Liberal Jewish groups ask Israeli politicians to oppose West Bank annexation — even if Trump supports it, JTA
“‘Carrying out unilateral annexations in the West Bank would ultimately destroy Israeli democracy and lead the country down a disastrous path to permanent conflict,’ J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement. ‘It’s vital for Israeli leaders to recognize that whatever the dangerous and deluded policies of the Trump Administration, the vast majority of Americans and American Jews are strongly opposed to annexation and remain deeply committed to the achievement of a peaceful two-state solution.’ […] The Progressive Israel Network consists of 10 liberal Jewish groups, including the Israel lobby J Street, the rabbinic human rights group T’ruah and the New Israel Fund, which supports a range of progressive groups in Israel. Three liberal groups that are not part of the coalition — the Israel Policy Forum, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association — also signed onto the letter.”
In shocking rebuke, attorney general says justice minister misleading the public, Times of Israel
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit issued an unprecedented rebuke of a serving justice minister on Wednesday, saying Amir Ohana’s claim that investigators in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption probes extorted a key witness was an attempt to “mislead the public” for the Likud leader’s political benefit.
Trump told officials that Netanyahu should pay security aid to Palestinians, Axios
Several months ago, President Trump rejected a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow U.S. aid to be transferred to Palestinian security forces and told aides that Netanyahu should pay for it, U.S. officials told me.
Amid Political Chaos, a Chance for Israel’s Arab Minority, Foreign Policy
Eetta Prince-Gibson writes, “Seeking to form a government, Benny Gantz is meeting with the Arab Joint List. What does that mean for the political future of its constituency?”
Pompeo calls for more pressure on Iran, fears ‘nuclear breakout’, Washington Post
Iran’s recent steps away from the 2015 nuclear deal it struck with world powers should compel the international community to intensify pressure on Tehran, Secretary of State Mike Pomepo said in a statement Thursday. The top U.S. diplomat said that Iran’s “nuclear escalations” are aimed at extorting the international community and that the United States “will never allow this to happen.”
Top Netanyahu Aide Urges Evangelicals to Fight to Protect West Bank Settlements, Haaretz
A top Netanyahu aide told an audience of Christian media professionals that the presence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank was a positive step towards peace, and attempted to enlist their support against the boycott movement on Sunday.
Official: Israel providing aid to Kurds since US pullout in Syria, Times of Israel
Israel has been providing aid to the Kurds in northern Syria since the US withdrawal from the area, a senior Israeli official said Wednesday, warning that their defeat would allow Iran to further entrench itself in the area.
Macron warns of ‘profound shift’ in Iran deal as new report finds Tehran is dominant power in Middle East, The Telegraph
“I think that for the first time, Iran has decided in an explicit and blunt manner to leave the JCPOA agreement, which marks a profound shift,” Mr Macron said during a visit to China. His comments mark the gloomiest public assessment yet by a European leader about the chances of salvaging the agreement after the US withdrawal and as Iran continues to escalate its breaches of the deal.
UNRWA boss resigns amid probe into misconduct claims, Al Jazeera
The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has resigned effective immediately after the initial findings of an internal investigation found “management issues” that need to be addressed.
Israel releases 2 Jordanian nationals being held without charges, JTA
The Jordanians had entered the West Bank, where they have relatives, and were held over “suspicions of their involvement in serious security violations,” according to the Israel Security Agency.
By Expelling Human Rights Watch Director, Israel’s Top Court Legitimizes the Occupation, Haaretz
Mordechai Kremnitzer writes, “The court’s ruling to revoke Omar Shakir’s residency and work visa exemplifies the slippery slope Israel is on due to its control of the West Bank, and the court’s failure to stop it”
Palestinian elections are looking likely, and may be spectacularly bad for Abbas, Times of Israel
Avi Issacharoff writes, “In contrast to years past, officials are optimistic that vote actually could be held in February; if so, there could be major gains for Hamas as Fatah support dwindles.”
Emulating Trump’s Anti-whistleblower Campaign, Israeli Justice Minister Ohana Flouts the Law to Protect Netanyahu, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “After alleging a ‘deep state’ in Israel’s legal system, Ohana breaks gag order to taint a witness and to undercut Netanyahu’s imminent indictment.”
Palestinian elections look increasingly feasible, Al-Monitor
Daoud Kuttab writes, “The traditional thinking has always been focused on the need for national reconciliation as a prerequisite to elections. But according to a senior adviser to the president, Nabil Shaath, the elections themselves will help usher in reconciliation by means of creating an elected national unity government.”
Israel killed 222 Gaza protestors since 2018. Only one soldier has been indicted, +972 Mag
Eyal Sagiv writes, “As Othman Hiles began climbing the Gaza fence, an Israeli soldier opened fire and killed the unarmed 14-year-old. The soldier’s sentence? Community service.”