News Roundup for December 13, 2018

December 13, 2018

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street in the News

Top Lobbyists 2018, The Hill

J Street’s Dylan Williams is named to The Hill’s 2018 list of top lobbyists.

Top News and Analysis

Two Israelis Killed, Two Seriously Wounded in West Bank Shooting, Haaretz

Two Israelis were killed and two were seriously wounded Thursday in a shooting in the West Bank, near the settlement of Ofra, emergency services reported. Israeli army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said a man disembarked from a vehicle on Route 60, opened fire and fled the scene. Manelis added that soldiers are canvassing the area in search of several assailants as well as setting up checkpoints, and that the army has sealed off roads leading Ramallah.

West Bank Spirals Into Violence as Hamas Ups Efforts to Orchestrate Attacks, Haaretz

Amos Harel reports, “The recent series of incidents is a recipe for escalation, due to the possibility that there could be additional attempts to duplicate the success of the terrorists and generate a cycle of revenge attacks. The Israeli army has decided to reinforce its troop presence in the West Bank for the second time this week. The idea is that the additional forces would serve as a fire blanket of sorts that would prevent the fire’s spread….Hamas’ approach has remained unchanged. A resumption of lethal terrorist attacks from the West Bank would make things difficult for Israel, harming security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority’s security services, undermining the stability of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ rule, and would certainly do damage to an orderly transfer of power to Abbas’ successors.”


Pompeo asks U.N. to bar Iran from ballistic missile testing, Washington Post

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ramped up the campaign against Iran another notch Wednesday by urging the United Nations Security Council to prohibit the Islamic republic from conducting ballistic missile tests. In a speech to the Security Council, Pompeo trained his criticism on Iran’s ballistic missile activity, saying it had increased since the nuclear deal took force in 2016. Pompeo’s high-profile appearance at the Security Council underscored the laser focus the administration has placed on painting Iran as the epitome of evil in the world. Almost every day in recent months, officials from the State Department and the Treasury Department have issued statements, imposed sanctions or designated Iranian individuals and entities for their bad behavior.

Two Police Officers Stabbed in Suspected Terror Attack in Jerusalem, Haaretz

Two Israeli police officers are wounded after a Palestinian approached and stabbed them in a suspected terror attack in the Old City of Jerusalem early Thursday morning.  A policewoman, 19, is in moderate condition and has been taken to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem while the other policeman, 21, sustained minor wounds to his face and has been taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center. According to reports, the assailant was shot dead at the scene by security forces.

Baby, Delivered After Mother Shot in West Bank Attack, Laid to Rest, Haaretz

The baby who was delivered Sunday after his mother was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting attack near a West Bank settlement was pronounced dead on Wednesday. The baby, who was named Amiad Israel, was laid to rest in the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem later that evening.

Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Suspected of Involvement in West Bank Terror Attack, Haaretz

Israeli troops shot a Palestinian man north of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday evening as part of an ongoing manhunt for the assailants of Sunday’s drive-by shooting near an Israeli settlement. The man later died of his wounds at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. Troops from Yamam, a counter-terrorism unit operating under the Border Police, set out for the Palestinian village of Surda on Wednesday evening. Acting on intelligence leads, troops pulled their vehicle next to a parked cab where the suspect was sitting.

US rebukes ‘unacceptable’ West Bank posters urging Abbas’s assassination, Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump’s envoy for Middle East peace condemned on Wednesday a far-right Israeli group urging the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s assassination. Palestinians have fumed and called for international condemnation since posters bearing the face of Abbas in rifle crosshairs and the Hebrew words “Assassinate the murder funders” appeared throughout the West Bank on Tuesday.

Netanyahu spokesman resigns in aftermath of sexual misconduct allegations, JTA

David Keyes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s U.S.-born foreign press spokesman, resigned Wednesday several months after allegations of sexual misconduct were reported in the U.S. and Israeli press. The accusations, made by a number of women, including then-New York State Senate candidate Julia Salazar, dated back to Keyes’ time as a human rights advocate in New York in the early 2010s. Following the publication of the allegations, Keyes took a leave of absence from his position. Israel did not launch any criminal investigation into the incidents, as the alleged offenses took place abroad.

Opinion and Analysis

On Iran, US allies fear ‘maximum pressure’ could provoke escalation, Al-Monitor

Laura Rozen reports, “While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the UN Security Council today to impose tougher measures to restrain Iran’s ballistic missile activities, European allies said they doubt the Donald Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign will achieve its stated objective of a better agreement with Iran. Instead, they fear it is more likely over time to provoke Iran to lash out in ways that could lead to military escalation….European diplomats who have closely engaged with the US administration on Iran say they see little prospect that Iran will take up Trump’s offer of talks anytime soon. They also mock the prospect that Iran would accept anything resembling Pompeo’s 12-point plan for Iran to become a “normal country,” as Pompeo frequently puts it. Some allied diplomats have wondered if some members of the Trump administration instead would prefer to provoke Iran to take rash action that would provide a pretext for military confrontation, even as Trump has told European counterparts he does not want a war with Iran.”

Netanyahu Is Risking Israel’s Interests by Riding the European Nationalist Tiger, Haaretz

Anshel Pfeffer writes, “In a year that has seen visits to Israel by such leaders as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and, from further afield, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, it is clear that the Bibi pilgrimage has become a rite of passage for a certain kind of foreign politician. It is clear what they come for on the political level: Politicians who are historically tainted with their party’s past associations with fascist and neo-Nazi roots can get Israel’s kashrut stamp by visiting the Western Wall and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial….Netanyahu favors a disjointed and weakened EU, one that is unable to talk in a joint voice on the matters that are important to him. But he should be careful what he wishes for….The likes of Salvini may be his starry-eyed fans, but a Europe riven by nationalism and extremism will not be in Israel’s interests.”