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Taking the Pulse of Palestine: Weekly News Check-Up. Friday 21 December.

16.12.18 Rashida Tlaib to Wear Authentic Palestinian Embroidered Dress to Congress Swear-In

Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian American woman to serve in US Congress has announced she will wear a traditional Palestinian thobe at the US Congress ceremony in January.

She posted a picture of the dress on her Instagram profile, captioned ‘Sneek peek: This is what I am wearing when I am sworn into Congress. #PalestinianThobe #ForMyYama

Keep checking the PCF shop, Tatreez, to see when a selection of authentic hand-woven goods from Palestine will be available for order!

16.12.18 Australia Recognises West Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Israeli officials have openly reacted displeasingly to Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Unlike with the US, where Trump has moved his embassy to West Jerusalem but chosen to recognise the whole of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison reaffirmed Canberra’s recognition of East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory and the future capital of a Palestinian state.

Although Israel’s foreign ministry responded saying the move was ‘a step in the right direction’, Tzachi Hanegbi, a Netanyahu ally in the Likud party, was forthcoming in expressing his disappointment ‘to our regret, within this positive news they made a mistake’.

Israel captured Palestinian East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, and continues to occupy and develop settlements there in direct contravention of international law.

16.12.18 Natalie Portman Rebukes Israel’s ‘Racist’ Nation State Law

Israeli-American Actress Natalie Portman labelled Israel’s nation-state law ‘racist’ and a ‘mistake’ in an interview promoting her new film Vox Lux with Arabid daily.

The Nation State Law, adopted officially by the Knesset in July states ‘Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it.’ It also removed Arabic of its designation as an official national language in parallel with Hebrew.

She went on to say that Israel ‘was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality and abuse of power.’

17.12.18 Texas Children’s Speech Pathologist Loses Job for Refusing to sign Pro-Israel Oath

Bahia Amawi, a children’s speech pathologist who works with disabled, autistic and speech impaired elementary has been told she must stop working with the public school district and she refused to sign an oath pledging not to boycott Israel.

Bahia was in the process of signing her renewed contract when she came across the new addition, that she ‘does not currently boycott Israel’ or that she ‘will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract’ and that she will not engage with action ‘intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israeli or in an Israel-controlled territory.’

In light of this astonishing situation, whereby Texans are able to criticise their country or organise an equivalent boycott of their own country, but are barred from doing so against Israel, Bahia stated ‘It’s baffling that they can throw this down our throats and decide to protect another country’s economy versus protecting our constitutional rights.

A lawsuit was filed early Monday morning on her behalf to a federal court Texas, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.

To listen to her interview with The Intercept and read more:

17.12.18 Benjamin Netanyahu’s Son Hate Speech Facebook Ban

Israeli prime minister’s son, Yair Netanyahu, was temporarily banned from Facebook for posting anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian posts which violated the social media site’s hate speech policy. Yair, 27, posted that he hoped the deaths of two Israeli soldiers killed by a Palestinian gunman would be ‘avenged’ and said, ‘there will never be peace with the monsters in human form known since 1964 as ‘Palestinians.’

Facebook removed the posts following complaints after saying they ‘included hate speech’.

18.12.18 Airbnb Refutes Israel Claim it Back-Pedalled Settlement Listings Policy

Airbnb has denied to claims by Israel’s tourist minister that it will reverse its pledge to ban listings from illegal Israeli West Bank settlements by stating ‘the information published today was inaccurate’.

Israel’s tourist minister, Yariv Levin, wrote on Facebook that Airbnb ‘will not enforce its decision to withdraw proposed bookings from its website.’ Back in November, when Airbnb announced its policy to remove over 200 listings and ban all future listings from illegal settlements in the West Bank, Levin labelled the move ‘hypocritical and disgusting’ and threatened legal action against Airbnb in the US and Israel.

Ever-expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, illegal under international law, have a population of 600,000 and are a major barrier to peace.