News Roundup for January 10, 2018

January 10, 2018

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J Street in the News

300 US Jewish clergy oppose razing West Bank village in letter to Netanyahu, i24 News

“In a letter sent to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, more than 300 Jewish clergy in the United States urge the Israeli government not to move forward with the planned imminent demolition of 40 percent of the West Bank Palestinian village of Susya….The letter warns that demolitions in Susya and other Palestinian communities across the West Bank would devastate families and severely undermine the prospects for a two-state solution – jeopardizing Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. ‘This is the latest clear sign that American Jews are deeply concerned by the Netanyahu government’s policies of creeping annexation in the West Bank,’ said Rabbi Andrea London, Co-Chair of J Street’s Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet. ‘Demolishing Palestinian communities to pave the way for more settlements goes against both Israel’s interests and our core values.’ Signed by rabbis, cantors and rabbinical students, the letter circulated with the support of the pro-Israel, pro-peace American Jewish groups J Street, Americans for Peace Now, T’ruah, and the Israeli human rights organization Torat Tzedek.”

In New Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Over 315 Jewish Clergy Oppose the Planned Demolition of Susya, J Street

“In a new letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, over 315 Jewish clergy in the United States urge the Israeli government not to move forward with the planned imminent demolition of 40 percent of the West Bank Palestinian village of Susya.”

Welcome Iranian Protests — Don’t Co-opt Them to Kill Nuclear Agreement, J Street

“The resolution that passed the House of Representatives today supporting the democratic rights of the Iranian people is an important and welcome affirmation of the protest movement that has broken out there in recent weeks….We are deeply concerned that President Trump may seek to use the Iranian protests as a disingenuous pretext to take this action against the nuclear deal. Such a baseless move could have disastrous consequences for the US and our allies — and for the Iranian people themselves. At a time when the world’s focus should be on supporting the Iranian people’s effort to decide their own future, the administration would be creating a new, nuclear crisis that could put our country on the path to a destructive and unnecessary war.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Father Of 6 Killed In West Bank Drive-By Shooting, Forward

An Israeli father of six was killed in what is presumed to be a terror-related shooting in the West Bank. Rabbi Raziel Shevah, 35, was shot Tuesday night by a passing car near Nablus, in the northern West Bank, while he was driving past the Gilad Farm junction.

U.S. to decide on Iran sanctions waivers on Friday – State Department, Reuters

“The Trump administration is expected to decide on Friday whether to continue to waive U.S. penalties on Iran, as agreed under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the State Department said on Tuesday. U.S. President Donald Trump was expected to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the White House later in the week ahead of the decision, State Department spokesman Steve Goldstein told a briefing.”

Boycotting the World, Haaretz

The editorial board writes, “ This blacklist is part of the central project for which the Netanyahu government is responsible – intensifying the occupation while trying to eliminate any internal or external criticism. Instead of listening to its critics, the government is choosing to silence those trying to save it from itself, and is insisting on sending Israel into the abyss.”

How Israel’s BDS blacklist falls short of its own goals, JTA

Yehuda Kurtzer writes, “The worst thing that Israel can do to combat its growing isolation is to entrench itself further – whether in policies that invite opprobrium or reinforce its critics. Issues of dissent, protest and loyalty are weighty for any democracy, but it seems they are being handled precipitously – with less damage being done to the BDS movement than to the image of Israel and the stories it seeks to tell about itself.”


Palestinians’ fault there is no peace with Israel, US Amb. David Friedman says in wake of terror attack, JTA

The U.S. Ambassador to Israel blamed the Palestinians for the lack of peace with Israel in a tweet about the West Bank Palestinian shooting attack that left an Israeli father of six dead. ‘An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace,’  Friedman tweeted Wednesday morning.

Several instances of settler violence reported after shooting attack, Times of Israel

Palestinians reported several incidents of settler violence in the West Bank Tuesday night, in apparent retaliation after an Israeli rabbi was killed in a shooting attack outside Nablus.

Israel Set to Approve Hundreds of New Settlement Homes in West Bank, Haaretz

The Civil Administration’s top planning council is expected Wednesday to approve the construction of hundreds of settler homes across the West Bank. The council is slated to give final approval for the construction of over 300 housing units in settlements including Susya, Petzael, Ariel, Alfei Menashe and Oranit. The biggest construction plans expected to receive approval include 212 new housing units in Oranit and 55 in Petzael. Also on tap are 44 new homes in Ma’aleh Adumim and a handful in Ariel and Beit Aryeh.

Isaac Herzog tells Arab media he hopes for a regional deal, Times of Israel

Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog, in an interview published Tuesday, spoke of the changes happening in the region, his plans for peace with the Palestinians, and how he forfeited his political position in an attempt to reach a comprehensive agreement with Israel’s neighbors.

Senior Hamas Official Shot and Critically Wounded in Gaza City, Haaretz

Senior Hamas official Imad Al-Alami was critically wounded on Tuesday after suffering a shooting wound to his head. Al-Alami is a long-term fixture of Hamas leadership in the Strip, and has previously served as a Hamas representative in Iran. He has participated in all Hamas talks with the international community, including but not limited to Palestinian reconciliation, the cease-fire during the 2014 Gaza war and talks over captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

PM said to tell NATO: ‘Real possibility’ Trump will nullify Iran deal, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday reportedly warned ambassadors from NATO countries that there is a “real possibility” US President Donald Trump will cancel the Iran nuclear deal this week.

Israel to Pay $9,000 to Any Civilian Willing to Help Deport Asylum Seekers by Force, Haaretz

The Population and Immigration Authority is offering a bonus of up to 30,000 shekels ($8,700) to civilians willing to temporarily serve as inspectors in the expulsion of asylum seekers. On Sunday the authority published a notice that it is hiring 100 inspectors on a temporary basis for terms of two years, from March 2018, as well as 40 investigators for the unit that examines asylum requests.

Opinions and Analysis

Israel’s Deplorable Boycott Of BDS Supporters Is Just The Beginning, Forward

Lara Friedman writes, “[W]ith Israel increasingly open and unapologetic in its embrace of authoritarian policies, not for the sake of Israel, but for the sake of the Greater Israel agenda of increasingly normalized zealots, the questions this blacklist provokes should be: how much of the slippery slope toward authoritarianism is left before Israel hits the bottom? How fast Israel is sliding? And will more Americans who profess to care both about Israel and progressive, democratic values now finally take a stand? Because this blacklist – and the suffocating stench of repression that it carries – is not illiberal Israel’s first challenge to Americans’ values of free speech and peaceful protest, and it will certainly not be the last.”

Don’t destroy the two-state solution, JTA

Jonathan Greenblatt writes, “Several recent political measures in Israel — including announcements by Israel’s parliament, attorney general and ruling party — have significantly begun to undermine the possibility of achieving a two-state solution…. the central committee of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s ruling party voted on Jan. 2 to demand ‘free construction and application of Israeli law and sovereignty in all liberated areas of settlement.’ Doing so could make any potential Palestinian state unviable by annexing far-flung settlements to Israel that separate Palestinian population centers from each other.”

Why We Liberal Zionists Need BDS – Even If We Oppose It, Forward

Raphael Magarik argues, “[L]iberal Zionists like me, who believe in the State of Israel’s right to exist but not its right to occupy millions of Palestinians, should be worried about this boycott for a more basic, practical reason as well.….If liberal Zionists want non-Jewish allies in ending the occupation, we must accept they likely won’t share our love of falafel, nostalgia for kibbutzim, or our tears during Hatikvah. The non-Jewish left, realistically, will support the Palestinian call for BDS and advocate for full equality between Palestinians and Jews. If liberal Zionists spurn such a left, we spurn the only allies we have.”

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