News Roundup for January 8, 2018

January 8, 2018

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J Street in the News

Trump’s Vindictive Cuts of Aid to Relief Agency UNRWA Extremely Dangerous for Israelis and Palestinians, J Street

“Instead of taking responsibility for a provocative and unnecessary decision that has undermined its own peace efforts, the Trump administration is doubling down on chaos. By slashing funding to an agency that helps feed, clothe, house and educate over 1.5 million Palestinian refugees, the White House is cruelly harming some of the region’s most vulnerable and neglected people. The decision will worsen the humanitarian situation of refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza — and increase the prospects for unrest, extremism and violence that could threaten Israelis.”

Top News and Analysis

20 groups that advocate boycotting Israel will now be denied entry, Washington Post

Ruth Eglash reports, “Members of 20 international organizations that promote a boycott campaign of Israel, many of them affiliated with the BDS movement, will be banned from entering the country, according to a list published Sunday by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. The list was created after Israel’s parliament in March approved legislation that would deny entry visas to foreign nationals who publicly back or call for any kind of boycott — economic, cultural or academic — of Israel or its West Bank settlements.”

Is Trump Stuck With an Iran Deal He Loathes? Politico

Susan B Glasser writes, “By the end of this week, in fact, the president who called that agreement the ‘worst deal ever’—and refused, despite the evidence, to certify Iranian compliance with it—is expected to once again keep the deal alive by waiving U.S. sanctions on the Iranian government that were suspended when the agreement was made. That, at least, is the consensus of a half dozen of Washington’s top Iran policy experts I canvassed over the last few days.”

Netanyahu tiptoes around U.S. threat to cut off Palestinian aid, Reuters

Jeffrey Heller reports, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin trod carefully on Sunday around a threatened U.S. aid cut to Palestinians, stopping short of backing a funding halt as he repeated calls for a U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees to be dismantled.Netanyahu’s public comments appeared to reflect a desire to show support for a major ally, but also concern that choking off funds would deepen Palestinian hardship and could put Israel and militants on a course for war.”

America Can’t Save the Two-state Solution, Haaretz

Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer argues, “A two-state solution is, I believe, the only way to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I fear it is fast becoming an illusion. A de facto one state reality is emerging on the ground, and both Israelis and Palestinians are careening toward that end without giving the consequences much thought. For both, a one state reality – whether formalized or not – carries extremely dangerous risks.”

Kushner’s Financial Ties to Israel Deepen Even With Mideast Diplomatic Role, The New York Times

Jesse Drucker writes, “But the deal last spring illustrates how the Kushner Companies’ extensive financial ties to Israel continue to deepen, even with his prominent diplomatic role in the Middle East. The arrangement could undermine the ability of the United States to be seen as an independent broker in the region. The Trump administration already inflamed tensions there when it said last month that it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move the United States Embassy there from Tel Aviv.”


Arabs to seek world recognition of East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital, Times of Israel

The Arab League will seek international recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in response to Washington’s recognition of the Holy City as Israel’s capital, Jordan said on Saturday.

U.S., Israeli, Saudi Policies On Iran ‘Would Lead Us To War’: French President, The Forward

French President Emmanuel Macron said the policies concerning Iran of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia may lead to war.

How a U.S. Quaker Group That Won the Nobel Peace Prize Ended Up on Israel’s BDS Blacklist, Haaretz

A Quaker organization that received the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize for its work assisting and rescuing victims of the Nazis is among the blacklisted groups whose senior activists have been barred from entering Israel. Peace activists in Israel who have worked with the group expressed surprise at the decision.

After months of cuts, Israel to increase electricity to Gaza at PA’s request, Times of Israel

Israel is to restore its full share of electricity supply to the Gaza Strip from Monday, ending more than six months of restrictions for the already power-starved Strip, officials said.

In Gaza, U.S. Cuts to UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Expected to Endanger Thousands of Teachers’ Jobs, Haaretz

A significant funding cut by a UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, would put at risk the jobs of some 12,000 teachers throughout the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and the jobs of more than 20,000 teachers including other countries where UNRWA operates – Lebanon, Syria and Jordan – sources in Gaza and the West Bank told Haaretz.

Security cabinet said holding ‘significant’ meetings on threats from north, Times of Israel

The security cabinet has convened several times in recent days to discuss the situation and threats along Israel’s northern borders, according to a report on Sunday that described the meetings “extremely significant.”

Opinions and Analysis

Will Fatah launch ‘intifada of independence’? Al-Monitor

Uri Savir writes, “An intifada of independence in 2018 would take the form of an armed intifada against Israel with the endorsement of Hamas, in possible cooperation with Hezbollah and backed by inter-Arab public opinion. The official emphasized that such a violent campaign for independence would not take two to three months, but two to three years — a kind of war of attrition against the powerful Israeli army. A senior Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed that Abbas’ entourage is sending its Arab partners signals of despair over the US decision on Jerusalem and the end of any foreseeable two-state solution process. According to Israeli analysis, Hamas and Fatah are both in a crisis over these recent events.

‘Fire and Fury’: Trump’s Israel Policies Crafted by Ultra-right Bannon-Adelson-Netanyahu Axis, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev argues, “Adelson, who views are often described as ‘right of Attila the Hun,’ shares Bannon’s antipathy to leftist and liberal Jews, as does Netanyahu. When trying to assess Netanyahu’s decision to renege on the deal he had signed with progressive American Jews on egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall, as well as his apathy to repairing the rupture it caused, one should bear in mind that his view of liberal American Jews may be no different than Adelson’s and Bannon’s.”

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