News Roundup for November 14, 2019

November 14, 2019

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J Street in the News

EU Court Ruling on Labeling Affirms Vital Distinction Between Israel and the Occupied Territory, J Street
“This ruling is an important affirmation of what is already clear under both international and Israeli law: There is an important distinction between the State of Israel and the occupied territory it controls over the Green Line.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel, Islamic Jihad truce appears holding despite rockets, AP
A cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Islamic Jihad militant group appeared to be holding Thursday despite an earlier barrage of rocket fire that briefly disrupted a truce to end two days of intense fighting that killed at least 34 Palestinians, including three women and eight children, and paralyzed parts of Israel. Before the truce was announced, a pre-dawn Israeli airstrike killed eight members of the same family in Gaza. Among them were five children, the youngest being 7 years old.

Fragile Gaza ceasefire signals resumption of Gantz-Netanyahu political battle, Times of Israel
Raoul Wootliff writes, “The Thursday morning ceasefire reached between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip will likely, eventually, put an end to the latest intense cross-border fighting. But it also threatened to reignite a very different battle being fought on the political front lines, one that has seen a lull in hostilities during the escalation in the south.”


Liberman: Netanyahu said no to unity; Blue and White hasn’t given a clear yes, Times of Israel
Concluding a Thursday meeting with MK Benny Gantz, Yisrael Beytenu chair MK Avigdor Liberman hinted at disagreements at the top of Blue and White, saying that all leaders from the party must announce they accept President Reuven Rivlin’s unity plan. “What is missing for me is a clear announcement from all the leaders of Blue and White that they are accepting the president’s plan,” Liberman said, standing next to Gantz in the lobby of the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan.

Behind the Scenes of the Israeli Decision That Reignited the Gaza Front, Haaretz
That he was killed now, defense officials said, wasn’t because he had suddenly become more dangerous; it was mainly a question of opportunity. But they are hopeful his death will restore the quiet needed for a longer-term agreement between Israel and Hamas.

US condemns ‘anti-Israel bias’ in EU court verdict on settlement labeling, Times of Israel
The US State Department on Wednesday condemned the European Court of Justice’s ruling a day earlier that determined that settlement products need to be labeled as such.

Rights groups: Israeli decision to deport Shakir triggers fears, Al Jazeera
“The Shakir case has triggered fears that human rights activists and other critics of the Israeli government could face a similar fate,” said Saleh Higazi, deputy director of Amnesty International for the Middle East and North Africa.

Israel rejects ‘unacceptable’ EU court decision on settlement labeling, Times of Israel
Israel on Tuesday condemned as politically motivated and discriminatory a decision by the European Court of Justice that determined that Israeli goods made in the settlements must be labeled as such.

Israel-Gaza fighting distresses residents within rockets’ reach, DW
“It’s stressful; I am taking care of people here while I am also worried about my children at home, because we don’t have a safe room in the house,” says Lotem Ovadya, who commutes every day from a nearby moshav, or village, which is also subject to rocket fire.

Netanyahu clashes with Arab MKs in Knesset, defends Gaza operation, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday clashed in the Knesset plenum with Arab lawmakers protesting the ongoing strikes on terror targets in the Gaza Strip, saying Israel has been taking care to avoid harming Palestinian civilians.

Opinion and Analysis

As Islamic Jihad and Israel Battled, Hamas, in a Twist, Sat on the Sidelines, New York Times
David M. Halbfinger writes, “Hamas, the militant group that runs the Gaza Strip, has been trying for over a year to keep a lid on its conflict with Israel, to improve the abysmal quality of life for the two million Palestinians under its control, and to keep millions of dollars in cash coming in each month from its generous allies in Qatar. But a nettlesome, unruly and heavily armed little group called Palestinian Islamic Jihad has repeatedly sabotaged those plans by firing rockets at Israel, which more often than not has responded by raining down destruction on Hamas’s own installations and men.”

End the Blockade, Aid Gaza’s Economy, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “For two days now, Israelis have been caught in an absurd trap; they have seen that the Gaza Strip has come to envelop Israel just as much as Israel envelops the Gaza Strip. Not only were many of them forced to stay home from school and work, and constantly feared a rocket strike, they also had to worry that Hamas would join in the conflict alongside Islamic Jihad and the clash would become an all-out war between Gaza and Israel.”

As rockets paralyze half the country, was assassinating Abu al-Ata worth it?, Times of Israel
Judah Ari Gross writes, “The IDF says slain Islamic Jihad commander was behind most attacks from Gaza in recent months and was planning more, but the high cost of killing him and the conspicuous timing raise questions.”

Netanyahu and Hamas Chief in Gaza Have Emerged as Unlikely Allies, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Following Tuesday’s assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata, Israel is now fighting Islamic Jihad, Hamas’ main rival in Gaza. For the first time, Israel hasn’t responded to rocket launches from Gaza by attacking Hamas targets. It’s a major policy shift from holding Hamas responsible for anything that comes out of Gaza. The assassination not only removed from the equation the man who was behind most attacks on Israel in the past year or so, it removed a thorn from Hamas’ side as well.”

Islamic Jihad leader’s elimination serves both Netanyahu, Hamas, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “With one action, Netanyahu scored three important goals: Abu al-Ata was gone, and with him went any chances for Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to create a narrow minority government with the support of the Arab parties. The Israeli public is unlikely to support such a move in the midst of escalation. And New Right senior Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s ancient nemesis who succeeded in extricating the defense portfolio from Netanyahu last week, suffered a public humiliation: Abu al-Ata was eliminated five hours before Bennett assumed his new position. And so the credit for the operation went to Netanyahu alone.”