Top news stories from Israel/Palestine: January 2, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation/Human rights

Israeli settlement activity appears to surge in Trump era,

With little resistance from a friendly White House, Israel has launched a new settlement push in the West Bank since President Donald Trump took office, laying the groundwork for what could be the largest construction binge in years, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

U.S. and Israel officially withdraw from UNESCO,

The United States and Israel officially quit the U.N.’s educational, scientific and cultural agency at the stroke of midnight, the culmination of a process triggered more than a year ago amid concerns that the organization fosters anti-Israel bias.

Israel plans new West Bank settler housing project by Bethlehem, dubbed E2,

Israel intends to draft plans for new construction – possibly as many as 2,500 homes – on a hill in the Efrat settlement south of Bethlehem.

In forgotten article after Six Day War, Amos Oz warned of ‘eternal annexation’,

Recently returned from the battlefield, the writer, then 28, penned a bitter denunciation of Moshe Dayan’s settlement policies: “The shorter the occupation, the better for us.”

With boost from US, Israel and Honduras advance towards embassy move,

Israel’s prime minister, Honduras’ president and the U.S. secretary of state discussed plans to move the Central American nation’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The IDF doesn't investigate Palestinian deaths — it whitewashes them,

“The Israeli army says it would like to conduct thorough investigations of the Palestinians it kills or wounds. The only problem? It is unable to do so honestly,” writes Hagai El-Ad.

Israeli elections

Netanyahu's pro-settler allies force annexation into campaign agenda,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he aspires to maintain his current coalition after the April elections means that Israelis can expect to see ideas like annexation and a binational state increasingly normalized,” writes Shlomi Eldar.

[Israeli Attorney General] Mandelblit likely to announce indicting PM before election ,

Mandelblit said that “it was an obligation to decide” pre-election so that the voters would have all of the information possible when they went to voting booths.

Gabbay shocks Livni on live TV, kicks her out of Zionist Union,

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay shocked the MKs of the Zionist Union faction on Tuesday when he announced he was breaking up the partnership with the Hatnua Party of Tzipi Livni.

Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked form party for Orthodox and secular right-wing Israelis,

Jewish Home party head Naftali Bennett and party leader Ayelet Shaked announced that they would leave the pro-settler party and form a new alliance ahead of national elections.

Palestinian politics

Palestinian court sentences dual American citizen to life in prison for selling land to Jews,

A Palestinian man who holds American citizenship was sentenced to life in prison for selling land in eastern Jerusalem to a Jewish Israeli.