News Roundup for December 15, 2021

December 15, 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

The Unexpected Iran Deal Validators, Press The Button Podcast
Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of J Street, discusses the growing number former Israeli officials faulting the Israeli government for opposing the Iran nuclear deal.

Top News and Analysis

Iran Negotiator ‘Optimistic’ About Nuclear Talks, Al-Monitor
In an interview with Iranian media, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, deputy foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani, spoke about the progress being made at the ongoing talks in Vienna.

U.S. and Palestinians Renew Economic Dialogue Paused Under Trump, Haaretz
Senior U.S. and Palestinian officials on Tuesday met virtually to renew the U.S.-Palestinian Economic Dialogue—the first meeting of its kind in five years after the Trump administration ceased such cooperation.


Israel Finds Planes That Could Be Key to a Strike on Iran Badly Back-Ordered, The New York Times
The United States told Israel it was unlikely to deliver refueling tankers before 2024, amid tensions between the two nations over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

Bennett Says Settler Violence ‘Insignificant’ Amid Spike in Attacks Against Palestinians, Haaretz
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev on Tuesday for criticizing settler violence in the West Bank and promising to tackle it. Bennett dubbed settler violence an “insignificant phenomena” that should be dealt with. Moreover, he called to refrain from generalizing the whole community.

Israel Arrests 11 Nablus University Students for Pro-Hamas Activism, The Times of Israel
Israeli security forces have arrested 11 students from An-Najah National University in Nablus suspected of supporting the Hamas terror group on campus, an Israeli military spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Mining Gold From East Jerusalem’s Streets, Haaretz
“Israel profits twice from Palestinians living in the capital: once from the fines they pay for the city’s own crimes, and again when the community is forced into a life of low-paying jobs and abject poverty.”

2015 Nuclear Deal No Longer Sufficient for Reality of Iran in 2022, Iaea Chief Says, The Times of Israel
The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog warned Tuesday that the restrictions faced by his inspectors in Iran threaten to give the world only a “very blurred image” of Tehran’s program as it enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.

Opinion and Analysis

Palestinian Youth Are Dealing With Social Media Fame, Teen Vogue
“Many young Palestinians found themselves in a new international spotlight as their videos of the neighborhoods, attacks from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and settlers, and their own outrage went viral on social media. This virality resulted in a unified online campaign that had an unprecedented impact on international attitudes toward Palestine. But months later, some young Palestinians feel a tension between embracing their newfound following and being seen as one-dimensional symbols by their audiences. Even as they use these new platforms to fight for the Palestininan cause and acknowledgement of their own humanity, they’re finding themselves uncomfortably stamped with identities that flatten it — like militant, victim, or activist.”

In America, We Found a Common Ground for Israelis and Palestinians, Haaretz
Sari Bashi, a Jewish Israeli-American lawyer, married to a Palestinian resident of Ramallah, writing under the pen name Umm Forat, reflects on her experiences raising children in America compared to in Israel and Palestine. She writes, “In the United States, women give birth to an average of 1.6 children. In Israel, the average is 3.1 children per woman, and in the West Bank and Gaza it’s 3.8 children. In Israel, if you don’t have children, neighbors and passersby don’t hesitate to remind you that your biological clock is ticking. In Palestine, people are named by reference to their children: Umm Forat means Mother of Forat, because parenthood is an honorific title. Of course Americans love their kids, too, but we seem to have landed in a place where the residents have never met a child. ‘At least we found another commonality between Israelis and Palestinians,’ Osama said. ‘On the subject of children, we’re united against the United States of America.’”

Why Bombing Iran (Is Still) A Bad Idea, Responsible Statecraft
“The Trump administration — egged on by Netanyahu — made an enormous mistake by violating the JCPOA. It destroyed an emergent American dialogue with Iran that offered to de-escalate tensions in the region and gave Iran an excuse to restart parts of its nuclear program that the JCPOA had boxed in. It also rightly raised concerns about the integrity of American commitments. The consequences of this violation are now coming home to haunt us. It is time for honest and thoughtful discussions with ourselves and our partners, not full-throated threats that will have their own dangerous results.”

Israel Just Showed Its Strategy on Settlement Boycotts: Gaslighting, The Washington Post
Gershom Gorenberg writes, “There’s an emotional element to the reaction in Israel to a boycott, any boycott. But the official response to sanctions against settlements is a strategic move by the Israeli right. Equating an embargo of settlements with a boycott of Israel is meant to block a legitimate means of objecting to a specific policy — and thus tie the hands of foreign allies and loyal citizens who rightfully regard that policy as a danger to the country’s character and future. Yet when the potential price was endangering Israel’s economy and its ties with Europe, the government abandoned the ruse.”