News Roundup for August 9, 2018

August 9, 2018

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J Street in the News

Shut Down UNRWA? Some Fear Backlash, Times of Israel

“A spokesman for J Street, Logan Bayroff, noted that the Trump administration already cut funds to UNRWA at a time when there is a ‘major humanitarian crisis in Gaza. That agency is responsible for providing food, education and clothing to people who are suffering,’ he said. ‘The administration made the cuts against the recommendation of the Pentagon, the State Department and the U.S. intelligence community.”

Top News and Analysis

Nine Injured as Dozens of Gaza Rockets Launched at Israel; IDF Pounds Strip, Haaretz

“The Israeli military said it struck 12 targets in Gaza after four rockets fired from the Strip hit the southern Israeli town of Sderot on Wednesday evening, injuring nine Israelis. The targets include a factory for tunnel components, a coastal attack tunnel and Hamas targets, the IDF said. Shortly after the military struck Gaza, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three rockets fired from the Strip. According to the IDF, a total of 36 rockets were fired from the coastal enclave toward Israel.”

What It Would Take for Iran to Talk to Trump, Atlantic

Vali Nasr writes, “In Tehran, rival factions openly jockey for power and influence. The nuclear deal was a victory for moderates; its demise has favored conservative hard-liners. Iran’s rulers cannot afford to enter talks looking like they were duped by America in the first nuclear deal, and then bullied into negotiating for a second one. Rouhani’s conservative rivals made that point clear, quickly rejecting Trump’s offer. Meanwhile, Iran’s moderates, conservatives, clerics, and security chiefs fear a comeback by Iran’s former populist and anticlerical president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose supporters among the urban and rural poor have taken to the streets in recent months.”

News

Gaza official: ‘Current round of fighting is over, calm depends on Israel’, Times of Israel

“A Palestinian official in the Gaza Strip declared that the latest round of violence had ended early Thursday afternoon and that armed groups in the enclave would maintain the calm if Israel did the same. The announcement, made to a number of news outlets in Gaza, was quickly followed by a fresh attack on southern Israel from the Strip, which triggered sirens in the area but appeared to have hit in an open field, causing neither injury nor damage.”

Colombia is latest nation to recognize Palestinian statehood, Associated Press

Colombia’s foreign minister says his country has become the latest to recognize Palestinian statehood. Carlos Holmes said Wednesday that the outgoing government of President Juan Manuel Santos made the decision last week, shortly before leaving office.

Iran ambassador: Trump’s sanctions violate UN security council resolution, Guardian

The US is making history not just by violating a United Nations security council resolution it voted for three years ago, but also by penalizing countries who stick to the same unanimous resolution, the Iranian ambassador to the UN has claimed.

Netanyahu to meet Trump on sidelines of UN confab, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to attend the upcoming United Nations General Assembly and meet US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the conference, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Wednesday.

Knesset Speaker Rejects Arab Lawmaker’s Resignation Letter – Because It Was Written in Arabic, Haaretz

The resignation of Israeli Arab lawmaker Wael Younis (Joint List) was rejected Wednesday because he submitted his resignation letter in Arabic.

Opinion and Analysis

Why Trump’s plan to shut UNRWA is not the solution, Al-Monitor

Yossi Beilin writes, “In the informal 2003 Geneva Initiative, of which I am a founder, Israel and the Palestinians agreed to gradually close the UNRWA over a five-year period and to annul Palestinian refugee status during that time. Those displaced from their homes in 1948 would receive compensation from an international fund, and a symbolic number of them would be repatriated to Israel. That is the most reasonable solution to this onerous problem. Before the Trump team acts unilaterally and heavy-handedly to affect the future of the UNRWA and millions of refugees in ways harmful to all, they would do well to study solutions that stand a better chance of acceptance by the stakeholders.”

Israel’s Talk on Free Speech Doesn’t Match Its Action, Bloomberg

Daniel Gordis writes, “Israel needs a leader who can model devotion to the values of liberal societies, not undermine them for the sake of short-term political gains. Appealing to citizens comfortable with authoritarian-leaning regimes may earn Netanyahu short-term political gains, but could eventually yield a country which no one would call “one of the world’s most open democracies.”

Arab Israelis split over campaign against Nationality Law, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar writes, “Many among the Arab community disagree with the Supreme Court petition. They believe that any ruling it makes would in any case serve Netanyahu and other proponents of the law. If the justices decide they are not authorized to disqualify the law, the Arab petitioners will provide Netanyahu with the ratification he needs to disprove the critics’ contention that the Nationality Law sanctions apartheid. If the judges ban the law, the Arab struggle for equality could be sidelined by the “war” and ‘earthquake’ that Shaked has threatened.What’s more, the petition’s critics argue that the situation of Arab Israelis will not change even if the court overrides the law, because the Knesset has already proven beyond a doubt its attitude toward more than 20% of Israelis who are not Jewish.”

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