News Roundup for August 28, 2018

August 28, 2018

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J Street in the News

As US buries era of evenhandedness, will shift bring Palestinians to the table?, Times of Israel

“‘The Trump administration’s moves to rescind the refugee status of millions of Palestinians and to massively cut U.S. humanitarian aid to the West Bank and Gaza further confirm that their real intent isn’t an ‘ultimate deal’ to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but to adopt as US policy the disastrous agenda of Israel’s far-right,’ said J Street, the liberal Mideast policy group, in a statement.”

Targeting Palestinian Refugees and Slashing Aid, Trump Has Fully Adopted Disastrous Agenda of Israel’s Far-Right, J Street

“In response to reports that the Trump administration plans to announce a new policy that will reject the refugee status of millions of Palestinians and further undermine the UNRWA refugee agency, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement: ‘The Trump administration’s moves to rescind the refugee status of millions of Palestinians and to massively cut US humanitarian aid to the West Bank and Gaza further confirm that their real intent isn’t an ‘ultimate deal’ to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but to adopt as US policy the disastrous agenda of Israel’s far-right….The Trump administration has destroyed its ability to serve as a diplomatic leader. It is instead behaving as a full-on bad actor. Members of Congress must now do everything in their power to challenge the actions of a reckless president pouring fuel on the fire in the Middle East.’”


Top News and Analysis

How Trump is killing the two-state solution — and giving Hamas power, Forward

Dave Harden writes, “In withdrawing $200 million from Gaza and the West Bank with expiring fiscal year 2017 funds, the White House is turning its back on the Palestinian people, increasing security risks to Israel, undermining the private sector on both sides of the Green Line and limiting America’s ability to alleviate other friction points between the parties. The result is that Hamas has more room to consolidate power, particularly against potential moderate actors. History has demonstrated that a sustained economic embargo on Hamas over the past thirteen years has not restrained its ability to develop and launch increasingly more sophisticated rockets at Israel. As U.S. NGOs in Gaza begin to lay off hundreds of staff and close down operations, the Trump Administration has effectively vacated American influence in one of the most contested, complicated crises on earth.”

The General Who Might Take Down Netanyahu, Daily Beast

Noga Tarnopolsky writes, “ Retired Brigadier General Amal Asad never imagined he’d become the nemesis of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu….But Asad, an Israeli through and through, is not Jewish. He is Druze. And when Netanyahu recently passed the ‘Nation-State Law,’ a quasi-constitutional Basic Law that Netanyahu claims ensures “the national rights of the Jewish people in its land” but lacks mention of equal rights for all citizens, Asad felt compelled to act—with results that have shaken the Netanyahu government to its foundations.”


Japan to approve $5.4 million UNRWA aid package for Palestinians in Gaza: report, i24NEWS

Japan is reportedly set to announce that it will provide some $5.4 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinians in Gaza as the organization works to overcome a massive budget deficit prompted by the suspension of United States funding in January.

U.S. Offered Assad to Leave Syria if Iran Withdraws From South, Report Says, Haaretz

The United States offered the Assad regime to take its forces out of Syria in return for an Iranian withdrawal from the country’s south, Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported Tuesday.

Israeli court allows entry to Hamas kin for medical care, Associated Press

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that five critically ill women from Gaza may enter Israel for urgent medical treatment despite a government decision preventing relatives of Hamas members from doing so.

Israeli Airport Guards Pepper-spray Druze Family, Draw Gun on Them, Haaretz

A Druze family was pepper-sprayed by a guard at the entrance to a road leading to Ben-Gurion Airport where they were headed to a flight overseas, as they were stopped for a routine security check a week ago, a member of the family told Haaretz on Monday.

Israel demolishes family home of Palestinian attacker, Reuters

The Israeli military on Tuesday demolished the family home of a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank who killed an Israeli in a Jewish settlement a month ago and was shot dead in the attack.

Netanyahu sees path to Palestinian peace in Israeli-Arab ties, i24NEWS

Israel’s prime minister says he sees a path to peace with Palestinians through the “normalization” of relations with Arab states which, like his country, are also facing an emboldened Iran.


Opinion and Analysis

Egypt and Qatar are working on 2 very different deals for Gaza; both are stalled, Times of Israel

Avi Issacharoff writes, “[Doha] and Cairo are taking two very different paths to a calmer future — and those paths do not even end up at the same destination. The Egyptian stance is that an intra-Palestinian reconciliation deal must first be reached between Hamas and Fatah, and that only after the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority government returns to the Gaza Strip can a wider agreement be negotiated between Israel and Gaza. The big problem with that approach is that intra-Palestinian reconciliation hinges on the good will of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is setting conditions he knows full well the terror group that rules the Strip has no intention of conceding: Hamas relinquishing all elements of its rule, disarming its military wing, and handing all its weapons to the PA. As Abbas likes to call it: “One law, one weapon.” That is pretty much Israel’s dream scenario, although for some reason there are some in Israel who are blaming Abbas for delaying an agreement, instead of encouraging him to stick to his position. The Qatari plan is almost the other way around. Doha does not want to wait any longer for Abbas, and has been sending countless messages that it is willing to massively invest in the Gaza Strip, including to build an airport for Gazans near Eilat in southern Israel — with Israeli security supervision — from which flights would go to Qatar and Turkey.”

For Palestinians, Trump is all pain and no peace, Washington Post

Ishaan Tharoor writes, “Trump’s apparent disregard for the plight of Palestinians should be no surprise. Trump has never hidden his affinity for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who welcomed Trump’s election in 2016, endorsed his vision for a wall along the Mexican border and cheered his unraveling of the nuclear deal with Iran. In various meetings, they have hailed their close friendship and like-minded views.”

Netanyahu’s Incitement Is Bringing About the End of the Third Commonwealth, Haaretz

Nehemia Shtrasler writes, “Netanyahu could behave completely differently. He could throw away the nation-state law, promoting in its stead a law providing more equality to Israel’s Arab citizens. He could bring Arabs closer to him, embracing them and telling them that this state is theirs just as it is his. He could broadcast humanity and warmth, strengthening their loyalty to the state, allowing us to meet them in all walks of life, with them loving this country and hoping for its success. But Netanyahu has chosen the opposite path, the road of incitement and incendiarism, which he believes ensures his victory in elections. He may win, but the price will be unbearable. He is leading us into a dead end, to a civil war pitching Jews against Arabs. This war will quickly expand to a war of Jews against Jews.”