News Roundup for February 2, 2018

February 2, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

A Dangerous Course Israel Should Avoid, The New York Times

Danny Yatom and Amnon Reshef argue, “We are both former Israeli generals, but we are not alone in these comments… A two-state solution may not soon be in the cards. But preserving conditions for an eventual separation from the Palestinians must remain a primary Israeli strategic objective. No annexation fantasy can be allowed to undercut it. It is the height of irresponsibility for Israeli politicians to propose annexation and for Americans, if they care at all about Israel, to egg them on.”

Abbas to address U.N. Security Council on Feb. 20 amid U.S. tensions, Reuters

Michelle Nichols reports, “ Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 20 during the body’s monthly meeting on the Middle East amid tensions over the United States decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Since President Donald Trump broke from decades of United States policy with his Dec. 6 announcement on Jerusalem, Abbas has said he will ask the council to grant full U.N. membership to the Palestinians and will only accept an internationally-backed panel to broker any peace talks with Israel.”


Israel Presents $1 Billion Rehabilitation Plan for Gaza, but Demands Palestinian Authority Take Over, Haaretz

Representatives of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United States participated in an emergency conference in Brussels on Wednesday of countries and organizations that provide financial support for Palestinians.

Settler indicted for attempting to run over Palestinian, Times of Israel

An Israeli settler was indicted on hate crime charges Thursday for a series of attacks on Palestinians, including attempting to run over a Palestinian street cleaner with his car late last month.

Rocket shot from Gaza at Israel, army investigating, Times of Israel

A rocket was shot from the Gaza Strip toward Israel Thursday night, though it was unclear if the missile landed in Israeli territory, the army said.

Haim Gouri, Poetic Voice of a Rising Israel, Is Dead at 94, The New York Times

Haim Gouri wrote of the terrible sacrifice of war, and of memory and camaraderie. A celebrated and often critical voice of Israel’s founding generation and its conscience, he also wrote of the wrenching inner dilemmas, complexities and contradictions of the Zionist enterprise that tormented him.

Asylum Seekers Deported From Israel to Rwanda Warn Those Remaining: ‘Don’t Come Here,’ Haaretz

‘I thought maybe it would be better for me in Rwanda than in prison, but it has become like a prison for me here,’ says an asylum seeker who left Israel

What happens when you agree with education nominee on Israel, but not sexual harassment reporting, JTA

If there’s overlap between Hillel and the National Council of Jewish Women, it’s in two areas: defending Israel and combating violence against women on campus… Now the groups are on the opposite sides of a nomination that has set off a quiet intra-Jewish argument over what matters more: the hostilities that some Jewish students on campuses say they face for their pro-Israel activity, or the Trump administration rollbacks of Obama-era protections for female students who allege sexual harassment.

Trump’s top Middle East negotiator urges Palestinians back to table, JTA

Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s top Middle East peace negotiator, said efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace were still underway and urged the Palestinians to return to the table.

Israel using tourism to legitimise settlements, says EU report, The Guardian

Israel is developing archaeological and tourism sites to legitimise illegal settlements in Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, European Union diplomats in the city have warned. A leaked report acquired by the Guardian cited projects in parts of East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel since 1967 – that are being used “as a political tool to modify the historical narrative and to support, legitimise and expand settlements”.

Activists barricade JNF headquarters to protest eviction of Palestinian family, +972

Several dozen Israeli and international activists demonstrated outside the Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) Jerusalem offices Wednesday, protesting its role in the eviction of a Palestinian family from Silwan, a neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Opinions and Analysis

Why Democrats sat on their hands when Trump celebrated recognizing Jerusalem, Times of Israel

Ron Kampeas writes, “Trump segued from that to a favored theme of his presidency — countries that contradict US policies may no longer get US. funding, he said, noting a subsequent U.N. vote condemning his decision — but still, it was a significant moment. State of the Union speechwriters cull plenty in the process of shaping what from the previous year a president wants to tout as representing his vision. Jerusalem got in. Democrats — with a couple of notable exceptions — did not applaud. (The exceptions included Jewish pro-Israel stalwarts, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.) Conservatives noticed.

America’s good cop/bad cop strategy to get the Palestinians to negotiate, Times of Israel

Raphael Ahren writes, “Whether it was a conscious decision or just happened to work out that way, the administration has adopted a good cop/bad cop approach to the Palestinian refusal to play ball. While Trump is brandishing the stick, Greenblatt is promising carrots.”

Abbas’ gift to Netanyahu, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar writes, “Abbas extricated Netanyahu from the spot he hates most — between the American rock and the settlers’ hard place. He freed Netanyahu of the need to decide which is the lesser of two evils — adopting an American peace proposal, which would lead to the dismantling of his right-wing government and a Likud leadership crisis, or rejecting the American proposal, which would lead to the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority and a crisis in relations with the United States. Netanyahu can now celebrate yet another (pyrrhic) victory. In the long run, once the Israeli occupation morphs into a full state of apartheid, Israelis are the ones who will be stuck with the unbearably heavy moral, diplomatic, economic and security bill. In that case, the Israelis may be more in need of a lesson in diplomacy than the Palestinians.”

The Next Israeli Prime Minister’s First Speech to the Palestinians, Haaretz

Shmuel Harlap imagines, “I come here today, a week after forming the new Israeli government, to try to start a new chapter in relations between our peoples. I have chosen to come here, as the newly elected prime minister, in order to speak to you directly since you are the future Palestinian generation, with your whole lives ahead of you. Rivers of blood and tears have been shed in the bitter conflict between our peoples. The so-called diplomatic process hasn’t led to any diplomatic accord, and nor has the ‘peace process’ brought peace. I am not here to point fingers or explain why we haven’t been able to end the conflict until now. Speaking to you here today, I want to address the future, not the past.”