News Roundup for January 30, 2018

January 30, 2018

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Top News and Analysis

Long, uneasy love affair of Israel and U.S. evangelicals may have peaked, Washington Post

Loveday Morris, Michelle Boorstein and Ruth Eglash report, “The Trump administration’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent visit of the evangelical vice president to Israel mark the culmination of a long, complicated and sometimes uneasy alliance between Israeli leaders and Christian evangelicals that dates to before the establishment of the state.  But the high-water mark comes just as younger American evangelicals are growing less attached to Israel. Recent polls have sparked anxiety among Israeli officials and Christian Zionist groups, which are trying to reverse the decline. Faced with the dip in support, Israel is increasingly looking to evangelical communities in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere to build international support.”

U.N. employees in Gaza demonstrate against U.S. aid cut, Reuters

Nidal al-Mughrabi reports, “ Schools, clinics and food distribution centers in the Gaza Strip were closed most of Monday by a demonstration by thousands of employees of the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees. Palestinians have been angered by a U.S. decision to cut aid to the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA), saying it will cause worse hardship in Gaza. More than half the enclave’s two million residents depend on support from UNRWA and other humanitarian agencies.”

Trump puts Israeli-Palestinian security coordination at risk, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar writes, “Trump’s threats pose a real risk to the continued operation of these security forces and security coordination with Israel, which has proved its effectiveness and resilience even in times of crisis. As one senior Palestinian security official told Al-Monitor, if Trump goes through with his threats — and he seems intent on doing so — Israel will also bear the bitter consequences. Not only will it put an end to security coordination, the source said, but it will also cause unemployment to skyrocket in the West Bank. This would portend severe implications for Israel.”

Israel is betraying its history by expelling African asylum-seekers, Washington Post

Gershom Gorenberg writes, “Voices of resistance, thank God, are growing. Israelis, with Holocaust survivors among them, are signing up to shelter African refugees in their homes. An online campaign is urging pilots not to fly deportees. The board of the Ghetto Fighters’ House, a Holocaust museum, has called on the government to reverse its decision… What drives the protest is the realization that the world refused refuge not just to Jews, but to human beings. Jewish history and Judaism obligate us to behave differently. This is an Israeli political battle, but outside voices matter. Some Jewish groups in the United States have protested the expulsions. More should, and do so more loudly.”


Israeli Army to Take Control of Palestinian Neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, Haaretz

The Israeli military is to take security control of neighborhoods over the security barrier in East Jerusalem as part of its redeployment to the area known as the ‘Jerusalem envelope,’ due to issues surrounding security and cooperation with police in these areas.

Bill requiring Israeli flag at public events advances in Knesset, Times of Israel

A bill that would make featuring the Israeli flag mandatory at public events passed a first reading in the Knesset plenum early Tuesday, drawing the ire of opposition members who decried it as an “attempt to educate the Arab community.”

Senior Hamas official dies three weeks after suffering gunshot wound, Times of Israel

A senior Hamas official who suffered critical gunshot injuries three weeks ago in his home in the Gaza Strip was pronounced dead on Tuesday, with a cloud of uncertainty still surrounding the incident.

Netanyahu and Polish Counterpart Agree to Open ‘Immediate Dialogue’ on Holocaust Bill, Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday on the phone with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The two leaders agreed to open “immediate dialogue” in an attempt to solve a crisis that erupted over a Polish bill that seeks to criminalize linking Poland to Nazi war crimes in the Holocaust.

Trump’s Jerusalem Embassy Move Did a Great Service for Peace. Israeli Prime Minister Says, Newsweek

President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem did a “great service for peace,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview on Sunday.

Israeli embassy in Jordan begins resuming operations, Times of Israel

Israel’s embassy in Amman is returning to regular operations after the two countries ended a crisis in relations over a deadly altercation last year at the embassy compound.

Opinions and Analysis

The awakening of the Israeli conscience, +972

Orly Noy writes, “And yet, perhaps now more than ever it is important to remind ourselves that the asylum seeker issue, and the attempts to deport them to their deaths is not merely a humanitarian issue — it is a political one that is inextricably linked to the most fundamental definitions around which Israel has been shaped since its founding. That the State of Israel has no immigration policy apart from Jewish immigration is a political question with humanitarian implications — not only when it comes to African asylum seekers, but also in its treatment of a young Palestinian-Israeli who wants to marry a young woman from Hebron, and continue living in his home. The way Israel instrumentalizes its treatment of ‘the other’ — be it an Eritrean refugee or a Palestinian laborer at a checkpoint — is the result of a racist ideology that forms the political framework in which we live.”

From Truman to Trump: The Tragic Trajectory of the U.S.-Israeli Alliance, Haaretz

Dana H. Allin and Steven Simon write, “Yet even with these changes in both societies, and the corrupting effects of permanent occupation, leaderships in both countries kept something of the founding ethic alive. Israeli prime ministers from Begin to Olmert sought peace, and one of them – Yitzhak Rabin – was murdered for his effort. Successive U.S. administrations, from Johnson to Obama, were partial to Israel in spite of its flaws, but they also were stewards of a liberal foreign-policy ethic that took Palestinian grievances seriously and expected Israel to negotiate an end to occupation. Until now. The current Israeli Prime Minister, who in his last election campaign warned Jewish backers that Israeli Arab citizens were voting in droves, has found his partner in an American president who spews invective against Muslims, Mexicans and women, and insists that his loss of the popular vote resulted from colossal voter fraud.”