As Israel gears up for its second election in a year, Amnesty International has published a new briefing highlighting what it describes as “increasing threats” to the “freedom of expression” of Palestinian members of the Knesset.
“Elected but restricted: Shrinking space for Palestinian parliamentarians in Israel’s Knesset” was released two weeks before Israelis go to the polls on 17 September, and constitutes a stark summary of what Amnesty describes as a “shrinking space” for critics, and “entrenched” discrimination. Read more
Less than six months since Israelis went to the polls, September 17 will see a fresh national election after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to secure a governing coalition last time around.
For Israel’s myriad political parties, the unusual rerun represents an opportunity to correct strategic errors made during the April vote.
Those hoping to benefit include parliamentarians representing Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Read more
UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), which frequently smears Palestine solidarity campaigners and charities with false allegations of promoting “antisemitism” and links to “extremism”, will this Sunday host an official from a notorious Israeli organisation that believes all of the West Bank belongs to Israel.
The event in London will see Israeli settler activist Naomi Linder Kahn, from the right-wing advocacy group Regavim, give a talk on “the struggle to preserve Israel’s land”.
On its site, UKLFI describes Regavim as “an Israeli research-based think tank and lobbying group”. In reality Regavim is a diehard opponent of Palestinian self-determination and international law. Read more
The recent Israeli security cabinet decision to approve construction permits for Palestinian homes in Area C of the occupied West Bank was somewhat of a rarity, “the first such decision since 2016”.
While the figure of 715 housing units in Palestinian towns sounds positive, thus far no details have been revealed – including for example, whether the plans relate to new construction or the retroactive legalisation of homes built without Israeli-issued permits.
In addition to this lack of clarity, these housing units are a drop in the ocean – according to Peace Now, “it is estimated that there are at least a thousand young Palestinian couples in need of housing in Area C each year”. Read more
When Israeli authorities last week approved plans for more than 2,000 settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank, the European Union was quick to condemn the move.
“All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” read the statement issued by the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service.
It went on: “The EU expects the Israeli authorities to fully meet their obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law and to cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, of designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and of denying Palestinian development.” Read more
In recent years, a crackdown by Israeli authorities on human rights NGOs – particularly those focused on Palestinian rights – has caused considerable concern internationally, attracting attention in both the media and at the governmental level.
Yet, perhaps the most egregious case of Israel’s targeting of the humanitarian sector has been taking place over the last three years with almost zero coverage.
In June 2016, Israeli authorities arrested Mohammed Halabi at the Gaza Strip’s Erez crossing. Halabi, a father of five, was working as the Gaza director for the international humanitarian NGO World Vision, and was returning from a meeting in Jerusalem at the time of his arrest. Read more
A furore broke out in Israel this past weekend, after an interview with Education Minister Rafi Peretz was broadcast on Saturday night television.
Speaking to Channel 12, Peretz – a former army chief rabbi and now leader of the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP) – was asked if he believes in so-called “conversion therapy” for gay people. Answering in the affirmative, Peretz responded: “I think you can,” adding: “I can tell you that I have a deep knowledge of education, and I have done it too.” Read more
The demolition of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is a routine occurrence.
But in Sur Baher, a neighbourhood southeast of Jerusalem, an unprecedented mass demolition is looming – with the approval of Israel‘s top court. Read more
With just over two months to go before the second Israeli election this year, and with the latest polls predicting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will struggle to meet the 61 seats needed to form a governing coalition, former Israeli minister and current Yisrael Beiteinu party chair Avigdor Lieberman has emerged as the kingmaker. Last month the veteran politician expressed his desire for a unity government between Likud and the opposition Blue and White list. Mr Lieberman, whose refusal to form a coalition with Likud triggered the dissolution of the Knesset in May, told Israeli radio: “We will aim for a government with Likud and with [the Blue and White party] and that will be an emergency government, a national liberal government. We will do everything to limit the haredim [ultra-Orthodox] so that they won’t enter government.” Read more