News Roundup for February 27, 2018

February 27, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

The Israeli Settlement Movement Is Failing, The Forward

Shaul Arieli argues, “Despite decades of effort, the settlement movement in the West Bank has failed to become a deeply-rooted presence. Palestinians still make up 82 percent of the population in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem). It remains impossible to annex the West Bank without harming the Jewish majority of the State of Israel and the Zionist vision of a democratic homeland for the Jewish people…. The obstacle to a peaceful two-state outcome is not Yaakov Katz, or the numbers. It’s the continued failure of leadership and vision by the current Israeli government.”

Europeans Dig In Against New Iran Sanctions Risking Nuclear Deal, Bloomberg

Nick Wadhams reports, “European allies, pressed by President Donald Trump’s administration to impose tough new sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program, are digging in against moves that would effectively void the 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. ‘There is no problem that you can think of with Iran that would not be to the power of 100 worse if this was a nuclear-armed country,’ David O’Sullivan, the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S., said Monday in a meeting with editors and reporters at Bloomberg’s Washington bureau. ‘So for us, the first thing to do is to make sure this country doesn’t have nuclear weapons. That’s what the deal did and does in our view, and it is working.’”


Troops raze 3 structures in outpost adjacent to grounds of new Amona settlement, Times of Israel

Security forces on Monday demolished three makeshift homes in the illegal outpost of Geulat Tzion, which has been razed and rebuilt roughly a dozen times since its establishment in 2011.

EU, Arab League affirm Jerusalem must be joint capital, Times of Israel

European Union and Arab League countries insisted on Monday that Jerusalem must be the joint capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state, after US President Donald Trump announced its embassy would be moved to the city later this year.

For First Time, Prosecution Directly Links Netanyahu to Telecom Giant Bribery Affair, Haaretz

For the first time in the telecom giant case (Case 4000), the State Prosecutor’s Office directly linked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the bribery affair.

U.S. anti-Semitic Incidents in 2017 Has Doubled Since 2015, Reports ADL, Haaretz

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States spiked in 2017, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.

10 members of Tamimi family, teen who was shot in the face, detained overnight, Ma’an

Israeli forces detained at least 19 Palestinians during pre dawn raid on Monday, including injured teenager Muhammad Tamimi, 15, who was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers during anti-Trump protests in his village of Nabi Saleh in December.

Israeli Culture Minister Plans Times Square Video for Independence Day, Haaretz

Culture Minister Miri Regev plans to screen a video in New York’s Times Square at a cost of millions of dollars for Israel’s 70th-anniversary celebrations, with the purchase of minutes on the plaza’s huge television screens.

Bezeq owner, ex-Netanyahu adviser reportedly deleted incriminating texts, Times of Israel

Two central suspects in the Bezeq probe, a high-profile corruption case, erased incriminating text messages from their phones, Channel 10 reported Monday.

Opinions and Analysis

The end of the Netanyahu era is an unexpected gift to Mahmoud Abbas, +972

Menachem Klein writes, “Netanyahu’s transformation into a lame duck is an unexpected gift to Abbas. The political uncertainty in Israel has made it impossible for Trump to put the blame for the mess on Abbas. Any move Netanyahu makes — peace or war, annexation or withdrawal — will be interpreted as an attempt to escape the stink of corruption that has engulfed him and would result in serious crises of legitimacy. The battle within the Likud to succeed Netanyahu, the possibility of early elections in Israel, and the time that it will take for the prime minister’s successor to build a coalition and establish working relations with the Trump administration has given Abbas breathing room.”

The Palestinians Just Might Accept Jared Kushner’s Peace Plan. That Would Be A Disaster For Israel, The Forward

Yossi Beilin argues, “What if due to a long list of reasons, including the current Palestinian weakness, the split between the West Bank and Gaza, the love affair between some important Arab States and Israel, the financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority, and the aged leadership, the Palestinians agree to negotiate with Israel on the basis of Kushner’s plan? Let’s imagine for a minute that they would be ready to have a capital out of Al Kuds, ready for Israel to be in charge of security in Palestine, ready for Israel to annex a relatively big chunk of the West Bank, and ok with no Palestinian refugee being allowed into Israel. If all those things happen, the big loser will be Israel.”

An Israeli Premier Hounded by Corruption Probes Spoke at AIPAC Before. It Didn’t Get Him Very Far, Haaretz

Amir Tibon writes, “Just like Olmert, Netanyahu will be speaking live at AIPAC after skipping the previous year’s event (and the one before, in Netanyahu’s case). His office says the main reason for this year’s appearance is the opportunity it provides to meet with President Donald Trump during his Washington visit as well. However, some experts believe the Washington visit – with a warmly received speech in front of thousands of pro-Israel Jewish Americans – might help Netanyahu change the news agenda in Israel from that of corruption probes to foreign policy.”

How Benjamin Netanyahu enables anti-Semitism, The Washington Post

Joshua Shanes argues, “Indeed, Netanyahu is not merely applying anti-Semitic stereotypes to the Jewish left. He is embracing those stereotypes to read the left out of the Jewish community. Hence his willingness to cut political ties with left-wing Jews in the United States in favor of evangelicals and other right-wing Christian allies. He can make common cause with Bannon or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban because their enemy is his enemy: liberals and Muslims. If Netanyahu’s left-wing Jewish critics are no longer seen as Jewish but rather as enemies of the Jewish people, then attacking Soros through a hooknosed caricature is not anti-Semitic. Through this intellectual sleight-of-hand, people who might otherwise be seen as anti-Semites now become friends of Israel, while his anti-Semitic attacks become legitimate criticism of Israel’s enemies.”