News Roundup for August 3, 2021

August 3, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Supreme Court offers Palestinians facing eviction a deal to avert another conflict, Washington Post
Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday offered a compromise to delay the eviction of four Palestinian families from a neighborhood in East Jerusalem that was the flash point in the most recent bout of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the Gaza Strip. The deal, proposed Monday afternoon, would require the four families to recognize the far-right Jewish settlers seeking their eviction as their legal landlords, in return for a special residency status that would protect them from eviction for an unspecified number of years. The families, some of which initially said they had rejected the offer, are expected to provide a formal response within a week, according to the minutes of the hearing.

In Sheikh Jarrah, Israel’s Supreme Court Seeks to Avoid Ruling on Who’s Right, Haaretz
Nir Hasson writes, “By offering a compromise, top court justices showed they did not want to discuss the legal substance of the case nor order the eviction of hundreds of Palestinians from their homes, especially now”

The Republican mission to cancel Ben & Jerry’s is comically hypocritical, MSNBC
Zeeshan Aleem writes, “Now, it should be no surprise that Republicans are aghast at criticism of Israel, a country whose policies they indiscriminately defend because of their evangelical base and their view of the state as an indispensable geopolitical asset in the Middle East. But the way they’re going about dealing with this particular critique is a bit amusing. Because for all their raging about how the American left is trying to “cancel” everything they don’t like by stifling speech and political expression, these GOPers are doing precisely that — and in a heavy-handed way.”


WATCH: Settler grabs Israeli soldier’s weapon, fires at Palestinians, +972 Magazine
Settlers have been coordinating attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank for years, but based on my documentation of the incidents, together with a group of Palestinian activists, the attacks have increased in both frequency and intensity over the past few months, particularly on Saturdays. In some cases, the attacks involve cooperation between armed settlers and soldiers.

Israeli defense chief: Alleged Iran attack an ‘escalation’, AP
Israel’s defense minister said Monday that Iran’s alleged attack on a merchant ship in the Arabian Sea last week was “a stepping-up of the escalation” of hostilities by Iran, and called for international action. Benny Gantz addressed Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and said the drone strike on the Mercer Street that left two crew members dead — one from the United Kingdom and one from Romania — was “in violation of international law and human morality.” He charged that Iran was behind at least five attacks on international shipping in the last year.

Israeli Military Covered Up Negligent Killing of Six Gazans During Recent Conflict, Haaretz
Israeli soldiers mistakenly fired shells into an area inhabited by Palestinian farmers, killing a baby, a teenager and four others. The army never reported the incident, nor did they punish any senior officers.

Israel seeking to bolster PA, says senior official ahead of Bennett’s US visit, Times of Israel
The new Israeli government is seeking to strengthen the Palestinian Authority as it enters a post-Netanyahu era and to bolster its own ties with the Democratic administration in Washington, a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Sunday. “Our policy is first and foremost to strengthen the Palestinian Authority. Whatever Hamas receives, three times as much should be given to the PA,” said the official, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

Israel’s Olympic gold victory raises Jewish identity debate, AP
Artem Dolgopyat fulfilled a lifelong dream when he won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. But back home in Israel, his hopes of trading gold wedding bands with his longtime girlfriend seem to be an impossible dream. The Ukrainian-born Israeli gymnast was hailed as a national hero for winning Israel’s second-ever gold medal — and its first in artistic gymnastics. But the celebrations were tempered after his mother lamented that the country’s authorities will not allow him to wed because he is not considered Jewish according to Orthodox law.

Opinion and Analysis

Heat Wave Grips Israel and the Climate Models Are Melting, Haaretz
Ruth Schuster writes, “Heatwave-stricken Israel is still cooler than Canada and Siberia were in June, because global warming is changing reality in ways we can’t predict and didn’t expect yet.”

A year after massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon’s crisis deepens, CNN
Mohamad Bazzi writes, “A year ago, a massive explosion in the port of Beirut devastated the city, killing more than 200 people, injuring 6,000 and causing billions of dollars in damage. For a brief time, it seemed the disaster would force a corrupt group of sectarian oligarchs to ease their grip on power and allow political and economic reform in Lebanon. But a year later, the country is worse off than it was on August 4, 2020.”

How Iran and Saudi Arabia Can—Together—Bring Peace to the Middle East, Foreign Affairs
Vali Nasr and Maria Fantappie write, “To avert similar damage this time, Washington must find a way to pair reductions in military commitments with gains in regional stability. One of the best opportunities for achieving those gains lies in emerging talks between the region’s two most consequential antagonists: Iran and Saudi Arabia.”

Are Russia and Israel on a collision course in Syria?, Responsible Statecraft
Mitchell Plitnick writes, “Recent statements by a Russian admiral and an anonymous Russian source have prompted speculation about whether Russia is changing its approach regarding Israeli strikes on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria. If such a shift is coming, it could pose problems for the United States, as the situation between Israel and Russia, while not unfriendly, is fragile and complicated.”