News Roundup for November 4, 2019

November 4, 2019

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J Street in the News

Criticize Israel? For Democratic Voters, It’s Now Fair Game, New York Times
“Polling data suggest that as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn an increasingly hard line against Palestinians while cultivating a chummy relationship with President Trump, many Jewish voters and liberal Democrats have started to feel uneasy. ‘Both Donald Trump and Bibi Netanyahu have approached this issue far differently than any of their predecessors, and Trump has made a real effort to align himself with Netanyahu and with the right in Israel,’ Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, said in a phone interview. ‘Over the past eight or nine years, with Bibi in control in Israel and now Trump here, you’ve seen some real shifts in the ways that the partisanship on this issue plays out.’”

Top News and Analysis

Iran spins more centrifuges on US Embassy crisis anniversary, AP
Iran on Monday broke further away from its collapsing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers by announcing it’s doubling the number of advanced centrifuges it operates, calling the decision a direct result of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement.

Gaza flareup gives way to calm, but ministers predict future bout, Times of Israel
The high level security cabinet met for over four hours Sunday, as ministers considered options for confronting violence from the Gaza Strip after a weekend of rocket-fire and IDF responses. Gazan terrorists shot 10 rockets at Israel on Friday, damaging a home, though causing no injuries. Israel hit back with retaliatory air strikes on Hamas targets, in the latest round of on-again, off-again  violence that has plagued the region for months.

EU condemns new burst of Israeli settlement approvals, AP
The European Union is criticizing Israel’s advancement of over 2,000 new homes in West Bank settlements. In a statement Monday, the EU reiterated its longstanding position that all settlement activity on occupied land is illegal and “erodes the viability” of the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Israeli anti-settlement watchdog group Peace Now says Israeli authorities approved various planning stages for the construction of 2,342 new housing units in the occupied West Bank last month. It says Israel has already pushed forward plans for over 8,300 settlement homes this year — an increase of 50% over all of 2018.


Senior Israeli Minister Says Israel May Have to Go to War in Gaza After Tense Weekend, Haaretz
Israeli Energy Minister and security cabinet member Yuval Steinitz said on Sunday that in light of the uptick in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the border with the Gaza Strip, he believes that Israel will have to set out on a military campaign in the coastal enclave.

PM: Hamas to blame for all Gaza attacks, we’ll use all means to keep Israel safe, Times of Israel
“We must understand that we hold Hamas accountable for any attack that comes out of the Gaza Strip. I’m not going to detail our plans here,” the prime minister said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “We will continue to work in all arenas for the security of the State of Israel, both by visible and covert means, by sea, air and land.”

Palestinian killed in Israeli air strikes on ‘wide range’ of Hamas targets, AFP / France 24
A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire during renewed demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border fence Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.

Twitter suspends Hamas- and Hezbollah-affiliated handles, Times of Israel
Twitter has suspended accounts affiliated with the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups as well as a Palestinian news outlet.

Tel Aviv court cancels deportation orders against 2 Israeli-born children of Filipina workers, JTA
The Tel Aviv Court of Appeals on Sunday canceled the deportation orders against Gena Antigo, 13, and Ralph Harel, 10 and their mothers, Ynet reported.

Israeli PM’s son, driver strike settlement over leaked tape, AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son has reportedly reached a court settlement with a former driver whom he sued for releasing a recording made while he was joyriding with his friends during a drunken night at Tel Aviv strip clubs.

Israeli Police Officer Shoots Unarmed Palestinian in the Back With Sponge-tipped Bullet, Haaretz
A video showing an Israeli Border Police officer firing a sponge-tipped round at a Palestinian man who was leaving the scene with his arms raised, in accordance with her instructions, was revealed on Saturday evening on Israel Channel 13 News.

Twitter suspends accounts associated with Hezbollah and Hamas, JTA
“There is no place on Twitter for illegal terrorist organizations and violent extremist groups,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

Opinion and Analysis

How Rabin Conspiracy Theories Went Mainstream – and Other Bizarre Tales From Netanyahu’s Israel, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “While Netanyahu’s aides are accused of trolling and claim the police searched their phones illegal, the prime minister’s woes are becoming increasingly bizarre – both politically and legally.”

Hamas may want calm, but at least one Islamic Jihad leader has different plans, Times of Israel
Avi Issacharoff writes, “It can be assumed that the Gaza-ruling Hamas is not looking for an escalation of violence, though it appears fellow terror group Islamic Jihad is doing everything possible to set the area ablaze, with Hamas standing by and allowing it to do so for fear of public criticism were it to intervene.”

Gantz Is Rabin’s Latest Successor. But His Coronation Comes With a Warning, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “For the first time since Ehud Barak lost the premiership to Ariel Sharon in 2001, the Israeli tribe feels it has a leader again, although Gantz is nowhere near forming a government.”