Top news stories from Israel/Palestine: January 8, 2019

What We’re Reading

FMEP in the News

The Surprising New Battleground In the War Against Palestinian Rights: Your Local Courthouse,

In effort to delegitimize and criminalize support for or work with Palestinians, lawfare groups are quietly hijacking anti-terror laws, co-opting US contracting regulations, targeting financial service providers, and filing SLAPP suits, writes Lara Friedman.

BDS and settlement boycotts

Instead of Ending the Shutdown, Senators Plan to Encourage Punishment of Israel Boycotts,

The Combating BDS Act would attempt to give legal cover to states that enact laws penalizing businesses and individuals who participate in boycott activities against Israel and Israeli-controlled territories.

Congress & Israel

Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton call on US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights,

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas again called on the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Rashida Tlaib Responds to anti-Semitism Accusations,

In her tweet, Tlaib wrote that those who support the [Israel Anti-Boycott Act] “forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right [and] part of our historical fight for freedom [and] equality,” she said.

Occupation/Human rights

Jailed without charge or trial: Administrative detention explained,

Israel uses administrative detention to put Palestinians in prison without ever charging them with a crime. Sometimes the accusations are about a crime you haven’t yet committed. Almost always, the evidence is secret.

Gaza’s Opioid Problem,

For people living under Israeli siege, with high unemployment, tramadol is a means of escape.

Olive Trees Chopped Down in Suspected Jewish Hate Crime,

Some 15 olive trees were cut down in the southern West Bank Tuesday in a suspected hate crime. On nearby boulders the unknown assailants scrawled “Revenge” and “Death to Arabs.”

Israeli Housing Project in West Bank Would Surround Bethlehem With Settlements,

The government has allocated about 1,200 dunams (300 acres) for planning of a new neighborhood that would expand the settlement of Efrat toward Bethlehem, in an area considered particularly sensitive for diplomatic reasons.

Palestinian politics

Opinion: Palestinians Are Right To Outlaw Selling Land To Settlers,

“When Palestinians sell their homes to Israeli Jews, they are harming their fellow Palestinians in a very real way,” writes Ariel Gold.

Hamas-Fatah bitter split plays out in West Bank universities,

Tempers flare as the Palestinian Authority pursues Hamas-affiliated university students on campuses.

Hamas reclaims Egypt-Gaza border crossing as PA withdraws,

Hamas members retook control of the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Monday after the Palestinian Authority withdrew its own staff, an AFP journalist and Hamas officials said.

Fatah official vows more extreme measures to end Hamas’s rule in Gaza,

The Palestinian Authority’s withdrawal of its employees from the Rafah crossing constitutes the first of a number of measures it will take to end Hamas’s control over the Gaza Strip, Azzam al-Ahmad, a top Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah official, said late Monday.

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