Top news stories from Israel/Palestine: December 20, 2018

What We’re Reading

BDS and Settlement boycotts

Sanders, Feinstein Urge Senate to Reject anti-BDS Bill: 'Threat to Free Speech',

Senators Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein sent a letter on Thursday to Senate leaders urging them not to promote a controversial piece of legislation that will penalize boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Opinion: Congress Shouldn’t Take the Anti-BDS Bill Bait,

“Jeopardizing essential American civil liberties to shield Israel and its settlements from political boycotts is a moral wrong and bad policy, especially at a time when we are experiencing multiple attacks on the foundations of our democracy here at home that guarantee civil liberties, such as a free press, independent courts, and accountable governmental institutions.”

Ministry of Strategic Affairs to create international anti-BDS legal team,

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs has posted on the Government Procurement website its intention to contract with the International Legal Forum to create a network of jurists, lawyers and other legal professionals to help fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The ministry is planning to invest NIS 3.25 million on the project in its first two years.

Erdan to Kahlon: Stop granting tax benefits to Amnesty International,

“Amnesty International is an organization that promotes delegitimization and boycotts against the State of Israel and IDF soldiers,” said Erdan in a letter.

Israel & the American Jewish community

After Summer Walkouts, New Birthright Contract Bans 'Efforts to Hijack Discussion',

Following a series of highly publicized walkouts on Taglit-Birthright trips this summer, the organization has revised the contract participants on its 10-day, free tours of Israel are required to sign.

Young American Jews Would Engage More With Israel if Birthright Stopped Lying About the Occupation,

“Showing the truth won’t alienate Birthright trip participants from Israel. But offering a sanitized, whitewashed Israel patronizes young Jews’ curiosity and intelligence – and sets them up for dissonance and disengagement.”

Occupation/Human rights

Israel Tampered With Video of Strike That Killed Two Palestinian Boys, Investigators Say,

A painstaking reconstruction of a series of Israeli airstrikes that killed two Palestinian boys on the roof of a building in Gaza City this summer suggests that Israel’s military tampered with its own surveillance footage of the attack, possibly to conceal evidence that the children were visible to the drone pilots who carried out what were supposed to be nonlethal “warning strikes.”

U.N. WFP to cut back food aid to Palestinians,

The World Food Programme (WFP) is to cut food aid next year to about 190,000 poor Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank due a shortage of funds, the WFP’s senior official for the Palestinian Territories said on Wednesday.

Palestinian politics

Neopatrimonialism, Corruption, and the Palestinian Authority: Pathways to Real Reform,

The present reality of the PA in no way resembles the kind of Palestinian government promised since the heady years of the Oslo Accords.