News Roundup for October 10, 2019

October 10, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Assailant Live-Streamed Attempted Attack on German Synagogue, New York Times
A heavily armed gunman with a live-streaming head camera tried to storm a synagogue in eastern Germany on Wednesday as congregants observed the holiest day in Judaism. Foiled by a locked door, he killed two people outside and wounded two others in an anti-Semitic spree that smacked of far-right terrorism.

Liberal Values Make Jews Everywhere Prime Target for White Supremacists, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “The synagogue shooting in eastern Germany wasn’t just an anti-Semitic attack. It was also an attack against immigration and values that have been identified with Jews.”

Israelis Watch U.S. Abandon Kurds, and Worry: Who’s Next?, New York Times
President Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw American troops from Syria has set off alarm bells among Israeli officials who fear the United States might stop standing up for Israel.


Turkey launches Syria ground assault on Kurdish forces after US troop withdrawal, AFP
Turkey launched a broad assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria on Wednesday, with intensive bombardment paving the way for a ground offensive made possible by the withdrawal of US troops.

As US pulls out of Syria, Netanyahu insists Israel can defend itself on its own, Times of Israel
Against the backdrop of the US military’s withdrawal from Syria, criticized by some analysts who warn it will create a vacuum to be filled by powers that don’t share Israel’s interests, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted on Thursday that Israel will defend itself on its own against regional threats.

Israeli, German Officials Condemn Halle Synagogue Shooting, Warn of Uptick in anti-Semitism, Haaretz
European leaders reacted, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel attending a vigil outside Berlin’s New Synagogue, as a “sign of solidarity,” according to her spokesperson. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas earlier said: “we must all act against anti-Semitism in our country.”  “That on the Day of Atonement a synagogue was shot at hits us in the heart,” Maas wrote on Twitter. “On this day we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted.

Amid deadlock, Liberman presents four-point plan for unity government, Times of Israel
In a post on Facebook, Liberman suggested that as a first step representatives of the three parties get together to hash out the guiding principles of a future unity government. Liberman said that should such an agreement be reached they should then adopt President Reuven Rivlin’s proposal for a power sharing compromise. A third stage proposed by Liberman would see the new government pass the budget and a multi-year defense plan. They would then, in the fourth stage, allow other parties to join the coalition if they agreed to the governments guiding principles, Liberman said.

Lieberman’s Plan for Unity Government: Break Up Right-wing Bloc, Hold Rotation Between Netanyahu and Gantz, Haaretz
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman published a plan he has devised for the establishment of an Israeli unity government. At the heart of Lieberman’s plan is an initiative to hold negotiations over the formation of a governing coalition between three parties: His own, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Kahol Lavan.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump’s Decision to Abandon Syria’s Kurds Is Bad News for All U.S. Regional Allies, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The president’s move paves the way for other players in the Syrian arena to realize their interests. First and foremost is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but ISIS, as well, and indirectly, the Bashar Assad regime in Syria and its two main supporters, Russia and Iran. From Jerusalem’s perspective, it is another warning sign that this president – until recently presented as Israel’s greatest friend ever in Washington – can’t be trusted.”

Trump’s new actions, inactions on Kurds, Syria, Iran have Israel deeply worried, Times of Israel
David Horovitz writes, “Coming in the wake of the US president’s decision not to carry out or organize any kind of response to the major drone and cruise missile strike September 14 on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing plant, widely attributed to Iran, and other Iranian attacks on oil tankers and Saudi targets, Trump’s latest policies are increasingly being seen in Israel as boosting Iran and undermining US allies.”

Netanyahu’s post-Yom Kippur Will Be Even Grimmer, Haaretz
Nehemia Shtrasler writes, “Lieberman is the only person in Israeli politics willing to have an eye gouged out if Netanyahu lost both of his. Actually, Lieberman would be willing to lose both eyes. Or to put it another way, he’d commit political suicide with an explosive belt if he was hugging Netanyahu at the time. It’s that intense.”

Returning to Yaffa, but only as a ‘tourist’, +972 Mag
Mariam Barghouti writes, “It is hours — days, weeks, maybe some months if we’re fortunate — before my permit expires, when I would have to make my way back to the West Bank, or else Israel will deem my presence in my own ancestral city ‘illegal.’ Yaffa is where my great grandfather was killed in 1947, and where my grandfather spent his childhood and adolescence. Like most Palestinian cities, Yaffa is de jure banned to most Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza by Israel.”

How Boris, Bibi and Trump Are Learning the Limits of Their Populist Power, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “The three leaders have tried to ride roughshod over democratic traditions in recent months, but they are finding that they aren’t bigger than the state.”

Trump and Tehran Shake Up the Middle East, New York Times
Thomas Friedman writes, “The Middle East may look calm right now, but that’s an illusion. Everyone is recalculating: The Iranians are emboldened, the Arabs are frightened and Israel and Iran are one miscalculation away from a war of precision missiles that neither can afford.”