News Roundup for June 28, 2021

June 28, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Meeting Blinken, Israel’s Top Diplomat Aims to Fix Netanyahu ‘Mistakes’, The New York Times
“Secretary of State Blinken met Sunday with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, as the Biden administration takes the measure of Israel’s new government after the departure of the country’s divisive prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The two men discussed Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and the international talks seeking to return Iran and the United States to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, about which Mr. Lapid said Israel had “serious reservations.” But Mr. Lapid took a warm tone overall in brief remarks at the start of his meeting with Mr. Blinken, their first since Israel’s new government took power on June 13, saying he hoped to repair damage incurred under Mr. Netanyahu to Israel’s standing among Washington Democrats.”

Protests after death of Abbas critic reflect growing crisis over PA’s legitimacy, Times of Israel
Aaron Boxerman reports that “[T]he death of well-known critic Nizar Banat — allegedly after being viciously beaten while in PA custody — was enough to spark a wave of demonstrations in Ramallah and Hebron….The protesters have reflected a big but fractious tent of PA opponents: ultraconservative Islamists who seek to restore the Islamic Caliphate, activists in the Hamas terror group, civil society liberals who hope to reform the PA, and left-wing activists who oppose the PA on principle.”

Hardening stances by Iran and U.S. complicate negotiations to revive nuclear deal, Washington Post
“Iran’s parliament speaker said Sunday that Tehran would never share with the U.N. nuclear watchdog recorded footage of activity at some of its nuclear sites, in a sign of the hardening rhetoric by both Iran and the United States during the prolonged and increasingly tense negotiations aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear accord.”


Residents of Illegal West Bank Outpost of Evyatar Brace for Eviction, Haaretz
Residents of the unauthorized West Bank outpost Evyatar are preparing to be removed from the site as an eviction order is due to take effect Sunday at 11 P.M. The threat of eviction comes amid reports of a compromise that would require the residents to leave voluntarily but would allow them to return later if a reexamination of the status of the land supports their right to be there.

Israel to begin allowing Qatar-funded fuel into Gaza on Monday, Times of Israel
Israel will begin allowing Qatar-funded gasoline to enter the Gaza Strip to fuel the enclave’s only power station starting on Monday, for the first time since May’s fighting in the territory, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians said.

Biden admin weighs lifting sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, NBC News
The Biden administration is considering lifting sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader as part of negotiations aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, a former U.S. official and two people familiar with the matter told NBC News. U.S. and Iranian negotiators have discussed the possible move in indirect talks in Vienna, as part of a wider set of compromises that would see the United States return to the 2015 pact and Iran once again abide by restrictions on its nuclear program, the sources said.

Gilad Erdan Announces His Resignation as Ambassador in D.C., Will Remain as Envoy to UN, Haaretz
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, said Sunday that he has asked to step down as ambassador to Washington once a new ambassador there is appointed, but would continue on as UN ambassador.

Opinion and Analysis

Aiming to keep disagreements behind closed doors, Rivlin heads to Washington, Times of Israel
Tal Schneider reports on President Rivlin’s state visit to Washington.

On Iran, Israel Must Not Reprise Netanyahu’s Disastrous Role in the Iraq War and Rise of al-Qaida, Haaretz
Nimrod Hurvitz observes, “Netanyahu’s reliance on military intervention and arm-twisting have proven to be self-destructive. Israel’s military and political leaders would do well to undo his bellicose approach to international crises, and shift to cooperating, quietly, with the forces that oppose Iran’s nuclear program by devising realistic, yet creative, ways to stop it.”

Can Abbas survive summer of Palestinian discontent?, Al-Monitor
“Abbas and the PA are under siege by their own people, Hamas is on the ascent, and the new Israeli government, like the previous one, has little interest in reviving peace talk with the Palestinians. US Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, is holding up US assistance to Gaza promised by the Biden administration. The roles of US partners — Egypt, Jordan and Qatar in particular — take on even greater weight in helping prevent a complete breakdown of Palestinian institutions and another round of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Netanyahu May Soon Face a Temptation Too Great to Resist, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “There is a way whereby Netanyahu can ensure that he still leads Likud in the next election (assuming it takes place before a verdict in his trial, which is likely to go on for at least another two years) yet has the liberty to both enjoy life a bit until then. There is nothing in the Likud bylaws that say the party leader must also be a Knesset member. And just to make sure no one will get any idea of ousting him, Netanyahu is planning to hold a Likud leadership primary before he resigns from the Knesset. That will give him the excuse to tour the country, rally the troops and win another landslide. Then he can appoint some non-threatening loyalist, probably Yariv Levin, as parliamentary chair and opposition leader while the real leader resigns his Knesset seat and flies off until the next election.”