News Roundup for February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

US ambassador accuses unnamed Palestinian leaders of praising deadly stabbing attack, JTA US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman accused unnamed Palestinian leaders of praising a terror attack that left an Israeli father of four dead. David Friedman did not say which Palestinian leaders he was referring to in the tweet on Tuesday morning, the day after the stabbing. No members of the Palestinian Authority leadership have praised the attack. A spokesman for Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, lauded the attack as “a continuation of the resistance to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.”

IDF sounds alarm on Gaza, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit writes, “The worst wars are those that are unnecessary and gratuitous. Netanyahu must decide what frightens him more: a military flare-up in Gaza or the return of the PA to Gaza and with it Abbas as a partner. It is possible that the Americans continuing to promote a diplomatic project will goad Netanyahu into torpedoing the reconciliation process to make it unlikely for diplomatic negotiations to be renewed. As Eizenkot made clear this week, however, such a spoke in the wheel could exact a very high price from Israel.”

Trump shouldn’t take Jordan for granted, Washington Post

David Ignatius writes, “It’s easy to take Jordan for granted. Because it has made a solid peace with Israel and an accommodation with the modern, secular world, Jordan sometimes seems to run on autopilot. But if the Hashemite monarchy becomes unglued like so many of its neighbors, it could have disastrous consequences — not least for Israel, next door.”


Netanyahu Visits Syria Border, Issues Warning: Israel Prepared for Any Scenario, Don’t Test Us, Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the security cabinet toured the Israel-Syria border in the Golan Heights on Tuesday. During the tour, Netanyahu said that Israel “seeks peace, but we are prepared for any scenario, and I do not suggest anyone test us.”

In Raid, Israel Security Forces Kill Murderer of West Bank Rabbi, Haaretz

Ahmed Nasser Jarrer, head operative responsible for the January murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, was killed by Israeli security forces early in a raid Tuesday morning in the West Bank village of Yamun near Jenin, Israeli security forces say.

Abbas: We never said no to resuming peace talks, Times of Israel

The Palestinians have never rejected any invitation to resume peace talks with Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday.

In Historic First, Saudi Arabia Allows Flights to Israel Over Its Airspace, Haaretz

Saudi Arabia has granted Air India approval to operate direct flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv, sources in the Israeli flight industry told Haaretz. This is the first time the Saudis are allowing flights to Israel to use their airspace.

Palestinian Mother, Daughter Arrested For Planning Terror Attack On Israelis, Forward

A Palestinian mother and daughter were arrested on suspicion of planning to carry out a terrorist attack, incitement and illegal possession of a weapon. The 16-year-old daughter, a resident of the West Bank, called a police station and stated that she planned to carry out an attack on Israeli citizens. Following the call, an investigation began to track down the teen.

Abbas, Putin to discuss new peace talks mechanism sidelining US – report, Times of Israel

When they meet on February 12, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss a new proposed peace negotiations mechanism meant to sideline the United States, a Palestinian diplomat in Russia told the Russian Interfax news agency on Wednesday.

Palestinian PM slams Israel for demolition of Bedouin classrooms in E1, Ma’an

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah released a statement on Monday condemning the demolition of two classrooms in the village of Abu Nuwar, saying “besides the fact that such a demolition contravenes international humanitarian law, this latest attack is directed against Palestinian schoolchildren, and is simply immoral.”

Palestinians: One Killed, Dozens Wounded in Clashes With Israeli Army in Nablus, Haaretz

One Palestinian was killed and fifty others were wounded during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Gorka Joins Outlet That Published ‘Ten Things I Hate About Jews’, LobeLog

Former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka “has drifted to the fringes of the alt-right with his new job as a contributor at The Rebel, an online Canadian publication with a long history of anti-Semitism, extremism, and Islamophobia.”

Opinions and Analysis

Zeroing in on Soros, Netanyahu Stands Shoulder to Shoulder With anti-Semitic Scum, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev argues, “By zeroing in on the Jewish Soros, Netanyahu is placing himself and his party shoulder to shoulder with anti-Semitic scum. Worse, he is tarring Israel itself. Perhaps the strenuous government efforts to equate opposition to its policies towards the Palestinians with a new anti-Semitism has made Netanyahu forget that the poster boys of classic hatred of Jews, in the Holocaust in particular and in modern times in general, weren’t Israeli soldiers or Jewish settlers but rich, cosmopolitan Jews like Soros, who were also accused of plotting to sully the Aryan race or to contaminate Christian blood by flooding the country with malevolent and inferior refugees.”

Gaza suffering makes Israeli headlines at last, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem writes, “Paradoxically, it could be that US President Trump’s stern attitude toward the Palestinians and his recent efforts to block funding for UNWRA exposed the true nature of Israel’s position in the conflict…Now that the Israeli public is being exposed to the situation in the Gaza Strip, and it has become a major political issue, Israelis are also learning about how helpless Netanyahu really is in dealing with this challenge. There was no need for Netanyahu to make major historical decisions such as attacking Iran or dismantling settlements. Still he failed in showing initiative or taking political action, wasting almost four precious years along the way.”

Israel needs Abbas to solve Gaza crisis, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar argues, “Until a fundamental solution is found, whether by building a port or any other creative means, the key to the salvation of Gaza’s 2 million residents is in the hands of one man: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Although he, too, is politically, diplomatically and economically weak — especially since the Donald Trump administration has threatened to cut off US aid to the Palestinians — he is apparently the only one who can do something.”

The right-wing response to the New Israel Fund, YNet

Guy Lieberman writes, “Millions of dollars in funding to organizations and NGOs, an aggressive attempt to insert and spread a foreign worldview and values into Israel, extending tentacles into politics, education and practically every possible field—all these charges and others have been hurled in recent years against the New Israel Fund (NIF).  This time, however, it’s not the NIF, but rather the Tikvah Fund, which has been operating quietly and thoroughly in recent years to spread a libertarian worldview and values, straight from the United States. What does that mean? Broadly, that citizens take care of themselves, as opposed to a welfare state, where the government cares for the citizens.”