News Roundup for November 13, 2019

November 13, 2019

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J Street in the News

J Street Condemns Rocket Attacks by Islamic Jihad, Calls for Steps to Prevent Further Escalation, J Street
“J Street is deeply concerned by the latest escalation between extremist militants in Gaza and Israel, in which the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has launched a barrage of rocket attacks against Israel following an IDF operation that killed a senior PIJ leader. We strongly condemn these rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. At this time, our thoughts are with the residents of southern and central Israel, with the IDF forces working to keep them safe and with all civilians on both sides of the divide.”

Top News and Analysis

Gaza Flare-up: Hundreds of Rocket Targets Israel, 21 Palestinians Killed, Haaretz
Gaza factions launched massive rocket barrages at Israel for the second straight day on Wednesday, a day after Israel assassinated a top Islamic Jihad commander. Baha Abu al-Ata was said to have been behind many recent attacks on Israel. He was killed in an aerial strike on his apartment by alongside his wife. Twenty-one more Palestinians, including one Islamic Jihad field commander, were killed and at least 69 were wounded in Israeli strikes Tuesday and Wednesday.   Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted 90 percent of 300 rockets launched from Gaza. The rockets were fired as far north as Tel Aviv, shutting schools in central and southern Israel and forcing one million children to stay at home.

Jews Were Victims Of More Than Half Of All Religious Hate Crimes: FBI, The Forward
In its annual Hate Crime Statistics Act report, the FBI found a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes overall, as well as a similarly small decline in crimes motivated by religious bias. The report listed 7,120 overall incidents, of which 1,617 were motivated by religion. And 57% of those religious hate crimes – 920 overall – were motivated by offenders’ anti-Jewish bias, the FBI said. A record number of anti-Jewish crimes were violent in nature – 105 in total, up from 73 in 2017.

Islamic Jihad Commander’s Killing May Not Be a Political Ploy, but It’s Certainly Advantageous for Netanyahu, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Accusations of political considerations in launching military operations are rarely founded in Israel, where military and intelligence chiefs have ways to complain about abuse of their professional judgment.”


IDF: Israeli forces are ‘walking a tightrope’ to prevent Hamas joining fray, Times of Israel
The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday said it believed the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group would continue firing rockets at Israeli cities and towns — but a smaller number, in order to maintain its arsenals and potentially keep fighting for several more days in retaliation for the slaying of a senior commander by Israel on Tuesday.

Trump: Gaza Violence ‘Crazy,’ Israel ‘Keeps Having Elections and Nobody Gets Elected’, Haaretz
In U.S. ‘at least we know who the boss is,’ president tells crowd of ultra-Orthodox Jews, also joking about his impeachment inquiry: ‘If anything happens here, I’m taking a trip to Israel, I’ll be prime minister there.’

‘This is actual surrender’: Liberman assails Netanyahu for Hamas policy, Times of Israel
Amid an ongoing escalation of violence with Gaza, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a fierce Facebook post Wednesday, accusing him of “surrendering” to the Hamas terror group and of having “no answers or solutions” to the rocket fire on the south.

Gaza Missile Hits Human Rights Office; Palestinian Media Censors Incident, Haaretz
At about 10 A.M. on Tuesday, a missile hit the fifth floor of the Al-Harara office building in Gaza City, which is across from the Palestinian Legislative Council building. It’s a missile that went astray on its launchers, almost certainly members of Islamic Jihad.

PM sought Abu al-Ata’s killing after rocket forced him offstage before election, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to kill Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror chief Baha Abu al-Ata after a rocket attack orchestrated by al-Ata forced the premier off stage at an election rally a week before the September 17 Knesset vote, multiple Hebrew-language media outlets reported Tuesday.

Stephen Miller promoted white-nationalist materials to Breitbart reporter, JTA
Many of the 900 emails sent from March 2015 to June 2016 “showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency,” according to a report on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC’s Hatewatch blog reviewed the emails, which were leaked by then-Breitbart reporter Katie McHugh.

In new book, Haley says Tillerson vehemently opposed embassy move to Jerusalem, Times of Israel
The early years of the Trump administration were troubled by intense internal divisions on US-Israel policy, former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley writes in her new book.

EU States Must Label Products From Israeli Settlements, Top Court Says, Haaretz
Simply indicating that goods originate in the state of Israel, when in fact they came from an occupied territory, could mislead consumers about the fact that Israel “is present in the territories concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity,” the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found.

Opinion and Analysis

Doubts About Gaza Decision Showcase Netanyahu as the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Hours before the Gaza assassination, Netanyahu tweeted about how a Gaza operation would decimate any alliance between Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan and the Joint List. Hours after the operation, Netanyahu’s media’s mouthpieces opined that the option was now dead in the water. If you believe it’s a mere coincidence, you might be interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge.”

To save himself, Netanyahu is going to war with Gaza, +972 Mag
Edo Konrad writes, “Even as Israel becomes chronically unable to form a government, the ‘Gaza consensus’ — the endless pounding of the strip into oblivion — persists. It could tip the scales in Netanyahu’s favor.”

Gaza Escalation Makes Minority Government in Israel a Distant Prospect, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “Even if the considerations behind the action were purely security-related, it was born into a reality that is anything but pure. Seven days before Benny Gantz returns his mandate to form a government to the president – or before his turn to try to do so runs out next Wednesday evening – the stakes are high and dangerous.”

A look at Israel’s targeted killings of militant leaders, AP
Patty Nieberg and Fares Akram write, “While once frequent, Israel has resorted to the strategy only occasionally in recent years. Tuesday’s strike on the Gaza City home of Bahaa Abu el-Atta was the second such attack in five years to be claimed by Israel.”

Back Home in U.S., Israel’s Lone Soldiers Break Their Silence About the Occupation, Haaretz
Judy Maltz writes, “Six Israeli army veterans are taking part in a first-of-its-kind U.S. tour organized by the Breaking the Silence group. ‘I think it’s very important that American-Jewish communities hear this from people who grew up in their own communities,’ says one delegate.”