News Roundup for February 14, 2020

February 14, 2020

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Top News and Analysis

Senate passes resolution to limit Trump’s power to order military action against Iran, Washington Post
The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to limit President Trump’s power to order military action against Iran without first seeking Congress’s permission, a bipartisan rebuke of his administration’s resistance to involving the legislative branch in decisions that some fear could lead to all-out war. Eight Republicans joined all Democrats in voting 55 to 45 for the measure, despite sharp warnings from Trump that challenging his war powers would “show weakness” and “sends a very bad signal” to Tehran. Trump will almost certainly veto the measure once it passes the House, and neither chamber of Congress has the votes to override that veto, lawmakers say.

How Months of Miscalculation Led the U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War, New York Times
The Trump administration escalated pressure on Iran to try to negotiate over its nuclear aims. Instead, Iran fought back with violent attacks. At critical points, each country misjudged the other.

Sanders’ Adviser Tells Haaretz What His ‘Progressive’ Foreign Policy Means for Israel, Haaretz
Matt Duss says calling Bernie Sanders an ‘isolationist’ is a ‘slur’ – and explains what the difference between Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz is for the Democratic presidential contender.


Defense official: Hamas agreed to halt rockets, balloons; Israel ends sanctions, Times of Israel
Israel and the Hamas terror group appeared to reach a ceasefire agreement on Thursday night, following weeks of tension and unrest along the Gaza border.

Syria says airstrikes hit targets near Damascus, Times of Israel
The attack came just over a week after a series of strikes on pro-Iranian militias and bases in the same area that were attributed to Israel.

In first, umbrella US Jewish group sends delegation to Saudi Arabia, JTA
A delegation of members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations visited Saudi Arabia this week, a first for the umbrella body for U.S. Jews. It’s believed to be the first official visit to the kingdom by an American Jewish organization since 1993.

Pompeo says settlement blacklist shows UN’s ‘unrelenting anti-Israel bias’, Times of Israel
The list’s publication “only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations,” Mike Pompeo said in a statement released by the State Department.

In landmark ruling, refugee family wins asylum in Israel, +972 Mag
This ruling is unprecedented: it’s the first time the High Court in Israel has exercised its judicial power to instruct the state to recognize asylum seekers as refugees.

Palestinians hail UN list of firms linked to Israeli settlements, Al Jazeera
Palestinian leaders have hailed the United Nations Human Rights Office report, which lists firms linked to illegal Israeli settlements, saying it is a critical step towards boycotting Israeli businesses operating in the occupied West Bank.

Siding With Israel, Germany Says ICC Has No Jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories, Haaretz
Germany filed a petition Friday with the International Criminal Court requesting to be “a friend of the court” (amicus curiae) in deliberations that will examine if the court has jurisdiction to rule whether Israel committed war crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Opinion and Analysis

Conservative Clergy Students Say No to Annexation, Jew School
A group of rabbinical students write, “We hope that by establishing that there is a large group of Conservative rabbinical students who care about a just and peaceful future, we can take away some of the stigma around speaking openly. We hope to invite conversations with our communities centered around honesty over fear.”

How a Bible prophecy shapes Trump’s foreign policy, Vox
Danush Parvaneh and Liz Scheltens write, “For an influential group of American Christians, support for Israel — and hatred of Iran — is based in a biblical prophecy.”

Trump’s Angry Vendetta Against Rule of Law Is Preview of Netanyahu, Should He Win, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Trump’s post-impeachment purges prove the impotence of checks and balances when confronted by a ruthless president who knows no bounds.”

Israel’s Rejection of UN List of Companies Tied to Settlements Reveals Stark Truth About Annexation, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “Israel isn’t interested in the distinction between its right to exist as a country and the dispute over West Bank settlements. Instead, it seeks to blur the borders.”