News Roundup for August 16, 2018

August 16, 2018

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J Street in the News

Who will be stopped at border next? Will it be me?, Times of Israel

J Street’s Alan Elsner writes, “Something very ugly and sinister is happening to Israeli society – something I had never believed I would see in this country I love. Views contrary to those espoused by the government and the settler movement are being delegitimized and denounced as treasonous. Holding those views is deemed a potential security threat to the state, worthy of the interest and involvement of the Shin Beth.”

Michigan congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib endorses one-state solution, pledges to slash Israeli military aid, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

“J Street told JTA on Wednesday that it is seeking clarification from Tlaib’s campaign regarding her recent statements. ‘JStreetPAC was created to demonstrate the wellspring of political support that exists for candidates who take pro-Israel, pro-peace positions, chief among them, support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,’ read the statement to JTA from Jessica Rosenblum, J Street’s senior vice president of public engagement. ‘We are clear and unequivocal with all the candidates who we consider for endorsement what our core principles and commitments are. We only endorse candidates who have affirmed support for them.”


Top News and Analysis

Gaza Cease-fire, Prisoner Swap and Seaport: Details of Israel-Hamas Deal Emerge, Haaretz

Noa Landau reports, “A deal negotiated between Israel and Hamas via UN and Egyptian mediation, whose first stage went into effect on Wednesday, entails a commitment to rebuild the Gaza Strip’s infrastructure and a prisoner swap to secure the release of Israeli civilians and soldiers’ remains held by the Palestinian organization. The terms are essentially identical to those established after the 2014 war in Gaza and are similar to those agreed upon after the 2012 military campaign in the Srip. Defense officials and the Prime Minister’s Office thus prefer to refer to it as a return to the status quo before the escalation in tensions that began several months ago, with the start of weekly protests at the Gaza-Israel.”

Palestinian diplomatic campaign gaining traction, Al-Monitor

Yossi Beilin writes, “When Abbas launched his intense diplomatic campaign, he clearly understood that he did not have an Israeli partner. He had concluded that as long as Netanyahu was at the helm, there was no real chance of an agreement that he, as the Palestinian leader, could accept. Since he could not sit by idly, he was faced with three main options: armed struggle, nonviolent struggle or a diplomatic struggle.An armed struggle was out of the question. Abbas had been the main opponent of the second Palestinian intifada, the violent uprising that erupted in the year 2000, and made no bones about his objection to Arafat’s choice of violence. Abbas did not rule out a campaign of nonviolence, and he still talks about it often in his speeches, but he knows well that the line between nonviolent and violent demonstrations is blurred (and easily crossed). When that happens, people are killed and it is hard to contain the counter-reaction. The third option was the one Arafat was wary of — seeking recognition as a virtual Palestinian state and playing the diplomatic game with intensity.”

Israel’s Shin Bet Reportedly Barred 250 People From Entering Israel in 2018, Haaretz

“The Shin Bet has barred 250 people from entering Israel in 2018, Kan 11 News reported on Wednesday. Most of those refused entry were Muslims from Arab states, Europe and the United States. Shin Bet Arab department staff interrogated them at Ben-Gurion airport or at the Taba and Allenby crossings.They were stopped on suspicion of being involved in terrorism, espionage or political subversion, the report said. The figures do not include visitors the Shin Bet detained and questioned but then allowed to enter.”



UNRWA Palestinian schools to open on time despite US freeze, i24NEWS

Hundreds of UN-run schools for Palestinian refugees will open on time after fresh funding temporarily staved off a financial crisis triggered by a US contributions freeze, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Israel denies US author’s account of interrogation, Associated Press

Israel’s domestic security agency denies threatening a prominent American author and questioning him about his politics during a recent visit.

Israel finds no cause for criminal charges in deadly Gaza war raid, Reuters

Israel will not conduct a criminal investigation into a deadly raid in Rafah during the 2014 Gaza war, the military’s judicial arm said on Wednesday after a “comprehensive examination” of events, prompting condemnation from the Palestinian group Hamas.

Palestinian president lashes out at US over Gaza situation, Associated Press

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has lashed out at the United States over its proposals to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Abbas in a speech on Wednesday said of U.S. officials: “I swear to God, they are liars.”

Abbas: Palestinians and Arab Israelis united against ‘racist’ nation-state law, Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said Palestinians and Arab Israelis stand together against Israel’s quasi-constitutional nation-state law.


Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu’s Gate of Darkness, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for the detaining and questioning of American Jewish journalist Peter Beinart at Ben-Gurion Airport earlier this week, saying it was an “administrative error.” Netanyahu can continue with his campaign of deceptions, but the large number of such instances point to a clear change in policy. This was not an administrative error, but a systematic error. The government has decided to fight anyone who criticizes it, and the entryway to Israel has become another tool in this war.”

I’ve been visiting Israel since 1998. The path to peace is shrinking., Washington Post

Max Boot writes, “I have been visiting Israel for 20 years, mainly for meetings with government officials, generals and policy analysts. After a trip this summer arranged by a nonprofit group called Academic Exchange, I reflected on how much Israel has — and has not — changed since 1998….The West Bank, then as now, was divided by the Oslo peace process into a crazy quilt of A, B and C zones under varying degrees of Palestinian control. Then, as now, the animosity between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority disguised a substantial amount of security cooperation behind the scenes. Then, as now, Israel faced a terrorist threat but not one that disrupted ordinary life: Sixteen Israelis were killed by terrorists in 1998 and 34 last year. Then, as now, security concerns could seem remote while strolling along the beach in Tel Aviv or sitting in a trendy cafe.”