News Roundup for August 22, 2018

August 22, 2018

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J Street in the News

An avowed one-stater is about to be elected to Congress. Is this the future of the Democratic Party?, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

“J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group whose overarching issue is two states, endorses more than half of the Democratic caucus in both chambers. It pulled its endorsement of Tlaib after her post-primary revelation that she opposes aid to Israel and backs a one-state solution. Like many proponents of an independent state for Palestinians side by side with Israel, J Street rejects any solution that would ‘threaten Israel’s identity as a democracy and a Jewish homeland.’…The Trump administration, meanwhile, has retreated from endorsing a two-state outcome, and the Republican Party platform in 2016 also removed two-state language. Of course, the one-state outcomes favored by Republicans is one preferred by the pro-Israel right, not the pro-Palestinian left. That version envisions permanent Israeli control of much of the West Bank. But that posture creates openings for the far left, according to Logan Bayroff, the director of communications for J Street. ‘Any conversation about rise in support of a one-state solution should note the fact that our current administration has distanced itself from the two-state solution,’ he said.”


Top News and Analysis

Gaza steps back from brink as UN works for stronger Israel-Hamas deal, Christian Science Monitor

Joshua Mitnick reports, “Both Hamas and Israel have sought to step back from the brink of what had seemed like an inevitable conflagration following the worst period of instability since Israel and Hamas fought a monthlong war in the summer of 2014. ‘It’s clear that both the Israeli government and the Hamas leadership want to avoid a full-scale conflict,’ says Daniel Shapiro, a former US ambassador to Israel and a fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. ‘Hamas wants relief from the economic pressures they’re facing. Israel wants an end to the border conflicts ­– and that creates the incentives for an agreement.’ The question is, how robust of an agreement? The current calm is based on a return to a series of informal understandings that ended the 2014 war. But Ambassador Shapiro and other experts note that such an agreement is likely to be short lived because it doesn’t address the economic conditions in Gaza, a blockaded narrow swath of coastline with about 2 million residents and 54 percent unemployment.”

U.S. Split on Israel: Netanyahu Favorite Leader of Republicans, Unpopular Among Democrats, Haaretz

“A new poll in the United States shows that the American public is split along party lines in its approach to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the Gallup poll, 64 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of Netanyahu, while only 17 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of him.”



Trump: Israel will pay ‘higher price’ in peace talks after embassy move, Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday night Israel will pay “a higher price” in peace talks with the Palestinians due to his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital. Speaking at a campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia, Trump said Palestinians “will get something very good” in any future negotiations.

Trump team expands Israel-Palestine peace plan staff, CBS News

The Trump administration has started to prepare for the rollout of their Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The plan’s architects — Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman — are building up their team, according to US officials.

Bolton says no timetable for Trump’s Mideast peace plan, Associated Press

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser says there’s no timetable for releasing the administration’s much-anticipated Mideast peace plan.

Iran says Israel, U.S. will be targeted if Washington attacks, Reuters

A senior Iranian cleric warned Washington on Wednesday that if it attacked Iran, the United States and allied Israel would be targeted, as a war of words escalated after the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Duterte likely to discuss Philippine embassy move in coming Israel trip: report, i24NEWS

Rumors about the Philippines moving its embassy to Jerusalem continue to circulate in the weeks leading up to President Rodrigo Deuterte’s visit to the Jewish State, and diplomatic officials anticipate the potential move will be discussed during his meetings with Israeli leadership, the Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.

U.S. not discussing recognition of Israel’s Golan hold: Bolton, Reuters

The Trump administration is not discussing possible U.S. recognition of Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the Golan Heights, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said.


Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Public Enemy No. 1 or the Poster Boy for Zionism?, Haaretz

Judy Maltz writes, “Just browse through Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s social media posts, and you’ll soon discover the identity of the true enemy of the State of Israel. His name is Mickey Gitzin, and he’s the national director of the New Israel Fund, an international organization dedicated to promoting liberal democracy in the Jewish state. The way Netanyahu has gone after him, you’d think he was the devil incarnate. The funny thing is that Gitzin always saw himself as the poster boy for Zionism. The child of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, he was a Jewish Agency shaliach (envoy) in the United States who before that served as an officer in Israeli military intelligence. Today, he sits on the city council of Tel Aviv in addition to his position at the NIF.”

Israeli right exchanges barbs as contacts with Hamas progress, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem writes, “Netanyahu and Liberman are aware that they will both have to work hard to convince the public that they did not negotiate with Hamas. In contrast to the bitter conflict on the right, the center left supports the arrangement and backs Netanyahu and Liberman’s efforts. To distinguish themselves from Netanyahu, they attack the lack of a comprehensive government strategy in dealing with Gaza instead. Meanwhile, even if the arrangement is on hold, at least it has reinvigorated an important political debate. It is finally forcing the major Israeli political players to present their positions, strategies and solutions for Gaza.”