News Roundup for December 13, 2021

December 13, 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 Leader Is to Meet Emirati Prince, Showcasing Deepening Ties, The New York Times
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli leader to embark on an official visit to the United Arab Emirates, after flying to Abu Dhabi on Sunday to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the de facto Emirati leader.

Israel Advances New Projects for Jews Across East Jerusalem That Would Push Palestinians Out, Haaretz
The Custodian General’s Unit in the Justice Ministry is promoting widespread plans for building Jewish neighborhoods and housing complexes in East Jerusalem – a move that would entail the eviction of Palestinian residents.


Explosion at Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon leads to deaths, injuries, Al-Monitor
Several people were killed in Lebanon today after an explosion at a Palestinian refugee camp. The explosion occurred in the Burj al-Shemali refugee camp near the coastal city of Tyre. It specifically happened at a center used by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. The Lebanese army blocked off the camp’s access points as a result, and people in the surrounding areas heard the explosion.

Samantha Power: It’s Become Controversial to Provide Life-saving Aid to Palestinians, Haaretz
“For decades there has been a broad consensus – both in Israel and the United States – that investments in the health and wellbeing of Palestinians benefits everyone, including Israelis,” Power said. “That investing in a girl’s education is both righteous and necessary, regardless of which side of a line it occurs on. That a lack of opportunity only fuels distrust and alienation. Yet today, it has become controversial to provide life-saving aid to the Palestinian people and invest in their development.”

Divisions as Palestinians in occupied West Bank cast local votes, Al Jazeera
Palestinians in rural areas voted in the first phase of municipal elections in the West Bank, with Hamas boycotting.

Iran’s Nuclear Program Ignites New Tension Between U.S. and Israel, The New York Times
Long-running differences over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program have erupted into new tensions between the Biden administration and Israel, with two senior Israeli officials leaving Washington this week concerned that the Americans’ commitment to restoring the 2015 nuclear deal will lead to a flawed agreement allowing Tehran to speed ahead with its nuclear enrichment program.

House committee debates antisemitism as it moves forward a bill to create an Islamophobia monitor, JTA
A bill that would create an Islamophobia monitor in much the same cast as the State Department’s antisemitism monitor cleared its first hurdle on Friday, after a House committee debate about antisemitism.

Opinion and Analysis

Insights from my American journey, The Times of Israel
J Street Israel’s Executive Director, Nadav Tamir, reflects on his personal story and insights throughout his journey as an Israeli tourist, student, and diplomat in the United States. Having realized a lack of urgency to solve the Israel – Palestine conflict and end the toxic status quo of occupation, he joined J Street, writing “This realization led me to accept an offer to join J Street as the Executive Director of J Street Israel. No longer the startup I was introduced to in 2007, J Street has become a significant institution in American politics that continues to grow in size and influence. I feel that in my new role I’m truly helping Israel, my beloved country to be true to the vision of our founders, but there remains a great deal of work ahead. As a diehard Zionist, I feel that the two main priorities for Zionism today are to promote the realization of Two States for Two Peoples solution to the Israel – Palestine conflict and to grow the connection between Israel and the American Jews who hope for peace and a homeland for the Jewish People that exists as a model for justice. Only if we achieve these two goals will the US – Israel special relationship be able to secure its important role as a positive force for both nations.”

Israel’s ‘Most Moral Army in the World’ Can’t Keep Running Away From Its Past, Haaretz
The Editorial Board of Haaretz writes, of massacres during the 1948 War of Independence, “A 73-year-old state has no need to run away from its past or cover it in the false blanket of “purity of arms” and “the most moral army in the world.” It is time to acknowledge the truth, and first to publish the report by the first attorney general, Yaakov-Shimshon Shapira, on the massacres of the dark autumn of 1948; to restore the redacted text to the minutes of the cabinet meeting in which Shapira presented his findings and to hold a penetrating public discussion of their implications today.”

Tel Aviv: poverty and eviction in the world’s most expensive city, The Guardian
“Gentrification is a problem in cities across the world, but Israel’s recent political paralysis has compounded Tel Aviv’s housing crisis. No public housing has been built in the last two years, even though 30,000 people are on waiting lists. “Israel was founded as a socialist state, but we have abandoned those principles. I do more of a job finding vulnerable people places to live than the entire housing ministry,” said local activist, Riki Kohan Benlulu.”