News Roundup for January 2, 2018

January 2, 2018

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J Street in the News

Thoughts on the Tamimi Case: The Answer Isn’t Arresting a 16 Year-Old Girl, It’s Ending a 50-Year Occupation, J Street
Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “While the specifics of the Tamimi case are being hotly debated, we hope that our friends and family in Israel – as well as those who love the country here in the US – will realize that trying to make sense of this horrible situation requires moving beyond a debate over the appropriate punishment for a young girl who physically strikes a soldier. We are obliged to take a long, hard look at the underlying policies that could lead a 16 year-old girl to slap fully-armed soldiers in the first place, and to risk years in jail. The situation on the West Bank is unstable, unjust and unsustainable. The right way to address it isn’t to arrest a 16 year-old girl, it’s to end a 50-year occupation.”

Top News and Analysis

Emboldened Israeli Right Presses Moves to Doom 2-State Solution, New York Times

David Halbfinger reports, “An emboldened Israeli right wing is moving quickly in the new year to make it far more difficult to create a Palestinian state, signaling its intention to doom hopes for a two-state solution to the conflict. The actions have come on multiple fronts, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party for the first time has urged the annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and the nation’s top legal officers pressed to extend Israeli law into occupied territory.”

Iran protests and death toll grow as tension rises, Washington Post

Erin Cunningham reports, “Anti-government protests in Iran flared on more fronts Tuesday amid clashes that left at least nine people dead, state media reported, as leaders in Tehran struggled to respond to the most serious internal crisis in nearly a decade. Six days of demonstrations — which have left at least 20 people dead — showed no signs of easing as the anger from the streets found new targets. What began as frustration over Iran’s sluggish economy has broadened to include open defiance of Iran’s Islamic leadership itself.”

Israel indicts Palestinian teenage girl who punched soldier: army, Reuters

Ali Sawafta reports, “Israel indicted a 16-year-old Palestinian girl on Monday on charges including assault for punching an Israeli soldier in the face two weeks ago, an incident which made her into a hero for Palestinians and was seen as humiliating by right-wing Israelis. Israel has held Ahed Tamimi since arresting her three days after she was filmed punching the soldier at the entrance to her family home in a village in the occupied West Bank. The confrontation took place after what Israel says was a stone-throwing assault on its troops.”

An Israel of Pride and Shame, New York Times

Roger Cohen argues, “Could an ethno-religious Jewish state only find itself in eternal conflict, controlling the lives of Palestinians?.. I don’t think it was entirely inevitable. Had Rabin lived, there would have been a chance for peace. Had the cultivation of victimhood not proved a fatal Palestinian temptation, a chance could have existed. And what of the price paid? Put a gun to my head, or rather my heart, and I will say as a Jew that, yes, Israel was worth the price.”


Shin Bet breaks up alleged Hamas cell planning West Bank attacks, Times of Israel

Israeli security forces broke up an alleged Hamas terrorist cell planning to carry out attacks in the West Bank, arresting five of its members in November, the Shin Bet security service revealed Monday.

Mike Pence’s Israel Trip Still Slated for mid-January, White House Says, Haaretz

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel and Egypt will occur in mid-January as planned, the vice president’s office told Haaretz on Monday.

Abbas: Israel Declared War on Palestinians, Islamic Holy Sites With New Jerusalem Law, Haaretz

After Israeli lawmakers approved a law that would make it harder to divide Jerusalem, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel has “declared war” on the Palestinian people and Islamic religious sites in Jerusalem.

Abbas says Likud bid to annex parts of West Bank has US blessing, Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday condemned a Likud Central Committee vote a day earlier calling for parts of the West Bank to be annexed and implied Washington was involved in it.

Mother of religious feminism: Israel is a backward country, YNet

She has trouble praying from a Siddur, laments that women in positions of power are still a minority and refuses to accept the fact that matters of state and religion are solely in the hands of men. At the age of 91, upon being awarded the Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize, Prof. Alice Shalvi paints a grim picture of women’s status in the Israeli society.

IDF arrests Palestinian with knives at West Bank junction, Times of Israel

Soldiers arrested a Palestinian teenager who was holding a knife and walking toward their jeep in the central West Bank on Monday evening, the army said.

Opinions and Analysis

American Jews: Ahed Tamimi Is Your Issue, Too, Haaretz

Marilyn Garson asks, “Do you only feel injustice at the Western Wall, and not at the walls where Palestinians are shot and arrested? If you’re proud to identify as Jewish and progressive, you can’t just be a spectator to Palestinian suffering”

Iran Protests: Civil Rights Movement Or Revolution? Huffington Post

Reza Marashi writes, “Revolution or civil rights movement? That’s the question I’ve been asked repeatedly as the latest round of protests in Iran commenced. But it’s not the first time I’ve tried to explain what even many inside Iran had trouble explaining. In 2009, I served in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the State Department and was one of a small handful of people who covered the post-election protests from start to finish. Days in, we were asked to clarify how things would end – an impossible question to answer. However, after taking a step back and examining the situation dispassionately, we gave our superiors an assessment that proved correct. Broadly conceived, the core elements of our advice eight years ago remain true today. A few key points illustrate why.”

In Iran, When Does a Protest Become a Revolution? Haaretz

Anshel Pfeffer argues, “Five days in to the widest series of demonstrations in Iran since 2009, there is no way to ascertain at what stage the events are and how far they could reach. What began, as has been reported, as protests over the economic situation and were organized by conservative hardliners in an attempt to pressure President Hassan Rohani’s government, have spread to dozens, perhaps already hundreds of towns and cities across the Islamic Republic, with the original instigators long ago losing control. So far, there has been no sign among the protesters or in their slogans of a political movement or figure they are supporting – just widespread protest against all symbols of the regime.”

As Trump Heads Into New Year, These Are the Three Decisions He Must Make on Iran, Haaretz

Amir Tibon writes “Iran is once again dominating the headlines in the international media and the conversations in Washington’s corridors of power. Over the coming days and weeks, U.S. President Donald Trump will have to make a number of critical decisions regarding the Islamic Republic. The three issues facing Trump are the fate of the nuclear deal signed with Iran in 2015; the scope of America’s support for the protests currently taking place on the streets of Iran’s major cities; and the level of the U.S.’ commitment to combating Iran’s regional influence, particularly in Syria. Haaretz spoke to several experts to understand what the president’s different options could mean for the United States, Iran and the Middle East.”

Hey, Jewish Establishment: BDS Is Not Jews’ Biggest Threat — Occupation Is, The Forward

Madi Norman argues, “Here’s our reality: it’s not BDS or criticism of Israel that threaten Jewish students on campus. Rather, it’s the Jewish community’s support for the Occupation of millions of Palestinians and their recent silence in the face of growing tide of white nationalism in the U.S.”

Donald’s Promises, Al-Monitor

“Candidate Donald Trump promised to shake up US Middle East policy on the campaign trial. His first year in office hasn’t disappointed. From recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to confronting Iran, the president has repeatedly broken with his predecessors while gleefully upending the status quo. But the jury is still out on just how much of an impact his bold pronouncements will really have. Beyond the bluster, there’s often been less to Trump’s policy choices than meets the eye. Scroll through our slide show to find out what candidate Trump promised for the region — and what President Trump has delivered so far.”

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