“[On] Wednesday, the dovish J Street lobby said Trump’s words showed that he failed to understand the complexity of the situation. ‘The president once again made clear that when it comes to the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has no idea what he’s talking about — and no desire to lead good-faith, productive negotiations towards peace,’ the left-wing group said in a statement. ‘His continued boasting about taking Jerusalem ‘off the table’ shows that he is not interested in seriously addressing the city’s sensitivity and importance as a final status issue.’ The US Jewish group also claimed that Trump’s proposed peace plan — which has not yet been made public — ‘will be a complete sham.’ ‘It will not lead to peace or to greater security for Israel, but to further erosion of US credibility, alienation of the Palestinian leadership and empowerment of the Israeli far right,’ the group said.”
Jewish delegation witnesses ‘heartbreaking’ situation at border detention centers and courthouse, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
“A delegation of Jewish leaders from 17 organizations is visiting detention and migrant facilities on the U.S.-Mexico border….The trip, which is being organized by the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish refugee aid group HIAS, includes meetings with American and Mexican government officials, immigration attorneys and humanitarian workers. Among the participants are representatives from three Jewish movements — Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative — as well as groups such as the American Jewish World Service, the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and J Street.”
“In response to Tuesday evening’s comments by President Trump on Jerusalem and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, J Street’s Vice President of Government Affairs Dylan Williams released the following statement: ‘The president once again made clear that when it comes to the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has no idea what he’s talking about — and no desire to lead good-faith, productive negotiations towards peace. His continued boasting about taking Jerusalem ‘off the table’ shows that he is not interested in seriously addressing the city’s sensitivity and importance as a final status issue. It’s obvious that the so-called ‘peace plan’ of this administration will be a complete sham. It will not lead to peace or to greater security for Israel, but to further erosion of US credibility, alienation of the Palestinian leadership and empowerment of the Israeli far right.’”
‘One Cannot Simply Wish Away 5 Million People’, Foreign Policy
Colum Lynch interviews Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
UN urges Israel not to hold Gaza aid ‘hostage’ to politics, Associated Press
Edith M. Lederer reports, “The U.N. political chief called on Israel Wednesday to ensure that urgently needed humanitarian supplies for the Gaza Strip are not ‘held hostage to political and security developments.’ Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council its meeting was taking place ‘in the wake of yet another series of violent escalations that threatened to plunge Gaza into war.’ She said the recurring violence ‘highlights the urgency’ of U.N. and Egyptian-led efforts, along with regional and international partners, ‘to prevent another devastating outbreak of hostilities, respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs, and support intra-Palestinian reconciliation.”
Israel authorities gave final approval Wednesday for the construction of 382 new settlement homes in the West Bank, in addition to approving plans for some 600 more, paving the way for 1,004 new settlement homes to come.
Senior Israeli opposition leaders and Palestinian officials paid their respects to late Israeli journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery, who died this week at age 94. Dozens of people, including a delegation of Palestinian officials, attended a memorial for Avnery on Wednesday in Tel Aviv.
U.S officials are trying to extinguish a mini-political fire in Israel after President Trump’s speech last night at a political rally in West Virginia during which he said Israel “will have to pay a higher price” in future negotiations with the Palestinians because of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Interior Ministry plans to open only six polling stations in Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem during October’s municipal elections, compared with 187 in Jewish neighborhoods, even though East Jerusalem contains 40 percent of the city’s population.
Head of UN probe on Gaza clashes resigns for ‘personal reasons’, Times of Israel
The head of a United Nations Human Rights Council commission to investigate deadly clashes in recent months on the Gaza border has resigned for “personal reasons,” the council said on Wednesday, less than a month after he was appointed.
The US is prepared to use sanctions to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, has said.
Why Netanyahu wants more money for security. Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “On Aug. 15, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the ‘2030 Security Concept’ to the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet. He had labored over this document for many long months, and according to Netanyahu’s close associates, he wrote it after conferring with past and present high-ranking security system experts. This is only the third time that Israel defines the “security concept” of the state….Netanyahu’s current document constitutes a dramatic change regarding the Israeli security concept, in total contradistinction to the policy that was reflected in the defense budgets of the past 70 years of the State. Just as Netanyahu completely changed Israeli policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians (as described in an earlier Al-Monitor article), now he comes to change prevailing conceptions by transforming basic defense concepts.”
Gwen Ackerman reports, “Israel’s finance minister is seeking to drum up American and European support for a plan to boost the Palestinian economy in the West Bank — something he thinks will benefit Israel as well. After more than three years of meetings with Palestinian officials, Moshe Kahlon is pushing a plan to build joint industrial zones, ease movement out of the West Bank and allow the Palestinian Authority to collect its own customs taxes. He will discuss the plan with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace envoy, later this month in Washington.”
Uri Avnery Superstar, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “Decades of obedience will leave nothing behind; those who dare will win, even if only in memory. That’s an important lesson for those for whom it’s important to leave behind a legacy. It’s a particularly important lesson for all the middle-of-the-road people in the Zionist left: Who will history remember: Avnery, or Avi Gabbay? What will you remember of Isaac Herzog? Tzipi Livni? The hope of Benny Gantz? What will remain of Yair Lapid? What remains of Shimon Peres? People who held far more senior leadership positions than Avnery could have dreamed of will be completely forgotten. Avnery will be remembered.”