Labor Party Votes for New Leader; Internal Palestinian Power Struggle Goes to Egypt

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

PODCAST - Occupied Thoughts: Israel, Palestine & Peace,

Peter Beinart and Danny Seidemann host the first episode of FMEP’s new podcast with an in-depth discussion of Jerusalem, President Trump’s peace initiative, and the meaning of “zionism.”

Israeli Politics

Labor Party chooses new leader in Monday runoff vote,

Amir Peretz and Avi Gabbay, the two candidates in the runoff for chairman of the Labor Party, faced off in a heated televised debate on Saturday two days ahead of the election.

Israeli Minister Compromises on Bill Aimed at Preventing Division of Jerusalem,

The bill now stipulates that conceding sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem will require a special majority of 80 Knesset members (out of 120), as it had previously proposed – but adds that a simple majority of 61 votes will be able to annul this clause.

There's Nothing Anti-Semitic About the UNESCO Vote,

As opposed to what Israel is attempting to portray, UNESCO does not comment on the religious aspects of heritage sites, or to whom they are or are not considered holy. This is not the Israeli Rabbinate. UNESCO deals with two questions: whether a site is worth being included in the list of World Heritage Site, and which national entity it falls under.

Israel to Complete East Jerusalem Center after Controversial UNESCO Vote,

Israel plans to complete construction of the Kedem Center for tourists in east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood just outside the Old City’s Dung Gate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. Ir Amim, which has opposed the project, said it would destroy the fabric of the Silwan community and undermine any efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city.

U.S.-Israel/Palestinian Relations

Trump’s peace envoy Greenblatt heading back to Israel,

“While the primary purpose of his trip is to meet with the ambassador [David Friedman] now that the ambassador is on the ground and fully installed in his position, Greenblatt will also likely be taking meetings relevant to both the Israelis and the Palestinians,” a senior White House official told The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu Maneuvers to Please Trump & Settlers,

Tracking Netanyahu’s attitude toward construction in the settlements ever since he was elected in 2009 is a fascinating exercise. It reveals that he adopts the same tactic time and again, maneuvering between the Israeli hard right and the US administration.

Israel should stop trying to wall out its critics,

It is not entirely clear whether the government intends to keep out only leaders of the BDS movement or whether the law could be applied equally to, say, a college student who has posted a pro-boycott message on Facebook. According to the newspaper Haaretz, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan wants to set up a database of Israeli citizens who promote or support BDS; the government already has created an “intelligence unit” to gather information on BDS activists from abroad, the newspaper reported.

Occupation/Human Rights

How Israel’s 10-Year Blockade Brought Gaza to the Brink of Collapse,

Tareq Baconi of Al-Shabaka writes, “Ten years ago this past June, Israel imposed a stringent land, sea, and air blockade on Gaza. With the ready help of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s regime in Egypt, they have restricted most movement to and from the strip and pushed the tiny territory to the brink of collapse. Today some 80 percent of Gaza’s population relies on humanitarian aid to survive. Conditions have become so extreme that the United Nations has stated that by 2020 the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable.”

West Bank gets Israeli power boost as Gaza endures energy crisis,

State-owned Israel Electric Corp [ISECO.UL] and the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement on Monday to boost Israeli electrical supply to the occupied West Bank, even as Gaza endures daily blackouts in a Palestinian political dispute. Under the deal, a new electrical substation was inaugurated near the West Bank city of Jenin.

Palestinian Politics

Egyptian, Palestinian leaders meet amid likely Gaza shakeup,

Egyptian and Palestinian leaders have met amid signs of a rapprochement between Cairo and the Islamic militant Hamas group that could shake up Gaza’s political landscape and sideline the Palestinian president.

Israel, Hamas in Intensive Talks Over Prisoner Swap, Palestinian Sources Say,

Hamas and Israel are currently in the midst of intensive talks over a prisoner exchange, Palestinian sources have told Haaretz. According to the sources, the talks are being mediated by Egyptian intelligence officials and former senior Fatah figure Mohammed Dahlan.