News Roundup for December 16, 2021

December 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

Why Combating Islamophobia Is So Important to This U.S. Jewish Lawmaker, Haaretz
[Jan Schakowsky] credits a trip to Israel with the group J Street years ago for the first time she ever used the term “occupation,” noting that “once you see it, you recognize it for what it is. What has been happening in terms of settlement expansion and destruction and demolitions of homes and businesses. … President Biden has spoken out and the administration has spoken out against this, and there’s widespread support in the Jewish community against settlements.” Schakowsky recalls visiting the Palestinian village of Sussia, slated for demolition, as a particularly powerful experience. “On the same side of the street of Sussia, they were digging for pipes for the water to go to the illegal settlement across the street,” Schakowsky recounts, saying she asked the U.S. ambassador at the time, David Friedman, about this. “And he said, ‘Oh, well, I’ll look into it.’ I told him if they could have one spigot to have water, that would be a big help. Never happened. Once you’ve seen it, you just can’t ignore it.”

Top News and Analysis

Violent attacks by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank are up nearly 50% from last year, JTA
Violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank are nothing new. But the phenomenon has reached alarming new level of frequency this year. Violent attacks perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank exceeding last year’s attacks by nearly 50%.

IAEA and Iran Strike Deal on New Cameras for Sabotaged Workshop, Reuters
The U.N. nuclear watchdog reached agreement with Iran on Wednesday on replacing surveillance cameras at a centrifuge-parts workshop that had been removed after an apparent attack, removing one potential obstacle to wider nuclear talks.

Yair Lapid: Extremist Violence Is a ‘Stain on Israel’, The Atlantic
Yair Rosenberg writes, “The issue of settler violence has pitted Lapid, Gantz, and the government’s left-wing and Arab parties against its right-wing and settler flanks. Is this split a harbinger of an inevitable crack-up, or an exception that will soon be resolved? Whether the government survives long enough to give Lapid his turn in the prime minister’s chair may hinge on the answer.”


Palestinians Praise Israeli Minister’s Condemnation of Settler Violence, The Times of Israel
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry issued a statement in support of Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Barlev on Wednesday, after he noted the need to tackle West Bank violence by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

Fatah Wins Small Victory in Palestinian Local Elections, Al-Monitor
The slight victory of candidates supporting Fatah in the local council elections appear to have boosted the morale of the Palestinian leadership and opened the door for elections in major cities.

As Coalition Bickers, Hundreds of Soldiers to Help Police Confront Settler Violence, The Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev have agreed to draft hundreds of Israel Defense Forces soldiers into the police so that more police officers can be redirected to the West Bank and help combat extremist settler violence.

Abbas Given Bodyguard by Knesset After Threats From Right-Wing Protesters, Jerusalem Post
The head of the Knesset Guard, Yuval Chen, ordered that Ra’am (United Arab List) head Mansour Abbas be given a bodyguard, following violent threats made against him during right-wing protests.

US Holding off on Reopening Jerusalem Consulate Amid Strong Pushback From Israel, The Times of Israel
“No final decision has been made, and the official State Department line remains that the Biden administration “will move forward with the process of reopening the consulate in Jerusalem,” but three sources confirmed that no such process has begun. Moreover, even the administration’s more ardent advocates of reopening the consulate have shifted their focus to policies more likely to impact day-to-day life for Palestinians, [a] former senior US official said.”

Opinion and Analysis

Bennett Says Settler Violence Is ‘Insignificant.’ The Reality on the Ground Tells a Different Story, Haaretz
“Musab Sufan of Burin, near the settlement of Yitzhar, said settlers have been stoning his house since 2000, but the situation has worsened in the past two months after quieting down during the previous two years. His home is on the edge of the village, near Route 60. Usually, he said, the settlers come in groups of 20 to 30 people. “They break our windows and solar heaters with stones; in the past, they’ve also killed our sheep,” he said. “They’re trying to drive us out.” Sufan said the latest attack came from a small tent that settlers erected not far from his home a few months ago.”

The Anatomy of a Sanctions Failure, The Washington Post
Daniel W. Drezner writes, “The problem now is that the lack of a Plan B is becoming more disconcerting. The Vienna negotiations about Iran and the United States rejoining the JCPOA are not going well. The Iranians are being intransigent. Everyone else is worried about the lack of progress, except the Israelis, who are worried that there’s some secret progress being made. Catastrophic policy failures live in infamy. The best Iran hawks can hope for in the next few years is a policy failure that does not quite compare to Munich.”

When Being ‘Pro-Israel’ Isn’t Really, National Interest
Paul R. Pillar notes, “The truest friends of Israel would not enable such self-destructive behavior and would not espouse policies that condemn Israel to living forever by the sword, never knowing genuine peace and security.”