[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Palestine and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Palestine Page co-editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each roundup to Palestine@jadaliyya.com.]
The Occupation Forces
Israel Halts Construction of Palestinian Home, Greenhouse in Bethlehem The Israeli authorities ordered a halt to the construction of a Palestinian home and a greenhouse in the southern West Bank town of Nahhalin in the Bethlehem district, on Wednesday. Deputy mayor of Nahhalin, Hani Fanoun, told the Palestinian Authority-owned Wafa News and Information Agency that Israeli forces delivered a halt-on-construction notice to Samer Shakarneh regarding his house.
Israeli Forces Detain 24 Palestinians in West Bank Raids Israeli forces detained at least twenty-four Palestinians, including seven minors, during search and detention raids across the occupied West Bank, predawn on Wednesday.
Israel Releases Detained Fishermen, Opens Fire at Shepherds in Gaza Sources at the Palestinian liaison told Ma’an that the Israeli authorities released fishermen Issa al-Sharafi, sixty, and his son Mahmoud, thirty, via the Erez crossing. The fishermen’s boat that was confiscated by Israeli forces during their detention remained in custody. Meanwhile, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian shepherds near Erez. A Ma’an reporter said that Israeli forces, deployed at military towers near Erez crossing, opened fire at shepherds.
Israeli Army Locks Down Entrance to Ramallah Village Israeli occupation forces closed on Sunday the entrance to the village of Deir Abu Meshal, to the northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said local sources. Deputy mayor of the village, Fawwaz Bargouti, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers shut down the metal gate at the main entrance of the village, which forced local citizens and passengers to use alternative, longer roads to reach to their workplace.
Israel Completes Construction of Marine Fence Near Gaza The Israeli army has completed the construction of a marine fence located along the besieged Gaza Strip, Israel’s Channel 10 reported yesterday. The two hundred-meter-long wall is six meters tall and took seven months to build, the channel added. It added that it contained “sophisticated technological systems,” noting that it was designed to “prevent infiltration from the Mediterranean Sea as well as revealing underground tunnels.”
Government Bans Israeli Produce in Palestinian Markets The Palestinian government decided to ban the entry of Israeli vegetables, fruits, and poultry into Palestinian markets. The Palestinian cabinet made the decision during its weekly meeting in Ramallah City, in the central occupied West Bank. The decision comes after Israel had announced banning Palestinian vegetables, fruits, and poultry in its markets. The Israeli decision came after the Palestinian government had decided earlier not to allow Israeli livestock into Palestinian markets to protect local livestock farmers.
PCHR Calls Hamas Security Services to Respect the Law And Stop Fatah Members Arrest Today and yesterday, the Interior Security Service in the Gaza Strip summoned dozens of Fatah Members on grounds of calling for the celebration of the fifty-fourth anniversary of founding Fatah Movement on Tuesday 1 January, and ordered them not to organize any event for this occasion. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned these summonses and emphasizes that the freedom of expression.
President Abbas: Palestine Won’t let US Sell Occupied Jerusalem to Israel Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Palestine will never allow the United States to sell Jerusalem to Israel, reiterating that the occupied city will remain the eternal capital of the state of Palestine. Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory.
Jerusalem Mayor Plans to Reduce the Sound of Mosque Loudspeakers The new Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion is working on a plan to require the mosques in the Holy City and its neighborhoods to turn down the volume of their loudspeakers. The initiative includes replacing the existing speakers with the ones that produce a lower level of sound. The new devices will give the police control of the volume when they are considered too loud during the call to prayer.
Israel's Bennett and Shaked Announce 'New Right' Political Party Naftali Bennett, the minister of education, and Ayelet Shaked, the justice minister, announced their new party, Hayemin Hehadash or New Right, in a news conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday and vowed to take votes away from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party.
Israel’s Largest Opposition Bloc Splits Ahead of Elections Leader of Israel’s Labor Party Avi Gabbay yesterday announced that the country’s largest opposition bloc has broken apart four months ahead of the country’s elections which are scheduled for April. Gabbay said his party will run independently without the Hatnua movement led by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Israel and the United States Formally Quit UNESCO More than a year after announcing their withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Israel and the United States’ decision officially went into effect at the last second of 31 December 2018. UNESCO was the first United Nations’ body to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011, which led the Obama administration to stop paying its annual contributions.
Honduras Discusses a Possible Embassy Relocation to Jerusalem The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined a trilateral meeting on Tuesday night in Brasilia, Brazil. The meeting discussed the possibility of Honduras to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Israeli Settlers Threaten to kill Palestinian, International Activists in Hebron Israeli settlers verbally assaulted and threatened to kill a Palestinian man, in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, on Thursday morning. Ziad al-Sharabati told Ma’an that he was threatened by three Israeli settlers as he was helping international activists who were escorting children to cross the al-Shuhada Street checkpoint on their way to their school.
Israel Seizes 1,200 Dunams of Palestinian Land for New Settlement The Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee filed an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, on Sunday, denouncing the Israeli government’s seizure of 1,200 dunams of Palestinian-owned land south of the Bethlehem district, in the southern occupied West Bank.
Illegal Settlement Expansion Underway at Cost of a Northern West Bank Village The Israeli army razed land in Dhar al-Maleh village, southwest of Jenin in the north of the occupied West Bank, in order to expand an illegal Jewish settlement, the village's head of council Ahmad Khatib said on Tuesday. He told WAFA that bulldozers started to work on 120 dunums of the village land and in the process destroyed a paved road as the military was working on expanding the illegal settlement of Shaked, built on expropriated village land.
In What Appears to Be a Terror Attack, Israeli Settler Rams His Vehicle into Sheep Near Ramallah, Kills 12 In what appears as a premeditated terror attack, an Israeli settler Monday rammed his vehicle into a herd of sheep in the village of al-Mughayyer, to the east of Ramallah, killing twelve and injuring eighteen others, according to local sources.
Israel PM Urged to Expand Illegal Settlements Ahead of Election There is growing pressure on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expand illegal settlements as he launches his re-election bid. Last week, Israel announced plans to extend an existing settlement located south of Bethlehem. Rights groups insist the land belongs to Palestinians.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions Movement
BDS Victory: HSBC Divests From Elbit Systems HSBC have announced they have divested in full of Elbit Systems, which is Israel’s largest private arms security firm, who market their weapons as “battle-tested” due to them being tested on Palestinian civilians in Gaza. This victory comes after a campaign calling on HSBC to end its financial support for Israel’s military, led by PSC, War On Want and Campaign Against the Arms Trade with huge support from the British public.
Israel’s High Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights and 'state of all its citizens' Bill The Israeli High Court dismissed on Sunday the petition filed by Adalah–The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on behalf MKs Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi, and Joumah Azbarga against the Knesset Presidium's decision to reject their proposed bill Basic Law: State of all its Citizens. In doing so, the High Court refused to even allow a discussion of equal rights and a state for all of its citizens in the Knesset, it said.
Palestinian Sentenced to Life for Selling Land to Israelis According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, the Ramallah High Court found the man guilty on Monday of violating a penal code from 1960 that bans the sale of land to a foreign country. This crime can result in capital punishment under Palestinian law, but President Mahmoud Abbas has never ratified a death sentence.
Israel to ‘worsen’ Conditions for Palestinian Prisoners Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has announced plans to "worsen" conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The plans, which were the result of a committee Erdan set up seven months ago to make prison conditions harsher for those who "committed acts of terrorism," include blocking funds to the Palestinian Authority, rationing water supplies, limiting prisoners' access to television, and reducing the number of family visits.
Economy, Environment, and Other
More than 13m Palestinians in the world by end of 2018 The projected number of Palestinians in the world is about thirteen million, of whom 4.91 million are in the State of Palestine, 1.57 million in Israel, 5.85 million in Arab countries and around 717,000 in foreign countries, Ola Awad, president of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said yesterday in a brief on the status of the Palestinian people at the end of 2018.
Palestinian Poverty Level Almost Double Israel Average The report–released today by Israel’s National Insurance Institute–found that 47.1 percent of Palestinian-Israeli families live below the poverty line, versus a national average of 28.4 percent. The findings are based on data gathered by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics for 2017 which, according to the Jerusalem Post, is “the most recent year for which comprehensive information is available.”
Gaza Economic Losses Exceeded $300m in 2018 Gaza’s economic losses exceeded three hundred million dollars in 2018 as a result of Israel’s stifling siege on the Strip, head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege Jamal al-Khodari said yesterday. In a statement, a copy of which sent to MEMO, al-Khodari described 2018 as “the most disastrous year” for Gaza since it was occupied by the Israeli occupation in 1967.