News Roundup for July 8, 2021

July 8, 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

EXCLUSIVE: Trump called Netanyahu’s congratulations to Biden ‘an ultimate betrayal,’ new book claims, The Forward
“Former President Donald Trump resented that Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli prime minister he had forged a close relationship with, congratulated Joe Biden upon his electoral victory, according to a new book by journalist Michael Wolff. […] In the book, Wolff writes that Trump also complained about the lack of Jewish support he received in the 2020 election. Two exit polls showed Trump received the backing of 30% of American Jews, while a J Street-sponsored poll indicated his support was at 21%.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel again demolishes Palestinian village in West Bank, AP
Israel on Wednesday demolished the Bedouin herding community of Khirbet Humsu in the occupied West Bank, the latest chapter in the military’s attempts to uproot the Palestinian village of makeshift homes. At least 65 people, including 35 children, were displaced, said Christopher Holt of the West Bank Protection Consortium, a group of international aid agencies supported by the European Union that is assisting the residents.

Israel’s new prime minister to update Iran policy before Biden meeting, Axios
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has launched an Iran policy review to be concluded before his first meeting with President Biden, which is likely to take place in late July, Israeli officials tell me. Bennett is in the process of shifting Israeli foreign policy on several fronts, with a particular focus on the Iran file. While Bennett and his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu are both Iran hawks, Bennett is considering taking Israeli policy in a new direction.

U.S. Slams Israel for Razing Home of Palestinian-American Who Murdered an Israeli, Haaretz
Israeli army forces demolished Thursday the family home of a Palestinian-American who murdered an Israeli citizen and wounded two others in the West Bank in May. The U.S. Embassy in Israel denounced the move, saying that all sides should “refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution, this certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes. As we stated numerous times, the home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual.”


Israel pushing US to keep Trump sanctions on Iran, even if nuke deal resurrected, Times of Israel
Recognizing that the Biden administration is intent on returning to the Iran nuclear agreement in its original form, Israel has focused on convincing the US to leave in place sanctions instituted by former president Donald Trump after the 2015 accord was signed, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

Rebuilding Gaza After Israel Fighting Will Cost Half a Billion Dollars, World Bank Says, Haaretz
The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip from damage caused in the military confrontation in May between Israel and Hamas will cost $485 million over the next two years, a report issued on Tuesday by the World Bank, the United Nations and the European Union said. According to the report, the fighting resulted in $300 million in material damage in the coastal strip and another $190 million in economic losses.

Israel, Hamas on path to more violence, warns official familiar with Cairo talks, Times of Israel
Israel and Hamas are “on a path” toward another round of violence just weeks since the most recent flareup in the Gaza Strip, an official familiar with the indirect negotiations between the sides in Cairo told The Times of Israel on Wednesday. The official noted Israel’s toughened stance since the 11-day May war vis-a-vis the Kerem Shalom goods crossing, where only limited humanitarian essentials, such as food, medicine and fuel, have been allowed in and almost all exports have been barred.

Isaac Herzog vows to ‘calm things down’ as he is sworn in as new president of Israel, NBC News
Isaac Herzog pledged to heal deep divisions in Israeli society Wednesday as he took the oath of office to become the country’s 11th president. With one hand on a Bible before the Knesset — Israel’s parliament — Herzog, 60, assumed the largely ceremonial position that is designed to serve as the country’s moral compass. Herzog promised to be “the president of everyone,” adding that the “central expectation” of all Israelis “from me, from all of us, is to lower the tone, to lower the flames, to calm things down.”

Less than 3 years after Tree of Life shooting, GOP-led Pennsylvania legislature eliminates nonprofit security funding, JTA
The Orthodox Union blasted Pennsylvania Republican-led Pennsylvania legislature for cutting security funding for nonprofits to zero. The General Assembly budget passed last month effectively ended a five-year fund the state established in 2019, just after the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, to secure nonprofits.

Opinion and Analysis

The mortal danger of a totalitarian Palestine, The National
Kareem Shaheen writes, “The accusations of corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism against the PA are nothing new, of course. They are exemplified by the authority’s remorseless response in the aftermath of the killing, which a state-appointed coroner has described as ‘unnatural’. The prospects of anyone facing justice appear particularly remote, given the response to the protests that have erupted over the past two weeks, with security forces and plainclothes policemen reportedly rounding up demonstrators and attacking them.”

The Most Crucial Issue for U.S.-Israel Relations – and It’s Not Iran, Haaretz
Alon Pinkas writes, “As the Biden administration eyes China’s burgeoning superpower status with increasing concern, Israel’s new government, led by Naftali Bennett, hopes it won’t be forced to choose between the two sides”

In a year of pandemic, Palestinian workers grapple with a virus and an occupier, +972 Magazine
+972 Magazine spoke to five Palestinians, documented and undocumented, who work on both sides of the Green Line to understand how their lives have changed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

QAnon’s Jews: How an Antisemitic Conspiracy Theory Is Infiltrating Israel, Haaretz
Mia Bloom and YulieMaimon write, “Why would Jews be attracted to an antisemitic conspiracy theory? That’s the perplexing question arising out of the inroads made by the Trump-venerating, revamped blood libel into U.S. Orthodox Jewish communities and now, in Hebrew-language channels, inside Israel as well.”