Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 19, 2019

What We’re Reading

FMEP Resource

Settlement Report: August 16, 2019,

Headlines: The changing “status quo” on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif; Netanyahu predicts Trump’s support for annexation; Israeli Housing Ministry is financing settlement activities in the Jordan Valley through a student group; Israel welcomes a free trade agreement with South Korea despite settlements being excluded from the deal; and more.

Background Briefing w/ Ian Masters, ft. Lara Friedman,

[Start at 21:30] “Trump Deflects His Own Racism by Claiming the Democrats Are Anti-Semites”

Occupation & Human Rights

What occupation looks like for Rashida Tlaib’s village in the West Bank,

Dror Etkes writes, “Beyond Tlaib’s personal story, however, is the story of a village that has seen decades of land grabs for the purpose of Israeli settlement expansion and the construction of a bypass road, which Palestinian residents of the West Bank have been banned from using for nearly two decades.”

Israel's 'humanitarian' offer to Tlaib made me cringe. Here's why,

Tania Hary writes, “If you are a resident of Gaza, visiting your grandmother in the West Bank is out of the question. If you wanted to visit your grandmother, she would have to be dying or dead, sorry to put it so bluntly. The burden to prove she was actually dying, and not just very ill, would be on you. If her funeral had passed before you got a response, the Israeli authorities could tell you that the mourning period had passed and there is no “humanitarian reason” for your travel. These statements are based on the true stories of our clients at Gisha. This is why the word “humanitarian” in the mouths of my government makes me cringe.”

Israel’s ban on Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib lays bare its oppressive reality,

Hagai El-Ad writes, “Israel’s record of killing or injuring Palestinians with impunity, systematically taking over their land and controlling the lives of millions through an arbitrary system of permits — while claiming that all this is “legal” and democratic — is part of the infamous status quo. So is its habit of attacking and trying to ban those who criticize its behavior. And U.S. foreign policy in the face of these injustices has vacillated between disastrous and naive, acting as the cornerstone that enables Israel and provides it with almost blanket impunity.”

Why Palestinians aren’t surprised by the humiliation of Rashida Tlaib,

Daoud Kuttab writes, “Travel to Palestine, a country recognized by 140 members of the United Nations, shouldn’t need Israeli approval. If anyone still had any doubts that Palestine is a country under occupation, what the Israeli government did to the U.S. representatives proves precisely the point that the Trump administration has been trying to deny. Decisions on entry to the occupied territories (including the Gaza Strip) should not automatically be the exclusive right of Israel. Until a permanent solution is found, what is perhaps needed is a set of transparent guidelines monitored by an international forum.”

Palestinian intelligence warns of possible violent uprising in West Bank,

“A Palestinian intelligence warns of a possible deterioration of security situation in the West Bank which may lead to another breakout of violent uprising and destabilize the Palestinian Authority, if the political and economic stagnation continues, according to a report seen exclusively by Ynet and its sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth.”

U.S.-Israeli Relations

Miftah wasn’t a problem when other congressmen went to ‘Palestine’ with them,

“MIFTAH has sponsored trips for members of Congress in the past, and Israel has let them in the country.”

Israel Presented Tlaib With a Cruel Dilemma: Her Principles or Her Family,

“So Talib, if chosen to arrive under such a commitment in advance, would have confirmed what Israel seeks to establish as fact: Palestinians and their descendants can also be required to adhere to political restrictions when they come to visit relatives in the West Bank, and that entry to the Palestinian Authority’s territories is a privilege, not a right.”

Israel’s Ambassador Denies Trump Pressure Was Behind Decision To Ban Tlaib And Omar,

“In a conference call with Jewish groups Thursday afternoon, Ron Dermer said reports implying that Israel had caved into pressure from Trump were false. ‘We were not pressured by the Trump administration to do this and this is a sovereign decision that Israel has to make,’ Dermer said in the call organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.”

Top Democrat slams Israel’s ‘disrespect’ in releasing letter signed by Tlaib,

“A senior Democratic lawmaker, who has just returned from Israel after leading a 41-member delegation, on Friday slammed the Jewish state for forcing Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to sign a letter promising not to promote boycotting Israel during her visit. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a staunch supporter of Israel, called the incident disrespectful to Tlaib and to the US Congress.”

Bernie Sanders: Israel shouldn’t take US aid if it stands by ban of Omar, Tlaib,

“Sen. Bernie Sanders suggested that Israel should not receive foreign aid from the United States if it stands by its decision to deny entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.”

The day Israel humiliated its US friends in Congress,

“No prime minister has done greater damage to bi-partisan support for Israel, a precondition for a thriving American-Israeli relationship. In barring a minor politician from entering Israel, Netanyahu did not weaken our enemies; he humiliated our friends. Next time, how many freshman Democrats will risk the political fallout of coming to Israel?”


Hamas said worried surge in ‘lone wolf’ attacks could spark new Gaza war,

“A senior Hamas official told a Palestinian newspaper on Monday there was concern in Gaza that a recent series of violent incidents involving so-called lone-wolf attackers would lead to another war with Israel. Speaking to London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed, the unnamed official justified the attacks, saying ‘Palestinians are disappointed by the difficult conditions caused by the Israeli occupation… Dozens of promises to improve conditions have not been kept. This frustration has become the legacy of 2 million Palestinians.’”

Escalating Incidents on Gaza-Israel Border Indicate Hamas Is Losing Its Grip,

“Hamas has a lot to lose from a major round of violence, but with election looming, Netanyahu’s restraint may not last long”

Hamas: Israeli strikes in Gaza meant to distract from West Bank attacks,

“’The Israeli attack is a message of escalation and aggression that is meant to distract from the acts of heroism in the West Bank, which have confused the calculations of the enemy and deepened its internal crises,’ Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum was quoted saying by Hebrew media.”