News Roundup for December 14, 2020

December 14, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

House Democrats endorse Biden’s push to rejoin Iran nuclear deal, Jewish Insider
The representatives write that they support withdrawing some of the sanctions the Trump administration imposed under its “maximum pressure” campaign in the interest of ensuring U.S. and Iranian compliance with the deal. “We strongly endorse your call for Iran to return to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States to rejoin the agreement, and subsequent follow-on negotiations,” the text of the letter obtained by Jewish Insider reads. “We understand that returning to the agreement will require the selective lifting of some sanctions and rigorous implementation to verifiably ensure Iranian compliance.” The letter adds that the U.S. should also subsequently seek to address Iran’s other malign activities, including its support for terrorism, non-nuclear weapons development, human rights violations and imprisonment of foreign political prisoners, through coordinated international diplomacy. “Reinstating our international agreements and engaging in sustained diplomacy are the best ways to achieve long-term non-proliferation and urgent national security objectives, including the prevention of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon and the laying of a foundation for progress on other critical issues,” the letter argues.

Israel passes grim milestone of 3,000 coronavirus deaths since start of pandemic, Times of Israel
Israel passed the bleak milestone of 3,000 coronavirus deaths on Monday as the rate of positive tests was on the rise and the country was seen as likely to face new restrictions by the end of the month.

House Dems unite to support the Iran nuclear deal, Responsible Statecraft
Trita Parsi writes, “Contrary to common perceptions that Congress is hostile territory for diplomacy with Iran, the swift organizing of the letter and the backing of both the Democratic leadership and the three contenders for the chairmanship of HFAC suggest remarkable support of the deal among Democrats. In fact, Rep. Sherman was a vocal opponent of the deal in 2015 but has since become supportive. “


Israeli Troops Beat the Palestinian Teen, Shattering His Jaw. Then They Cuffed Him to the Hospital Bed, Haaretz
Soldiers bashed a Palestinian teen with their rifles, breaking his jaw. When finally taken to the hospital, 20 hours later, he was in shackles. His father waited in the hall for three days before he could hug him

Far-right ex-minister picked to head Yad Vashem hits back at ‘baseless’ censure, Times of Israel
Effi Eitam, a far-right former minister who has been nominated by the government as the next head of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, on Sunday rebuffed widespread criticism against his selection over his past statements about Palestinians and Arab Israelis.

As Casualties Mount, Israel Drags Feet on Plan to Combat Violence in Arab Communities, Haaretz
In an unusual move last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a special session of the Knesset committee to fight violence in Arab society, which broadly addressed the government proposal to combat violence and concluded that the plan would be approved soon, perhaps within two weeks.

Pence planning Israel visit a week before Biden’s inauguration, Times of Israel
US Vice President Mike Pence is expected to visit Israel in January, a week before Joe Biden is sworn in as the new president, Hebrew media reported Sunday.

‘Temporarily Uprooted’ Gaza Settlements Among ‘Miracles’ in Israeli Learning Kits, Haaretz
The Higher Education Ministry helped pay for learning kits that depict settlements that were evacuated in Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a collection of “miracles that came to their temporary end at the time of the uprooting.”

As part of Israel deal, US officially delists Sudan as state sponsor of terror, Times of Israel
The United States on Monday formally removed Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, 27 years after putting the country on its blacklist, the US embassy in Khartoum announced.

As Virus Spreads Across Gaza, Hamas Is More Willing to Negotiate With Israel, Haaretz
The past few weeks have seen some progress in contacts over a deal with Hamas in the Gaza Strip to release missing and imprisoned Israelis. According to Arab media outlets, indirect negotiations have been stepped up recently, also due to the elevated spread of the coronavirus in Gaza, which has increased Hamas’ reliance on outside aid.

Opinion and Analysis

Will Biden save the two-state solution?, Al-Monitor
Former Ambassador Avi Gil writes, “The pleasing illusion that building confidence will lead to a political settlement must give way to the reality that only credible endgame parameters will breed confidence. A clear political horizon would give the Palestinians a tangible incentive to resolve their painful internal rivalries and defeat the armed elements opposing peace. At the same time, with the parameters, Israelis would know that their country has a final border. The temptation to settle beyond it will disappear, as the binding international decision will end the unconstructive territorial ambiguity.”

Israel-Morocco agreement plants long term seeds of conflict, Responsible Statecraft
Mitchell Plitnick writes, “By agreeing to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara that it has occupied since 1975, the Trump administration has exceeded even its own standards of transactionalism. This recognition of one occupation in service of another is even more cynical than the normalization deals it brokered with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan.”

Morocco got the best of President Trump as part of its new agreement with Israel, Washington Post
Stacy Holden writes, “Morocco has been an ally of the U.S. from the start, but, make no mistake, the king has never been an American lackey. Alawite rulers have long proved shrewd diplomats, and last Thursday, Muhammad VI, once again, just as his ancestor, Muhammad ben Abdallah, got the better of American leaders.”

Here’s What the Next Yad Vashem Head Said About Palestinians. Now Imagine It in German, Haaretz
Yagil Levy writes, “A battalion operations officer testified that ‘He heard brigade commander Eitam say he ‘wants to see lots of broken arms and legs.’’ The battalion commander, a defendant in the trial, testified that Eitam ‘asked the soldiers, ‘How many broken arms and legs do we have today?’”