News Roundup for January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street in the News

US guns are being aimed at Palestinian kids. Washington can take them away, +972 Mag
“Earlier this month, an Israeli soldier shot and killed Ali Abu Aliya in the village of al-Mughayyer in the occupied West Bank, during a protest against an Israeli settlement outpost that was recently established on the village’s land […] Ali’s killing this month garnered more attention than most others. Officials from the United Nations and the European Union denounced the killing, calling for Israeli authorities to open an investigation. J Street, a DC-based lobbying group, issued a statement declaring the use of lethal force against civilians ‘highly disturbing.’ Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN-04), an outspoken proponent for Palestinian children’s rights, identified the killing as ‘state-sponsored violence.’”

A Jewish look at Tuesday’s Senate runoffs in Georgia, The Forward
“Politically, Ossoff, 33, is a center-left Democrat whose positions line up with the majority of American Jews. He supports J Street, which supports Israel but is critical of its occupation of the West Bank, and is known for his advocacy of reproductive rights.”

Pro-Israel group criticizes Georgia Senate candidate for past sermon, Al-Monitor
“CUFI Action Fund, an organization related to the pro-Israel group Christians United for Israel, released on Dec. 23 a video accusing Warnock of ‘lying about the Jewish state.’ […] Warnock has received some criticism from Jewish Americans for his comments on Israel. On the other hand, he has also been endorsed by the Jewish organization J Street, which supports ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli soldier shoots and paralyzes Palestinian man in dispute over power generator, CNN
An Israeli soldier shot a Palestinian man, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down, after an altercation over a portable electric generator, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Video of the incident, which occurred on Friday near Hebron in the south of the West Bank, appears to show Haroun Abu Aram, 24, along with three other men, attempting to hold on to the generator while Israeli soldiers seek to take it away.

Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers, The Guardian
Israel is celebrating an impressive, record-setting vaccination drive, having given initial jabs of coronavirus shots to more than a 10th of the population. But Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza can only watch and wait. As the world ramps up what is already on track to become a highly unequal vaccination push – with people in richer nations first to be inoculated – the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories provides a stark example of the divide.

Trump, in Taped Call, Pressured Georgia Official to ‘Find’ Votes to Overturn Election, New York Times
President Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” him enough votes to overturn the presidential election and vaguely threatened him with “a criminal offense” during an hourlong telephone call on Saturday, according to an audio recording of the conversation.


Iran starts 20% uranium enrichment, seizes tanker in strait, AP
Iran on Monday began enriching uranium up to 20% at an underground facility and seized a South Korean-flagged oil tanker in the crucial Strait of Hormuz, further escalating tensions in the Middle East between Tehran and the West.

Israeli woman seriously injured in West Bank rock attack, Times of Israel
A woman in her 40s was seriously injured near the West Bank settlement of Neve Tzuf on Sunday afternoon after rocks were thrown at her car. The army said in a statement that “a civilian was injured as a result of stone-throwing near the village of Deir Deir Nidham.”

2020 in the Occupied Territories: Heinous killings, settler violence and a home demolitions spike, B’Tselem
Over the course of 2020, Israeli security forces killed 27 Palestinians, seven of them minors: one in the Gaza Strip, 23 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and three inside Israel.

Iran nuclear deal: ‘Heated rhetoric and the heightened risk of miscalculation’ widen differences, UN News
Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo was speaking during a virtual meeting on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the July 2015 accord that set out rules for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program and a pathway to easing sanctions […] Ms. DiCarlo noted that recent years have been characterized by “attacks on critical infrastructure, heated rhetoric and heightened risk of miscalculation.  “Such actions deepen the differences related to the Plan and render efforts to address other regional conflicts more difficult”, she said. “We call on all concerned to avoid any actions that may result in further escalation of tensions.”

Zarif says US setting up ‘pretext’ for war, Al-Monitor
Ahead of the first anniversary of the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani by the United States, both sides have said they are prepared for escalation from the other side but will not be the first to make a move.

Gideon Sa’ar says he won’t agree to power-sharing coalition with Netanyahu, Times of Israel
New Hope party leader Gideon Sa’ar said Sunday that he would not agree to join a power-sharing government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Likud party he recently left to form his new faction. Sa’ar, a longtime internal rival of the premier, has previously vowed not to enter a government headed by Netanyahu.

Jared Kushner’s company plans to raise $100 million in Israel bonds as his time as Mideast adviser nears end, JTA
Jared Kushner’s family real estate business wants to raise at least $100 million in capital through Israel’s bond market, according to papers filed near the end of his tenure as President Donald Trump’s main Israel and Middle East adviser.

Israeli Troops Shot a Palestinian With a Rubber Bullet, Then Tried to Snatch Him From the Ambulance, Haaretz
Israeli troops fired at protesters who were supporting shepherds whose village had been demolished. After one protester was hit with a rubber bullet, soldiers tried to prevent him from getting treatment

PA arrests suspects in East Jerusalem triple homicide, hands them to Israel, Times of Israel
The Palestinian Authority has reportedly handed over to Israel four suspects arrested over the weekend in connection with a shootout in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab that left three Palestinian residents dead and eight wounded.

Israel is vaccinating so fast it’s running out of vaccine, Washington Post
Israel, which has inoculated a higher proportion of its population against the coronavirus than any other country, is delivering shots so quickly it is outstripping its supply of vaccine.

Opinion and Analysis

He Calmed Gaza, Aided Israel’s Arab Ties and Preserved Hopes for Peace, New York Times
David M. Halbfinger writes, “Preventive diplomacy, by its nature, does not often lead to splashy headlines for the practitioner. In his nearly six years as the top United Nations envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nickolay E. Mladenov worked quietly behind the scenes to help keep the Gaza Strip from boiling over, preserve the possibility of a two-state solution and build support for Israeli-Arab normalization as a vastly preferable alternative to the Israeli annexation of West Bank land. But he did notch at least one achievement that qualifies as eye-catching: He earned the respect of just about everyone he dealt with, many of whom view one another as enemies.”

How Israel’s road projects are ensuring apartheid is here to stay, +972 Mag
Ahmad Al-Bazz and Edo Konrad write, “The expansion of settler bypass roads in the West Bank has been central to turning Israel’s ‘temporary occupation’ into a permanent one-state reality.”

Iran attack may be next in Trump’s farewell bag of tricks, Responsible Statecraft
Trita Parsi writes, “Recent military movements by the Pentagon in the Middle East (ostensibly to deter Iran from attacking American troops on the anniversary of the assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani), combined with Israeli media reports that Saudi Arabi and Israel are pressing Trump to bomb Iran before he leaves office, has fueled speculation that Trump may be planning his biggest — and likely most disastrous — stunt yet.”

He grabbed his generator. They shot him in the neck, +972 Mag
Yuval Abraham writes, “Harun Abu Aram, whose home was demolished last month, was shot by a soldier at point-blank range while trying to take back his generator. All so Israel could take his land.”