News Roundup for December 14, 2018

December 14, 2018

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street in the News

One-state Solution Gains Ground in America – and pro-Israel Groups Are Worried, Haaretz

“Dylan Williams, J Street’s senior vice president for government affairs, tells Haaretz his organization is concerned about support for a one-state solution on both the left and right. He notes that while Tlaib will be the only Democrat in Congress who openly supports the one-state solution, there are dozens of Republicans who have endorsed the Israeli right’s version of a one-state solution, which is basically annexation in the West Bank without providing citizenship and equal rights to the Palestinians.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Warns Hamas That Israel Won’t Have Gaza Truce Alongside West Bank Terror, Senior Official Says, Haaretz

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas on Thursday that Israel won’t have a Gaza cease-fire alongside terrorism in the West Bank continues, a senior official said. Netanyahu also announced that he will legalize thousands of Jewish homes in the West Bank, hours after two IDF soldiers were killed and two others wounded in a shooting attack. The Prime Minister’s Office said it would promote the construction of 82 new housing units in the settlement of Ofra, as well as two new industrial zones near the settlements of Avnei Hefetz and Beitar Illit. Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, ordered the Israeli military to expedite the demolition of terrorist homes to within 48 hours following attacks.”

This man says there’s a crisis between Israel and Jews. But he’s causing it, Washington Post

Gershom Gorenberg writes, “Bennett and his party call for annexation of the West Bank settlements and land around them amounting to more than half the West Bank. Bennett and Jewish Home have also been at the forefront of anti-democratic changes inside Israel. They pushed for the recent Nation-State Law, which harms the status of non-Jewish citizens. They’ve led attempts to hamstring the Supreme Court to prevent it from overturning laws that violate human rights….I want Israel to be a country where diaspora Jews can again feel pride. And when Western society is showing that it has not cured itself of hatred toward Jews, it would be best if we all had each other’s back. But Naftali Bennett isn’t the man to explain the crisis in Israel-diaspora relations, or to solve it. He’s the walking, loudly talking embodiment of why it’s happening.”

Secret ADL Memo Slammed Anti-BDS Laws As ‘Harmful’ To Jews, Forward

Josh Nathan-Kazis reports, “The Anti-Defamation League has emerged as a supporter of controversial legislation targeting boycotts of Israel. But internal ADL documents obtained by the Forward show that the organization’s own staff believed the laws could actually harm American Jews. In the summer of 2016, ADL staff wrote an internal memo arguing that legislating against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement was a really bad idea. ‘Simply put, ADL does not believe that anti-BDS legislation is a strategic way to combat the BDS movement or defend Israel and is ultimately harmful to the Jewish community,’ the memo reads. It calls anti-BDS laws ‘ineffective, unworkable, unconstitutional, and bad for the Jewish community.’”

In coalition ultimatum, hawkish faction demands more roadblocks for Palestinians, Times of Israel

“A far-right faction of two Knesset lawmakers on Thursday evening issued an ultimatum to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following a number of deadly terror attacks in the West Bank, saying it would quit the coalition if roadblocks aren’t reinstated throughout the West Bank and a law preventing the demolition of illegal outposts isn’t quickly passed in the Knesset. The threat, if carried through, could bring down the fragile ruling coalition of just 61 of 120 parliament members.”


After Deadly West Bank Attack, Israel Moves to Boost Jewish Settlements, Haaretz

“After Netanyahu’s statement, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit formally approved the so-called ‘market amendment,’ which is expected to lead to the legalization of some 2,000 housing units in the West Bank, at the pressure of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. The amendment is based on an order pertaining to government property in the West Bank, stipulating that ‘a transaction made in good faith between the custodian of the government property in the territories and another person, regarding a property the custodian believed at the time of the deal to be government property’ is valid, even if in fact the land did not belong to the state.”

Abbas’s office condemns recent violence, blames Israel for tense ‘climate’, Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s office condemned the latest acts of violence in the West Bank on Thursday, though it did not explicitly refer to two terror attacks against Israelis in the central West Bank this week. “The climate created by the policy of repeated raids into cities, incitement against the president and the absence of horizons for peace is what led to this unacceptable series of violence, which we condemn and reject, and for which the two sides are paying the price,” Abbas’s office said.

Senate Votes to End Aid for Yemen Fight Over Khashoggi Killing and Saudis’ War Aims, The New York Times

“The Senate voted on Thursday to end American military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen in the strongest show of bipartisan defiance against President Trump’s defense of the kingdom over the killing of a dissident journalist. The 56-to-41 vote was a rare move by the Senate to limit presidential war powers and sent a potent message of disapproval for a nearly four-year conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and brought famine to Yemen. Moments later, senators unanimously approved a separate resolution to hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia personally responsible for the death of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. Together, the votes were an extraordinary break with Mr. Trump, who has refused to condemn the prince and dismissed United States intelligence agencies’ conclusions that the heir to the Saudi throne directed the grisly killing.”

Settler youth riot at scene of West Bank terror shooting, Times of Israel

Dozens of settler youth rioted at the scene of a deadly terror shooting Thursday in the central West Bank, human rights activists and Palestinian reports said, as thousands of right-wing Israelis protested in Jerusalem against the government’s response to a string of terror attacks. Video footage showed the far-activists throwing stones at passing Palestinian vehicles on Route 60, outside the Givat Assaf outpost, and clashing with Israeli soldiers.

Natalie Portman Slams Israel’s Nation-State Law As ‘Racist,’ ‘Wrong’, Huffington Post

Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman has only harsh words for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial “nation-state law” passed over the summer formally recognizing the country as a Jewish state despite its large population of non-Jewish Arabs. “It’s racist and there’s nothing else to say about that,” Portman told the the BBC in an interview posted online earlier this week. “It’s wrong and I disagree with that [law],” the actress continued.

Israeli Soldier Seriously Wounded in West Bank as Manhunt for Shooters Continues, Haaretz

An Israeli soldier sustained serious wounds during a confrontation with a Palestinian on Friday in a military outpost near the West Bank settlement of Beit El. According to the Israeli army, a struggle ensued between the soldier and the Palestinian after the latter crossed the West Bank barrier, reached the outpost and attacked the soldier with a rock and a knife.

Opinion and Analysis

How Netanyahu Became a Holocaust Revisionist, Haaretz

Anshel Pfeffer writes, “For the third time in four years, Yad Vashem’s historians find themselves at loggerheads with Benjamin Netanyahu. Back in 2015, they publicly corrected him on his breathtaking assertion that it had been the pro-Nazi Palestinian Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, and not the Germans, who had come up with the idea of wholesale extermination of European Jews. Earlier this year, they spoke out again, sharply criticizing Netanyahu’s joint statement with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, that whitewashed the role played by Polish citizens in persecuting Jews during the Holocaust, that they said contained ‘grave errors and deceptions’ which ‘contradict the existing and accepted historical knowledge in this field.’

And now they find themselves opposed to the prime minister again, as he plans to establish a ‘consensus narrative’ of the Holocaust in Hungary, together with the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, which is planning to inaugurate its own ‘House of Fates’ Holocaust museum in Budapest.”

Fact Check: President Trump’s claim that Democrats gave Iran $150 billion, Washington Post

“This is an egregious version of a claim that President Trump has made repeatedly — about 30 times, according to our database of Trump’s false and misleading claims….this was not U.S. money. It was Iran’s money, frozen in international financial institutions around the world because of sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions….Trump’s use of the $150 billion continues to be problematic. That was a high-end estimate, and the actual number available to Iran appears to have been between $25 billion and $50 billion. But even more troubling, Trump suggests this was taxpayer money. In the tweet, he explicitly compared it to a congressional appropriation. That’s just flat wrong — and worthy of Four Pinocchios.”

Fatah slams Iran for funding Gaza Strip while skirting PA, Al-Monitor

Ahmad Melhem reports, “There’s no end in sight to the tensions between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) and Iran, especially in light of Iran’s improving ties with Hamas. The PA pegs that improvement as the main reason for its failed attempts at reconciliation with Hamas and Hamas’ ongoing control of the Gaza Strip. Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and the PLO’s Executive Committee, made scathing comments against Iran on Nov. 27, saying it’s the No. 1 sponsor of the rival Palestinian factions’ division.”