidarity with Palestine. 

Following the killing of five Palestinains in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces on November 29, hundreds of fans in the Al-Bayt stadium could be heard chanting “With our souls and blood, we will redeem you, O Palestine!” during the Qatar vs. Netherlands match. The popular revolutionary chant is featured commonly in Palestinian protests and funerals of martyrs. 

“You’re talking about thousands of people chanting. It was an incredible feeling to see all those people chanting from their hearts for Palestine,” Jalal Abu Akhter, who was watching the match live on TV when he heard the chants, told Mondoweiss from his home in Ramallah, wearing his Palestine national team jersey. 

In the next day’s match between Tunisia and France, a Tunisian fan invaded the pitch, doing cartwheels as he held a Palestinian flag, while the crowd chanted “Palestine! Palestine!” A few days prior, during Tunisia’s match with Australia, fans unveiled a massive “Free Palestine” banner in the crowd. 

“This is the first time we see Palestine take center stage in such a global tournament. It’s actually a great feeling. We feel visible, we feel seen,” Abu Akhter said. 

Despite the Palestinian national team ranking quite low in FIFA’s world ranking, the World Cup is somewhat of a religious experience in Palestine. 

Every four years, restaurants and cafes in towns and cities across the country pull out an array of flags (Brazil, Spain, Argentina, France and Italy tend to be the most common)  and hang them on their storefronts, attracting crowds of viewers nearly every night for the duration of the month-long tournament. 

Palestinians say that this year, however, they can feel something different in the air. 

“This World Cup is different than any World Cup before it,” Ghanem al-Jael told Mondoweiss over the sounds of sports commentators and excited crowds of fans gathered around an old television screen on a street corner in Gaza City’s al-Rimal neighborhood. 

“The most joyful thing is that we see Palestine strongly represented, even though our national team isn’t part of the competition. But we see that all the fans, whether Arab or foreigners, are supporting Palestine,” he said.

Al-Jael added that the displays of solidarity have given Palestinians in Gaza like himself hope. “To see that people are aware of our just cause, and they are fearless in their support, like raising the flag and calling for a free Palestine, and rejecting the occupier,” he said. “All these things give us hope and lift our spirits.”

Rana al-Lahham, a resident of the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, hasn’t missed a single match in this year’s World Cup, and it’s not just because she’s a “die-hard” football fan as described by her friends. 

“I expected to see the Palestinian flag present at the World Cup, just because it’s being held in Qatar, an Arab country. But I didn’t expect to see this level of solidarity,” she told Mondoweiss.

“Seeing people from all over the world, not just Arab fans, raising the Palestinian flag, wearing Palestine armbands and bracelets, and singing Palestinian songs, it has been amazing to see,” she said. “It gives me a small dose of hope, and of course makes me want to take part in the World Cup festivities even more.”

For Palestinian fans, perhaps one of the most satisfactory things about this year’s World Cup, aside from the flags, banners, and encouraging chants of solidarity, have been the dozens of instances of fans from around the world refusing to speak to Israeli reporters, or interrupting live broadcasts from Israeli TV channels in Qatar, all of which have been documented and shared hundreds fo thousands of times on social media.

“It was a wake up call to the Israelis that whatever delusions they believed they had succeeded in making through the Abraham Accords, in fact they are still not welcome in the Arab world,” Abu Akhter said. 

“The people do not forget occupation. The people do not forget apartheid.”

Despite the normalization deals signed with Israel by Arab countries like Morocco and the UAE in recent years, George Zeidan said that during this World Cup, the people have made their position clear. 

“Israelis would like to think there is ‘peace’ because they’ve signed some peace treaties with Arab countries. But we’ve seen overwhelming support [for Palestine] from the people,” he said, adding that the support for Palestine was everywhere during celebrations following Morocco’s victory over Spain. 

Someone asks a Moroccan fan why he is wearing a Palestinian Kuffiyeh armband. The Moroccan fan responds: “Do you ask the Moroccan about Palestine? If you asked me about my heart, it would say ‘Palestine’.”

“It’s important for Israelis to understand their peace treaties are with non-democratic countries that don’t represent the will of the people,” Zeidan said. “The only way for them to reach a just peace with the Arab people is through the Palestinians, and that message has never been clearer than it is right now. “

For Rana al-Lahham, this World Cup has sent the very important message that “no matter what, the Arab world and Palestinians remain brothers and support each other, and that the Palestinian cause is in the heart of every Arab, no matter what their governments say.”

Yumna Patel
Yumna Patel is the Palestine News Director for Mondoweiss.


Salah Hamouri

Salah Hamouri photographed by Alain Bachellier

Jonathan Kuttab, Friends of Sabeel North America, December 9, 2022

Salah Hamouri is a Palestinian human rights lawyer, from Jerusalem, who has just been informed he will be deported to France in 3 days. He has appealed this decision, but the hope that Israeli court would provide him with justice is minimal. Salah is a lawyer with Addameer, a Palestinian human rights organization concerned with prisoners’ rights. He is currently in prison under administrative detention. Like more than 800 other Palestinians, he is kept in jail, on the basis of “secret evidence” without any charges or trial.  Just because some Israeli official considers it necessary “for public safety and security” that he be kept in jail, for 6 months’ (renewable indefinitely). Salah has been in administrative detention now for about 9 months, and he is convinced it is because of his human rights advocacy. The fact that the organization he worked with, Addameer, is one of the six civil society organizations Israel declared to be a terrorist organization is undoubtedly part of the “secret evidence” used to justify his detention, and threatened deportation before Israeli courts and tribunals.

Salah’s case is noteworthy, however, for additional reasons: First is that he has been stripped of his Jerusalem residency because of “secret evidence” (again), showing that he has failed in his “duty of loyalty” to the state of Israel which has occupied and annexed East Jerusalem, where he resides.  This bizarre charge would have been hilariously ridiculous if it were not so serious.  What “duty of loyalty” is owed by Palestinians to their occupiers? For Israel, This goes beyond the need to punish resistance to the occupation, by requiring the occupied people to have a “duty of loyalty” under threat of losing their residency, and facing deportation!

What makes this case particularly ominous is the new Israeli government with its far-right agenda and the open racism and hostility of some of its components, who are being given key positions of authority over the lives of Palestinians both in Israel, Jerusalem, and the rest of the occupied territories.  It is no secret that these newly empowered racists have made it clear that their ideology and agenda views Palestinian Arabs as a threat to the Jewishness of the state who need to be forcibly deported and removed from the state altogether. Like their mentor and hero Meir Kahana, they hold this view for Israeli Arab citizens in Israel and not just for West Bankers.  Now they are in a position of power to implement their program.

Under Israel’s system, such radical violations of human rights and international law are usually introduced slowly, with legal and judicial acceptance and justification. The courts play their role by presenting what looks like some independent restraining element of review and examination, but then approve the measures; Zionist supporters abroad  try to downplay these activities and seek to justify them as either temporary or needed for security.  They also work hard to shield Israel from any scrutiny or accountability for such blatant actions, which often go against their own professed values.  From torture, to house demolitions, to settlement activities, to administrative detention, to annexation of territory, deportations and extra-judicial killings, the pattern is always the same: Each of these activities were undertaken gradually, with trial balloons to test public reaction, and with judicial complicity and justification, all the while resisting any accountability or sanctions, and leading to a feeling of impunity.  Every effort is made to avoid any external pressure, or involvement by any international body or court.

Eventually, the effort to justify the actions is abandoned, and is replaced by strenuous attempts to prevent any sanctions or accountability, branding such efforts as anti-semitism, or biased and unfair targeting of Israel.

It is therefore important to carefully note what happens with Salah Hamouri. His bizarre case may well be the first step towards mass withdrawal of residency status as well as citizenship,  leading to a forcible deportation of Palestinians. We need to create and demand sufficient international reaction and pushback before this too  becomes a regrettable but acceptable norm of how Israel behaves towards the Arabs under its control.

How the Israeli government will turn its Jewish critics into dissidents

The transformation of Israeli leftists into dissidents is a reminder that no one is safe from the attempts to turn the ‘wrong kind’ of Jews into enemies.

Edo Konrad, +972 Magazine, December 16, 2022

Israeli activists hold a protest in Tel Aviv against Israeli military rule over Palestinians in the West Bank, September 23, 2021. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Israeli activists hold a protest in Tel Aviv against Israeli military rule over Palestinians in the West Bank, September 23, 2021. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Most left-wing Israeli Jews do not generally think of themselves as political dissidents, and have likely never aspired to such a status. Despite the lavish praise they receive for their bravery, Israeli-Jewish leftists have the ability to speak out without suffering the consequences faced by Palestinians, not to mention activists in other undemocratic states. Leftist Jews have very often been afforded the privilege of being opponents of the right, rather than its enemies.

But all that seems like it may change, and far quicker than even the biggest pessimists in my camp anticipated. In just the last month, since Itamar Ben Gvir was appointed as presumptive national security minister, Bezalel Smotrich given the power to lord over the day-to-day lives of millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and Avi Maoz granted the power to implement his homophobic agenda in school curriculums, the shifts have been palpable for Jewish critics of the state and its occupation. The government has not yet been formed, but it is clear to everybody which way the wind is blowing.

Israeli police have since summoned Israel Frey, a left-wing Haredi journalist, for interrogation over a tweet praising a Palestinian who sought security forces, rather than civilians, for a planned attack (Frey has thus far refused to appear before the police). Israeli soldiers attacked and threatened leftists, some of them journalists, during a tour in occupied Hebron (a routine event for Palestinians in the city). Right-wing activists managed to pressure the Pardes Hanna-Karkur Local Council to cancel a screening of my colleague Noam Sheizaf’s new film on the occupation due to his politics. And on Thursday, during a hearing by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Likud MK Hanoch Milwidsky interrupted Breaking the Silence Executive Director Avner Gvaryahu to call him a “traitor” and an “informant” who should “be imprisoned.”

The path to this moment was paved long ago. While loud and unabashed, there have been relatively few Jewish left-wing dissidents in Israeli history who have challenged the Israeli regime — from conscientious objectors, to nuclear whistleblowers, to groups such as the Israeli Black Panthers and the smattering of other independent left-wing groups — while most have focused on reforming specific policies. Meanwhile, Israel has an increasingly right-wing public that has become accustomed to managing an endless military dictatorship over the West Bank and a lethal siege on Gaza, and has little patience for anyone who criticizes it, or even speaks about it openly. The political right, from former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett — the hero of the “government of change” — to Smotrich and Ben Gvir, believe in forcing Palestinians to kneel before Israel (lest we forget that Bennett’s government dissolved over his coalition’s failure to re-authorize separate West Bank legal systems for Palestinians and Israeli Jews).

(From right) Members of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben Gvir, Dudi Amsalem, and Ofir Sofer seen during a vote for the new Knesset speaker, Jerusalem, December 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(From right) Members of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben Gvir, Dudi Amsalem, and Ofir Sofer seen during a vote for the new Knesset speaker, Jerusalem, December 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Meanwhile, much of the Zionist left no longer has anything of value to say about the occupation, and very often closes ranks with its opponents on the right in attacking Palestinians and the radical left. In Jewish-Israeli society, this has left behind a shrinking cadre of left-wing Jewish activists who recognize that dismantling apartheid and colonialism is the only way to move toward a more just future for Palestinians and Israelis.

Into that vacuum left by the Zionist left swept far-right groups with connections to the Israeli government that have made it their duty to seek out those Jewish Israelis who refuse to toe the party line. A little less than a decade ago, these organizations were behind a chillingly concerted bottom-up effort to delegitimize anti-occupation groups such as Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Ta’ayush, and others because they refused to remain silent in the face of Israel’s human rights abuses. What seemed like a novel phenomenon in 2015 is now part of the playbook for every single aspiring right-wing politician. In this sense, the attacks of the last month are not new, but they carry a great deal of weight given the makeup of the new government.

Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed how, time and time again, it is Palestinians who are repeatedly on the front lines of Israel’s repression, most prominently in the story of Dr. Ahmad Mahajna, who is still fighting for his job after he was falsely accused of handing sweets to a 16-year-old Palestinian who carried out a stabbing attack and who was in his care at Hadassah Medical Center. For over a month, Mahajna was ceaselessly attacked by the media and far-right activists for his so-called support for “terrorism,” until enough people came forward to put an end to the witch hunt. If left-wing Israeli Jews are being transformed into dissidents, Palestinians are always one false move from being labeled enemies of the state, simply by their very existence.

Yet this transformation of Israeli leftists into dissidents is a reminder that no one is safe from Ben Gvir, Smotrich, and Maoz’s attempts to suss out the “wrong kind of Jews.” After they come for Palestinians — particularly in Area C of the West Bank, so-called mixed cities, and the Naqab/Negev — they will come for the anti-apartheid activists. After that, it could be anyone who resists the religious coercion of the agents of Jewish theocracy.

Jewish dissidents-to-be need to know the path will be fraught and often dangerous. Some of us will inevitably leave (plenty already have), while others, particularly those without anywhere to go, will either stay and fight alongside Palestinians, asylum seekers, the LGBTQ community, and any other group this government comes after, or step away from activism altogether. Those looking from the outside at what is transpiring on the ground at lightning speed need to know that we are only at the very beginning.

Edo Konrad is the editor-in-chief of +972 Magazine.

Israel has deported Palestinian lawyer to France

Move constitutes a war crime

, 2022-12-18

Ramallah, 18 December 2022

Today, Sunday, 18 December, the Israeli settler-colonial authorities are unlawfully deporting French-Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender Salah Hammouri from his hometown, Jerusalem, to France for “breach of allegiance” to the occupying state. Such a move constitutes a war crime under international humanitarian law of forcible deportation of a civilian from occupied territories. It stands as a horrifying escalation in Israel’s systematic practices of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from illegally annexed and occupied Jerusalem (al-Quds).

Despite decades of harassment, Salah has never surrendered his dignity and his basic demand to remain in his beloved hometown. His tenacity and love for al-Quds represents the unwavering Palestinian connection to the city in the face decades of the most brutal policies against its residents.

In his own words from Hadarim prison, Salah Hammouri emphasized that “Wherever a Palestinian goes, he takes with him these principles and the cause of his people: his homeland carried with him to wherever he ends up.” Despite the heartbreak of exile that Israel is imposing on Salah, it has lost morally, and has only reinforced his attachment to his homeland and strengthened the will and determination of millions of others to remain. 

Salah’s forcible deportation is only the latest stage in Israel’s long standing judicial and administrative harassment of him, his family and his crucial human rights work advocating for Palestinian political prisoners. He has been made a prime target of Israel’s policies of intimidation and silencing of those who challenge its regime of institutionalized racial domination and oppression. This has included repeated arbitrary arrests and detention (often without charge or trial), physical violence, separation from his family (including the deportation of his wife a few years ago), spyware attacks and surveillance, and most recently, the stripping of his permanent residency rights in Jerusalem under “breach of allegiance.”

The decision is yet further evidence of the Apartheid nature of the Israeli regime. Salah has sought remedies at every level of the Israeli political and legal system but has been met only by racist policies that operate with the pretense of the rule of law but that exist in reality to maintain Israeli racial domination over Palestinians. Israel’s emboldened Apartheid regime is increasingly brazen in its racism and is now on the cusp of inaugurating the most fascistic government in its history.

Israel’s expulsion of him is a dangerous precedent for all Palestinians in Jerusalem. Hence, on 16 May 2022, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) submitted communications to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on behalf of Salah Hammouri, which details years of persecution and new tactics to forcibly transfer Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem in the context of the ongoing investigation into the Situation in the State of Palestine.

This expulsion, and Israel’s wider apartheid policies, are possible due to the complicity of states and companies that provide the regime with political, economic and military support despite its ongoing breaches of international law. This is evident in France’s failure to use any of the leverage at its disposal in order to prevent the war crime of forced deportation and ongoing abuse of one of its own citizens. 

Salah will soon be reunited with his wife and children from whom he has been cruelly separated for some time.

Like the millions of other Palestinians now in exile, Salah will struggle for his right to return to his homeland.

For more information: https://justiceforsalah.net/

Salah has arrived in France

Photo Credit: Palestine Online

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Continue to follow and share @JusticeforSalah and @LiberezSalah accounts for updates in English, Arabic and French

2022 was a record year for settler violence. Next year will be even worse.

Palestinians say the worrying trend will only worsen as right-wing extremists make their home in Israel’s new government.


Israeli security forces deploy amid altercations between Jewish settlers on their way to visit the tomb of Othniel ben Kenaz in the area H1 (controlled by Palestinian authorities) and Palestinian residents, in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, on November 19, 2022. (Photo: Mamoun Wazwaz/APA Images)

The violence was indescribable. Something they had never witnessed before. 

That is what the Palestinian residents of Hebron told Mondoweiss days after what they described as a settler “rampage” through their city in mid-November. 

“It was like a sea of settlers, and all of them were filled with hate in their eyes,” Bader al-Tamimi, a local shop owner and municipality worker, told Mondoweiss from the doorway of his souvenir shop in the heart of Hebron’s Old City. 

“There were hundreds, thousands of them, with even more soldiers protecting them, and they just started attacking anything Palestinian – people and shops,”al-Tamimi said. 

Al-Tamimi was describing the events of Saturday, November 19, when tens of thousands of Israeli settlers from around the occupied West Bank gathered in Hebron for the annual march throughout the city in honor of the Torah reading from the Book of Genesis where Abraham purchases a plot of land in Hebron in which to bury his wife, known as ‘Shabbat Chayei Sarah’. 

Israeli security forces deploy amid altercations between Jewish settlers on their way to visit the tomb of Othniel ben Kenaz in the area H1 (controlled by Palestinian authorities) and Palestinian residents, in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, on November 19, 2022. (Photo: Mamoun Wazwaz/APA Images)

The annual march typically draws the most fanatic, right-wing, and religious settlers, who use the event to partake in unbridled attacks against the local Palestinians. 

This year, however, was different. 

“They came out from this gate right here,” al-Tamimi said, pointing to a large steel gate next to an armored military tower covered in Israeli flags. The gate, which sits opposite al-Tamimi’s shop, is one of the entrances to the Israeli-controlled area of the city, where hundreds of extremist Israeli settlers live in the former homes of Palestinians, now Jewish-only settlements. 

Bader al-Tamimi stands outside his shop in the Old City of Hebron, in the occupied West Bank. (Akram al-Waara/Mondoweiss)

“They immediately started throwing things at us and attacking our shops. They tried to break everything and tried to assault us,” al-Tamimi said, referring to himself and his neighboring shopkeeper, who defied Israeli army orders that forced Palestinian shops in the area to shut down for the weekend. 

“When we tried to defend ourselves, the soldiers who were with them started beating us up,” he said, pointing to a bruise on his arm that he said was left after an Israeli soldier hit him with the butt of his rifle. 

“Instead of stopping the settlers, the soldiers attacked us instead and let the settlers continue on their rampage.”

Defiling a mosque, vandalizing shops, assaulting Palestinians

As the hundreds of settlers passed al-Tamimi’s shop, they made their way through the Old City of Hebron, through the clothing and vegetable markets in the heart of the city, before continuing on to the Bab al-Zawiya area of Hebron, which is under control of the Palestinian Authority. 

While most Palestinians in the area had closed their doors for the day along the main road of the market following a military order commanding them to do so, some shopkeepers stayed open. Ahmad al-Awawdeh, 52, the owner of a small clothing shop, was one of them. 

“At around 1 p.m., the settlers arrived in this area and immediately started attacking me,” al-Awawdeh told Mondoweiss. They started throwing the clothes off the shelves and onto the floor and breaking anything they could.”

At the same time, a group of settlers began throwing rocks at the mosque next to al-Awawdeh’s shop, breaking the glass on the front doors, while other settlers vandalized the nearby vegetable stands. 

The remnants of the broken glass doors of the local mosque, which was attacked by Israeli settlers. (Akram al-Waara/Mondoweiss)

“They were trying to get into the mosque, but I and some young men who came to defend my shop went to protect the mosque,” he said. “The attack lasted for more than an hour. The soldiers were there the whole time, but they did nothing to stop the settlers.”

At the same time, al-Awawdeh said, the soldiers attacked the Palestinians in the area who were trying to defend the people and shops that were under attack. 

After the settlers finished vandalizing al-Awawdeh’s shop and the neighboring vegetable stands, they continued their parade through the rest of the city, wreaking havoc on more businesses and homes.

Al-Awawdeh’s neighbor, Bilal Abu Rmeileh, who owns a butcher shop just across the street, told Mondoweiss that while the Palestinians in Hebron, particularly those who live and work in and around the Old City, are “used to” settler and soldier attacks, the aggression they witnessed on Saturday by both the settlers and soldiers was “on a whole other level.”

“They’re trying to do to this area what they did to Shuhada street,” Abu Rmeileh, 50, said, referring to the Old City’s most infamous street, once the bustling center of life in Hebron, now closed off to all Palestinians and reserved only for use by Jewish settlers. 

A gate separating the entrance to al-Shuhada street, now reserved only for Jewish use and passage, from the Palestinian side of the Old City in Hebron. (Akram al-Waara/Mondoweiss)

“It started with the army, then the settlers came and started taking over houses, then the attacks kept increasing, and now there are barely any Palestinians left in the heart of our city,” Abu Rmeileh said. 

As Abu Rmeileh and al-Awawdeh continued to air their grievances, another young man who mans a vegetable stand nearby came over to where the men were standing. 

“People from other parts of the city are scared to come here now, and it’s affecting our business,” Mohammed al-Aymareh, 27, told Mondoweiss. “Most of the time, we can barely break even. This is what they want,” he said, referring to the Israeli military and settlers who have taken over swaths of Hebron. 

“They want to make life impossible here so that eventually we leave, and they take over this area too.”

Record year of settler violence

The violence in Hebron lasted the full weekend, with new attacks and assaults happening every day between Thursday and Sunday. The Palestinians who spoke to Mondoweiss about the attacks compared it to the events in the Nablus-area town of Huwwara a month prior, when gangs of armed settlers attacked Palestinians and their property for four days in a row, in full view of the army. 

The incidents in Hebron and Huwwara are not isolated but part of a larger trend of settler violence in the occupied West Bank that is increasing not only in frequency but in brutality as well. 

As of November 21, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory had recorded 660 settler attacks against Palestinians since the start of the year. 

The attacks consist of everything from throwing rocks at Palestinian vehicles, physically assaulting Palestinians, vandalizing Palestinian vehicles and homes, and destroying Palestinian farmlands and crops. 

The 2022 numbers, which do not yet include attacks over the past three weeks, mark a steep increase compared to the previous years recorded by OCHA. In 2021, the agency recorded 496 instances of settler violence for the entire year. The year before that, 358 incidents were recorded. 

Some groups have reported the number of attacks in 2022 to be significantly higher than what OCHA reported, with French NGO Première Urgence Internationale reporting 1,049 attacks committed by settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank between January and September 2022.

The group noted that their 2022 numbers marked a 170% increase from 2017, with a weekly average of 27 attacks. 

While the number of settler attacks has soared since October, Palestinian rights groups have alerted the international community to the increase in settler violence since April of this year, particularly to the worrying trend of such attacks against Palestinians turning lethal. 

Israeli settlers, whose numbers in the West Bank have reached over 680,000 spanning 300 illegal settlements and outposts, have long been encouraged to carry firearms and have frequently turned those arms against Palestinians, sometimes killing them.  

In 2022 Mondoweiss recorded at least four incidents of Palestinians who were killed or were suspected of having been killed by Israeli settlers. 

Those incidents included two car rammings, one stabbing, and a shooting. The latter case is that of 16-year-old Amjad Abu Alia, who was shot and killed during confrontations in his village of al-Mughayyir, outside of Ramallah, between Israeli settlers, soldiers, and local Palestinian youth. 

According to eyewitness testimony told to Mondoweiss, and corroborated by similar testimonies collected by Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), Abu Alia was shot in the back while running away from Israeli settlers and soldiers who were firing on protesters. 

At the same moment Abu Alia was shot, an Israeli settler around 70 meters (220 feet) away was recorded taking cover behind a stone barrier, kneeling, and shooting live ammunition at Palestinian protesters. 

At the time, the Israeli military took no responsibility for his killing, nor did it release any statements in regard to the allegations that the fatal shot could have potentially come from a settler. 

Abu Alia’s killing came three years after another Palestinian from al-Mughayyir, Hamdi Na’san, was killed by a mob of settlers from the illegal outpost of Adei Ad – the same outpost where the settlers who attacked the village on the day Abu Ali was killed came from. 

“This is something that keeps happening,” local activist Maher Naasan told Mondoweiss the day after Abu Ali was killed. “This is all part of settlers trying to drive us out.”

Settler-state collusion

In a majority of the instances of settler violence documented by Mondoweiss in 2022, Palestinians reported the presence of Israeli forces or authorities at the time of the attack. In most cases, the soldiers either did nothing to prevent the attacks from happening or actively engaged in the attacks with the settlers, turning their weapons on the Palestinian victims rather than on the Israeli aggressors, as was the case in Huwwara, Hebron, and al-Mughayyir.

In late October, in the midst of the annual olive harvest, a time ripe with settler attacks on Palestinian farmers and their crops, Israeli forces were called to the scene after a group of settlers launched an attack on Palestinians harvesting their olives on the outskirts of Jibiya, north of Ramallah. 

As the farmers and their families picked their olives, a group of armed settlers down in the valley on the outskirts of the village harassed the farmers and attempted to prevent them from harvesting their olives. The harassment happened in plain view of the Israeli soldiers.

At the same time, a number of masked settlers broke off from the group and went up to another area in the village, where they threw rocks at the cars of several journalists, activists, and local residents, smashing their windshields and windows. 

A Palestinian inspects the damage done to vehicles from a settler attack in the village of Jibiya, northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (Akram al-Waara/Mondoweiss)

Moments after the attack, Mondowiess spoke to Jihan Abu Zeyada, who was in tears sitting under her olive tree next to her family’s car that had just been smashed. 

“This settler set up this outpost a few years ago. Since then he’s made problems for us, bringing other settlers to the area who attack us and harass us any time we go to our land,” she said, referring to Zvi Bar Yosef, an Israeli settler who set up the illegal outpost called “Zvi’s Farm” in 2019, and has been terrorizing Palestinians in the area ever since. 

“I was scared they were going to shoot us, they were pointing their weapons at my husband and my son. My legs buckled, and I couldn’t stand anymore from the fear,” Jihan said. 

Armed settlers harass Palestinian farmers, preventing them from reaching their lands outside Jibiya, northwest Ramallah. (Akram al-Waara/Mondoweiss)

“The settlers are getting more and more violent every day, and there is no one to protect us,” she continued. “The soldiers do nothing to help us. They are working with the settlers to drive us out.”

Abeer al-Khateeb, an activist with the group Faza’a, who accompany farmers during the olive harvest to protect them from settler and military violence, spoke to Mondoweiss outside a local health clinic in the neighboring town of Birzeit, where one of the group’s volunteers was being treated for an injury sustained during the settler attack in Jibiya. 

Wiping the sweat off her forehead, al-Khateeb spoke matter-of-factly: “things are getting worse, much worse.”

“I have been doing this work for years. Every year the settlers attack during the olive harvest, but this year was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. They are becoming more aggressive, more emboldened. It’s clear that they feel like they can do anything and get away with it,” she said. 

Just a week before the attack in Jibiya, al-Khateeb and other activists from Faza’a accompanied farmers to their olive groves in the Bethlehem-area village of Kisan, where a large group of settlers attacked them, and lynched a 70-year-old Israeli solidarity activist, attacking her with clubs and beating her with rocks, leaving her with broken ribs and a punctured lung. 

“The settlers are able to do what they do because they act with total impunity in the West Bank,” al-Khateeb said. “In most cases when we are attacked in these situations, the soldiers are either present or attacking us with the settlers!” she said indignantly. 

“The settlers and the Israeli occupation state are one and the same. They work together, hand in hand, to kick Palestinians off the land, it’s as simple as that,” she said. “When there is no one to hold the settlers accountable for their crimes, it’s natural that things will continue to get worse.”

Human rights groups have long documented this policy of “settler-state collusion” in the occupied Palestinian territory, where “instead of taking preventive action, the Israeli authorities aid and abet the settlers in harming Palestinians and using their land,” Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said. 

Israeli soldiers arrive to protect a group of settlers who were harassing and attacking Palestinians during the olive harvest in the Ramallah-area village of Jibiya. (Akram al-Waara/Mondoweiss)

In the rare case that an investigation is opened into settler violence against Palestinians, the vast majority of those investigations are closed. Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group that documents incidents of settler violence in the West Bank, reports that 92% of investigations into ideological crimes against Palestinians are closed with no indictment filed.

In more sinister cases, Palestinians who defend themselves in the instance of a settler attack are the ones who are investigated, arrested, and tried in military court, while the settlers who initiated the attack are left to roam free. 

In mid-September of this year, Israeli settlers armed with clubs, bats, and guns attacked a Palestinian man, Hafez Huraini, while he was working on his land in the village of at-Tuwani, in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank. 

Huraini fought back, injuring one of the settlers. The Israeli army was called to the scene, and despite multiple eye-witnesses and video evidence showing the settlers instigated the attack, Huraini, who had both of his hands broken in the attack, was arrested, and detained for interrogation for several days on charges of attempted murder. 

Huraini was later released on bail of close to $3,000 after 10  grueling days of interrogation and multiple court hearings. According to Israeli media, it took the Israeli police over a week to question the Israeli settlers involved in the attack. 

None of the settlers, who were previously questioned on suspicion of participating in other attacks on Palestinians in the area, were formally charged, arrested, or fined for the attack on Huraini. 

From the settlements to the government

Amid the surge of settler attacks in the fall of this year, a group of Israeli right-wing extremists were positioning themselves to take on the existing Israeli government in the fifth parliamentary elections Israel had seen in just four years. 

On November 1, as the polls rolled in, it became clear that the right wing had helped former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soar back to power, and they did so based largely on a platform of Jewish supremacy and anti-Palestinian racism led by lawmakers who had previously been convicted of incitement to racism and supporting a terrorist organization. 

The ultra-nationalist Religious Zionism party, led by Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, emerged as the third largest party in Israel’s new government, granting the two lawmakers, who have a sordid history of being openly fascist and staunchly anti-Palestinian, new levels of power they, and their supporters, had never seen before. 

Ben-Gvir is a follower of the late ultra-nationalist and racist Meir Kahane, whose organization was banned in Israel and designated as a terrorist group by the United States. For years Ben-Gvir proudly displayed a photo of Israeli-American mass murderer Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in 1994. 

Both Ben-Gvir, who lives in an illegal settlement in the heart of Hebron, and Goldstein were supporters of Kahane’s Kach party. Ben-Gvir made headlines in October when he was filmed pulling out a gun in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and advocated for all stone-throwers to be shot. 

A young Ben-Gvir was denied the mandatory draft into the Israeli army due to his extremist political views.

Ben-Gvir’s political partner Bezalel Smotrich, who also grew up and lives in a West Bank settlement, has been open in his racist, anti-Palestinian sentiments, which he put on full display last year when calling for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians on the floor of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. 

“You’re here by mistake, it’s a mistake that Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job and didn’t throw you out in 1948,” Smotrich told Palestinian lawmakers while he was speaking during a parliamentary debate. 

In the past few weeks, incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been inching closer to forming the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, with Ben-Gvir and Smotrich eyeing positions of major influence like Defense Minister and National Security Minister. 

According to a Reuters report on December 13, a bill submitted for preliminary parliamentary review could potentially grant the position of Defense Minister to Smotrich, effectively giving him and the Religious Zionism party full reign over the settlements in the West Bank,  while the position of National Security Minister would grant Ben-Gvir cabinet authority over the Israeli police. 

The bill seeks to amend police regulations to allow Ben-Gvir, in his capacity as National Security Minister, to consolidate control over the police chief and police investigations, which could hold major implications when it comes to the already lamentable rate of police investigations into settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank. 

Ben-Gvir himself has been convicted of incitement against Palestinians and, in the past, has provided legal representation to Jewish extremists accused of committing attacks against Palestinians. 

While center-left Israeli politicians have expressed concern over granting Religious Zionism’s leaders control over such positions in the Israeli government, Netanyahu, who has his own well-documented past of anti-Palestinian racism and pro-settlement policies, has pledged “to govern in the interests of all Israelis.”

Netanyahu made no mention of the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule in the occupied territory, who had no say in the outcome of the Israeli elections. But Palestinians in the West Bank say they don’t need to wait to see the effects of having the likes of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich in power – it’s already being felt. 

“We can feel that the military in Hebron is very right-wing, and pro-Ben-Gvir and his party, and pro-Likud,” Issa Amro, a Palestinian activist in Hebron told Mondoweiss, standing outside the heavily militarized checkpoint separating the H1 and H2 areas of Hebron. 

“Over the past few months, leading up to and after the elections, we could feel that the soldiers and settlers were becoming more aggressive with us and more arbitrary in their decisions to detain us at checkpoints, close roads, prevent us from documenting their violations, etc.” he said. 

Amro has been harassed and assaulted by Ben-Gvir himself in Hebron several times over the years.

“The attacks that we saw over the weekend happened after a rally celebrating the victory of Ben Gvir and his party,” Amro said, referring to the mobs of settlers who attacked the city on the weekend of November 19. “The atmosphere here for the settlers and the soldiers  is one of celebration because the leaders of these parties are settlers from Hebron.”

In the midst of the settler parade and attacks that weekend in November, Amro confronted one of the Israeli soldiers who was present while settlers were harassing Palestinian bystanders and throwing rocks at Palestinian homes in the Old City. 

The soldier’s answer, caught on film by Amro, told him everything he needed to know about what the future held for Palestinians like himself in Hebron and the rest of the West Bank. 

“I asked him ‘Why are you doing this?’ and he responded saying, ‘Shut up. I am the law’,” Amro recounted. 

“Ben-Gvir is going to fix this place up, bring it back to order,” the soldier told Amro. When Amro asked the soldier what he meant, he responded saying, “That’s it, you people are done.”

Yumna Patel
Yumna Patel is the Palestine News Director for Mondoweiss.

Zoom: Playing With Fire — Jerusalem and the Incoming Israeli Government

Zoom 11:30 am Central

Alarming developments in coalition agreements and promised ministerial appointments following the Israeli elections in November have left many of us rightfully worried about the future of Israeli democracy and human rights in the region.

The incoming government, comprised of far-right extremist and Jewish supremacist politicians, is shaping up to give their parties profound power and control over a wide range of politically sensitive and explosive issues in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and within the Green Line.

What does this mean for Jerusalem and the prospects for peace?

Ir Amim (“City of Nations” or “City of Peoples”) invites you to join us for a virtual event exploring the implications of the incoming government on Jerusalem and what it means for civil society organizations active in pursuing justice, equality, and the end of the occupation.

Professor Naomi Chazan – Professor Emerita of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Former Member of the Knesset
Nivine Sandouka – Regional Chief of Staff, Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) & Board Director, human rights NGO Hoqoqna (“Our Rights”)

This zoom event by Ir Imim explores the implications of the incoming Israeli government on a wide range of politically sensitive issues in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and within the Green Line and what it means for civil society organizations active in pursuing justice, equality, and the end of the occupation.