News Roundup for July 7, 2021

July 7, 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 Stream

TODAY AT 12:00pm Eastern: The Realities of the Israeli Occupation: A Deep Dive into Creeping, De Facto Annexation

Top News and Analysis

Critic’s Death Puts Focus on Palestinian Authority’s Authoritarianism, New York Times
The unrest over Mr. Banat, whose death at the hands of Palestinian officials has been compared to the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, has drawn fresh attention to what critics describe as the increasingly autocratic rule of Mahmoud Abbas, the authority’s octogenarian president, and its ever more blatant clampdown on any semblance of democratic process, freedom of expression, judicial independence and nongovernmental organizations.

Close Netanyahu ally, Likud lawmaker indicted for corruption, AP
A close political ally of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted Tuesday on a raft of corruption offenses allegedly committed while serving as a Likud party lawmaker in parliament. The attorney general approved the indictment of David Bitan, formerly coalition chair in Netanyahu’s government, charging him with accepting bribes, breach of trust and tax offenses in seven different cases. They were allegedly committed while he served as a councilman in the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion and a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

Far-Right Extremist Finds an Ally in an Arizona Congressman, New York Times
Mr. Fuentes, a 22-year-old white nationalist, online provocateur and activist who leads the America First movement, boasts the kind of résumé that most members of Congress would run from. Having marched at both the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, he has warned that the nation is losing “its white demographic core.” Other conservative organizations have denounced him as a Holocaust denier and a racist. Mr. Gosar has continued to associate with him.


European powers warn Iran over enriched uranium metal production, BBC
Iran has begun the process of producing enriched uranium metal, it has told the global nuclear watchdog. Tehran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the process was to develop fuel for a research reactor. But uranium metal could also be used to make the core of a nuclear bomb. European powers said Iran’s move breached a nuclear deal and threatened talks to revive it. The US called it an “unfortunate step backwards”.

Isaac Herzog to Be Sworn in as Israel’s 11th President, Haaretz
Herzog, a married father of three, was elected in early June, after winning a Knesset vote over Miriam Peretz, 87 votes to 26.

Residents Hope New Israeli Government Will Speed Progress To The Arab Town, NPR
In an Arab town on Israel’s coast, residents wish for the kind of opportunities and services that are available in nearby Jewish towns. They wonder if the new government will help them.

Israeli bombardment severely weakened Gaza economy: Report, Al Jazeera
The socioeconomic situation in the Gaza Strip has been severely weakened as a result of the Israeli offensive in May, a report (PDF) by the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank has found. The Gaza Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) report published on Tuesday estimated that the damage caused by the 11-day bombardment was between $290m and $380m, while the recovery needs are projected at between $345m and $485m.

As protests grow, the PA turns its repression on Palestinian journalists, +972 Magazine
Palestinian journalists said that Palestinian security forces and loyalists to President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party attacked them while they were covering the demonstrations and repeatedly tried to seize their phones and equipment. In some cases, journalists were beaten and harassed by undercover agents, employing tactics used by Israeli forces against Palestinians.

Boston Jews rally together after streak of attacks in the area, JTA
Days after a series of violent acts stunned Greater Boston and threatened its Jewish community, residents are jolted but resolute, vowing to continue taking pride in their Jewish identity. The latest incident occurred on Thursday, when Chabad Rabbi Shlomo Noginski was stabbed eight times outside of Shaloh House, a Jewish school and synagogue in Brighton, where he teaches.

Opinion and Analysis

The Palestinians’ problem with the Authority, Washington Post
Ishaan Tharoor writes, “The Palestinian Authority is an entity that emerged in 1994 in the wake of the Oslo I Accord. It was only intended to be a transitional, technocratic apparatus that would help usher in a future independent Palestinian state. But the peace process with Israel has collapsed.”

Israel’s most racist law comes crumbling down — for now, +972 Magazine
Edo Konrad writes, “The failure to renew the Citizenship Law offers Palestinian families a moment of respite. Four takeaways from the first big crisis plaguing the new coalition.”

If It Wants to Survive, Israel’s New Government Must Be Balanced and Liberal, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “The ‘anyone but Bibi’ government is facing an opposition whose slogan is “anyone but Bennett.” It makes no difference what bill the government proposes; the opposition will vote against it regardless of its content, the agenda it seeks to further or the ideology it represents. What this means in practice is that the government can pass laws only if it manages to create a stable common denominator among its members. That in itself is a huge innovation, a real revolution in Israeli politics compared to what it experienced during the previous 12 years.”