News Roundup for November 10, 2021

November 10, 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

PM meets with US lawmakers, including some on J Street-sponsored trip, Times of Israel
“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Tuesday with two US Congressional delegations — one bipartisan and one Democrat-only group that is in Israel on a trip sponsored by the dovish J Street organization…That delegation was brought to Israel on a tour organized by J Street, a group that advocates for a two-state solution and is harshly critical of Israel’s settlement activity, but also promotes Israeli culture and values in its activities and opposes the boycott-Israel movement…A day earlier, the J Street delegation met with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, marking the first time in years that a senior Israeli cabinet member has engaged with the dovish Israel lobby.”

Israeli PM Meets Progressive Dems in Jerusalem, Including ‘Squad’ Member Bowman, Haaretz
“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met in his office with Democratic lawmakers from the party’s progressive wing, including Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who is considered a member of “the Squad” – the group of left-wing members of Congress known for their strong criticism of Israel. Bowman and the other lawmakers who met Bennett are in Israel as part of a delegation organized by the left-wing Jewish organization J Street. Other members of the delegation include Rosa DeLauro – the House Appropriations Committee chair who was a key figure in passing a standalone bill granting Israel $1 billion in emergency funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system – and Barbara Lee, the chair of the House subcommittee on foreign operations.”

Top News and Analysis

Europeans concerned at Israel listing of Palestinian groups, AP
“Five European countries expressed ‘serious concern’ at Israel’s designation of six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist groups after a Security Council meeting on Monday and said they will be seeking more information from Israeli authorities on the reasons for their listing. The 15-member council took no action after the closed consultations. But a statement from Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway and Albania, which will join the council in January, said the listings ‘have far-reaching consequences for the organizations in political, legal and financial terms.’”

Decision to Build in Settlements Violates Coalition Guidelines, Charges Israeli Minister, Haaretz
“Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister blasted the government’s decision to continue building in the settlements on Tuesday, calling it ‘a violation of our fundamental [coalition] agreements.’ The minister, Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party, told Haaretz journalist Netta Ahituv at Haaretz’s Conference on Democracy that ‘we insist that we return to them.’ Despite this development, she said she did not regret entering the governing coalition and that Meretz knew going in that it would not get everything it wanted.”

Israeli Settlers Escalate Violence in West Bank, Foreign Policy
“Incidents of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians are increasing in frequency and scope, human rights groups allege, becoming a key part of settlers’ push to take over land in the area it captured during the 1967 war. Rights groups say settler ties with security forces have become closer and that settlers enjoy relative impunity when they attack Palestinian people and property. According to figures published last month by the left-of-center Haaretz newspaper, there were 363 instances of nationalist crime by Jews against Palestinians in 2019 in the West Bank. That rose to 507 in 2020, and in the first half of 2021 there were already 416 cases.”


Jordan’s Abdullah Talks Palestinians, Jerusalem With Israeli Lawmaker Abbas, Haaretz
Jordan’s King Abdullah met with Israel’s United Arab List party head Mansour Abbas at the royal palace in Amman on Tuesday, Jordan’s state media said. They discussed a number of issues, the report said, including the situation in the Palestinian Territories and the means of advancing an Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Ministers expedite immigration of 5,000 Ethiopians to Israel as conflict worsens, Times of Israel
Immigration Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said Tuesday they agreed to accelerate the stalled immigration of 5,000 Ethiopians claiming Jewish descent, amid intensifying fighting in the African nation. Those included in the agreement have first-degree relatives in Israel and were eligible to immigrate under a 2015 government decision, under which 9,000 people would be brought to the Jewish state.

France says nuclear talks with Iran must resume where they left off, Reuters
France’s foreign minister told his Iranian counterpart on Tuesday that when talks with world powers on reviving a nuclear accord resume at the end of November, they must continue where they left off in June. The comments suggest growing concern over Iran’s public rhetoric before indirect talks between Iran and the United States resume in Vienna on Nov. 29.

Israel agrees to more Egyptian troops in Sinai, Al-Monitor
Senior Israeli and Egyptian military officers met Nov. 7 in Sharm al-Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula. The 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty limits the number of troops that can be stationed on either side of the Sinai border. They may be increased if the other country signs off on additional reinforcements in a joint committee made up of senior officers from both armies. At the meeting, the Israeli side agreed to Egypt’s request to increase its security presence in the Rafah area, which borders both Israel and the Gaza Strip, in an amendment to the “agreed-activities” provision of the peace treaty.

Palestinian Authority’s Abbas said trying in vain to meet with Ra’am chief Abbas, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has for months been trying unsuccessfully to hold a meeting with Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas, Channel 12 news reported Tuesday. The Ra’am chief, whose Islamist faction is part of Israel’s ruling coalition, has yet to formally respond to the request, according to the network.

Mike Pompeo’s campaigning for Trump from Jerusalem was illegal, investigation finds, JTA
A federal investigation said that Mike Pompeo violated the Hatch Act when, as Secretary of State, he addressed the Republican National Convention in 2020 from Jerusalem. In its lengthy report issued Tuesday, the Office of Special Counsel also faulted several of former President Trump’s top Jewish officials for violations of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from campaigning. Among the implicated officials are David Friedman, former ambassador to Israel; Jared Kushner, Trump’s top Middle East policy adviser and son-in-law; and Stephen Miller, Trump’s top immigration adviser.

Opinion and Analysis

Just How Close Did Israelis and Palestinians Come to a Peace Deal in 2008?, Foreign Policy
On The Negotiators podcast, Khaled Elgindy, a former advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team, provides an insider’s account of the Annapolis talks.

The Strike on Gaza’s Media Tower Was a Mark of Defeat for Israel, Haaretz
The Haaretz editorial board writes, “In its eagerness to achieve a ‘victory picture,’ the IDF moved farther away from victory. Harming the media is a violation of international codes, something which erodes the values and institutions that define Israel’s identity as a democracy. The picture of the imploding tower is a picture of defeat.”

In Israel’s dystopia, surveilling Palestinians ‘improves their quality of life’, 972 Magazine
Orly Noy writes, “The army’s attempt to portray this reality — in which an occupying force pours massive resources into a biometric database in order to deepen its control of the local population — as a way to ” improve their quality of life” is laughable. This is all the more ludicrous given that soldiers routinely turn a blind eye, or stand idly by, when armed Israeli settlers attack Palestinians in broad daylight….How much technological sophistication is needed to locate settlers and soldiers who have been documented abusing Palestinians? What advanced software is needed to stop the rising violence against Palestinian farmers during every olive harvest season?”