Top News Stories from Israel & Palestine: June 21, 2019

What We’re Reading


Hamas Leader Says Israel's 'Foot Dragging' Puts Ceasefire Agreements in 'Danger Zone',

At a meeting with foreign journalists in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh said Hamas had worked hard to achieve these understandings, which were reached under the auspices of the United Nations and Qatar. But so far, he added, the Palestinians in Gaza haven’t felt those understandings materialize, which puts them “in the danger zone.”

Permission denied: Gaza children struggle to get medical care,

With severe medicine shortages and an overstretched health care system in Gaza, children in need of medical treatments can only find them outside the strip. Yet Israel’s convoluted, arbitrary permit process leaves them waiting in pain, often missing life-saving care.

Anti-BDS/Anti-Free Speech/Pro-Settlement Lawfare

EU court advised to require labeling of settler products,

Despite the European Union’s consistent acknowledgment that Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal, it is taking the Europeans a long time to translate this principled stance into policy. One of the simplest and most obvious ways the EU can act on the issue is to make sure that Europeans know whether the products they purchase are made in occupied territory.

Israel demands EU countries end funding for BDS groups,

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has contacted his counterparts in 10 countries with the demand to end funding for organizations that support a boycott of Isra

Rivlin says calls for Israel boycott are ‘modern blood libels’,

He urged participants to “use all the tools at our disposal to defeat BDS” in all sectors of government, the media and civil society. “We must expose the modern blood libels spread by BDS, and put a price on its hate and discrimination,” he said at the International BDS Conference, which was organized by the Strategic Affairs Ministry.

From spying to lobbying, Israel's fight against BDS intensifies,

Recent revelations confirming the involvement of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad in efforts to actively disrupt the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel did not come as a surprise to pro-Palestine activists.

Palestinian Politics

PA wants to break free from reliance on Israeli fuel,

On June 6, Minister of National Economy Khaled al-Osaily spoke of the Palestinian efforts to replace Israeli oil with Russian or Arab oil, on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia. “We hope we manage to import any crude oil particularly from Russia or any Arab country in order for us to be less reliant on Israeli oil. We have various options. … I believe that the Russian oil is a possible option that we hope we could import,” Osaily told Russia’s Sputnik.

The Deal of the Century

Don’t Dismiss the Bahrain Conference. It Can Help Palestinians.,

Dennis Ross writes, “Rather than simply presenting what is possible over the next 10 years with infrastructure development and private sector investments, Kushner and Greenblatt should place the emphasis on a near-term stabilization plan for Gaza and the West Bank. The plan would address electricity, water, sewage, and job creation related to the truly terrible conditions in Gaza.”

Ex-CIA chief: US-Israel relationship seems to have gone ‘overboard’,

Former CIA director Leon Panetta said Thursday that the relationship between the Trump administration and Israel has become so friendly the US appears to have abandoned taking a balanced approach toward the Israelis and Palestinians, impacting its credibility as a peace mediator.

U.S. Politics

An Invitation You Can't Refuse: How Rep. Steny Hoyer Makes Sure AIPAC's Israel Junket Is Well Attended,

Hoyer, according to former members of Congress who have resisted the pressure to join AIPAC’s delegation, uses his power over the House floor agenda to coerce participation. A member who refuses an invitation can find it difficult to have their bills brought to the floor for a vote. “His senior staff lock down cooperating members by getting their bills to the floor and punishing non-cooperators,” said one former representative who rejected the invitation. “I was tortured for a decade because I refused to go on that trip and went with J Street instead.”