News Roundup for August 16, 2021

August 16, 2021

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street in the News

Progressive Jewish leaders condemn AIPAC for ads slamming ‘Squad’ members, JTA
Dozens of progressive Jewish leaders have signed a letter condemning the Israel lobby AIPAC for social media ads targeting Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the group of progressive Congress members known as “the Squad.” J Street, a liberal Israel lobby and rival of AIPAC, spearheaded the letter.

Urgent Action Needed Ahead of Looming Climate Catastrophe for Palestinians and Israelis, J Street
Desert or mountains, coastal or landlocked, urban or rural, every single country will have to confront the effects of the global rise in temperature, from rising sea levels to more frequent extreme weather events to a potential worldwide surge in migration. Israelis and Palestinians will not be spared — and the profound changes may have a significant impact on the conflict itself, and more broadly across the region.

Top News and Analysis

Jerusalem covered in smoke as wildfire rages outside city, AP
A massive wildfire outside of Jerusalem on Sunday sent a thick cloud of smoke over the city as authorities struggled to contain the blaze. The cloud stretched over much of the city on Sunday afternoon, covering the skies overhead with a black and orange blanket of smoke. After nightfall, the fire remained out of control. Hundreds of of firefighters from across the country were trying to bring the blaze under control, as hot, dry weather and heavy winds were complicating the efforts.

Among ruins of bombed city towers, Gazans still reel from shock and pain, The Guardian
Hardly anything destroyed in May has been rebuilt yet, save filling in some of the craters on the main roads for traffic, because the majority of outside funding for reconstruction is still held up in talks. The ceasefire, now presided over by a new Israeli coalition government headed by right-winger Naftali Bennett, is fragile – but holding.

Gaza rocket fired at south, intercepted, in first major attack since May flareup, Times of Israel
Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket from the Gaza Strip toward the town of Sderot on Monday afternoon in what appeared to be the first such attack since May’s 11-day conflict in the Palestinian enclave, the military said. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted the rocket, which triggered sirens in Sderot, as well as the the communities of Ivim, Nir Am and Erez in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces.


Israel condemns Poland restitution law, recalls top diplomat, AP
Israel on Saturday condemned Poland’s approval of a law that restricts the rights of Holocaust survivors or their descendants to reclaim property seized by the country’s former communist regime and announced it was recalling its top diplomat in protest.

Israel Prosecutor Reopens Case Against Officers Beating Palestinian Inmates After Haaretz Investigation, Haaretz
Israel’s state prosecutor has requested to reopen an investigation into abuse of inmates in Ketziot Prison allegedly perpetrated by guards, citing an incident that took place in March 2019 following a report by Haaretz. According to the Haaretz report, on March 24, 2019 – during what has been dubbed the most violent night in an Israeli jail – 55 Palestinian prisoners in restraints were thrown to the floor in Wing 3 of Ketziot Prison, without any provocation on their part.

Four Palestinians killed during Israeli police raid in Jenin, The Guardian
Israeli troops have clashed with Palestinian gunmen during a late-night arrest raid in the occupied West Bank, killing four Palestinians in one of the deadliest battles in the area in years, Palestinian health officials said. The incident occurred in Jenin, a city in the northern West Bank where tensions have been high since a man was killed in fighting with Israel earlier this month.

Arab men in Israel 36 times more likely to be shot than Jews, study shows, Times of Israel
A report prepared by a Knesset research unit underlines that Arab men in Israel are significantly more likely to be a victim of illegal gun violence than their Jewish Israeli counterparts.

In Light Criticism, U.S. Official Says It’s Critical for Israel to Refrain From Unilateral Settlement Activity, Haaretz
The United States on Friday warned that Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank would inflame Israeli-Palestinian tensions while impeding efforts to achieve a two-state solution. “We believe it is critical for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and fundamentally undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution,” a State Department official said. “This certainly includes settlement activity which will make achieving a two-state solution much more difficult. It’s critical to advance steps that will promote calm and reduce tensions.”

Opinion and Analysis

Amid Opposition to Polish Law, Israel Must Recognize Theft of Palestinian Property, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “Lapid and the rest of the cabinet members would do well to recognize that Poland is not alone in opposing restitution. Israel also stole property from many innocent Palestinians who were forced to flee in 1948, and since then their homes and land have been expropriated without compensation through the Absentee Property Law. The events of World War II and Israel’s War of Independence are of course not identical, but the result – innocent victims losing all their property, which was given to other people without any compensation – exists here too.”

CIA chief Burns brings a more polite tone in Israel visit, Responsible Statecraft
Mitchell Plitnick writes, “The aim is to restore some normalcy to the U.S. relationship, undo as much as possible the damage to Israel’s relationship with the Democratic Party inflicted by Netanyahu, and restore the bipartisan partnership between the U.S. and Israel that Biden believes can reopen diplomacy with the Palestinians. But restoring anything resembling the defunct peace process is a pipe dream.”

A Year Into Normalization Deal, Israel’s Hope for Geopolitical Change Fades, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “As the U.S. loses interest in the Middle East, Israel’s gains from inking the historic normalization agreements do not amount to what it has initially expected.”