News Roundup for December 20, 2017

December 20, 2017

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Top News and Analysis

White House confidence in Mideast peace process faces challenges, CNN

Elise Labott and Jeremy Diamond report, “A series of diplomatic maneuvers at the United Nations have left the US increasingly isolated on the peace process. The UN Security Council unanimously backed a resolution Tuesday rebuking the Jerusalem decision, forcing the US to employ its veto power. The Palestinians are now moving the resolution before the UN’s General Assembly, where the US cannot unilaterally avoid censure. Meanwhile, protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank since Trump’s announcement have left hundreds injured. And militants in Gaza have fired rockets into Israel, triggering retaliatory Israeli strikes. The popular unrest, international uproar and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ rejection of the US as an honest broker in the peace process are leaving some experts and Arab diplomats questioning whether the Trump administration underestimated the ramifications of its Jerusalem decision and how the White House can recover.”

After U.S. veto, U.N. General Assembly to meet on Jerusalem status, Reuters

“The 193-member United Nations General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday at the request of Arab and Muslim states on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour said the General Assembly would vote on a draft resolution calling for Trump’s declaration to be withdrawn, which was vetoed by the United States in the 15-member U.N. Security Council on Monday.”

U.S. warns allies Trump will take Jerusalem vote “personally,” CBS News

“President Trump will be watching a vote in the United Nations General Assembly ‘very carefully,’ and has asked his ambassador to the world body, Nikki Haley, to ‘report back on those countries who voted against us,’ Haley wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to some countries. The letter has been obtained by CBS News. Haley also sent a tweet warning the U.S. would be ‘taking names’ in Thursday’s scheduled vote, which is intended to show a United Nations unified around getting President Trump to withdraw his administration’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”


Israel Tells Envoys to Act to Avoid Embarrassment at UN Vote on Trump’s Jerusalem Move, Haaretz

The UN General Assembly is set to meet on Thursday at 5 P.M. Israel time (10 A.M. EST) for an emergency discussion on the unilateral American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Turkey and Yemen requested the meeting after an Egyptian draft resolution against the recognition was presented to the Security Council and was vetoed by the United States, although the 14 other members of the council voted for it.

Israel Planning Three New Settlements in Jordan Valley, Haaretz

The Israeli government wants to erect three new settlements in the Jordan Valley, housing about 10,000 people, and to expand existing settlements with 14 new neighborhoods. At this stage, neither permits for construction nor budgets have been arranged.

US Accuses Iran of Missile Attack on Saudi Arabia Launched from Yemen, Newsweek

The United States has said it believes Iran was behind the most recent attempted attack on Saudi Arabia after a ballistic missile fired from Yemen was shot down over Riyadh Tuesday.

Greenblatt Arrives in Israel for his First Major Diplomatic Test, Jerusalem Post

Arriving in Israel missioned by US President Donald Trump to lay the groundwork for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special envoy to the peace process, will face his first major diplomatic test this week as one of the two sides critical to his effort refuses to meet with him.

IDF arrests another Palestinian woman for hitting soldiers in video, Times of Israel

The army arrested a second Palestinian girl from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh early Wednesday morning, in connection with an incident last week in which she and her cousin filmed themselves hitting and harassing soldiers outside their house.

Israel Looks to Fend Off Further PA Moves in International Arena, Jerusalem Post

A day after 14 countries on the Security Council voted in favor of a resolution against Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israel was focused more on trying to stop further Palestinian moves in international forums than punishing the countries who voted for the measure.

Police minister uneasy with Netanyahu speech knocking law enforcement, Times of Israel

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Wednesday expressed his disapproval of a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a day earlier that roundly dismissed a likely police recommendation to the attorney general that charges be pressed against him.

Opinions and Analysis

It’s Not a Fair Fight, Haaretz

The Haaretz Editorial Board argues, “Instead of turning the public against the opposition or IDF commanders, the right-wing government should recognize that there is no solution to Israel’s main problem except an end to the occupation. Until then, it should at least be grateful to those trying with all their might to maintain calm and hold out with minimal use of force in the harsh situation where Israel places its best young people.”

The BDS Campaign’s Unpopular Front, Democracy Journal

Eric Alterman argues, “Illiberal attempts to silence BDS only strengthen the arguments of those who portray Israel as illegitimate, anti-democratic, and oppressive to all but its Jewish citizens. What’s more, its casualties will be not only Israel’s democratic bona fides, but also the hope of peace between the two peoples, and hence, the prospect of an independent Palestinian homeland living alongside Israel in peace and dignity. This is the only ‘success’ that the BDS movement has any chance of achieving. It is therefore the job of the faithful friends of both peoples to ensure that it fails.”

In a New Challenge to Israel, Syria’s Assad Sets His Sights on Golan Border Area, Haaretz

Amos Harel argues, “The Assad regime is gearing up to expand the area it controls in southern Syria, near the border with Israel.The Syrian army and the militias supporting it are likely to start their attack on the rebel forces in the vicinity of the border with Lebanon, by the Syrian Mount Hermon. Later they may try to advance southward, along Israel’s border in the Golan Heights.”

Israelis, Palestinians need European mediation, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar writes, “It’s time for Israeli and Palestinian believers in the two-state solution to abandon their illusion that Washington will salvage the peace process. It was not accomplished under Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Barack Obama. There is no reason to believe that the current residents of the White House will supply the goods. For them, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a domestic policy issue and not another regional crisis that requires conflict-resolution tools.”

Palestinian Girl in Viral Video Arrested for Making the Occupation Look Bad, Haaretz

Anshel Pfeffer argues, “The dirty secret that has been revealed here is that the Israeli politicians who are perpetuating the occupation are not really worried about international pressure on Israel or about Palestinian resentment and violence. Their deepest fear is that the broad Israeli public will pay attention to what its sons and daughters are doing daily in the West Bank in their name — that there simply is no way to stage manage a telegenic occupation. The Israeli veterans of Breaking The Silence who have tried to shake their fellow countrymen from their stupor of denial have been persecuted and vilified. And now the Palestinians are likewise not allowed to make the IDF look bad.”

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