News Roundup for December 8, 2020

December 8, 2020

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J Street in the News

J Street Backs Bipartisan Senate Effort to Block Trump’s Massive UAE Arms Sale, Haaretz
“‘We oppose this arms sale and urge Senators to vote for the bipartisan resolutions rejecting it introduced by Senators [Bob] Menendez, Chris Murphy and [Rand] Paul,’ J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement to the HuffPost. ‘The sale of a massive quantity of such destructive weapons systems to the UAE would only further fuel an escalating arms race in a region already suffering from destabilizing wars that endanger civilians and undermine U.S. interests,’ the statement continues.”

Israel ‘very comfortable’ with US sale of F-35s to UAE, Ambassador Dermer says, Times of Israel
“The liberal pro-Israel lobby J Street announced Monday that it supported the Murphy-Menendez-Paul resolutions, arguing that ‘proposed sale of a massive quantity of advanced, highly destructive weapons systems to the UAE would only fuel a region-wide arms race and exacerbate ongoing conflicts that are having devastating consequences for civilians’ human rights and are imperiling US interests.’ – ‘While the Israeli government has officially stated it does not object to the proposed sale, many Israeli security leaders have warned that the transfer of this type and volume of advanced weapons technology to the UAE could materially erode Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge — a cornerstone of Israel’s security that J Street steadfastly supports,’ the dovish group said in a statement.”

J Street Supports Effort to Stop Massive Advanced Arms Sale to UAE, J Street
“J Street urges senators to vote in support of four resolutions rejecting the Trump administration’s proposed sale of F-35 aircraft and other advanced weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates. The Joint Resolutions of Disapproval (S.J.Res.77, 78, 79, and 80) introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) may receive a vote this week.”

Statement on the Killing of Ali Abu Aliya, J Street
“Like the representatives of the EU and UN, we call for an immediate, independent investigation of this killing. Given that an IDF spokesperson has said that Abu Aliya was shot with a ‘Ruger’ firearm — which typically refers to a type of US-sourced rifle — we believe any such investigation must also clarify the circumstances in which Israeli forces are authorized and instructed to use such weapons, which are subject to requirements under US law that such equipment be used for legitimate defense purposes only.”

Top News and Analysis

Blue and White wins control over timetable for bill to dissolve Knesset, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party won control Monday of the schedule of a bill to dissolve the Knesset, meaning it will decide when and how new elections will be called, as well as when the national vote will be held.

Hundreds of anti-Netanyahu Protesters Were Attacked. These Are Some of Their Stories, Haaretz
Being spit at, shoved, pelted with things, called “traitors” and attacked with pepper spray – all these have been the lot of hundreds of Israelis who have been demonstrating in recent months against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at intersections, on bridges, in squares and at Balfour Street in Jerusalem. These phenomena are nothing new, and have accompanied the protests from the start.


Lights out: Ministers okay nightly curfew on Hanukkah to drive down virus cases, Times of Israel
Ministers on Monday voted to impose a nightly curfew during the Hanukkah holiday and through January 2, as virus cases continued to climb around the country.

Scoop: Israel lobbies senators to pass Sudan immunity bill, Axios
After a request from the Sudanese government, Israel has started lobbying senators and members of Congress to approve a bill that would give Sudan immunity from future lawsuits in the U.S. by victims of terrorism, senior Israeli officials told me.

Israel to investigate shooting of Palestinian child, The Guardian
Ali Ayman Abu Aliya, said by Palestinian officials to be as young as 13, died after he was hit by a bullet in the abdomen on Friday. He and other Palestinians had been protesting against the construction of a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.

‘Torture by Any Measure’: Israeli Hospital Sends Palestinian Prisoner Back to Jail Early to Spare Him Shackles, Haaretz
A Palestinian security prisoner who underwent abdominal surgery at a Jerusalem hospital was forced to defecate into a diaper because the prison service guards refused to release his restraints and allow him to go to the bathroom, disregarding the attending doctor’s medical opinion.

Soldiers raid crowded entertainment area in Sabastiya and fire “rubber” bullets and tear gas indiscriminately, costing Burqah resident his eye, B’Tselem
B’Tselem’s investigation found that throughout October 2020, the Israeli military harassed the town’s residents in various ways. For three nights in one week, soldiers entered the town and hurled dozens of stun grenades and tear gas canisters. On one of these nights, when the site was packed with visitors, soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets, hitting Adham a-Sha’er, a young man sitting in a café, in the head. A-Sha’er lost his eye as a result.

The only Trump foreign policy Biden wants to keep, Axios
Joe Biden disagrees with most of President Trump’s foreign policy initiatives, but several of his advisers tell Axios that there is one he plans to keep: the Abraham Accords.

Poll: Majority of Israelis find neither Netanyahu nor Gantz credible, Times of Israel
The Israel Voice Index survey shows that 62 percent of Israelis view Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as having very low or moderately low credibility, while 60% say the same of Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Senior Palestinian Official Ashrawi Reportedly Resigns Over Renewed Coordination With Israel, Haaretz
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi has resigned from her role as member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Monday, citing sources close to her.

Israeli guards shoot unarmed Palestinian man at crossing, AP
Amateur video captured by a passerby and shown on Israel’s Channel 13 TV showed the man falling down after being shot, then hopping toward the security men and being shot again. Details on his identity were not immediately released.

Opinion and Analysis

Family Recounts Palestinian Teen’s Last Hours Before Israeli Shooting, AFP
After waking up on Friday, the day he turned 15, Palestinian Ali Ayman Nasr Abu Aliya told his mother Nihad he was hoping for a birthday surprise. Nihad said she had planned to serve maqluba, a traditional lamb and rice dish, at a party later on and had his gifts ready, including a new pair of shoes. But in the early afternoon, Aliya was shot and killed during clashes with Israeli troops in his village of Mughayir, just north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Why the discourse about Palestinian payments to prisoners’ families is distorted and misleading, Brookings
Shibley Telhami writes, “Eager to turn the page on the Trump administration and reach out to the new administration, the PA has now signaled its openness to address the current structure of its prisoner payments policy, though it remains unclear how, especially given how the Palestinian public feels about this issue. But the worst thing for our public discourse would be to pretend that this practice — not the unending occupation — is a root cause, rather than a symptom, of the ongoing conflict and the central problem that needs urgent tackling. That would not serve the goal of a just peace that’s sorely needed.”

Purim Jews, Pesach Jews, and the 2020 Election, Times of Israel
Rabbi John Rosove writes, “Historically, Jews have voted consistently for Democratic presidential candidates – between 60% and 90% – since the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. Why? As a minority community comprising only 2% of the general population, American Jews have understood that our security in America is dependent upon the maintenance of civility, tolerance, inclusion, strong democratic institutions, constitutional norms, and an economy that serves the middle class, which is why the majority of American Jews vote for moderate or liberal candidates in the Democratic Party that they believe embrace the above conditions and values.”

Palestinians: Victims of ‘cancel culture’, Responsible Statecraft
James Zogby writes, “Denying Palestinians their fundamental right to express pain and to protest is to deny their very humanity.  Compounding this is the unprecedented use of state authority to silence Arab Americans and those who advocate for Palestine. While it is shameful for the US State Department to consistently ignore Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights, it is beyond shameful to now seek to call Palestinians and their supporters anti-Semites for speaking out against these violations or calling for a non-violent boycott.”

Israel’s silence about the Uighur genocide is a shanda, The Forward
B Lana Guggenheim writes, “Jews around the world find this situation horrifying — and horrifically familiar. Around the world, Jewish communities are mobilizing to raise awareness of the genocide. But for all the flurry of activity from Jews around the world, the Israeli government remains silent.”