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News Roundup for February 8, 2018

February 8, 2018

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J Street in the News

Demolition of three to seven Sussiya homes still pending, Jerusalem Post

“The court’s decision has caused a small outcry on Twitter, including from US college campus branches of the leftwing J Street NGO, which on Tuesday tweeted messages of support for Sussiya.”

Top News and Analysis

Putin and Palestinian leader Abbas to discuss new peace talks, Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas plan to discuss a possible new mediation mechanism to replace the Middle East Quartet, the Interfax news agency said on Wednesday, citing a Palestinian diplomat in Russia. The discussion would take place when the two meet in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Feb. 12, Abdel Hafiz Nofal, a Palestinian envoy in Moscow, was cited as saying.”

News

Convictions upheld for 3 extremist Jews who burned Palestinian teen alive, JTA

Israel’s Supreme Court upheld the convictions of three Jewish extremists convicted of burning a Palestinian teen alive in a revenge killing. The court on Thursday upheld life sentences for two of the killers, one a minor at the time of the murder, and a 21-year prison term for the other minor involved in the killing.

Palestinian Authority Faces Blowback Over Allegations Of CIA-Backed Wiretapping, NPR

The Palestinian Authority government is facing allegations that it is collaborating with the CIA to spy on the phone conversations of senior Palestinian figures, including adversaries and allies of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

UN: Fuel for critical Gaza facilities will run out in 10 days, +972

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories issued a statement on Tuesday warning that the Gaza Strip is on the “verge of disaster” due to electricity and fuel shortages.

Saudi Arabia Denies Report of Historic Approval of Flights to Israel Using Its Airspace, Haaretz

Saudi Arabia has granted Air India approval to operate direct flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv, sources in the Israeli flight industry told Haaretz. If confirmed, this would be the first time the Saudis are allowing commercial flights to Israel to use their airspace.

Palestinians: One Seriously Wounded by Israeli Army Gunfire in East Jerusalem, Haaretz

The Israeli army shot and seriously wounded a Palestinian man in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported. The man was transferred to a hospital in Ramallah.

Abbas Spokesman Blames Friedman for Crisis in US-Palestinian Ties, Jerusalem Post

American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is to blame for the crisis in ties between the US and the Palestinians, Nabil Abu Rudeinah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, said on Wednesday night.

Opinions and Analysis

Is Israel losing the Democratic Party? New Jersey Jewish News

Gary Rosenblatt writes, “Off-the-record conversations with pro-Israel lobbyists confirm that they are deeply worried about the steep decline in bipartisanship on Israel among the electorate. They note that while older white males are the sweet spot for Israel, especially among Evangelicals, one of the fastest-growing segments in America — young people and minorities like African-Americans and Latinos who will soon represent the core of an increasingly progressive Democratic Party — are less inclined to favor Israel and increasingly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Minorities and millennials view the issue as primarily about human rights, and they see the Palestinians as the underdogs. Younger Americans, including Jews, are more likely to blame Israel for the Mideast peace stalemate. They are critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians living in the West Bank, and sympathetic to the BDS movement that promotes boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.”

Israel’s power show on northern border aimed at Hezbollah, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit writes, “It is safe to assume that in internal discussions and covert messages sent by mediators, Israeli security officials make a point of noting that this time, Israel will make an effort to engage in a bold and daring ground maneuver, deep into Lebanese territory. It is also likely that Israel will do everything it can to ensure that this time, Nasrallah will not come out of this conflict alive. In the second Lebanon war (2006), Israel tried to kill Nasrallah using JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bunker busters. Either 11 or 12 of them were dropped, one after the other, on a building where Nasrallah was believed to be holed up in its fortified basement, but Nasrallah managed to walk out of it alive. This time the goal will be Nasrallah’s head, no matter what it costs. It is important to the Israelis that Nasrallah realizes this before the situation deteriorates any further and reaches the point at which both sides are compelled to fight.”