Top News from Israel & Palestine: August 7, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation & Annexation

Israel accused of pushing ‘effective annexation’ after settlement homes okayed,

“Israel faced harsh international criticism Wednesday after it advanced plans for the construction of thousands of housing units in the West Bank a day earlier, with representatives of the United Nations and Britain joining the European Union in calling on Jerusalem to curb its activities in the disputed territories.”

Israel concerned over dire economy, unrest in West Bank,

“’There is no doubt that the despair, unemployment and deprivation encourage terrorism,’ an Israeli security official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, adding that Israel has also detected a decline in the motivation of PA security forces to foil terror attacks against Israel. The source attributes this to two factors: One is the deteriorating finances of the Palestinian forces themselves, who have been getting only half their monthly pay. The other is the public climate reminiscent of the second intifada (2000-2005), during which Palestinian security forces felt they could not swim against the tide and did not want to be perceived as serving the ‘Zionist enemy.'”

West Bank activists urge cutting economic ties with Israel,

“Palestinian businesses in the occupied West Bank are being urged to stop selling Israeli products. Activists have staged a protest in Ramallah near an Israeli military checkpoint. Protesters said it is time to stop buying Israeli goods and to think about the Palestinian economy. Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reports from Ramallah.”

The Inauguration of Silwan Tunnel: Background and Ramifications,

“The opening of the tunnel was, superficially, a minor routine event that disclosed developments that are anything but routine. As such, it requires an in-depth analysis that takes a hard look at the event, its background and its consequences. In our three sectioned report, we will begin by examining the background and significance of the settlement in Silwan. In Part II, we will examine the tunnel, its archeological, historical and ideological significance and the context in which it was excavated. Part III will deal with the nature of the shift in US policy regarding Silwan, its sources and its ramifications.”

Israel arrests Palestinians suspected in Jerusalem bomb plot,

“The Israeli military says it has arrested three Palestinians suspected of involvement in a Hamas plot to carry out a bombing in Jerusalem. The arrests came after Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, announced Tuesday it had busted a Hamas cell in the West Bank that was planning the attack. According to Shin Bet, Hamas operatives in the West Bank city of Hebron were also plotting attacks against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Western-backed Palestinian Authority.”

WATCH: The Story of the 19th-century Palestinian Jerusalem Hotel Fighting a Settler Takeover,

“‘Every stone in this building means a lot to me,’ he told Haaretz of the hotel that his father first rented in 1949. Now that Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that the sale of the hotel by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was legal, the Ateret Cohanim organization is seeking to evict Dajani. But he does not intend to leave without a fight, vowing to keep battling the ruling in court.”

Israeli Police Plant Gun in Palestinian's Home for TV Docudrama,

“For anyone familiar with East Jerusalem, this scene raises several questions. East Jerusalem is full of weapons, but most of them are pistols or improvised “Carlo” submachine guns. Finding IDF-issue weapons in good condition in East Jerusalem neighborhoods is an unusual event, especially weapons that are not very well hidden. Moreover, unlike in other episodes, none of the family members are arrested following this dramatic discovery. Indeed, documents obtained by Haaretz raise a strong suspicion that in the original search, no weapons were found, and that the guns found in this episode were planted by the police themselves for the docudrama.”

Israeli Politics

Netanyahu Vows He Won't Establish Unity Government After Israeli Election,

“In an article in the Likud-aligned Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu was quoted as saying that he must establish a right-wing government: ‘It is my obligation to Likud voters.'”

Israeli Court Orders Bedouin to Pay Cost of Their Eviction From Unrecognized Village,

“A court has let the state seek 1.3 million shekels ($372,000) in reimbursement from six residents of an unofficial Bedouin village in the Negev for the cost of evicting them from disputed land.”

How Ayelet Shaked, a secular woman, came to dominate the right-wing religious camp in Israel,

“Both her effectiveness as a politician and Jewish Home’s move toward open primaries helped Shaked advance in the religious sector, according to Yair Sheleg, who researches the religious Zionist sector at the Israel Democracy Institute. In many ways, he said, its followers consider the nationalist aspect of religious Zionism — settling all of biblical Israel, asserting Israel’s Jewish character — as more fundamental than the religious aspect. Many leaders in the community ‘can live with Shaked as the leader because she brings many more voters’ than other politicians.”

Anti-BDS/Anti-Free Speech/Pro-Settlement Lawfare

Fordham University Students Win Landmark Fight to Establish Palestine Club,

“Five Fordham University students have won a landmark legal victory against Fordham University, which sought to prohibit them from forming a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club at their university. The students, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Legal, and cooperating counsel Alan Levine, argued that Fordham University violated its own rules when, in 2016, it vetoed the United Student Government’s approval of SJP, preventing the students from forming the SJP club.”