Churches for Middle East Peace
oppose resolution

House Approves Contentious Resolution on Israel
A look at changes in US policy regarding a two-state solution, response to policy on settlements, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar opposed the bipartisan measure, along with Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

oppose resolution

House approves contentious resolution on Israel

“The House on Friday (Dec. 6) overwhelmingly approved a contentious measure on Israel over the protest of the caucus’s progressive wing, resurfacing tensions on an issue that has recently emerged as a wedge for Democrats. The resolution — which reaffirms support for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine — ends months of ugly infighting within a caucus increasingly at odds about what was once a basic tenet of U.S.-Israel policy. Four Democrats opposed the bipartisan measure, all liberal freshmen, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress, as well as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Five Republicans backed the measure.” 

Image: Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar opposed the bipartisan measure, along with Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

shakir expelled

Israel restricts human rights work in its territories

“Israel expelled Nov. 25 from its territory the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Omar Shakir, an American-Iraqi human rights lawyer accused of supporting the boycott of Israel. On Nov. 5, Israel's Supreme Court gave Shakir 20 days to leave the country, under a controversial law enacted in March 2017 that allows the state to expel and deport foreigners supporting the boycott of Israel or the settlements. Shakir was the first person to be deported under this law. ‘Today is the culmination of several years of efforts to muzzle HRW and human rights in general,’ Shakir said at a press conference in East Jerusalem shortly before his departure. He pointed out that he will spend the coming days briefing the various European governments on his case, and will return to the region to resume his work and functions from the Jordanian capital Amman.”

Image: Omar Shakir, a US citizen representing New York-based Human Rights Watch in Israel and the Palestinian territories, speaks during a news conference, Jerusalem, Nov. 25, 2019. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

dem settlements

106 Democratic House members decry White House’s softened stance on settlements
Times of Israel

“Over 100 Democratic House members on Friday (Nov. 21) excoriated the Trump administration for softening its position on Israel’s West Bank settlements. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced that ‘the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law,’ breaking with decades of US policy. The move, legislators wrote in a letter to Pompeo, made the possibility of an Israel-Palestinian peace agreement more difficult and hurt America’s interests in the Middle East. ‘The announcement… has discredited the United States as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, severely damaged prospects for peace, and endangered the security of America, Israel, and the Palestinian people,’ the letter says.” 

Image: US President Donald Trump (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk while walking to the West Wing of the White House for a meeting, on March 25, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

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tania hary gisha

Gisha Executive Director Tania Hary to UN Security Council: The isolation of Gaza is also a primary obstacle to peace

“(Nov. 20), Gisha Executive Director Tania Hary addressed the United Nations Security Council in New York City. Hary, who was invited to brief the Council on the situation in the Gaza Strip, stressed the heavy damage – to the economy, society, families, and well-being – caused by the sweeping access restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinians, particularly in relation to movement between Gaza and the West Bank, as part of the ‘separation policy’. Hary noted that while certain practices in Israel’s permit regime have changed over time, ‘the overall picture remains the same: Israel believes that it can ‘manage’ the humanitarian situation in Gaza; it has an interest in maintaining the physical and political fragmentation of Palestinians, which allows it to pursue annexation in the West Bank.’” 

Watch Tania Hary address the Security Council here.

Image: Gisha ED Tania Hary at UNSC in New York. (British Mission to the UN)

omar tlaib facebook

Revealed: Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib targeted in far-right fake news operation
The Guardian

“Two Muslim US congresswomen have been targeted by a vast international operation that exploits far-right pages on Facebook to inflame Islamophobia for profit, a Guardian investigation has found. A mysterious Israeli-based group uses 21 Facebook pages to churn out more than a thousand coordinated fake news posts per week to more than a million followers around the world. It milks the traffic for revenue from digital advertising. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who earlier this year became the first Muslim women to serve in the US Congress, have been singled out for vicious attacks by the coordinated effort."

Image: Coordinated Facebook posts made by an Israel-based group have vilified Muslim politicians such as Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

new election

Elections to be held on March 2 if no coalition formed
Times of Israel

“Blue and White and Likud have agreed that the next round of elections will be held on Monday, March 2, 2020, barring a last-minute coalition deal in the next two days. The Knesset is expected to dissolve on Wednesday night, confirming the failure of both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to form a governing coalition following the inconclusive September elections. If no lawmaker manages to get the support of at least 61 members of the 120-strong Knesset by Wednesday — and no candidate appears poised to do so — elections will be called for the third time in less than a year. The months-long political paralysis has continued since a previous round of voting in April failed to result in a majority government.”

Image: File: Officials count the ballots from soldiers and absentees at the Knesset in Jerusalem, a day after the general election, April 10, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)


CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

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