Now That Israel’s Government Reached Important Budget Milestone, US Pushback Against Occupation Must Wait No Longer, J Street
J Street’s Dr. Debra Shushan writes, “Now that the sitting Israeli government has passed the budget, it’s time for the Biden Administration to push Israel to take meaningful steps to stop the unchecked slide toward one state and permanent occupation. They should also move quickly, directly, and unapologetically to finally reopen the consulate in Jerusalem. As a true friend of Israel and the Palestinians, it is essential that President Biden pursue this course in order to help secure Israel’s future as a democratic state and national homeland of the Jewish people, while liberating Palestinians to realize their national self-determination in a state of their own….After months of quietly watching and waiting as the new government found its feet, now is the time for determined and proactive American leadership. Anything less would undermine the Biden administration’s stated commitment to ‘equal measures of freedom, security, dignity and prosperity’ for Israelis and Palestinians, and to a foreign policy that prioritizes universal human rights.”
U.S. weighs grim options if nuclear talks with Iran collapse, NBC News
“As Iran and world powers prepare to resume negotiations next week on reviving a nuclear deal, the U.S. and its allies are already debating a list of ‘Plan B’ options if the negotiations collapse, Western diplomats, former U.S. officials and experts say. With chances for a breakthrough at the talks in Vienna looking remote and Iran at odds with U.N. nuclear inspectors, U.S. and European officials face a grim set of choices — from ramped-up sanctions to potential military action — as Iran’s nuclear program advances into dangerous territory.”
UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief Presses for More Access in Iran, US News and World Report
The head of the United Nations’ atomic watchdog met Tuesday with Iranian officials to press for greater access in the Islamic Republic ahead of diplomatic talks restarting over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers.
Israel pledges to finally permit long-restricted Palestinian 4G cell service, Times of Israel
Israel has tentatively agreed to permit Palestinian cellular companies to set up fourth-generation mobile networks — allowing them to belatedly take advantage of a technology considered standard in much of the world — as part of a series of steps meant to strengthen the Palestinian Authority. The approval, which has yet to be finalized, was formally presented during a recent closed-door meeting of Israeli and Palestinian telecommunications teams, Israeli and Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel.
Former Netanyahu aide takes stand for second day, i24 News
Benjamin Netanyahu’s former adviser Nir Hefetz took the stand for a second day in the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday as part of the trial of the former Israeli prime minister. In his testimony, Hefetz indicated that it was Sara Netanyahu, the wife of the former prime minister, who made threats regarding the government regulation of Bezeq, after the Walla! News site published unfavorable articles.
Gantz takes off for Morocco to ink defense deals, buoy ties, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz took off for Rabat on Tuesday evening where he will be the first defense minister to visit Morocco in an official capacity.
The U.S. Is Bracing for Blows With Israel as Iran Nuclear Talks Near, Haaretz
Amos Harel observes, “The closer we get to the scheduled renewal Monday in Vienna of the talks to restore Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, the more the psychological warfare between the sides escalated. Oddly, perhaps, very few of these skirmishes are between Tehran and its negotiating partners. Most of them are between two countries that won’t have a foot in the door at the talks. The first is the United States, whose representatives will be in Vienna but won’t be participating in the direct talks on account of Iranian opposition. The other is Israel.”
Not By Might and Not By Power — Choosing Between Two Hanukkah Narratives, J Street
Rabbi Amy Eilberg writes, “In our day, many Jews — in America and Israel — have awakened to the peril and folly of the narrative of conquering our enemies. Surely we Jews around the world and in Israel must be vigilant about providing protection for Jewish lives. But there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is no group of heroes who can vanquish the Palestinians. The fantasy that we can find safety by means of overpowering military strength is a dangerous illusion — one that can blind us to the grievous harm that Israel commits (and in which we are complicit), and block our vision for how to break through to a life of peace, safety, and dignity for all the people of the Land.”
‘We violated people’s privacy for a living’: How Israel’s cyber army went corporate, 972 Magazine
Sophia Goodfriend reports, “Public information about NSO Group, as well as testimonies of former Israeli intelligence officers and NSO employees who spoke to this author on condition of anonymity due to fears of repercussions, shed light on the extent to which Israel’s largely unregulated surveillance regime is intimately bound up with the private sector, with Palestinians in the occupied territories bearing the brunt of its practices.”