Alienum phaedrum torquatos nec eu, vis detraxit periculis ex, nihil expetendis in mei. Mei an pericula euripidis, hinc partem.

Taking the Pulse of Palestine: Weekly News Check-Up. Friday 11 January 2019.

9 January: Rubio’s Anti-BDS Measure Stalled in Senate

Legislation brought to the Senate addressed four bills which failed to pass Congress last year. They include ‘the authorisation of $3.3bn annually in US military support for Israel, reauthorise the US-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act and impose financial sanctions to the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad’ (Al Jazeera 2019). The fourth measure, ‘Combating BDS Act’, would disempower companies or individuals to support boycott, divestment or sanction campaigns against Israel. Although politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib criticised the legislation for violating one’s ‘constitutional right to engage in political activity’ and ‘right to boycott’ and helped vote down the legislation, the bills are expected to return once the government shutdown ends.

9 January: 56 Palestinian Children Killed by IDF in 2018 and Forgotten by the World

Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) reveals that at least 56 children were killed by Israel, 5 of whom were under 12 years of age and 49 were in Gaza during the Great March of Return Protests. In addition, the group documented 120 children arrested by Isreali forces in the occupied West Bank as well as 140 arrested by Palestinian Authority forces. Despite flagrant violations of international law inflicted upon Palestinians across all areas of the occupied territories, the international community’s meagre and predictable response does nothing to prohibit Israel’s unrelenting violence.

9 January: Human Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Spraying Gaza with Dangerous Chemicals

View of an agricultural aircraft, in Hevel Lakhish, Southern Israel. Agricultural aircrafts are used for aerial application of pesticides or fertilizers. July 13, 2014. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90

Human Rights organisations Al Mezan, Gisha and Adalah have all written to Netanyahu demanding an immediate stop on IDF spraying destructive chemicals on Gazan agricultural lands. Despite the IDF admitting in 2015 it was using herbicides inside Gaza, even after the World Health Organisation determined the chemical is a carcinogen and not meant for aerial spraying, close to 3,500 acres of farmland have now been destroyed by the practice.

10 January: Israel Re-opens ‘Apartheid Road’ Connecting Settlements to Jerusalem

Israel has re-opened Route 4370, a road closed for years, which connects illegal Jewish settlements to Jerusalem whilst Palestinians living under occupation are excluded from its use.

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said: “This is one of many other steps to strengthen the services of the Ministry of Public Security on its bodies to the residents of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and to strengthen sovereignty in the area…We will continue to work to expand Israeli sovereignty throughout the entire area, while maintaining strict and consistent security needs.”

In this open expression of  disregard for international law, which states occupation is an ‘interim’ form of governance between periods of armed conflict, Erdan proudly expounds Israel’s settler-colonialist project to permanently transform the status of the West Bank from Palestinian territory to Israeli sovereign land.

10 January: Israel to Seize Over 30 Acres of Land Near Ramallah

According to the Land Research Center, the Israeli Finance Ministry has approved of a plan to seize 139 dunums (34 acres) of land from Deir Dibwan village, east of Ramallah.

According to the plan, Israel has allocated 48 dunums for the construction of public buildings, 26 for the construction of a new settler-only road, and 15 dunums for the establishment of parking lots and commercial centres.

11 January: Palestine National Football Team Taken on Syria and Australia in 2019 Asian Cup

Having won their first ever points in the tournament last week, drawing 0-0 with Syria, Palestine entered their next fixture against Australia in high spirits. Despite fighting valiantly to come back from Australia’s two first half goals, the Socceroos were able to put the game to sleep in the 90th minute by adding a third goal to the score sheet.

The game ended 3-0 and after this performance Australia are no doubt building confidence that they can win the tournament for the second time on the trot. Palestine’s last game is against neighbours Jordan (15th January) which they will need to win for any chance of qualifying from the group stage.