News Roundup for October 8, 2021

October 8, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Sanders Pushes Gaza Aid in Exchange for “Yes” Vote on Iron Dome Funds, Jewish Currents
Ahead of a Senate vote that is expected to authorize an extra billion dollars in military aid for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, Senator Bernie Sanders’s office says Sanders has secured a commitment from Democratic leadership that the US will also send additional humanitarian funds to Palestinians in Gaza, the coastal enclave devastated by Israel’s aerial assault this spring.

Israel/Palestine: Facebook Censors Discussion of Rights Issues, Human Rights Watch
Facebook has wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including about human rights abuses carried out in Israel and Palestine during the May 2021 hostilities, Human Rights Watch said today. The company’s acknowledgment of errors and attempts to correct some of them are insufficient and do not address the scale and scope of reported content restrictions, or adequately explain why they occurred in the first place.

Israeli court ruling on major holy site angers Palestinians, AP
A ruling by a local Israeli court in favor of a Jewish man who prayed quietly at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site has angered Muslim authorities, who denounced it on Thursday as a violation of the fragile status quo governing the compound. The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the location of the ancient Jewish Temples. It is the emotional epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and tensions there helped ignite the 11-day Gaza war in May. Under informal understandings, Jews are not allowed to pray there.


Top Court Orders Israel to Explain Refusal to Evict Settlers From Palestinian Land, Haaretz
The High Court of Justice ordered the state on Wednesday to explain its refusal to evict settlers from a tract of West Bank land that they are working, even though it is privately owned by Palestinians. It also required the state to explain its refusal to consider the Palestinians’ request to work the land themselves.

Visiting US envoy raises human rights with Israelis, terror payments with PA, Times of Israel
The Biden administration’s envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raised human rights concerns during his meetings with Israeli officials, and US objections to the Palestinian Authority’s payments to security prisoners during his sit-downs in Ramallah this week. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr was in the region from Monday to Thursday, meeting with government officials and civil society leaders with the stated goal of “equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity, and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians,” the US State Department said in a Thursday statement.

Israel, Palestinian militants use bodies as bargaining chips, AP
Israel is holding the remains of Palestinians killed in conflict, citing the need to deter attacks and potentially exchange them for the remains of two Israeli soldiers held by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians and human rights groups view the practice of holding bodies as a form of collective punishment that inflicts further suffering on bereaved families.

Israel’s top news show falsely accuses +972 writer of framing settlers for arson, +972 Magazine
Israel’s most popular primetime news broadcast aired a segment about +972 and Local Call journalist Basil al-Adraa on Tuesday night, falsely claiming that he had set fire to a structure in the Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills in order to frame Israeli settlers from a nearby outpost. Since the segment ran, right-wing activists have been accusing al-Adraa, as well as human rights group B’Tselem, where he volunteers as part of the organization’s “Camera Project,” of spreading lies.

As unprecedented billions planned for under-served Arabs, devil’s in the details, Times of Israel
When a five-year, NIS 10 billion investment in Arab communities was announced in 2016, Arab Israelis hoped the money, some $3.8 billion in 2016 dollars, would help end the persistent gaps between Arabs and Jews in Israel. […] But previous attempts to fix decades of entrenched gaps between Arab and Jewish communities have faced serious difficulties. Billions of shekels never found their way to where they were needed most; in many cases, Arab organized crime found ways to seize public funds, strengthening already powerful gangs.

Opinion and Analysis

Jews Should Have the Right to Worship Freely. But Not in Today’s Jerusalem, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “The reason we shouldn’t allow open Jewish prayer on Temple Mount, for now, is that Jerusalem is not a free city with equal rights for all its residents. And the deprivation of the freedom of worship for Jews on Temple Mount is the least of it. […] In such an environment, there has to be a sense of priority as to which freedoms we choose to fight for and when. And when a third of Jerusalem’s residents lack such basic rights, then choosing to fight for equality and freedom in the one and only space in the city where Palestinians currently enjoy more rights is rank hypocrisy.”

Pingree should back bill to ease Israel-Palestine conflict, Portland Press Herald
David Finkelhor writes, “The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continues to smolder and periodically ignite with terrible consequences. Those of us concerned about the region feel powerless to have any influence. But there is new legislation in the U.S. House sponsored by Andy Levin, D-Mich., that could help, and I would urge Rep. Chellie Pingree to support it.”