Top news stories from Israel/Palestine: January 30, 2019

What We’re Reading

Occupation/Human rights

Tourism companies driving settlement expansion, profiting from war crimes ,

n a new report, ‘Destination: Occupation’, [Amnesty] documents how online booking companies are driving tourism to illegal Israeli settlements and contributing to their existence and expansion.

I Was a Settler. I Know How Settlers Become Killers,

“I helped establish the illegal West Bank outpost where the suspects in the murder of a Palestinian woman, Aisha Rabi, studied. I’ve watched the Israeli right wing radicalize to the point of devaluing human life – for anyone who isn’t Jewish,” writes Peace Now’s Shabtay Bendet.

B’Tselem human rights defender, Nasser Nawaj'ah, assaulted by Israeli settler,

Two of the [suspected settler’s] dogs attacked Nasser Nawaj’ah. One of the dogs bit him on his right hand, which began to bleed.

US-Israeli/Palestinian relations

Senate Advances Pro-Israel Bill as G.O.P. Searches for Democratic Divisions,

The Senate voted Monday to advance legislation affirming the right of local and state governments to break ties with companies that boycott or divest from Israel, as Republicans try to drive a wedge between the Democratic Party and its traditional allies in the American Jewish community.

Top Democrat on foreign affairs shoots down pro-Palestinian trips,

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., told Al-Monitor this week that he’s against a West Bank delegation.

AIPAC Ties Complicate Mission Of New Group Trying To Keep Democrats Pro-Israel,

“Are they going to be critical of Bibi in a way that progressives would normally be? That will be the proof. Is there going to be a time when they disagree with an AIPAC legislative priority?”

Florida puts Airbnb on notice over move to delist Jewish settlements,

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his cabinet voted to place Airbnb on the state’s list of scrutinized companies over its decision to remove listings of rooms and homes for rent in West Bank Jewish settlements.

Democrats Rally Around Freshmen Congresswomen After Republicans Accuse Them of Anti-Semitism,

“Clearly, I condemn anti-Semitism. I don’t know that I draw the conclusion, however, that those attacking these two members are correct they are anti-Semitic,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “I don’t accept that premise.”

Israeli politics

Joining forces with Gantz, Ya’alon rules out support for two-state solution,

Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon ruled out supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, moments after his new political partner Benny Gantz said Tuesday he would push for peace if elected prime minister.

Palestinian politics

Blaming US veto, Palestinian envoy says UN membership bid on hold,

The Palestinian ambassador at the United Nations said Monday that the day will come when “obstacles” in the Security Council to full UN membership for Palestine will be removed, “but that day is not today.”

What We're Watching

Senator Van Hollen on the Middle East Bill,

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) spoke about his opposition to the Middle East bill, over of a provision that allows state and local governments legal authority to boycott any U.S. companies which are participating in a boycott against Israel. He said the measure is a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.