News Roundup for November 18, 2021

November 18, 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

National Security Daily, Politico
“Over 70 humanitarian and activist groups sent a letter to senators yesterday demanding they pass Sen. BERNIE SANDERS’ (I-Vt.) amendment to the NDAA requiring reports on the Gaza blockade…“After roughly 14 years, the severe restrictions on Gaza have left nearly 2 million people with severely limited access to clean water, electricity, and food; prevents critical supplies from reaching Gaza which is necessary for maintaining and rebuilding water treatment and sanitation infrastructure; roughly 97 percent of Gaza’s tap water is contaminated, depriving civilians of regular access to drinkable water,” wrote the groups, including Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam America, J Street and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL).”

Top News and Analysis

Scoop: U.S. floats interim Iran nuclear deal, Axios
Barak Ravid reports, “National security adviser Jake Sullivan raised with his Israeli counterpart the idea of an interim agreement with Iran to buy more time for nuclear negotiations, three Israeli and U.S. sources tell me….The idea is only preliminary, and the Biden administration continues to insist that the full 2015 nuclear deal be restored. But with nuclear talks set to resume in Vienna on Nov. 29, it provides a window into at least some of the thinking inside the administration.”

‘Everyone’s a Suspect.’ Six Former Israeli Soldiers Speak on Their Time in Hebron., The New York Times
Ex-Israeli soldiers share their accounts of day-to-day operations on the ground in Hebron, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank. “They offer a view that has rarely been seen by the public.”


2 border cops stabbed in Jerusalem’s Old City; attacker shot dead, Times of Israel
A Palestinian teenager stabbed two border guards in an alleyway in Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday, police said. The assailant, identified by Palestinian media as Amr Abu-Assab, was shot by an armed civilian who was passing by and then again by the Border Police officers he’d attacked. He was pronounced dead at the scene. According to police, Abu-Assab was 16 years old from East Jerusalem.

Israel, Jordan to sign solar/water cooperation deal in Dubai, Al-Monitor
Israel, Jordan and the Emirates will soon sign an agreement on green energy and water, with the countries helping each other on climate challenges. The deal is slated to be signed in Dubai next week after months-long secret negotiations between the three countries. US Climate Envoy John Kerry, Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, Jordanian Water Minister Mohammed Al-Najjar, Emirati special envoy on climate change Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata are expected to participate at the signing ceremony.

US envoy presses Abbas on human rights, prisoner payments during Ramallah meet, Times of Israel
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield pressed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the issues of human rights and payments to security prisoners in Israeli jails during their meeting in Ramallah on Wednesday, according to her office. US President Joe Biden’s UN envoy was in the West Bank after two days in Israel as she continued her first trip to the region, which will conclude on Thursday with a visit to Jordan.

Israel Hasn’t Provided Evidence on Palestinian NGOs It Labeled as Terror Groups, EU Foreign Minister Says, Haaretz
Israel has still not provided evidence that six Palestinian civil society organizations are terrorist entities nearly a month after it declared them as such, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said Wednesday.

Opinion and Analysis

Bibi and Trump scorched Jerusalem. Will Bennett and Lapid burn what’s left?, 972 Magazine
Daniel Seidemann observes, “It has been 10 months since Donald Trump left the Oval Office and five months since the Bennett-Lapid government was formed. Despite the hype, neither event portended a ‘brave new dawn; for Israel-Palestine. While some may have anticipated the emergence of a new, more restrained dynamic vis-a-vis Israel’s occupation policies, this has not materialized, and nowhere is it more evident than in Jerusalem.”

Arab Rapprochement With Syria’s Assad Works for Israel Too, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “A weakened and discredited dictator in Damascus is the preferable option for Israel. In an alternative and rather unlikely outcome in which the rebels had succeeded and a new, less radical regime had taken power, Israel would have come under renewed pressure to retreat from the Golan Heights. Assad is untouchable now outside the region, so no one is going to support his claim to the land now. And having Assad in control is also preferable to the other, more likely alternative, which would have been Syria becoming a chaotic no-man’s-land and a base for ISIS. That is the same calculation being made by Israel’s Arab allies.”

A pro-Israel group says Hunter College is ‘pervasively hostile’ to Jewish students. Jews on campus disagree., JTA
Ben Sales reports, “The StandWithUs complaint lists a series of alleged antisemitic incidents that it says the administration has not responded to adequately, including a disruptive anti-Israel protest during a Zoom class in May….Other Jewish organizations dispute StandWithUs’s characterization of Hunter, and say the school has gone above and beyond in defending Jewish students. Both the campus chapter of Hillel, the international Jewish student organization, and Hunter’s Jewish Studies Center, whose director has been a vocal opponent of anti-Israel activism, said they did not know the complaint was coming.”