Monday, November 19, 2018

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers attempt to set a Palestinian vehicle on fire and throw rocks at Palestinian homes in Urif village near Nablus, causing minor damage. After some Palestinian residents confront the settlers, IDF troops enter the village, sparking clashes with stone-throwing residents; 8 Palestinians are injured. Separately, IDF troops arrest a Palestinian at Qalandia checkpoint when she is found with a knife on her person; arrest 6 Palestinians during further raids near Bethlehem, Hebron, and Qalqilya; and patrol near Hebron, Tulkarm, and Salfit. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian mobile home in Qalandia refugee camp near Jerusalem. The Palestinian owner was living in the mobile home since Israeli forces demolished his previous home on 6/20. Israeli forces raze a plot of Palestinian land and confiscate a vehicle, demolish 2 car washes, a food shop, several storage buildings and offices in Silwan and Jabal Mukabir; and arrest 5 Palestinians during late-night raids in Issawiyya. Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s northern coast to continue the Great March of Return and to cheer on a number of Palestinian boats sailing in a symbolic challenge to the Israeli blockade. IDF troops and Israeli naval forces violently disperse the protests; 10 Palestinians are injured. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near the site of the planned protest. (MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 11/19; MNA 11/20; PCHR 11/22)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, both of the Jewish Home Party, announce that they intend to remain in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s ruling coalition and that they are dropping their demand for Bennett to take over the Defense Ministry. “There’s no apocalypse on the way. There are enemies, but not an enemy that worries me,” Bennett says. (HA, JP, YA 11/19)

Haaretz reports that Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority last week increased by 1,500 the number of permits awarded to West Bank Palestinians hoping to work as dishwashers and cleaners in Israeli restaurants, bars, and cafes. The increase is reportedly designed to ease the strain on restaurant owners who are struggling to find enough low-cost labor. Before this increase, approximately 30,000 West Bank Palestinians were permitted to come into Israel to work such jobs. (HA 11/19)

UNRWA commissioner general Pierre Krähenbühl tells reporters that the agency’s budget shortfall, which was created by U.S. president Trump’s decision to slash U.S. aid to UNRWA earlier this year, has been cut to $21 million, following another round of pledges from the EU and several Gulf countries. The deficit was reportedly $64 million as recently as last week. “This is a very encouraging result at the end of a lot of work,” Krähenbühl says. (AFP, TOI 11/19)

Airbnb, a U.S.-based home-share company with listings all over the world, announces that it is removing all 200-some of its listings in Israel’s West Bank settlements. “We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians,” a statement from the company reads. In response, Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin instructs his deputies to restrict the company’s operations across Israel. Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan calls on the settler-hosts who used Airbnb to sue the company using Israel’s anti-boycott law. “National conflicts exist throughout the world,” he argues. “Airbnb will need to explain why they chose a racist political stance against some Israeli citizens.” (EI, HA, JP, YA, YA 11/19; AJ, BBC, CNN 11/20)

Marking the second major BDS victory of the day, the Canadian Federation of Students, Canada’s largest and oldest students’ association, endorses the BDS movement and condemns the “ongoing occupation of Palestine.” Marking the third, the Quakers in Britain Church, a group 17,000 strong, announces that it is divesting from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. “This includes companies—whichever country they are based in—involved for example in the illegal exploitation of natural resources in occupied Palestine, and the construction and servicing of the separation barrier and Israeli settlements,” a senior church official explains. (TOI, TOI 11/19; JP, JP, JTA, TOI 11/20; EI 11/21)