Top news stories from Israel/Palestine: December 19, 2018

What We’re Reading

BDS and Settlement boycotts

Curbing Speech in the Name of Helping Israel,

“Any anti-boycott legislation enacted by Congress is also likely to face a court challenge. It would be more constructive if political leaders would focus on the injustice and finding viable solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than reinforcing divisions between the two parties and promoting legislation that raises free speech concerns.”

ACLU sues Texas over anti-boycott law meant to protect Israel,

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday announced that it is suing the state of Texas over a 2017 law prohibiting government contractors from engaging in boycotts of Israel, which is says is an unwarranted violation of Americans’ right to free speech.

Opinion: Everyone is Misreporting the Texas BDS Lawsuit,

“Ms. Amawi is not being asked to pledge that she, in her personal capacity, will not privately boycott Israel, much less that, e.g., she will not advocate for boycotting Israel or otherwise refrain from criticizing Israel,” writes David Bernstein. [FMEP President Lara Friedman explains in this Twitter thread why this analysis is questionable.]

Occupation/Human rights

Minister said to freeze Palestinian produce imports, defying security warning,

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel has ordered an indefinite freeze on imports of Palestinian agricultural goods into Israel, Hadashot TV news reported Tuesday.

West Bank settlement construction drops in third quarter,

Settlement construction dropped sharply in the third quarter of 2018, according to new statistics released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

Christmas in Bethlehem: Controlling the narrative through tourism,

Israel’s monopoly on the tourism industry directly contributes to normalization of the occupation, tour guides say.

Israeli politics

Netanyahu Vows to Bolster Settlements After West Bank Attacks: 'This Is the Heart of Our Homeland',

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Tueday to bolster Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a response to recent terror attacks in the area.

AG urges court to strike Regulation Law, points to new ways to legalize outposts,

Mandelblit argues that with his new legal mechanism allowing for authorization of 2,000 Israeli homes built on Palestinian land, there’s no need for ‘unconstitutional’ legislation.

US-Israeli/Palestinian relations

GOP senators pitch resolution to recognize Israeli sovereignty of Golan Heights,

Two Republican senators introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling for the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

U.S. puts sanctions on Israeli ex-general over South Sudan arms sales,

Israel Ziv, a former head of operations for the Israeli army, is accused by the Treasury Department of selling weapons to both sides of the civil war in South Sudan, on which there is an arms embargo.

Palestinian politics

Palestinian protesters demand end to brutal treatment at hands of PA,

“What is required of the PA security forces is to protect these rallies and not constrict them or use force against them.”