News Roundup for February 14, 2018

February 14, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Should Be Charged With Bribery and Fraud, Israeli Police Say, The New York Times

David Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner report, “ The Israeli police recommended on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, casting a pall over the future of a tenacious leader who has become almost synonymous with his country. The announcement instantly raised doubts about his ability to stay in office. Concluding a yearlong graft investigation, the police recommended that Mr. Netanyahu face prosecution in two corruption cases: a gifts-for-favors affair known as Case 1000, and a second scandal, dubbed Case 2000, in which Mr. Netanyahu is suspected of back-room dealings with Arnon Mozes, publisher of the popular daily Yediot Aharonot, to ensure more favorable coverage.”

Forget Trump’s U.S. as the Mideast’s Mediator, The New York Times

Saeb Erekat writes, “President Trump, for the wrong reasons, has put the issue of Palestine back on the international agenda. If his administration’s inability to be an honest broker opens the way for other parties to become mediators, Palestine can engage in meaningful discussions on a just and final peace. This must begin with a time frame for ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 border, with East Jerusalem as its capital — a proposal offered and reaffirmed often by the Arab League. Palestinians would attain their inalienable rights, and Israel would enjoy normal relations with the region. Only such an international effort can address the unequal power balances, uphold international law and present a clear future of hope, freedom, justice and peace.”

Young Jews Are Actually Winning The Generational War Over Israel, The Forward

Batya Ungar-Sargon writes, “And yet, we know from the past that American Jews want an Israel they can identify with — fiercely. What’s more, they need it to survive in America as Jews, as Cohen pointed out. Absent the strong ties of community and religion, Israel has provided a source of inspiration that kept Jews connected to each other even in the Diaspora. Values-driven millennials won’t endorse something that doesn’t fit within their belief system. If moneyed American Jews want to strengthen Jewish continuity, they should stop spending money trying to convince American Jews that they aren’t seeing what they say they are seeing when they look at Israel, and start convincing Israeli leaders to pursue policies that American Jews can be proud of.”


Netanyahu Replies to Police Bribery Recommendations: I Will Continue to Lead, All My Life I’ve Worked for Israel, Haaretz

Israel Police recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two corruption cases on Tuesday. In his first reaction, Netanyahu said that all his life he has worked for Israel and vowed to remain as the country’s prime minister.

US says police recommendations against PM an ‘internal matter,’ Times of Israel

The US said Tuesday it considered police’s recommendations to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges “an internal Israeli matter.”

First ever survey of entire Bay Area paints portrait of Jewish life, JWeekly

Younger. Wealthier. More educated. Less Jewishly engaged. Less attached to Israel.

That’s how the Bay Area’s 350,000 Jews compare to counterparts around the U.S., based on a groundbreaking study released today by the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation that is the first to survey Jewish life across the entire 10-county area.

Settlers hail passing of law regulating West Bank universities, Times of Israel

Settler leaders praised a new law that places Israeli colleges and universities in the West Bank on a par with institutions located inside Israel and under the auspices of the Council for Higher Education.

Hamas calls on PA government to lift sanctions or disband, Haaretz

Hamas on Tuesday called on the Palestinian Authority government to either lift its sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip or resign.

Military Trial Opens For 17-Year-Old Palestinian Activist, NPR

The trial opened Tuesday in an Israeli military court for 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi. She is accused of assaulting Israeli soldiers outside her home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Palestinians held without trial to ‘boycott’ Israeli courts, Times of Israel

Palestinians held without trial are to begin a boycott of the country’s military courts, the head of prisoners’ affairs for the Palestinian Authority said Tuesday.

Report: Israeli attacks on Gaza fishermen cause death, injuries, and property damage, Ma’an

The Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) issued this week its annual report for 2017 detailing Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Opinions and Analysis

Netanyahu’s All-out War of Self-preservation Heralds Bedlam and Mayhem for Israel, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev writes, “The inevitable result is that the current destructive impasse will only get worse. Netanyahu will escalate his war of attrition against the rule of law in general, and his police investigators in particular, with totally predictable consequences: Public trust in law enforcement will continue to erode, political polarization will deepen and Israel will continue to serve as a boxing ring in which the prime minister tries to beat his way to exoneration.”

Standing with Susya: Why the Demolition of Palestinian Villages Must Not Be Ignored, The Stanford Daily

Jacob Kuperman argues, “Despite the power the right-wing settler lobby has in Israel, there is still hope— both for the people of Susya and for all those who wish to put an end to the unlawful occupation of the West Bank. International pressure has successfully postponed the demolition of Susya multiple times before. On our own campus, J Street U Stanford has worked over the past two years in White Plaza to raise awareness of the demolition situation in Susya through our celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which commemorates the time the Jewish people spent as displaced people … Last November, 10 senators, led by California’s own Senator Dianne Feinstein, sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging his government to not demolish Susya and other West Bank villages.”

After the weekend’s Iran-Israel attacks, a burden on Trump to confront Russia and engage Europe, New York Daily News

Dennis Ross writes, “While all is quiet now, the episode should set off a loud, flashing siren about the escalatory potential that the expanding Iranian military and Shia militia presence creates in Syria. As someone who has long watched the Iranians sponsor proxy terror attacks against the Israelis at the height of our peace efforts in the mid-1990s and against American forces in Iraq, the surprise is not that the Iranians would try to hit Israel but that they would do it directly. That is potentially a game-changer and helps to explain the Israeli response which was designed to leave no doubt with the Iranians that they are playing with fire.”

No chance for peace while settlers dream of holy war, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar writes, “When a limited clash with Iran threatened to drag Israel into a bloody war, Russian President Vladimir Putin came to the rescue and calmed both sides. But when a fundamentalist Jewish minority imposes on Israel a religious war to the end — or to the coming of the messiah, whichever happens first — no one comes to Israel’s salvation. The latest contribution by the only man in the position to save Israel from the disaster of its 50-year occupation of another people, Trump, was advice for Israel to be ‘very careful’ with the settlement enterprise. Despite his own advice, the president called his hasty, controversial Dec. 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel his most important achievement since being sworn in.”